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Mar 20, 2014

Chief Forest Officer says rosewood operation was part of amnesty program

On Wednesday, we reported on a container of rosewood detected near Trio Village in southern Belize. The operation was suspect because it is widely believed that despite a moratorium placed in April 2013, the plunder of the precious wood continues by Guatemalans and locals. Prior to Wednesday’s operation Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management had reported an encounter with Guatemalan nationals harvesting rosewood in the national park. Today, we asked the Chief Forest Officer, Wilbur Sabido, about the latest shipment of rosewood that was spotted and photographed by PGTV. Sabido told News Five that the rosewood was given the green light after two weeks of due diligence and that it is part of the amnesty program granted by government.


Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forest Officer

Wilbur Sabido

“It is a volume of rosewood that was part and parcel of the rosewood that was declared in 2013 as amnestied rosewood. We were very deliberate in our approach to ensuring that what the exporter wanted to export was actually material that was declared back then. It took us over a period of two weeks to actually go through that due diligence; to make sure that all the paperwork and everything that we required was presented to us and so it was early this week that we, Forest Department, gave the go ahead that everything was in order for the container to be loaded and to be moved off from the location in the Stann Creek area. And I believe that it is currently sitting at the Ports going through its own process with Customs and the brokerage form to have the container be shipped out. It is our impression that people are hedging their bet that the government will give another opportunity for them to sell and eventually export rosewood. I just want to be very clear that at this point there has really been no discussion on that. We are bound by our commitment to ensuring that whatever rosewood was declared during the amnesty period, which is a finite volume, that that is really the end all and be all of the rosewood that we are going to be exporting.”


A rosewood inventory is currently being conducted in the south. According to Sabido, thirty percent of the total area has been covered so far in the inventory. Once completed, the data collected will be analyzed and presented to the minister and after discussion with Cabinet, the future of sustainable rosewood management will be determined. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Chief Forest Officer says rosewood operation was part of amnesty program”

  1. CEO says:

    This is crap! So the first half of the Forest was harvested illegally and the second half will be done so legally?

    So where is the money going?

    Why wasn’t there a public announcement declaring that there will be shipments and explain it proactively instead of after they were shipped and only after Wil Mehia said something about it!

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