Updates from PM Barrow Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00

PM Hon. Dean BarrowPrime Minister Barrow gave updates on several issues at his press conference on Wednesday, June 12th. Though the main topic discussed was the ending of agreements between the Government of Belize and the Belize International Services Limited, Prime Minister Barrow fielded questions about the shooting in the Chiquibul Nature Reserve, investigation into the destruction of Noh Mul, the Revised National Gender Policy and the oil discovery in northern Belize.

Guatemalan national, Edgar Alexander Sacasa was shot in the abdomen by a soldier of the Belize Defense Force on Monday, June 3rd. According to reports, Sacasa was about two miles inside Belizean territory in the Chiquibul Forrest when he was spotted by B.D.F. soldiers. He was riding a horse and had a firearm in his possession. The soldiers commanded him to surrender but instead, he ran into nearby bushes. That was when the soldiers fired warning shots and Sacasa allegedly returned fire in the soldiers’ direction. The soldiers then fired at Sacasa and he was injured to the abdomen. The soldiers were then able to apprehend Sacasa and render first aid support. He was later transported to the Western Regional Hospital where he has been treated for his injuries. Prime Minister Barrow was asked about the incident. He said that a joint investigative team of officials from Belize, Guatemala and the Organization of American States has visited the site. They have not concluded their investigation as yet but have confirmed that the incident took place well inside Belize’s territory.

In relation to the Noh Mul investigation, Prime Minister Barrow said that the officer in charge of the investigation has not acted as efficiently as he would have liked. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has made some requests of the investigative officers before they proceed with a criminal case. Prime Minister Barrow said that it has taken longer than he believes necessary but he is sure that the DPP will build a proper case.

Prime Minister Barrow was also asked about his meetings with church leaders in regards to the Revised National Gender Policy. He said that the meetings have been positive. He mentioned a meeting he had with church leaders from the Belmopan area saying that the majority of them understand Government’s position that the entire policy will not be withdrawn. He maintains his position that “we are willing to sit with the churches and work the language to put things beyond any doubt”. Prime Minister Barrow has said, for the record, that in the point on respect for diversity “the few last words could have well been interpreted as Government trying to oblige the religious community to in fact act in a certain way.” He says that is not Government’s intention and the omission and/or amendment of controversial clauses will be ordered by Cabinet. 

PM Barrow also had to deliver some disappointing news about the potential oil discovery in Gallon Jug. Maranco Energy Belize Limited discovered an encouraging oil show in the Gallon Jug area on March 30th of this year. However, they have since encountered multiple problems in their attempt to extract the oil. PM Barrow said, “It is not going as well as we would have hoped.” Maranco is having trouble to get to the oil because chemicals have caused the oil to harden into a tar like substance. He said it will take longer than we had hoped to find out exactly how much oil is available at the site.