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Apr 29, 2016

How Will the Sarstoon Temash National Park be Monitored Following Restriction?

Dr. Joseph Palacio

Of equal concern is that the SATIIM rangers were recently stopped by the Guatemalan military from traveling upstream to conduct routine checks within the Sarstoon Temash National Park.  The area is the second largest under conservation in Belize and if left unsupervised could result in Guatemalans pillaging the natural resources within the protected area.

 

Dr. Joseph Palacio, Anthropologist/Barranco Resident

“We also have to keep in mind that Guatemalan authorities stopped people from SATIIM from coming and doing their checks in the Sarstoon Temash National Park.  What Belizeans fail to realize is that the Sarstoon Temash National Park was made for two indigenous peoples, the Maya, as well as the Garifuna.  And also it is the second largest national park in our country.  Now Guatemala has said that the management institute, SATIIM, cannot go and do checks.  What that means is that there is now going to be raping of our resources in the southern part of our country similar to what has been taking place along the western part of the country.  That is, that should not happen.  It’s affecting again the livelihood, and as Pablo said, it’s affecting the identity of the people, particularly in the western part.  If you are saying that they are also indigenous peoples who are further away in Guatemala as there are indigenous people in Belize and that these are people who’ve always felt free to go across, visit relatives for religious purposes and so on.  However, it is not possible anymore and again, these are points that we the indigenous people can best emphasize because we are the ones feeling it immediately and we are doing so as Belizeans, first and foremost.  And so we are informing the rest of the country that there are some serious issues that need to be attended to as early as possible.”

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