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Nov 22, 2012

Forestry Department will intervene in Crooked Tree Village argument

Wilbur Sabido

Crooked Tree Villagers have been up in arms with the Belize Audubon Society following the confiscation of some twenty logs from a villager sometime last week. Audubon’s action has led to the villagers protesting in front of the office of the Wildlife Sanctuary at the entrance of the village. But it was their non-attendance at several meetings with the villagers that has left them with no choice, but to seek redress from the government. News Five spoke with Chief Forest Officer, Wilbur Sabido, who says that the forestry department essentially relies on the Belize Audubon Society to perform the day to day operations and to initiate dialogue with the villagers of the Crooked Tree Village while assisting to resolve conflicts. Sabido says that the he believes that the situation might have reached a point where the department, as the regulatory agency, needs to intervene and to assist in the dialogue.

 

Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forest Officer, Forestry Department

“The forest department, first of all, has been following the situation mostly through the airwaves and some dialogues that we have been having with the Belize Audubon Society. But just to give a little reference point to see where the situation actually started. Last week, we, the forest department, was called to assess a situation up in the northern portion of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. And while we were doing that along with the Belize Audubon Society, we came upon an individual who was harvesting logwood poles from within the Crooked Tree Wild Life Sanctuary and the logs were confiscated as per the law by the forestry department and the individual was issued a warning to remove himself from the area and that he was, in essence, committing an offence. It seems that that particular incident caused the whole course of events that have now transpired over the past week, week and a half. So much so; that it is our understanding that the villagers want the Belize Audobon Society, which is a non-governmental organization to remove themselves from the village itself and to essentially leave the villagers to be able to manage the resources based on their own needs and wants.  The critical next step is to have dialogue ensue; to have dialogue with all the relevant parties—the government entities, the non-governmental organization which is the co-management entity; and the concerned villagers. We need to reach a compromise. We need to look at a win-win situation where the villagers’ needs are met and where our management goal and objectives help to meet those needs. In this particular instance it is my view that the Crooked Tree Villagers have a legitimate concern and we as the regulatory agencies now have to take a step back and see how it is that within in the scope and limits of our legislation and regulations we can have those needs met.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development

“I don’t know the details very much except what I’ve heard through the media and a brief report from the Chief Forest Officer that he had sent out his staff to go to the village to gather information about what is transpiring. I have not been briefed other words than that, but I am sure the Forest Department is in dialogue with the Belize Audubon Society about what’s transpiring in Crooked Tree.”

 

Reporter

“The bottom line is that villagers of Crooked Tree have been saying, “We want to speak to the authorities. We have been unable to talk to Audubon, to people from the government and we really need to have this resolved.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“I don’t know. Have they made a call just through the media or have they contacted us through the Forest Department? I don’t know so I can only tell you that I know that the Chief Forest Officer sent someone out to the village to speak to people and to find out what’s going on. And I guess then the Forest Department and Audubon will decide how to move forward with the matter.”

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6 Responses for “Forestry Department will intervene in Crooked Tree Village argument”

  1. Rod says:

    Why is it that all the ministers in this gov. Never know what’s going on in the country or is this a trick that the pm is teaching his ministers , like his pm who never know what’s happening in the country every time he is asked a question his favorite answer is well I didn’t know that I haven’t heard that I never seen that Now even the ministers have the same answers listen to this one I don’t know the details why are they all uninformed of what’s going on in their jobs damm nothing but incompetence in this gov.

  2. Bzeman says:

    If an entire village protesting did not get her attention what will? A good manager would call the persons responsible into office and demand an explanation rather that sit back and wait for a briefing. Just saying….

  3. PG Man says:

    I agree with Rod on this one… It’s a shame…. these ministers that don’t of nothing going on in the Ministry needs to be remove, and remove now….

  4. Rebel says:

    Forestry department intervened on the request of Audubon Society.

  5. Storm says:

    Setting aside whether a logger broke the law — it should be enforced, according to whatever the real facts are.

    But I have a problem with GOB designating Audubon or any NGO to enforce the laws, and then GOB closing its eyes to have that NGO does its job. Contracting with an NGO is the same as giving someone a badge and gun as a constable, they represent the sovereign, and they have real power that must be used ACCORDING TO LAW AND IN GOOD FAITH.

    Audubon refusing to talk with the affected villagers when they want is NOT doing the job — we live in a supposed democracy. The government [and the NGOs it deputizes] work for US. If an employee refuses to talk to his boss, he should be fired in a flash. That is what Audubon did.

    I think we should cancel the contract with Audubon as an example to other NGOs — THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW, AND THEY ARE NOT THE LAW.

  6. impartial says:

    clueless…

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