(April 5, 2014) A letter to the editor expresses concern at the lack of response from Belize authorities to environmental lawyer Candy Gonzalez’ public campaign for government bodies to implement a risk management program for the controversial Canadian-owned Chalillo dam on Belize’s Macal River. In particular, the monitoring and testing of mercury levels in fish caught in the Macal and E. coli levels in the river’s water. Writes concerned villager, John Tut: “It seems that the Government of Belize has once again abandoned the well-being and livelihood of the Cayo people in favour of the monstrous multinational company – BECOL [the non-regulated hydroelectric generation business that operates the Chalillo dam, a subsidiary of dam owner, Canadian company, Fortis, Inc.].”
(February 28, 2014) Candy and George Gonzalez from the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) — longtime champions of Belize’s Macal River and active monitors of the controversial Canadian-owned Chalillo dam and its impacts on the river — say they are again trying to press various Belize government departments to adhere to the Environmental Compliance Plan agreed to for the project. Under the plan, the Macal’s water and fish require regular testing and the results published to protect public health and safety. At present, the Gonzalez’s say public health is in danger from high mercury levels in fish caught in the Macal and high levels of E. coli in the river’s water, but the departments responsible for implementing the project’s risk management program are not doing their job.