Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Environment » 17,000 Acres of Turneffe Land is Set Aside in a Trust
Jan 22, 2020

17,000 Acres of Turneffe Land is Set Aside in a Trust

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration and the Ministry of Natural Resources have signed over approximately seventeen thousand acres of national lands remaining on the Turneffe Atoll. The lands, primarily comprised of mangrove ecosystems, have been handed over to the Turneffe Atoll Trust.  According to TASA’s Valdemar Andrade, the land was sold for two million dollars or approximately two hundred and thirty-five dollars per acre to the Turneffe Atoll Trust, an organization registered both in the U.S. and Belize.  The lands have now been set aside for conservation under the ‘Turneffe Land Trust,’ signed between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the non-profit organization headquartered on Northern Bogue, Turneffe Atoll.  Andrade questions the secrecy of the deal. The Fisheries Department and the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, who co-manage the reserve, were not aware of the transaction nor were they contacted. TASA’s Executive Director Andrade says they were only just notified of the agreement on January seventeenth.


Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“We were informed by the ministry on Friday that this was a done deal, but before this, we were never consulted on the matter. For us, this is a normal way that protected areas can manage some of the lands to ensure that they are not unduly developed or exploited and so you can put it in a land trust so that then it can be managed. You can also do blue carbon, you have other ways. The concerns that we have with this is really process issue. It is really an accountability issue and a transparency issue. I mean first of all, as the official co-managers, we were never consulted on this matter so we have no idea, we have not seen the agreement for the land trust. We only understand that the lands were bought for two million U.S. dollars and that basically then the sole trustee would be the Turneffe Atoll Trust.  In the Finance and Audit Reform Act it says that anything over five thousand acres or any island needs to go to National Assembly for approval for sale. And so I don’t know, I don’t remember that this went to national assembly so we would want that any land trust of this sort would have good footing so that if you are negotiating blue carbon, you are negotiating any other concerns with respect to that in terms of management with any donor that it stands on good footing.”

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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed