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Dec 28, 2011

Young rosewood trees harvested

The Christmas weekend was busy not only for highway robbers but also those who prey on precious natural resources in protected areas as well as on crown land. The extraction of Rosewood continues unabated and despite numerous objections held by groups such as SATIIM and the Maya Leaders Alliance, poor villagers continue to cut down the much sought after tree. The Forest Department had indicated its interest in seeing the trade slow down, but nothing has changed. Peoples National Party’s Toledo East Representative Wil Maheia says not only does the trade continues; young trees are now being targeted.

Wil Maheia, Toledo East, People’s National Party

Wil Maheia

“There is a sign on the Forestry door that says no more commercial logging should take place during this time; this is the rainy season, yet if you go down there right now, there are not only tractor loads, but semi-trailer loads coming out of the villages. And what is happening right now is that it is causing a lot of confusion among the villagers because some villagers are moving into other villages and cutting rosewood. In the case of San Felipe and Jacinto, there are two villages that are close to each other. Jacinto saw that a lot of people from San Felipe was going into their community to cut rosewood. So the village council from Jacinto decided well we will give our own people permission to cut rosewood within the village limits because if we don’t give them somebody else will come and take it. That’s how out of control it is where villagers are taking it into their own hands. You have people who are cutting their trees because they don’t want it stolen. It’s gone haywire down there; there’s no control over rosewood at this time.”

Jose Sanchez

“Let me ask. In terms of the prices that the villagers are getting for cutting rosewood and the price on the international market, what kinda figures are we looking at?”

Wil Maheia

“Well it is a pittance. The prices villagers are getting three-seventy-five to four dollars a board foot for rosewood when it is being sold in the international market for as much as twenty-seven dollars U.S. per board foot. So the people who are actually on the ground and doing the hard work; sure it’s a little money for them, but if we take this rosewood and instead of shipping out raw material, [but] manufacture it, we could be creating much more jobs in Toledo district or Belize on a whole and also bringing in more money into the communities. So really they are just raping the resources down in the south.”

Jose Sanchez

“And while this rape is happening, is anybody actually planting new trees?”

Wil Maheia

“Absolutely not. Like I said, it’s like a free for all. People are going in there and they are just raping as much as they can rape. They are extracting as much trees. Right now the trees are coming out really smaller than they were six or eight months ago because all the big trees are gone. So now they are taking even the small trees.”

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2 Responses for “Young rosewood trees harvested”

  1. Storm says:

    People need to start going to the Graybar Hotel for illegally cutting our trees. Right now, crime pays in Belize, and as long as that continues, crime will continue.

  2. Swamp Dragon says:

    Govt do something! get off your @$$#$ and save the nation! The reef get protection. Our forests need protection as well.

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