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Jul 20, 2009

APAMO speaks out against destruction in Bladen Reserve

Story PictureAnd the Krooman Lagoon Reserve is not the only one that is under attack by developers. The inscription of Belize’s Barrier Reef on the list of World Heritage’s in Danger has done nothing to reduce the adverse impact of development in reserves. Last week, the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT) came across a campsite with almost a dozen men who bulldozed acres within the Bladen River Nature Reserve in the Toledo District. The men were doing preparatory work for Hydro Maya’s proposed dam. Though Belize Hydro Electric Development and Management Company signed a concession agreement with the government, they have never applied for any permits from the Department of Environment or any Government agency to clear land in this highly protected area.

Yvette Alonzo, Coordinator, APAMO
“Hydro Maya has been given a concession for the building of a dam within the Bladen Nature Reserve and Columbia Forest Reserve. But what we understand is that they did not have the required permits to enter in that area. I’m sure you know that the Bladen Nature Reserve is a protected area with the highest level of protection a protected area can have, which means that it’s set aside specifically for just research and educational purposes; scientific purposes. While they are claim it’s a feasibility study that they are conducted, which I’m sure they’d want to claim the same as with Sittee that they’re just conducting a study, our concern is what will happen after that study? Being an area of such high importance is also very concerning to us as well as the fact that consultations were not undertaken with the communities around that area and the general public on a whole because we were not aware of this that this position existed.”

Jose Sanchez
“What can we find that they were preparing to continue bulldoze.”

Yvette Alonzo
“That area, as I said, has a lot of protection so it has a lot of fauna and flora that are pristine, in tact, as well as Mayan ruins, as we understand, are in the area. It’s a sensitive area as well because it is affected by xateros going in so its an issue.”

Jose Sanchez
“Do you think there should be some sort of punitive damage?”

Yvette Alonzo
“We have the laws, Jose, so we would expect that at least these people would be fined for the damage they caused to the area. It’s not going to solve the situation but we need to apply the laws.”

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