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May 2, 2013

Is rosewood still being cut?

Tonight, there is video footage purportedly showing that contrary to the official government line the movement of rosewood in southern Belize is a thriving industry. The amnesty period was closed on April twenty-sixth and in his press conference earlier this week Prime Minister Dean Barrow asked those who were opposed to that amnesty to move on, and to draw a clear line under the past, content that the rosewood free for all has been brought to a crashing halt. But that is going to be easier said than done, especially after footage released today by our friends at Plus Television. With a look back at the PM’s rosewood statement, freelance reporter Mike Rudon has the story.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“The CITES convention is in effect. So this really is an end to the free for all trade in rosewood. So even if government is not able to police this thing as effectively as it would like, there is now this backstop that you can’t export it; nobody will allow you…countries will not receive shipments of rosewood except if those shipments are certified by the government of Belize. So lord man, I think we can really now draw a line under the past with respect to this issue.”


Mike Rudon, Reporting

But it is clear, and has been for some time to everyone but those in government, that exporters have not gotten that memo about freshly cut rosewood not being certified for export. The footage you are looking at here was taken just a couple days ago on Tuesday morning, between eight and nine am, at two separate compounds on the Southern Highway just minutes from the Machaca Forest Station. You can see the rosewood stacked in mounds waiting to be transported. You can also clearly see what appears to be very freshly cut rosewood logs…the difference between those and the older logs is clear.


The amnesty provision was clear…that no rosewood could be cut during it, and only rosewood cut previous to it could be produced for inventory, certification and export…but almost immediately multiple reports were received from down south of teams of men working around the clock to cut rosewood for transport. Everybody knew, even as the government seemed to be oblivious, turning a blind eye even now.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There was talk that…oh well dehn noh just di bring in weh dehn di cut. Since amnesty, dehn di cut more. There was an easy way to determine that as Minister Hulse and Alamilla made clear to those of us in cabinet that are uninitiated in this regard. And it turned out that that was not so. So again, while as I said accrodign maximum respect to those that almost violently disagree with the government’s position, I would appeal for them to—as I said—join us in drawing a line under the past.”


As you can see from this footage; that line won’t be so easily drawn.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I perfectly understand that there was great force of opinion, great strength of opinion, against the cabinet’s decision regarding the amnesty. One has to respect that and no doubt there is—hopefully not in the long term, but hopefully in the short term—some political price to pay for that.”


The footage of the rosewood was taken between eight and nine in the morning. Just hours after the logs had disappeared, hurriedly packed into trucks for transportation and, we have no doubt, export. Mike Rudon for News Five.


The Minister of Forestry was not in office when News Five attempted to secure an interview.

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7 Responses for “Is rosewood still being cut?”

  1. bzeyouth says:

    We all know the rosewood is being cut down. Let’s get a group of News 5 reporters to follow the rosewood to the buyer. Once we find the buyers we can hand that info over to the proper authorities and let them move towards legal actions.

  2. not again says:

    @Bzeyouth What authorities? They all work together. Why you think Alamilla is a minister? Every thing was planed from day one. What we need to do is kick her a&& out. And all the rest that go along with her.

  3. Bear says:

    GOB could stop the criminal activity in a day, in an hour, if it would let police or BDF secure the area. But it never will because high ministers are getting rich from it.

    Don’t worry, the damage can be repaired in a century or so.

    Any group of citizens that sees illegal trade in rosewood occurring has the constitutional right to arrest the criminals. I agree with getting someone to work secretly to film and follow the criminals as far as possible, then expose it to the nation and world.

    Even with film of the crime, GOB will tell us our eyes our lying to us.

    With our leaders involved up to their eyeballs in major, ongoing crime, it’s time for a change by any means necessary, before the damage to the nation is too great to recover from. They’ve already destroyed a generation of prosperity we could have had, how much more are we willing to accept? If we love our children, we must draw a line and take a stand.

  4. bzeanrebel says:

    Why does everyone fail to realize that the chief forest officer, Mr. Sabido, as a senior public servant, also has a lot of power to investigate and put a stop to the illegal cutting of the rosewood? He does not need an instruction from the minister to initiate this. He has been involved in all kinds of hustling rackets for years in collusion with the minister(s). Same goes for the Chief environment officer, Mr. Alegria. Just check how many large projects have been cleared without an EIA or even an environmental compliance plan.

  5. Louisville,Ky says:

    Criminals everywhere prosper when they are aided and abetted by the community at large. With all due respect to the PM, he alone cannot police this rose wood debacle. Obviously not only are top ranked Cabinet members involved but also some of the grass roots indigenous people that live in the immediate vicinity.
    How else would you explain this blatant disregard for the rose wood amnesty? Anytime we …itch and complain about the corruption at the top, we need to follow the money and we would be surprised to see even some at the bottom, are reaping the sweet.
    It is like African slavery, which would never have been nearly as successful had not some of the same Africans, sell out their own to the white man.
    Hey, am not judging anybody, am just saying, sometimes you got to look in the mirror and keep it all the way authentic.

  6. juan says:

    well just yesterday we had four truck loads of rosewood logs on towheads passing the forestry office in Machaca Forest Station and blind eyes fell upon it. We have an area here in Barranco that was given off by Mike Espat some 10,000 ac where we have a group from Up north extracting all our timber tress and no forestry monitoring how much is been raped additionally rose wood in the forms of fresh cut loggs are been moved untill today from this area. Seems that North People have more powers thatn people from the south.

  7. Storm says:

    Vigilantes who enforce the law in almost all countries, including our neighbor Mexico, do so wearing masks. We need some masked heroes to stop the illegal logging.

    Sadly, I’m sure @Louisville is right, Mayans are at the bottom of this food chain, doing the cutting for a few crumbs that fall from the Minister’s plate. I hope there are more good Mayans,. though, who will put on masks of justice and enforce the law.

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