Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Environment, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Rosewood More Valued Than Mahogany?
Jan 30, 2017

Rosewood More Valued Than Mahogany?

Valerie Woods

Two bills were held over from previous meetings of the National Assembly – the Forests (Amendment) Bill and International Insurance (Amendment) Bill. The latter provoked no discussion, but the former addresses penalties in relation to illegal harvesting of woods including rosewood and mahogany. During today’s debate in the Senate, the People’s United Party’s Valerie Woods commended the increase in penalties for illegal extraction of Belizean hardwoods, including rosewood. But she noted that similar protection has not been extended to the National Tree, the mahogany. Leader of Government Business Godwin Hulse explained in his reply that rosewood has higher value internationally.


Valerie Woods, P.U.P. Senator

“While this effort to increase penalties is praise-worthy, I note that our national tree—the only national tree that we have and is so designated—the mahogany was not afforded the same level of penalty as the rosewood. Rosewood along with zericote and the Bill will now attract the penalty ratio of four to one and a review of the schedule then will highlight that it is the highest penalty ratio listed. I fail to see why the government would not have the penalty for illegally harvesting the national tree of this country at the highest level as rosewood and zericote, even if the board foot for mahogany, Mister President, is at a lower selling price in the domestic market. Additionally, mahogany is used widely in Belize and is among the top exports in the timber industry; recognizing that of all the hardwoods that we have, of all the timber species so listed in this amendment, it is only the mahogany that is our national tree. So why not have the penalty be based, as an example, on the export price, which should then have the penalty be increased to a level of that of rosewood and zericote when you check what that export price is per board foot.”


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“It is my understanding though that at the committee of the House when this was discussed; representations were made by forestry also with respect to mahogany and the reason why it is not four to one like rosewood or three to one is, my understanding is, that the rosewood is basically concentrated in the south and it is a species that attracted an extremely high value on the international market. And as a consequence the penalty is intended to prevent people from quote unquote robbing a public asset. It is my understanding also that because mahogany…and also because mahogany forms part of the agro-forestry—so people farm mahogany.”


Senator Hulse noted that the Minister responsible for Forestry has power to amend the relevant fines. Examples of mahogany farms include one by the late Henry Fairweather on the George Price Highway. In other legislative news, Ombudsman of Belize Lionel Arzu is on his way to re-appointment for a further one-year term dating to the first day of 2017. 

Be Sociable, Share!

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply