The impact of oil exploration on our youths for the future Print E-mail
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Written by Norman Augustine Jr.   
Thursday, 21 July 2011 00:00

Tourism, marine products, oil and the traditional crops such as sugar, citrus and banana are the biggest foreign exchange earners for Belize. Oil and tourism are two industries that can co-exist with each other, and yet have significant impact on our small economy.

The oil industry has been under attack by lobbyist groups in an effort to reduce or curtail the activities of oil exploration in Belize. Understandably they have a role to play, as it places the government in a position to ensure that oil exploration and production activities are held to its highest standards; and that returns from oil will be a direct benefit to Belize and its citizens now, and in the future.

Belize’s traditional crops, such as citrus, Banana and Sugar have all been under challenges in todays’ global economy more than they ever had been in the past. Tourism and eco-tourism are faced with heavy competition from Costa Rica and southern Mexico. The tourism industry has done well in the past and may continue to do well despite its own challenges.

The oil industry, though still in its infancy stage has been managed in an environmentally friendly manner and the returns (both direct & indirectly) have been good to Belize. Benefits listed below are:
1. Created employment for Belizean labourers, this includes work for technicians and truck drivers.

2. Improvement of local capacity and development of new technical and commercial skills for Belizeans.

3. Contributions to non-governmental agencies through trust entity.

4. Enhancement of infra-structure such as roads and improvement in the delivery of services

As we look towards the future, our young Belizeans will become the productive work force of our beloved Belize. It is the hope that oil will continue to create jobs as the industry grows. With additional oil activities, managed in an environmental friendly way, we should be able to place our future workforce within the industry. The multiplying effects of oil may create employment in other areas as well as contributing towards Belize’s foreign exchange needs.