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Apr 6, 2016

SATIIM Executive Director Says It is Time to Revisit the Bargaining Table

Froyla Tzalam

Tzalam says that talk about a co-management agreement being necessary may have been correct six years ago, but not now. Still, she claims that the incident on Tuesday underscores the need to come back to the negotiation and co-management table sooner, rather than later.


Froyla Tzalam, Executive Director, SATIIM

“SATIIM has been working very much along with the buffer communities, getting the communities to have ownership over the park. And I believe that it is now that the community manages the park, especially in the absence of any official presence in the park. Certainly SATIIM has seen increasing incursions, increasing extraction and our position has been that the park has been infringes upon the buffer communities over the years that the buffer communities can be the owners of the park and they believe that they have every right to manage the park. And that is why we need to always have community leaders onboard because those leaderships have the right to protect the lands.”


Mike Rudon

“Do you feel that…I notice in the release that it says that the Forestry Department has not gone in? Do you feel that if the Forestry Department does not go in, if SATIIM is not allowed to go in that entire area will be left open to the Guatemalans to use and plunder?”


Froyla Tzalam

“Definitely, without shadow of a doubt. The fact is when SATIIM had been conducting the patrols, it was in their responsibility to coordinate the logistics and that meant getting the finances for the patrols. The Forestry Department, everybody, is telling me that they do not have the resources. I mean it is unbelievable that a small group has managed to patrol the area and Forest Department has the responsibility to issue permits, oversee those permits and to manage the protected area is just something that they are not able to do. So if they don’t do it and SATIIM doesn’t pick up that mantle as it relates to the area that they are obligated to do, nothing will take place and the area will become a free for all.  I believe that the communities have that responsibility to try and help.”


Mike Rudon

“Finally, would SATIIM at this point be open to sitting down with the new minister—because a lot of the tension was with the old minister—and working out something concrete?”


Froyla Tzalam

“For sure; there is no doubt in that now. I think that we are being prevented from pursuing our work because of this international incident. And it is international because we cannot do our work; we cannot monitor the park, we cannot protect the resources that are essentially are our national patrimony without government support. So I believe the time has come for us to turn a new leaf and start to look at this issue with the new minister.”


Tzalam’s letter to Foreign Minister Elrington is timely, since reliable reports are that he is scheduled to meet with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales on Friday.

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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