Check our new page "Proposed Protected Marine Areas" for more information on our current project we are working.
Last week, May 01-03, 2012 Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development(ACCSD) were honoured to have the visit of Ms. Lori Maddox and Heidi Weiskel from ELAW, USA along with colleagues Alejandra Serrano –CEMDA Mexico, Emilio d’Cuire – IDAMHO Honduras, Jeanette Noack – Alianza de Derecho Ambiental y Agua, Guatemala, Candy Gonzalez – Belpo, Belize and Mary Toy and Adrian Vernon – PCSD Placencia, Belize. They were welcomed by ACCSD with a tour to the proposed marine protected areas in the Mexico Rock’s, Los Bajos and Mata Cayo Frances Lagoon. During the afternoon they met at the ACCSD Office for a meeting with the Board of Directors of ACCSD. The purpose of the reunion was to share the effects and strategies to preserve the natural resources shared among the respective countries. ACCSD briefly gave a description about our proposed marine protected areas we are currently working on which are Los Bajos, Mexico Rocks and Mata Cayo Frances Lagoon. Each attendee was able to share their own strategies, methods and results on their countries and on goals which they are working on together with their communities to protect their environments. The representatives from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico had the opportunity to make a presentation at the San Pedro Junior College for the students to listen and enjoy to individual reports on efforts made in their countries to protect the shared natural resources in the eco-region. Each explained how they have been working together with their communities to preserve the reef/ocean ecosystems. Students were well attentive and seemed to be very much interested in the night’s presentation. On Thursday morning, they were taken to a snorkeling trip to the Holchan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley for them to appreciate one of San Pedro’s main tourist attraction. Our colleagues in Environmental Laws were well satisfied and congratulated ACCSD how they initiated their association and on the progress today of their work. They plan to work together with us on future cases in environmental opportunities that may arise and be of benefit to our country.
ACCSD would like to give thanks to Seaduced Tours for providing transportation to the marine sites and to The Palms for accommodation provided for our colleagues. Also special thanks to the San Pedro Junior College for allowing our colleagues to make the presentation to the students a success.
The People’s Referendum gives voice to the thousands of Belizeans who never got a chance to vote when the offshore referendum triggered under the Referendum Act was derailed on the basis of unverifiable signatures. The unverified signatures were largely based on inconsistencies between signatures on the record cards at the Election and Boundaries Office and the signatures on the petition forms. Oceana has just released the results of a professionally conducted poll of 4,000 randomly selected Belizeans found that 87% do not think there should be offshore oil drilling in Belize. A further sample of another 4,000 people who signed the petition found that 90% of these people do not support offshore oil drilling. We want to send a clear message to whoever wins the general elections that the Belizean people have a firm opinion on this issue of offshore oil in Belize.
The date for the People’s Referendum will be Wednesday, February 29th, 2012. We will announce the polling station as soon as it is confirmed.
We are asking for any size financial contribution to support the organization, logistics and advertising for the referendum on offshore oil in Belize. Please make checks or cash deposits to:
“The Peoples Referendum” Scotia Bank account # 9138870
As we had previously said the Festival of the Sea took place on Dec. 02, 03, 2011 at Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. ACCSD was very fortunate to be represented by Ms. Kirah Forman, ACCSD BOD Director. This festival gave the opportunity to ACCSD, BELPO and PCSD to participate in the 1st Festival of the Sea event. Participating countries were Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Special Thanks to ELAW for helping organizing the event.
Friends & Members,
In the lead story in the 24 March, 2011 edition of San Pedro Sun, Sugar Caye Developers David Mitchell and Remax agent John Turley presented the mangrove habitat restoration plans in the Sugar Caye/Grand Oasis development. According to the report, they are using concepts from the Riley Encased Methodology and had travelled extensively investigating mangroves. But today (thanks to Coral.org) we received a letter from Bob Riley from Mangrove.org (THE MANGROVE EXPERT) stating he was never consulted on the design of this seawall and amoungst other things the designs are "critically flawed". The letter is attached, as is the San Pedro Sun article.
Thanks for setting the record straight Mr Riley.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development
63 Barrier Reef Drive
San Pedro Town
Oil, tourism and philosophy was a topic on Amandala's newspaper this week, check the link to read about it. Hope you find it interesting.
A quick summary of the Treaty Energy. Princess Petroleum Ltd who hold the concession offshore of San Pedro will have the drilling equipment here in Belize by the first week in APRIL. They are close to announcing THREE drilling sites and plan to be DRILLING within the next 2 to 3 Months.
They only need to get any environmental approval AFTER they have found oil. Get more information through this link.
Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development
Dated 31th July 2009 – for immediate release
FISHING GUIDES “BROKEN HEARTED” AT DELIBERATE DESTRUCTION OF FISH HABITAT
Laguna de San Pedro used to be one of the jewels of Ambergris Caye; a habitat for countless juvenile permit as well as trophy bonefish. Yes, used to be, because as of 29th July, this priceless asset has been wantonly destroyed by dredging. If this was the only laguna being destroyed it would be unforgivable but its not. A channel is being dredged through all the mangoves and lagunas from San Pedro town north through 5 miles of pristine fragile priceless habitats. All for money and all illegally.
Wil Flack,(long time visitor to San Pedro) and Abner Marin (Tour guide, fly fisherman,) visited the site to check what was going on, and the photographs they took at the scene reveal environmental damage on a huge scale.
Says Flack, “The damage to the ecosystem is devastating. Local fishing guides routinely take clients to the lagoon which is well know throughout the world for its wonderful bonefish. Now, all that is gone, and the guides are broken hearted. We made enquiries, and found that the San Pedro Town Council approved the operation. Are they entitled to give approval for environmental vandalism on this scale? And what possible reason can there be to dredge up this fantastic piece of water?”
Adds Marin, “One of the tightest knit global communities is the sport fishing community. News about fishing, good and bad, travels like wildfire. If anglers get to hear that one of the top fishing spots on Ambergris has been destroyed by dredging, and they will, then they will simply go elsewhere for their sport. It’s so hard to make a living from tourism in these times, why has the San Pedro Town Council set out to make things worse? Is it for the sake of a few who want to engage in a get rich quick development?”
The dredging is being carried out by David Mitchell of Grand Belizean Islands Co Ltd and Sugar Caye Development, the development already in the news due to being located next to the sewage ponds of San Pedro. The dredging is to allow access for his road building machinery to reach the location of his new East West road 5 miles north of San Pedro town.
Continues Flack, “People are getting sick and tired of the way that big money from outside Belize seems to call the shots. When it comes to development, the environment is the very last thing considered, if it’s considered at all. Fines when they are levied are derisory. Belize is becoming a laughing stock in the world, its credentials as a country which takes a responsible attitude to the environment are fast fading, and it’s well known to be regarded as a soft target by unscrupulous developers who want to make a fast buck and have an easy ride.”
The ACCSD says that it is not by any means against development, there are a number developers on the island that abide by the law and have built quality sustainable developments. Developers such Dave Mitchell and South Beachs Jeff Pierce believe they are above the law and can do as they want.
The ACCSD respectfully request the San Pedro Town council to individually and as a group officially state their positions on this illegal dredging by Dave Mitchell. This dredging has written approval by the board and the ACCSD would like the Town Board to explain why they are engaged in environmental vandalism as the tourism industry on the island is dependent on a healthy environment and they must protect the livelihoods of all citizens of Ambergris Caye including the tour guides.
ACCDS has spoken to Craig Moore of the Geology department and no permit has been issued for this dredging.
Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development. website