COLA and Coalition challenge offshore Oil PSA

Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage have  applied to the Supreme Court to join Oceana Belize in disputing six petroleum production sharing agreements (PSA’s).

These licenses were awarded  to Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, Petro Belize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd between 2005 and 2007 by the former Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Johnny Briceño.

Oceana claims that these six companies are speculation companies with no expertise and no  prior experience in oil exploration.

Crown Counsel Herbert Panton held over for Crown Counsel Nigel Hawke and objected strongly to COLA and the Coalition joining the action. He said he needed time to review the application before responding.

Arguments as to why COLA and Coalition application should not be allowed will be presented on the Ministry’s behalf when the matter returns to court next Wednesday, May 23.

Both NGO’s have  challenged the Government about offshore oil exploration

Some 36 conservation organizations formed the Coalition in 2010, after  it became public knowledge that almost all of Belize’s marine and terrestrial acreage had been  quietly given out in oil concessions .

On Tuesday, Oceana’s case, filed on December 21, 201, came up for hearing and was adjourned until June 7.

In other court news, Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana will hear Oceana’s application for leave for judicial review against Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai and the Governor General, Sir Colville Young on June 20.

Oceana is objecting to the 8,047 signatures which were struck off the Oceana referendum petition.

Oceana has tried to get the government of Belize to hold a national  referendum on the matter of  offshore drilling.

The Chief Elections Officer on February 1, 2012, informed the Governor General that the application for a referendum had failed because more than 8,000 signatures were rejected.

Oceana is also claiming that the government  has stone-walled its attempts to have the Chief Elections Officer identify the rejected petitioners, the reason for rejecting them, and the criteria used to determine good ballots from bad ones.

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