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Apr 28, 2021

Pomona Residents Say Mining Causing Erosion; West End Refutes These Claims

Last night we brought you the story of concerned residents and farmers in Pomona who are concerned about the continued degradation of a riverbank that abuts the village. Tonight, Isani Cayetano has more from both the community residents and the company which says it is not doing anything differently than before. In fact, they say they found erosion problems when they arrived.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

For years, the North Stann Creek River has been mined for aggregates by both licensees and non-permit holders who extract minerals for construction use.  Those activities have left the waterway in a less than desirable condition, affecting every community downstream, including Hope Creek, Sarawee and Dangriga.


Cecilio Baide

Cecilio Baide, Resident, Pomona Village

“What we as villagers would want to see is to put a stop to this for the rest of this year.  The party in government should put a stop to it and put a check and balance, let us see how this is affecting our rivers, especially the North Stann Creek River.”


In 2016, West End Enterprise took over operations in this area directly behind Pomona.  Since then, the company has been extracting raw materials on a commercial scale, supplying Placencia and other parts of Stann Creek District with sand and gravel.  What the owners found when they arrived, but also possibly contributed to are eroded embankments along the tributary.  According to Abraham Frose, he has been working carefully to restore the denuded portions of the riverside.


Abraham Frose

Abraham Frose, Proprietor, West End Enterprise Ltd.

“I showed you a bank that we rehabilitated three years ago and that is what we envision for the whole of our section and I would encourage every mining operator to do the same thing.  You dont go and you dont dig deep, you skim off twelve inches max below the water, you do it in the right spots and you wahn have gravel forever and you wahn have nice banks, solid banks that are protected.”


Regrettably, that is not the case for Citrus Products of Belize Limited.  As we’ve reported, CPBL has lost portions of its groves to erosion. Senior Farm Manager Dwight Montero, alleges West End Enterprise is to blame.


Dwight Montero

Dwight Montero, Senior Farm Manager, C.P.B.L.

“We have done some assessments and we are in the thousands of dollars right now because of that erosion because when you look at these trees, these are all mature, grown trees and if you put a value to it with the production that these trees have, definitely we are in the thousands of dollars that we have lost from this erosion.”


Notwithstanding the damage which Frose flatly denies is caused by his operations, he believes that there is more to the allegations being made against him than an environmental concern.


Abraham Frose

“It definitely cannot be the environment, it has to be a personal agenda why they are requesting it and I can prove that they do have a personal agenda in that they are not being truthful in everything that they are saying.  I can supply you with spreadsheets that show that we have invested a lot of money in the Pomona to Dangriga area in the past three years and I can back it all up with signed documents that prove every one of them.  And yet, they are saying that this company has not done anything for the community and the area.”


Frose has furnished News Five with copies of several waybills from the quarry in Pomona where assistance has been provided to the village in areas such as garbage disposal.  Corporate citizenship aside, CPBL maintains that mining must be conducted in a more responsible manner to prevent further degradation.


Dwight Montero

“We cant bring back the trees that we have lost, the land that we have lost but we want it to stop because even with citrus greening weve lost and we are losing trees and then now with erosion, we could prevent if we do things the proper way.”


For Frose, he simply wants to move on with his business and provide employment for the community.


Abraham Frose

“All I want to do is, I want to survive.  I want to give people jobs, were giving quite a few people jobs, from Pomona and the areas and if anybody things its easy work breaking stones, come to my place [and] I will show you [that] its hard work.  We work hard for what we do but we try to stay honest and we try to protect our environment.  I believe and I hope that the Mining Department would attest to what I am saying.”


We note that personnel from the Mining Unit were on hand during our visit to the site on Tuesday morning. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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