Originally posted on News5
The environmental community has come out in full support of the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association because of what they believe is a botched consultation in Sundaywood village. The meeting last week Thursday should have been to educate the public and respond to their concerns regarding U.S. Capital Energy’s desire to drill in the national park and communal land. The company’s P.R. consultant told News Five that they had no control over the function of the meeting. Niall Gillett told News Five via phone that the government itself set the requirements.
Via Phone: Niall Gillett, P.R. Consultant, U.S. Capital Energy
“We believe that the company did what was required to do to provide a place for the consultation that met the requirements set out by D.O.E. It is important that the average Belizean out there understands that once that is done, the company has nothing else to do with the consultation because it is now the responsibility of D.O.E. It is their meeting, they ran it and it was pretty much between them and the public and the company itself could not participate in any manner.”
“In regards to Mister Greg Ch’oc, we noticed in the video we received that he was barred from voicing the concerns of I believe four villages that he was representing. Why was that done?”
Via Phone: Niall Gillett
“The company does not agree that he was barred. The point is that in the beginning of the meeting, Mister Alegria from the D.O.E. set out the standards of the meeting and I think; especially in the set of minutes that I sent you, it demonstrated clearly that he took much longer than he was expected to take and when he was asked to stand down that he refused. Again U.S. Capital has absolutely nothing to do with how the meeting is functioned. That has all to do with the government of Belize and how they had set the requirements. And it is unfortunate that those actions which probably took about seven minutes out of the entire five hour presentation has received so much attention. People have asked why does the company believe that the meeting was such a success. Simply because the company did what it was supposed to do and the response from the public to come and attend the meeting was overwhelming. The media itself has reported that almost or over a thousand people have attended the meeting and I think that if you are having a public meeting about an important issue, it shows that people do have an interest and they did come out to hear what was being said. And again it is unfortunate that that short incident with Mister Ch’oc has taken up all the attention instead of how well the remainder of the meeting went after that.”