“I do feel that some quarters of the LGBT movement sought to do everything to silence me. I think their tactics were low, and I would not allow them to hold Oceana to ransom, so I resigned,” Vice President of Oceana Audrey Matura-Shepard announced Thursday.
Matura-Shepard made the remarks in an interview with The Reporter, following a press conference at Tropicana Lounge on Thursday, where she formally announced her resignation from Oceana International.
The outspoken and at times brutally candid Matura-Shepard said she was not forced to resign from Oceana.
After being at the helm of Oceana Belize for more than three years, Matura-Shepard said that she resigned her post at Oceana from last week.
“My boss and I had discussed it and we agreed that I should make it public today,” Matura-Shepard disclosed.
She said that she decided to resign on her own accord and on her own principles.
“I had to access wither I could continue working with Oceana and remain quiet on other issues.”
Matura-Shepard said she was at a cross-road , where she had to access with or not she can be true to herself and continue working and let this blow over and then try not to provoke people, if that’s how they feel provoked.
“Being true to myself, I know that I could. And I was not going to put my boss or anybody in a difficult position.”
Matura-Shepard was taken to task by some in the gay rights community because of a comments in her Amandala columns.
In her most recent article she speculated that if the UNIBAM case succeeds, the domino effect could see those who practice bestiality could push for their rights.
Those comments caught the attention of Lisa Shoman, who is one of the attorneys in the Caleb Orozco case.
Matura-Shepard told The Reporter that she and Shoman are always talking on a professional level. But this time, Shoman did not call her she told The Reporter.
Instead of calling her, Shoman post her question on the social network Facebook, asking if the position Matura-Shepard took on homosexuality was that of Oceana.
This prompted another Facebook user, Kenrick Diaz, to write to Oceana’s C.E.O. in Washington D.C., condemning Matura-Shepard for her comments. Diaz note to the Oceana C.E.O. said: those comments are “really not what Oceana wants to have as their platform in any foreign country.”
Matura-Shepard said that it is good that they had placed her in a position where she has to make a decision about issues.
“Something always happen in your life that is a turning point, and this is a turning point for me. And I like that it all happened that way, because it shows them for who they are.”
Matura-Shepard added, “I don’t think I want to live in a Belize where you can’t speak freely. It’s an outright attack on free speech.”
In a press release from Oceana’s C.E.O. Andy Sharpless, he said that he accepted Audrey Matura-Shepard resignation. “We and the oceans owe Audrey a lot.”
Sharpless noted that under Matura-Shepard’s leadership, she helped to win important and enduring victories for Belize’s ocean with the help of our allies and the Belizean people.
The release said that Oceana looks forward to working with Audrey for a smooth transition to new local leadership.
In her own press release, Matua-Shepherd said she will continue to be an Oceana Wavemaker and will support our international and new Belizean leadership in whatever way I can.
The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage also issue a press release on Matura-Shepard’s resignation.
“The Coalition thanks Audrey Matura-Shepard for her dynamic and unwavering advocacy in the fight to properly plan Belize’s oil industry.”