Monday, April 10, 2006

Oil in Belize

I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned this before on my blog, but oil has been found in Belize, in the Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout (the picture above is of a Mennonite classroom). Apparently there is even oil under Belmopan, so they may start drilling here too.

Everyone hopes that the oil will cure the financial mess that this country is in. The government needed a miracle and hopefully they got it in the form of this black gold. Of course, we're all worried as to how this will impact the environment & what kind of corruption we're going to witness this time (this government has proven to be terribly corrupt). But all we can do is sit and wait & see how it all plays out.

So far though it seems that the company responsible for the find, Belize Natural Energy, has delivered what it had promised. They seem to 'treading as lightly as possible' in Spanish Lookout. I just drove by there today and overall it is not that 'in your face'. Of course, it's early days and the landscape will surely change some more. Still, so far, no complaints.

Sheila McCaffrey, the company director seems to be a nice person as well. Actually, everyone I have met so far from the company has been really nice. They are all extremely passionate and seem to be convinced that this oil find can really be used for the good of the people of Belize. Next to this, they are convinced that finding oil does not have to equal ecological disaster. The company is now trying to help grassroots charity organizations in Belize and assists in the shipments of donated medical equipment, etc.

So one thing we already know for sure, thanks to BNE the medical services in Belize are improving. How the rest will play out? Only time will tell.

By the way, proof that BNE is not your usual oil company: They recently invited local businesses to an information evening, which ended up turning into a bit of a karaoke (how Irish!)

Of course, this is Belize & Belize doesn't seem to attract 'normal' people anyway. So it makes sense that we would attract such an odd ball oil company too.

It's interesting to read an LA Times article on the oil find: http://www.grist.org/cgi-bin/forward.pl?forward_id=6734