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Aug 6, 2019

SATIIM retrieves illegally harvested timber; GAF didn’t interfere

On July eleventh SATIIM visited the Sarstoon Temash National Park where they discovered a pile of harvested timber inside the park. Over a week later, on July twenty-third, SATIIM attempted to retrieve the illegally harvested timber. But as we showed you almost two weeks ago, the Guatemalan Armed Forces confronted the Belizeans on that trip. The GAF prevented their passage on the river and SATIIM and the B.D.F had to return.  Well on Saturday, SATIIM, supported by the B.D.F., went on its third mission to the national park and this time they were free to traverse the river and access the area. The purpose of that trip was to extract the illegally harvested timber. Today, we spoke with Tzalam via phone about this weekend’s mission. She says it is very likely that the illegal loggers are from Guatemala.


On the Phone: Froyla Tzalam, Executive Director, SATIIM

“What we did on Saturday was the final stage of actually recovering the timber and we did so with the full support of the Belize Defence Force. We actually took two boats with us, one to retrieve from the area. We were not able to do everything in one day because of the fact that the conditions have changed drastically since we had first gone.  So, we were only able to retrieve just under sixty percent of the timber. But we were happy to note that there was no interference from the Guatemalan Military. We went and came back in about almost four hours, in record time.”


Andrea Polanco

“Have you guys been able to determine who is doing the logging?”


On the Phone: Froyla Tzalam

“We have not been able to determine the exact identity precisely because we have not found anybody red-handed. However, we know that due to the location of the park, the entrance where we are having difficulty is very close to some Guatemalan settlements. We actually don’t think it is from the Sarstoon mouth because it is about two hours there to the site location; but from other communities closer to the STNP. We don’t think it is Belizeans because it is a really difficult place for Belizeans to access and just because of that we think it is non-Belizeans who are engaging in that activity.”

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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