Contributed by: Don WinnerGovernment Minister Jorge Ricardo Fabrega said this Friday, February 3, whoever says the agreement signed in San Felix on 27 February 2011 stated they would prohibit the exploitation of water resources is a lie, and he said Article 5 of the bill introduced by the Coalition for the Defense of Natural Resources and People's Rights and the Ngäbe-Bugle to the Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs of the National Assembly exceeds the agreement. Speaking to Telemetro Reports, Fabrega said point number 2 of the agreement says: "Create a law that explicitly prohibits exploration and mining in the Ngäbe-Bugle region protects the water and environmental resources of the Ngäbe-Bugle region and peasants."
This does not say anywhere - argued Fabrega - that they would prohibit the exploitation of water resources, and the agreement is signed by the spokesman for the Coordinator, the Catholic Church and the representative of the national government.
The Bill - The Government Minister also referred to Article 5 of Bill 415 which was presented by representatives of the Coordinating Committee to the Commerce Commission. Article 5 says that they would "cancel all concessions granted and in force, to domestic or foreign companies for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources and the construction of hydropower projects within the Ngabe Bugle region, surrounding areas, territories, and Ngäbe-Bugle communities outside the area and immediately suspend all work being carried out by such companies."
Put another way, Fabrega said, this wording has two proposals that go well beyond what was agreed in San Felix. "One, including the prohibition on water resources, which was not included in item number two of the agreement, and two, that the application of Article 5 goes beyond the borders and boundaries of the district, which exceeds in an extraordinary way the commitment agreed in San Felix," he reiterated.
Fabrega said the bill approved in the first debate in the Assembly last week has two articles that do adhere to the spirit and letter of the agreement reached in San Felix. "Article number 3 says: prohibits the granting of concessions for the exploration, exploitation and extraction of metal mining, non-metallic and its derivatives in the Ngäbe-Bugle region, and Article number 4 prohibits the alteration of water courses, river heads and private ownership of water sources within the Ngabe Bugle region and its areas, and so on." he said. (Prensa)
Editor's Comment: Ah, OK. So this Article 5 was not included in the negotiations last year, and it was only submitted to the Committee in the National Assembly well after. So, the government never agreed to include this Article 5, anywhere. Got it. More bullshit...