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Oct 20, 2014

F.C.D. Telethon Raises More than $300,000

A telethon was held by Friends of Conservation and Development on Saturday at the Memorial Park. The target was to raise half a million dollars to expand its Park Ranger Program from seven to twenty-four rangers. The private sector, Belizeans, the government and even Beenie Man contributed to the cause and by the end of the day; over three hundred thousand dollars were raised. Duane Moody looks back at the telethon.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Chiquibul National Park has been plundered by Guatemalan nationals who harvest our timber, xaté and gold as well as the scarlet macaw for the export market. For years we have been documenting the illegal activities as well as the discovery of milpas and dangerous encounters between Belizean law enforcement officers and illegal Guatemalan bandits. In 2007, Friends of Conservation and Development, took on the task of conserving and protecting the area.

 

But the FCD has also been clamoring for assistance; it is financially strapped and needs more boots on the ground. As it currently stands, the Chiquibul is two hundred and eighty-five thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven acres of tropical jungle, which amounts to seven point seven percent of the country. There are, however, only seven FCD rangers who have been monitoring and carrying out enforcement activities in the area. So the non-profit organization sought assistance this past Saturday through a telethon held at the Memorial Park in Belize City.

 

Rafael Manzanero

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“In order for Belize to be able to understand more about the importance and the reality about Chiquibul is that we ourselves at FCD had really to make a campaign, an activity where even the people on Vernon Street will be able to understand about Chiquibul. But in my mind I said, Ambassador I don’t know how we’ll be able to do that. How will we be able to reach Vernon Street in Belize City and have them understand Chiquibul, even the vocabulary in terms of Chiquibul on their minds and at home? And I think we have already been able to start to do that. So Mister Adalbert, wherever you are, we are already reaching that stage where Belizeans at all different levels of life and walks of life has a part of their vocabulary….I think there are two words: one is Chiquibul and the other is xatero.”

 

The Chiquibul is home to the watershed which connects rivers and streams. One of the biggest donations made to FCD was by Lynn Young on behalf of BECOL.

 

Lynn Young

Lynn Young, President, BECOL

“We’ve been supporting FCD for quite a few years actually. And I think this year, with all that’s happening, we are trying to step it up. So this year we are going to pledge twenty-five thousand dollars to support FCD for next year. What they are doing is extremely important for the entire country. I know everybody knows that I am more from the development side of things, but I don’t think you can grow up in Belize and not understand the importance of conservation in a country as beautiful as this country.”

 

Just before three p.m., the telethon had over a hundred thousand dollars in pledges, cheques and on-hand cash donation. Also chipping in was three year old Mali, who gave up her piggy bank savings to the cause.

 

Atlantic Bank pledged ten thousand dollars as did the Belize Tourism Board. Valdemar Andrade literally presented a big cheque to FCD.

 

Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Cruise Destination Director, B.T.B.

“As a part of our master plan, nature and culture are two of our most important aspects, in fact, these are our niche markets for tourism and so this is what we sell to the world; this is what we share with the world and what we give to the world from Belize and Belizeans. And so it is important if it is twenty-five cents, a dollar, whatever you can give, give it with all your heart. And so the board, the staff and everybody at B.T.B. felt it necessary to contribute in a big way.”

 

In a surprise visit, international recording artist, Beenie Man, also stopped by the Memorial Park and made a donation of a thousand dollars; that is before singing a few lines.

 

Beenie Man, Jamaican Artist

Beenie Man

“ (Singing) I’m not here to sing, I am here to support…I am supporting this thing and I am donating a thousand Belizean….I am donating that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Why you felt the need to come out here and give today?”

 

Beenie Man

“Well I have a show today here in the country and if the country is supporting something, it is for us. It is for me as a Jamaican visiting Belize to support the country.”

 

…Just before the close of the phone lines, the Government of Belize made a donation of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. This brought the total at the end of the telethon to three hundred and twenty-seven thousand eight hundred and seventy dollars. Duane Moody for News Five.

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4 Responses for “F.C.D. Telethon Raises More than $300,000”

  1. Sonya says:

    How much did PUP, Francis or Julius give

  2. Francis & Julius says:

    @Sonya I don’t know. Are you going to put your Christmas home mortgage gift into the FCD collection box?

  3. Francis and Julius says:

    @Sonya I don’t know. Are you going to put your Christmas home mortgage gift into the FCD collection box?

  4. Henrietta Derania says:

    When I leave Belize next week, I will also be leaving $250 to $300 belize dollars credit on my cell phone. ( I did not know that when you ‘double up’ or ‘tripple up’ that those minutes could not be used for international calls.)

    While in a store last week I heard something on television or radio about donating cell phone minutes/dollars through Atlantic Bank. If this fundraising is still on, and if I am able to donate in this way, please email instructions for completing the donation.

    Thank you.

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