Oceana’s Mischief Moves from the Court of Public Opinion to the Supreme Court Print E-mail
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Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

Audrey Matura-ShepherdWednesday 16 May 2012
On 21 December 2011, Oceana in Belize filed an action in the Supreme Court asking the court to declare that six Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) signed between six oil companies and the Government of Belize are null and void. 
Oceana asked the Court to declare that the six Production Sharing Agreements between the Government of Belize and Island Oil Belize Ltd., Miles Tropical Energy Ltd, Petro Belize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleuum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd, and SOL Oil Belize Ltd, were null and void because:-

•No Environmental Impact Assessments were done prior to the award of the PSAs;

•The PSAs were awarded without public notice or competitive bidding;

•The PSAs were awarded to companies who were unqualified;

•The PSAs include protected marine reserves;

•Two of the companies include a national park and natural monument.

They further claimed that the PSAs were renewed in spite of the fact that the companies failed to comply with the PSAs.  Most importantly, Oceana applied for an order to quash the six PSAs, and an injunction preventing the government from renewing them.

Two additional applications were filed, one yesterday and the other today, for COLA, Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action, and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, to be joined as claimants.

For some unknown reason, the oil companies were not present in court this morning or named in the suit.  It will be quite interesting to see how the court will deal with the fact that two so-called NGOs are applying to be claimants when the oil companies are not parties to this claim. 

This seems to be yet another blatant attempt on the part of Oceana’s Vice President Audrey Matura-Shepherd to continue to marshal the sentiments and insecurities of the population in support of her personal quest to stroke her personal ego, under the guise of championing the cause of the poor.  Of course, that marshalling comes at the expense of the truth, as circuitous reasoning continues to be the benchmark by which this issue is ventilated in the court of public opinion.

The Attorney General was given a week to respond to these two applications.