Returning rosewood to dealers engaged in illegal activity
Rosewood is once again in the media spotlight; that is, confiscated or harvested rosewood. The much sought after timber first got all this attention because millions of dollars worth of its flitches were seized from illegal loggers even when a moratorium was in place. Now, ironically, it is getting all this attention because government is allegedly giving it back to the dealers who were engaged in the illegal activity. Well tonight, the biggest update on the rosewood drama co-starring government players and the corrupt dealers is that there is absolutely no word coming out of the Ministry of Forestry or from the Forest Department. That’s because Minister Lisel Alamilla is out of the country…and so is C.E.O. in the Ministry, Wendell Parham, as well as Chief Forest Officer, Wilber Sabido. Deputy Chief Forest Officer, Marcelo Windsor, has also been consistently unavailable. On Monday our colleagues from Plus Television broke the news that rosewood confiscated from illegal logging operations and stored at the Forestry Compound in Belmopan was being loaded into privately owned trucks. On Tuesday afternoon, the Forest Department issued a release declaring an amnesty for illegal logs harvested before March fourteenth, but by Tuesday evening an official government release announced the approval for the sale or export of those logs. There is no official word on who will sell or export the logs and reap the huge benefits from the very lucrative rosewood mostly sold to China, but since government has said nothing to the contrary, there is rampant speculation that all confiscated rosewood will be handed over to the dealers for them to do with it what they will. On Tuesday, News Five did manage to get a very brief response from Minister Lisel Alamilla by email from Turkey, referring us to the official press release and has not answered subsequent emails.