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Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Home Highlights Alegria on pre-retirement vacation, says Hon. Habet

Alegria on pre-retirement vacation, says Hon. Habet

BELIZE CITY, Sun. Nov. 28, 2021 — Last week, during an interview, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Hon. Orlando Habet, confirmed that Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, has reached the retirement age of 55 and is currently taking vacation time owed to him. Minister Habet said that Alegria is scheduled to officially retire in February 2022, as a memo issued by the CEO in his Ministry, Kenrick Williams, states.

The Minister made reference to this official retirement date after being asked whether the decision to hasten Alegria’s departure from the department was triggered by his involvement in the issuance of approval for the construction of a Stake Bank causeway via a 2019 ECP document, which could not be located for a while before being brandished by Alegria at a virtual press conference and subsequently surfacing on the Department of Environment’s website. Habet did not confirm that the Ministry’s decision was influenced by the controversial approval of the construction of the causeway, and he said that neither he nor his CEO, Dr. Kenrick Williams, has had the chance to review the report, following Cabinet’s request for a review of the approval process. In fact, he said that he is still waiting for his copy of the document.

He noted, however, that the Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, has seen the requested report. He also emphasized that the ECP was signed during a UDP administration, in August of 2019, almost a year and two months before the PUP became the current government.

He reminded local media that full authority to sign off on these important environmental clearance documents was fully vested in Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, who he said, as chairman of the NEAC at that time, had the authority to sign off on the documents. What Minister Habet finds puzzling, however, is how the ECP could have been signed, for over a year, without the UDP Cabinet being aware of it.

As has been reported, former members of that UDP Cabinet are claiming that they gave no approval for the causeway development and that they had issued a directive that public consultations be carried out prior to any additional approvals. If this is indeed the case, then the issuance of the approval was in direct defiance of Cabinet’s instructions.

Despite this, the Stake Bank development, including the construction of the causeway, is ongoing and an apparent green light for the completion of the project has been issued by the Minister responsible for Ports, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson.

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