December 19-23, 2001

 Transcript of an interview with
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
on Radio Ritmo, Belize

What Fortis is doing is really stealing from the people here, by destroying their environment, by taking an obscene profit out of this country, and also violating the laws of Belize in the process.  If they complied with the laws of Belize, this project would never be built.

Before you put a dam over one of the people’s waterways, you first have to do a series of studies, and you have to consider those studies before the decision making process.  Well those studies were never considered.

What’s more, the studies that were done, are wrong.  For example, one of the studies says that the dam site itself is free of faults, which could make the dam fall down, and also that it’s in an area made of granite.  Well, last week, we discovered—when a Canadian geologist went up there—that in fact there is no granite in the area, and that the dam site is right between two of the largest faults in the country.

The people who created these reports on behalf of Fortis lied to the public, they lied to the government agencies.  This is an act of fraud.  It’s an attack on democracy, because the procedures are not being followed.  It’s an attack on the economy.  It’s an attack on the environment, and the soul of this country.

The people of Belize already pay the highest energy bills in all of Central America, and this dam is going to make their energy bills go even higher.  And why in the world would this country put its national sovereignty, its energy future, in the hands of a foreign corporation?

We need visionary leadership that understands we should not be handing the energy future of this country over to a Canadian company that has only its own profit margins to care about.  The energy of this country should be under the control of Belizean people who care about the country and who will recirculate their profits back into this community—into schools, into roads, into civic centers.  That’s not going to happen with this company.  This company is going to take ten million dollars a year—three hundred million dollars—out of this country that the Belizean people will never see again.  It will make a billionaire richer, and it will impoverish everyone in Belize.

This dam project is one of the most hairbrained, reckless schemes that I have seen in twenty years of environmental advocacy.  There’s no justification for it, and there is no way that this dam will ever be built if the light of day is shined on this agreement.  If the people of Belize could see the contract that the government agencies are about to sign with this company they would revolt against this.  And that’s what our job is, is really to turn the lights on in the room, because it makes all the cockroaches run away and hide. 

If the truth comes out about this dam project, there is no way in the world that the people of Belize will allow this project to be built, because it is going to drive their energy rates through the roof, it is going to bankrupt the poor people of Belize, and it’s going to make a few rich foreigners even richer.

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