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Jul 18, 2011

Illegal logging at our western border still under investigation

Our western border is regularly breached by Guatemalans who extract Belize’s natural resources for profit. The incident on July thirteenth where shots were fired between Guatemalan loggers occurred more than four miles inside the dense forest of the Chiquibul National Park.  The border infractions are bold since the loggers travel miles into the protected area with guns, horses, chain saws and other equipment. According to Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, the B.D.F.’s Chief of Staff, the B.D.F. is in close contact with its Guatemalan counterparts, but more needs to be done on their side of the border to stop the risky behavior that can cause an international incident.

Lt. Col. David Jones, Chief of Staff, B.D.F.

“There were four soldiers on the patrol, two members from the FCD and a police officer—they were part of a larger patrol that were inside the area. They actually went out because there is a patrol base nearby and they send out patrols on a daily basis to different areas to try and locate where illicit activities are happening. So that was the reconnaissance patrol that was out there.”

Jose Sanchez

“The poverty in Guatemala is forcing them to do this. But do we have enough soldiers? Is there anything that we can do more to protect our forest from these foreigners?”

Lt. Col. David Jones

David Jones

“Well we are trying our best. We have to find the location. When we do find the location where these guys are operating, we have the police officers operating with us. It’s not an issue whereby we don’t have enough soldiers. Of course we would like to have more soldiers and that would even put us into a better position to clamp down on what is happening in the border. But the thing is that because of the poverty on the other side, these guys are willing to take risks. And it would be nice if the Guatemalan authorities would assist us in discouraging these people from coming in which I don’t they are doing enough of a good job of trying to discourage these people. If they assist us to try and discourage them, then we don’t have to encounter them and probably have fatal incidents on the border.”

Jose Sanchez

“It’s an illegal logging incident. Was there any need for you or anyone from the B.D.F. to have a correspondence with the Guatemalan forces?”

Lt. Col. David Jones

“Well, we are in contact with the Guatemalan forces. They have been informed of the incident. We do have regular meetings with them so when we do meet with them, we will discuss this matter. However, this matter is still under investigation. We still have people out there, we are talking to the police who was on the patrol and we are talking to people from FCD to find out what actually transpired. Now the lumber is still out there. We need to extract the lumber and bring it in and we need to continue sending subsequent patrol in that area and other areas to try and stop these guys from coming in.”

In 2007, over one thousand acres inside the Chiquibul were cleared for cultivation. The infractions which included extraction of timber and xate leaves, were exacerbated by the poaching of wildlife.

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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5 Responses for “Illegal logging at our western border still under investigation”

  1. Lucas says:

    Lt. Col. Jonse, your best is not enough. By the way, it is stupid to expect Guat. Officials to cooperate by discouraging their country-men to stop their illegal activities in Belizean Territory. As a matter of fact, it is them who are encouraging it. However, I do understand that our security forces job is made more complicated by interference from Belmopan. It is very sad indeed to see how time and time again our sovereignty is violated just to have our elected officials turn a blind eye. If the Barrow administration was truely nationalistic, their first priority would be safe-guarding the sanctity of our sovereign borders not taking away private enterprises.

  2. reggie says:

    BDF should make some trail bye the border where they can used some of that vehicle they are riding around belize city in.I saw a few they used in the city which i know could be used in the jungle to patrol the border.give the BDF the tools to work with.But the minister of defence and pm are city guys.they would never think about that.they only see $.everything crash in BELIZE.

  3. Rod says:

    We are being invaded from all fronts Guatemala Mexico Honduras invaded and being robbed of all our timber animals and our land and where is the minister of defense no one knows it’s like he has disappeared from the gov. Where is perdomo why is he not being questioned about all the innovations into our country is he not minister of defense then why is not answering to the people of this country another useless piece of this gov. All they are good for is corruption stealing land and stealing businesses not good for anything else where is perdomo channel 5 come on you have gone soft on this gov channel 5 find out where is perdomo have him answer to the innovations of our country.

  4. bzn2dabone says:

    I still say “shoot first, and ask questions later”. These fricking chapines needs to understand that this is Belize, and we will not allow them to come in and rape our pristine forests. As a matter of fact, I am still not sure why there is still an investigation going on. It is very clear that what happened is that idiot guatemalans breached our border (illegal entry), cut down our forest in a national reserve (illegal logging – and to top it off, without a proper license) and attacked our security forces (assault with a deadly weapon, use of deadly means of harm, assault on the security forces, possession of unlicensed weapon and ammunition), hey, I am no lawyer, but I am sure that there is a long list of charges that need to be brought against these stupid guatemalans. Let’s make an example of them.

  5. defend BZ says:

    why would the ahthoties in guatemala be concern about encroachment in belize when they were thought fron an early age that belize is a department of guatemala?

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