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Apr 17, 2013

Minister Rene Montero allows cutting down of Guanacaste trees

There is widespread outrage over the mass harvesting and exportation of rosewood, and that sentiment shows no signs of abating. In the Cayo District, there is also outrage involving the cutting of trees on a much smaller scale. Our newsroom received a call on Tuesday from a furious resident of Santa Elena who told us that a man was on the grounds of the Peter August Race Track with a chainsaw cutting down one of the four towering Guanacaste trees which had stood for decades. It may seem like a small thing, but for the members of the Twin Towns Jockey Club which manages the horse-racing track, it is a very big deal. Today, freelance reporter Mike Rudon travelled west and found one less majestic Guanacaste tree standing. Here’s the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

This is all that is left of a Guanacaste tree which residents of Santa Elena tell us stood at this spot for more than five decades. It was one of four large trees overlooking the small racetrack, and President of the Twin Towns Jockey Club Alejandro Rodriguez told us that they are upset about the cutting of the tree which always stood tall in videos they took of previous horseraces.


Alejandro Rodriguez

Alejandro Rodriguez, President, Twin Towns Jockey Club

“I feel bad because like when you plant a  flowers and then the flowers give view to the beautiful things on your garden. And that is what when you put the TV and it takes the race, the tree put the whole thing proper on the track. That’s why we feel bad and when dehn tell w, we gone there. But like weh the man say, the minister give ahn permission and I noh know if the minister have the power to do that or what.”


And Rodriguez is even more upset because he says that the members of the Jockey Club were not even consulted before Minister Rene Montero gave authority for the tree to be cut down. And it’s not only about the tree…it is about the loss to the racetrack which has become important to the community.


Alejandro Rodriguez

“This ya man noh talk to us none at all; he just send and do weh he want according to what I see. Because if he give the permission. The bwai paper ih noh got the minister, ih got forestry. But I tell you that the man say that he give ahn permission fi work. But he said he wah cut all of them and the one on the football field too. Well like he come and he got it paper, but police mi deh there too. Like I said I wouldn’t want dehn go through it because I woulda want work and develop the sport of horserace and the track because that will be not only for me, but for the kids.”


The land for the racetrack is government property, though it has been in the care of the Twin Towns Jockey Club for many years.


Alejandro Rodriguez

“According to the map, and they say the land belongs to the government, but you see it on computer and the map there. It noh say anything bout government land, but it says racetrack and that was designed for racetrack. And the man get it there so that you noh have to move about. So I think the minister would say make we develop it. When wah government goh in there, dah noh P.U.P. government, dah noh U.D.P. government; dah Belize government. When you hear out deh, dehn noh say dah P.U.P. government, dehn say Belize government. So why dehn act like that?


Today three trees stand tall, where once there were four, and only time will tell what happens to the remaining trees, since Minister Montero has already authorized the cutting of all four. Mike Rudon for News Five.


News Five spoke to the Forest Department in San Ignacio today and got confirmation that it had issued a permit to Ronald Young to cut the tree based on a letter issued by Minister Rene Montero. That note approves the cutting of all four trees at the Peter August Race Track. The department says that it will now refuse permission for the other trees to be cut. Just for context, the permit to cut a Guanacaste tree costs eight dollars and the wood is used as form boards for construction purposes.

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11 Responses for “Minister Rene Montero allows cutting down of Guanacaste trees”

  1. nation of Izscam says:

    Why are people outraged?

    This is how GOB works, the way the people want it.

    suck it up and get with the corruption program.

    bend over and make room for the next person in line.

  2. cayobway says:

    This is a waste, mainly all belizeans know that that wood from a guanacaste tree is not good for construction the wood is too soft and porous. the only thing it can be used for is to make dougout , or (dory) , this is really disturbing that these trees are being destroyed, if possible they can be trimmed back if they are breaking, but not cut down. if he continues this way maybe he will cut the big landmark just outside belmopan junction also.

  3. sickntired says:

    When i read dis ya story i feel sick. Them idiot ministas just mess up the area. Inna di city it hot and ugly cause we no got no trees. You know how much we wuolda want them natural beauty here? Plus why di minista have to mess up di people good recreation place? Next thing yu hear he will sell di land to himsrlf to put up his own business. Bunch a thiefing people then they will be facey and blame it all on di opposition. I cant wait for elections – i just hope the city get it right di time like how the rest of the country don di show they tired of all dis simpleness.

  4. busha says:

    if there’s money to make, it will be made… problem is you guys do nothing about it… EVER. you !@#$% and complain and make tshirts about it, but continue to put the same type of useless people in government (PUP & UDP). so take it like u ask for it.

  5. james smith says:

    With progress certain things need to change and happen. But this is news why??

  6. gunz says:

    these same people grew up in the areas. trapiche and the race track are a land mark for cayo people. why we ministas no stop think with them @$$ and analyze the effect such incidents will have not only on the people but also on the natural environment. who so dumb fu go want cut down a tree that has been there for longer than their own miserable lives. Bet you couldnt cut down a Sequoia tree like that

  7. Storm says:

    Unless the Jockey Club is trespassing, they have rights in what is on the land. This is no different than the fool minister coming onto anybody’s private property and “giving permission” to cut down what does not belong to him.

    Tyranny large or small is still tyranny, and it must be driven out of Belize.

  8. Belizean says:

    We havent heard a single word on why this was done..Maybe the GOB should be a bit quicker in informing the people why what and where…

  9. james smith says:

    Storm the land is GoB land Not for the Jockey club. they have no legal or equitable rights to the land.

  10. solobuay says:


  11. Spanish Lookout says:

    Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country
    are decent, hardworking, honest Belizeans. It’s the
    other lousy two percent that get all the publicity.
    But then, we elected them.

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