The Offshore Referendum Process is on its Way: A Historic First under the Revised Referendum Act.
Press Release Date: January 11, 2012
Location: Belize City, Belize
Belize City, Belize, Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – Making history, the Governor General’s Office has informed Oceana in Belize, on behalf of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage, that the second step in the referendum process has been taken as the 18,000 plus signatures were forwarded to the Chief Elections Officer for vetting on December 9, 2011.
The Chief Elections officer will oversee the vetting of the signatures and will then inform the Governor General whether or not the signatures are valid, and if the 10% threshold of registered voters has been met. Once those requirements have been satisfied, the Governor General is expected to issue a writ of referendum which will announce the national referendum in which all registered voters will get to vote on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling in Belize.
Last week, Thursday, December 8, the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage through Oceana in Belize triggered the Referendum process by delivering over the 18,000 signatures to the Governor General’s office. The Coalition informed the media that the petition forms were submitted under Section 2(1)(b) Referendum (Amendment) Act 2008. In the letter addressed to the Governor General, Oceana, the triggering organization, requested that the referendum question be: “Do you agree to oil exploration and drilling offshore and in its protected areas?” A further request was made to allow for the offshore oil referendum to be held concurrently with the municipal elections on March 7, 2012 to enable the maximization of the limited resources available to hold an election.
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage wishes all Belizeans a Blessed Christmas and urges Belizeans to give a gift to Belize on referendum day and vote “No” to oil exploration and drilling in Belize’s offshore and in its protected area.