Friday, June 4, 2010

Coalition to be launched on World Ocean Day

Press Release - June 4, 2010 – World Ocean Day - Over eight NGO’s have joined forces to form a coalition to bring about awareness about the implications of oil exploration and drilling offshore and in protected areas in Belize.
As part of World Ocean Day the coalition will unveil its official name, membership and position on the ongoing debate of oil drilling and exploration offshore and in protected areas. Since APAMO, COLA, OCEANA, Healthy Reef Initiative and BELPO went public with their position on the issue of offshore exploration and drilling there has been a pouring of support from organizations and members of the public, which has spurred the need for the Coalition to be formed. Since then its membership has been growing with APAMO alone bringing on board its 14 members which are other local and community based NGO’s.
Several other environmental and social partners have since signed up to join the coalition to address their concern with a united voice. The coalition is studying the socio-economic impact and the legal implications of the proposed oil exploration and drilling off our shores and in our terrestrial and marine protected areas with a view to advice the government on the need to reconsider its present policy and ban these activities in our waters and protected areas.
The general public is invited to be a part of this historic event which will be held June 8, 2010 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the Radisson Fort George Caracol Room. Please be seated by 1:30pm.
As part of the forum there will be a presentation on issues that need to be addressed in relation to oil exploration and drilling both offshore and in protected areas, on land and in sea. Presenters will speak about the legal realities in Belize, the economic impact to the existing tourism and fishing sectors and the environmental implications for Belizeans.
The forum will also be the occasion at which the winners of the Oceana World Ocean Day Essay competition will be announced and awarded their respective prizes.
This forum is being held in partnership with APAMO, COLA and Healthy Reef Initiative and co-sponsored by OAK Foundation and KREM RADIO & TV, which will also be airing the event live.

***Contact Persons: Yvette Alonso - 6717202 / Audrey Matura-Shepherd: 610-0702***

Lions Cancel Annual National Convention

At the bi-weekly San Pedro Lion’s Club meeting held last Thursday, May 27th Belize Lions Zone 59 Chairman Baldemar Graniel announced that there would be no National Lions Convention held this year.

This will be the first time in 32 years that Zone 59, which represents all Lions Clubs country wide will not be holding a convention. Typically the National Lions convention includes Lion members from other clubs country-wide and is usually held over a weekend. With opening ceremonies, hospitality booths hosted by visiting clubs, organizational workshops, regional tours, receptions, dances and cultural presentations the event usually ends with a parade celebrating Lionsim in Belize.

According to Graniel, the Zone 59 Cabinet recently decided against holding the annual convention based on the fact that the Zone does not have the funding to host the event. Months ago Zone 59 had over $10,000 in their bank account but learned in March that the monies had been embezzled by Zone 59 Secretary/Treasurer Kainie Manuel.

The story, first ran in The San Pedro Sun on April 29th, Vol.20 - #17, ( reported that Ms. Manuel confessed to a Zone investigation team that she had exhausted the Zone’s funds. On April 27th, Manuel appeared in San Pedro Magistrate’s Court where she was charged with 15 counts of theft. Although a court date on May 26th was scheduled, the hearing was adjourned to a later date.

Although the Zone is struggling to replenish their hard earned funding they maintain their commitment to the community. According to Chairman Graniel, there is now talk about organizing an informal retreat sometime later this summer where all regional clubs can participate at a minimal expense.