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Aug 6, 2019

SATIIM speaks on challenges to monitor STNP

As you heard just now, SATIIM was only able to retrieve about sixty percent of the harvested timber. The remainder was destroyed. While illegal logging is a problem in several parts of the country, in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, the problem is complex to address. The park is in a remote area that is not easily accessible, so monitoring of illegal activities is a challenge for the managers of the park. The other problem is that the park is located near Guatemala – with settlements close by – and Tzalam says that now they must have B.D.F. support to visit the site due to the territorial dispute.


On the Phone: Froyla Tzalam, Executive Director, SATIIM

“Because of the timing and the difficulty to get access there, we basically destroyed the lumber. We chainsaw the timber into pieces so that it is of no use to anybody. But it is ashamed that we had to do that but the other risk was that we left it there and when we go back it would not be. In that way, the person who are illegally harvesting would be getting the upper hand. So, we had to make that difficult decision that what we couldn’t bring back that nobody else would be able to use it.”


Andrea Polanco

“Is SATIIM working with any other partners down there to see how you can address this going forward?”


On the Phone: Froyla Tzalam

“For sure we have been in discussion with the regulatory authority and also you know now that because of the political situation between Belize and Guatemala over the Sarstoon that we really cannot go on our own anymore. It is basically a decision that all patrols from here on will be with the support of the BDF. We have also been monitoring through our community patrols. But also another issue that we are having is the increase of narco trafficking which puts our people at risk because our community patrols are not rangers in that they are not special constables. So, we also have to assess that from a security perspective. So, it means then that it minimizes our opportunity to be more active in the area but we have a responsibility as a co-manager of the STNP. Not to mention as well, a lot of the STNP lands are also community lands, so from the community perspective we have that obligation to keep up as best as we can to the best of our ability.”

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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