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DOE head Martin Algeria removed

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 11, 2021 — Today, a leaked memo penned by the CEO in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Dr. Kenrick Williams, confirmed that now-former Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Algeria, has been removed from his post within the Department of the Environment.

The memo stated that Alegria would be placed on pre-retirement leave effective today, November 11, 2021, up until February 7, 2022, one day before his scheduled retirement date.

The abbreviation of Alegria’s tenure at the department has occurred after a number of public queries were made in various quarters about the processes which led to the approval of the construction of causeways connecting the Stake Bank project’s Port Coral development on Stake Bank Caye to Belize City. For months there was great uncertainty about whether the developments were approved, and at some points it appeared that the 2019 ECP containing the rumored approval of the causeway was non-existent or missing — until Alegria held a virtual press conference at which the public, stakeholders, and even the government were made aware of the approval of the development.

This approval was and is still being scrutinized, since Alegria, the official who signed off on the project, had indicated that no additional public consultation was carried out, as was requested by the then Government as a requirement for approval, and had asserted instead that all necessary consultation had taken place as part of a prior approval process years before (2013).

The shrouded 2019 EIA, later found under the label, “Ocean View Development”, also recently appeared on the Department of Environment website after not being available for viewing on the site for an extended period. Alegria had justified the absence of the document from the DOE website by stating that the department was seeking to protect the signatures of the persons involved in the project.

Ultimately, as mentioned, it was revealed that both causeways were approved in the 2019 EIA, and the government quickly opted to order a probe of the approval, which has thus far led to this development — the effective removal of Martin Alegria from the DOE.

The Ministry of Sustainable Development’s memo states, “Messrs. Edgar Ek and Anthony Mai will now be sharing the responsibilities of the Chief Environmental Officer until further directive is received from the Ministry of Public Service.”

Those two senior officers will take over the reins of the DOE effective today, November 11.
Edgar Ek, the current Deputy Chief Environmental Officer, will be responsible for the Administration, Project Execution Unit, Information Management Unit, the Library, and the Environmental Management Fund.

Anthony Mai, Senior Environmental Officer will be responsible for the Project Evaluation/ EIA Unit, Public Awareness and Outreach Unit, and the Environmental Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Unit.

Those men are to report directly to CEO Dr. Kenrick Williams.

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