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On Friday, May 4, 2012, Oceana in Belize filed suit against the Government of Belize challenging its disqualification of 8,042 signatures of Belizean voters who had signed a petition calling on the Government of Belize to hold a national referendum which would permit all Belizeans on voting whether to allow or disallow offshore exploration and drilling in Belize.

The disqualification, representing close to 40% of all signatures, was collected by the ‘Coalition to Save or Natural Heritage’, during a national petition drive in 2011.

On May 2, 2012, Oceana Belize sent a letter to Charles Gibson, the Minister of Public Service & Elections and Boundaries where Oceana’s Vice President for Belize, Audrey Matura Shepherd stated that by now Minister of Public Service and Elections & Boundaries Charles Gibson, should be able to tell Oceana which 8,042 signatures of the over 20,000 petitioners were disqualified under the vetting process.

Matura Shepherd said; “Surely you and your Government do not want to be seen as attempting to frustrate our democratic right under our governance system, nor to be denying us our right to information in a process which we initiated and have all rights to pursue.”

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Dorian Nuñez

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