I went to vote today.  No, it was not the municipal and general elections; that will be next week Wednesday. Today I went to vote for another very important issue that is of major concern for my country Belize. I voted NO at the People’s Referendum on the issue of offshore oil drilling and exploration in Belize.

You see, for whatever unimaginable reason, the Government of Belize is considering giving concession to major oil companies to drill for oil in a vast majority of waters in offshore Belize. Government is also not even willing to even discuss the issue, much less seek a legitimate mandate from the voting population.  In response, the great people of The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and Oceana Belize obtained enough signatures to organize the People’s Referendum which now asks registered voters to VOTE NO for Offshore Drilling in Belize.

It is hard to fathom that a government such as the one in Belize can actually think offshore drilling could be beneficial to us. Yes, if oil is stuck, our country has potential to benefit tremendously from it, but our country is HIGHLY dependent on the tourism industry and the main natural resource which drives this industry is our offshore marine life. Belize does not have the resources and infrastructure to handle a devastating oil spill. Help from abroad would come too late to salvage our environment.

Anything that can be a potential threat to the water’s off Belize should be addressed and looked into with considerable scrutiny. The fact that an oil spill can potentially take Belize off the map is too much of a risk to even consider offshore drilling. We market out Belizean paradise as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret” and we have made significant strides and steps in protecting our environment, nurturing our natural resources and providing a heaven for other to enjoy as much as we do, for it to be put at risk.

Who wants to see gigantic oil rigs popping up in our beautiful horizons? Not me! And I doubt most of you either. So without a doubt I voted NO to Offshore Drilling in my country and I believe that so should you. We can manage without it and can sacrifice the benefits of oil drilling for a beautiful Belize for generations to come!

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Perlita Zapata shows her vote against offshore drilling

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Gerry Badillo's turn to vote

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Independent Mayoral Candidate Melanie Paz show her support against Offshore Drilling

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Belize Rural South Standard Bearer for PUP Patty Arceo clearly shows here stance on the issue of Offshore Oil Drilling in Belize

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

School children who cannot vote were educated on the subject and asked to sign the petition (abover from Isla Bonita Elementary and Below from San Pedro High School)

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Voting on the People's Referendum on issue of Offshore Drilling in Belize

Voting Stations at Central Park, San Pedro Town

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Dorian Nuñez

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