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LatinNews Daily Report - 18 April 2013

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In Brief- Belize

ECONOMY| Belize oil contracts declared null and void. On 16 April Belize’s Supreme Court declared null and void offshore oil drilling contracts awarded by the government between 2004 and 2007.  The contracts had been challenged by groups campaigning against offshore drilling in Belize.  The court’s view was that the government had failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the proposed drilling. It also held that the contracts had been awarded to companies that did not have the requisite expertise to avoid environmental damage.  Public opinion appears to be strongly against offshore drilling, fearing the damage that could be done to Belize’s coral reef and its tourism industry as a result of an oil spill.