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Feb 8, 2012

Conservation Trust talks about Rosewood

Lisel Alamilla

The illegal extraction of rosewood remains on the front burner. On the heels of reports that a highly connected company from the north was exporting the rosewood, on January twenty-fourth Cabinet decided that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will be conducting a stock survey and evaluation to verify the numbers of the remaining rosewood trees. The appraisal is expected to determine the extent of the illegal activities that has taken place. The government also decided that the Toledo Conservation NGO’s will also be invited to participate in the exercise.  One NGO, Ya’axche Conservation Trust, says it won’t be taking part in the inventory because the proposed methodology does not adequately address critical areas. News Five spoke via phone with Executive Director, Lisel Alamilla.

Lisel Alamilla, Ya’axche Conservation Trust

“Ya’axche followed up on that release and we also asked for a copy of the proposal so that we could review the methodology that will be used for these surveys. In reviewing it and having expert review of it, we are very concerned about the methodology being proposed.”

Andrea Polanco

“Why is there that concern, Ms. Alamilla?”

Lisel Alamilla

“There are many various elements in the methodology and one of them is that they are not even saying where these surveys are going to happen and also, we want to know if they have gotten permission from the community to conduct these surveys; we want to know where they are happening, how they are going to set up these surveys. We followed up on this and said yes, that we wanted to participate because we felt it was important for transparency that an NGO participates, right. We followed up with the Chief Forestry Officer on this and he gave us the phone numbers fro staff that is preparing for this survey and so we followed up the letter, you know but that communication didn’t go well. They had no knowledge of any kind of partnership or relationship that they should be having with us and we have not been able to get in touch with the persons that were recommended for us to contact. But we want to be a part of the entire process or how else will we come out to say that the results are reliable and credible?”

Andrea Polanco

“Okay. So until your concerns are addressed, you will not be participating in the inventory?”

Lisel Alamilla

“No, we will not participate because it is not being done in a transparent manner and until that is resolved, we will not participate.”

Andrea Polanco

“Okay, Ms. Alamilla, what does this say about the entire process that’s taking  place down there; do you believe that maybe there is a clear attempt to lock you guys out?”

Lisel Alamilla

“Well, I would conclude that base on the response that we’ve gotten so far that that is the intention. We also requested that the raw data that is collected be shared with us so that we conduct an analysis of that data to ensure it corresponds to whatever Forest Department reports and I have been informed by the Chief Forest Officer that this will not be allowed. I mean, this data, who owns it? It belongs to the people of Belize, really, it is public information.”

And while the assessment is taking place, the logging will continue since Cabinet decided that the current permits will be maintained until the close of the season in June. Cabinet agreed that royalties will be increased immediately to allow the Forest Department to hire additional staff for better policing but that Rosewood extraction permits may still be considered for areas that have not yet been harvested.

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2 Responses for “Conservation Trust talks about Rosewood”

  1. Member of the PUBLIC says:

    The Forest Department will never be able to move forward if they have to give account to “conservation“ organization like these. All they want is to be in the public eyes, these conservation NGO do not aid the Forest Department. Also why does the Forest Department have to consult with the community members if its they who are cutting and sellin gthe rose wood. Yes they need money but so do all of you, also they are the ones to blame. How can we stop the rose extraction if we have no juristriction over them. Before the extraction of rosewood they lived just fine suddenly they need the rose wood to make a buck they are just selfish…

  2. Retired CEO says:

    Look out folks di attack dog is on the loose, again!!!

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