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Jun 6, 2012

Developer cuts through Biological Corridor without permission

Minister Lisel Alamilla has issued a stop order on a development in a protected area in the Belize District. The developer, a Guatemalan company named Green Tropics Limited, was dredging a canal in the hearth of the reserve and the government is looking at its legal options. It is not known when the land was acquired by the Guatemalan company, but in August 2010, the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with wild cat conservation group Panthera, signed into law the creation of a protected area designating over seven thousand acres of crown land in the Belize District for use as a key jaguar habitat.  The stretch of land, known as Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary, serves as a passageway for the big cats to rove. Green Tropics has illegally cleared a substantial tract of land which it intended to use as irrigation for a sixteen thousand-acre sugar cane plantation.  The undertaking, according to Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla, was not green lighted by the Department of the Environment since an environmental impact assessment was not approved prior to commencement of the project.

 

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry

Lisel Alamilla

“We were just alerted to this sometime last week, late last week.  And then last week Friday, I understand, that we got a copy of the EIA but this activity had already occurred, or was occurring rather.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What are the steps being taken now to either put a stay on this activity or to try to bring it under control?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“My last briefing from the Forestry Department and the Department of the Environment was that they will serve these people with a cease and desist order and they will also remove them from the area.  It is within a wildlife sanctuary [and] this is unacceptable and so then we will find out more after that.  It’s also gone to the Solicitor General’s Office for advice on how we can proceed legally.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now my understanding is that it poses an ecological threat to wildlife within that particular area.  Can you expand on this?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Yes.  The importance of that area is the Central Belize Corridor which connects the northern forest to the southern forest right across the Western Highway, around the zoo, around that area and that is the only remaining corridor that would allow the movement between big mammals like jaguars and tapirs to move between the north and the south.  So it’s very important in how this area is developed.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of a protocol dealing either with the ministries involved, was there a miscommunication or was there a lack thereof in terms of presenting this [EIA] to you prior to the activity taking place?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“I had no knowledge of it and the truth is that perhaps this idea may have been presented at Cabinet before, I don’t know, but it doesn’t mean that they are exempted from complying with the requirements of the Department of the Environment or the Department of Forestry, you know.  Developers need to become aware that we have laws and that they can’t plead ignorance and that forgiveness, they can’t come later and say forgive us and we can continue.  That has to stop.  They have to become fully aware as it’s their responsibility to become fully knowledgeable as to how they go about investing and developing and doing development activities in Belize.”

 

Dr. Howard Quigley, Panthera’s Jaguar Program Executive Director, and Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on August 9th, 2010 to work together on activities to maintain the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary. 

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11 Responses for “Developer cuts through Biological Corridor without permission”

  1. Storm says:

    This problem is too easy to solve. If a foreign company breaks our laws, just kick it out of the country! It is here by our grace, not as a right.

    We need harsh laws to punish companies that break our laws, whether foreign or domestic. At a minimum, they should all have their business permits and licences revoked. Let them lose their investment; they deserve nothing less.

  2. Marie says:

    I am getting tired of no development in Belize. I am not PUP for sure, but just when this government seems to have attracted big developers who seem to be starting a whole new industry in the west, we must save the jaguars who have been around before all of us and will surely still survive. Youths are dropping like flies-who is saving them? we give more preference to cats than people or the economy? Nova and the sewing factory closed, This minister stopped belizeans making a living from fishing conch, harvesting logwood and now this-because foreigners tell her to say we need to conserve what they already ate out and wasted in their countries. I am sick of it-we need to develop. Now we have environmentalists saying we can’t drill oil in the sea or on land-what next-we should live in thatch houses? Just when things looked to start, this government shoots it down and does not fail to disappoint. I am not from out west, but they surely would benefit me more as a belizean than bothering where scaredy cats cross or walk. Again this UDP shows they are anti business and anti development and only pro poor and pro gangs-what about normal people-not cats or gangs? I am so sick of UDP and Environmentalists.

  3. Blackmint says:

    Now this pm and gov. Are giving away our lands to Guatemala they are selling Belize out to Guatemala for money please step down barrow you need to go .

  4. mick says:

    This is atrocious and should be dealt with fortwith. This developer need to be advised that any changes from here on in will result in prosecution. I hope that this whole area is/has been documented in pictures, video and chartered surveyor’s input! If he continues to develop with no prosecution from here on in will make it evbident that he is being protected! The people of Belize should rise up and be counted as their country is being decimated by unscrupulous characters!

  5. AnnonBzean says:

    Oh damn, just when we thought 1 Rod was enough, here comes another one. @Blackmint, why dont you personally take a trip to the Prime Minister’s office and asked him to step down. If you believe you have an agenda then you have to make yourself known. Get on the media waves and get your message out there instead of your obscure posts.

  6. Lucas says:

    I understand that the canal would draw water from the RIVER. If that is so, the water level down-stream would go down drastically and it would certainly affect the flora and fauna all along the bank. Where is Greg Ch’oc and MATURA and all those so called environmentalists. Is it that this time they are being paid not to talk?. I do believe that development and conservation can go hand in hand but we have seen how these Guatemalans have desseminated our forest all along our Western border. Minister Alamilla makes me proud and she has my vote of confidence. Perhaps we have found a true Belizean who really cares for what remains of what was once our jewel. I have full confidence that she will right that which is wrong.

  7. Me says:

    Ask Gapi, why he selling our lands. Ask GApi.

  8. cayobway says:

    They will soon pay her to be quiet too. tihs will soon be swept under the rug.

  9. Royal Creole says:

    save the people not the cats

  10. Storm says:

    Marie, we do need development, but it must be development that benefits Belize as a nation, not just one or two who sell out the rest of the nation for a few pieces of silver.

    This development is not for Belize, it is for Guatemala.

    We have a small population for a country our size, so there is no need to destroy irreplaceable rainforest. Develop somewhere else, if it is otherwise beneficial to the country. Unrestricted development is reckless, stupid — so is unrestricted “environmental protection” and conservation.

    These policies should be developed rationally, over time, and with consideration of all the interests and future effects.

  11. Sasha says:

    7000 acres and right across the ZOO. this is PRIME LAND which should be used for RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT in the near future for Belizeans not FOREIGNERS. FOREIGNERS wanting LAND should not even be SOLD. Did you forget how BIG BZ IS?

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