Oceana’s Board of Directors first ever international meeting in Belize includes the participation of many internationally known figures. The meetings started on December 6 and run into Thursday, December 9, 2010.
Internationally recognized Actor, best known in Belize for his role in the sitcom Cheers and now HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, is among the over 15 board members who is visiting Belize for the first time.
The working session of the meeting was held in San Pedro on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, where the board worked on approving its global strategy and budget for 2011 and learning more about the pressing marine issues in Belize.
While in San Pedro the Board took time to meet with members of the San Pedro Town Council and visit local tourist spots. Mayor Elsa Paz, who has been supportive of Oceana’s policies along with the Town Councilors, hosted the board members at a cocktail party at the San Pedro Holiday Hotel, where Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia was a guest of honor.
The event was for the Board of Directors to mingle with some of the heads/members of local organizations who are against offshore oil drilling. The Board of directors along with Minister Heredia and Mayor Paz then moved on to Blue Water Grill for dinner.
Oceana made Mayor Paz one of its special guests at the Gulf Coast in September. Paz was aboard the vessel chartered by OCEANA that toured the areas affected by BP’s Deep Horizon spill and was joined by Hollywood celebrities on the gulf tour.
As part of the series of events in Belize, Oceana’s board members made courtesy calls on Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Rene Montero and Leader of the Opposition Johnny Briceño.
A highlight of the Board’s visit to in Belize is the public forum at the Bliss Institute that will be held today, December 8, at 5p.m. The theme of this presentation which is open to the Belizean public free of cost is “Learning from the US Oil Disasters – Can this be us?” The key presenter will be marine scientist Dr. Jeff Short, who has worked and researched the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska and the recent BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Also presenting at this event is Oceana’s very own founding member and marine advocate Ted Danson who has testified before the US Senate about the dangers of offshore oil exploration and drilling. Danson has used his internationally recognized status as a famous actor to educate people around the world about marine issues affecting humanity globally.
Other well known board members in attendance will be the former President of Columbia and former Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria and Oceana’s chairperson, Kristian Parker from the Swiss-based OAK Foundation. Members of the Board of Directors come from a variety of backgrounds such as Europe and North and South America.
Oceana’s CEO Andy Sharpless says he is most pleased with the decision to host its final board meeting for 2010 in Belize as this is the most recent office opened by the organization as it expands its reach globally.
“Mayor Paz is a friend of Oceana and we are more than delighted to be taking our event to her island as it helps to bring recognition to the importance of Belize’s Barrier Reef and the threats it faces by unsustainable human activity,” commented Sharpless.
Related Article: Mayor Paz Continuous Struggle Against Offshore Drilling