Letter to the Editor: Since When Has Discrimination Become Policy?

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Dear Editor,

Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) has tried working with the Department of Environment (DOE) and its Chief Environmental Officer, since our mission is “protecting the environment through law”. We have attempted to amicably deal with differences and to collaborate and cooperate with DOE without antagonism.

We have had our requests for information ignored. We have been disrespected by members of DOE who have been less than forthcoming with the truth. Now, it appears, the Department is going a step further in trying to ignore our existence.

Over the weekend [of May 18th], we heard, from a secondary source, about a training workshop on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) being held May 22-24; there was to have been participation from Governmental Ministries and Departments and Non-Governmental Organizations. The notice stated those interested should contact the Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment, for more information.

I asked our Office Administrator to call to find out about registration; she was informed that no registration was needed. She was then asked who was calling. When she identified herself, she was promptly told there was no more space in the workshop – they reached their limit.

As an NGO interested and involved in protecting the environment and especially in laws and policies, including MEAs, we believe we should, at the very least, be notified of such meetings and given the respect due any NGO working diligently in this area.

There are so many problems affecting Belize and the environment. We should not have to deal with such childishness. We want to put this treatment on the record as it is uncalled for and unworthy of those who are tasked to serve the people and the environment of Belize.

/s/ Candy Gonzalez
The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO)

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