About the author
Holger is a management consultant turned volunteer. He loves to take pictures, run around in the sun, dive and he has never met a beer in his life he didn't like.
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this is what I’ve been busy with the last week. Please take a minute to read and support us by clicking and sharing if you like!
Last year, the government of Belize sold concessions to drill for oil to 18 oil exploration companies. They parceled the entire country behind closed doors. Including protected areas and the Barrier Reef – second or third largest in the world (depending on how you define large).
When the deed was done and the fact was leaked, there was a public outcry in Belize. Over 80% of Belizeans oppose offshore oil drilling.
A coalition of NGOs started to initiate the referendum process laid out in Belize’s constitution to stop the drilling. Over 17,000 signatures from voters had to be collected – and they were collected. Most of them were then rejected by government. Not on the grounds that the signees were not eligible to vote. Not on the grounds that people signed twice (only a few did). The signatures were rejected and the referendum denied because government compared the signatures with signatures from a years old census. Where the signatures didn’t look alike to the government employees, they were rejected.
Basically the democratic instrument of a referendum was denied based on what government thought was bad handwriting. I don’t know about you … but my signature today looks nothing like my signature 10 years ago.
The coalition is now organizing and holding their own referendum. The People’s Referendum. To show government that the people of Belize will not be silenced, because they understand that the reef needs to be protected. The reef sustains more than 20% of Belizeans through tourism and fishing. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that belongs to the world and the countless visitors that come to experience this reef system every year. Politicians have no right to sell it and effectively destroy it in the process – be it to fill their own pockets (worst case) or for some short-term financial profit for their government budget (best case).
I made a short video that’s on youtube for the coalition. The video was intended to activate Belizeans to go vote on Wednesday 29 February.
It has since become more. It’s a place for the international community to show support through clicks and solidarity through comments.
Please click, comment and share and help us show the Government of Belize that the world will not idly stand by while one of the greatest reef systems in the world is sacrificed for profit.
Opposing the oil drilling: