Taking both meetings into account, this sums up to over nine solid hours of recorded consultations. However, many members of the public feel as though the consultations are simply part of the process for environmental clearance. Love News spoke with Port of Belize CEO, Andy Lane, and asked him whether that is the case. Here is how he responded.
Andy Lane, CEO, Port of Belize Limited: “It’s important to consult the public. There’s misperception maybe that these consultations are to talk about the environment but very few people actually take the time to read the material that we’ve produced and many of the questions that we find are getting asked don’t really have anything to do with the environment they’re more commercial questions where people are standing up because they’ve been asked to stand up and they’re asking questions on behalf of our competition. So in terms of what do these consultations do for the environment and for business generally I would say very little but it’s part of the DOE’s constitution that they must run these and for as long as that exists we must participate.”
Reporter: In your view don’t you think moving away from just the environmental aspect of the consultations, because as you’ve mentioned there are a lot of people who had more so question son the economic value, the economic benefit for the residents of that area. Do you see any time in the near future before the project starts that you guys will have a consultation with the public addressing more so a discussion because what I saw was more like a technical question and answer period yesterday as opposed to lets say an open floor discussion for whatever opinions the public, the residents of that area may have. Don’t you think that this is something that they would appreciate ?
Andy Lane, CEO, Port of Belize Limited: “We have been doing that over the last three years and we also enjoy very good working relationship with the two standard bearers from the two parties Mr.Usher and Mr.Willoughby and we work very closely with them to try and keep the public informed. This is a totally private investment. There’s no government or tax payers money and we believe we will create two and a half thousand jobs and I don’t see how there could be anything negative in what we’re doing. They are not least because it’s in one of the most impoverished areas of the nation and what I see and hear from the Port Loyola residents when I speak to them they’re not looking for handouts, they’re not looking for sympathy, they want opportunities. They want to be able to work. They want to be able to better themselves and that is exactly what this project does.”