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Aug 1, 2012

Guatemalans panning for gold in Chiquibul without resistance

In a related story, it has now been confirmed that about three hundred Guatemalans have been illegally panning for gold which they sell way below market value.   The Friends for Conservation and Development, which co-manages the Chiquibul National Park, says that while they are doing their part, particularly with the joint forces unit, they believe that regulatory agencies are pivotal to adequately address these growing issues. While more boots are needed on the ground combined with the enforcement of penalties, Executive Director of F.C.D. says that the situation is one that must be monitored and addressed quickly.


Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, F.C.D.

“We can always understand that there is that risk and I think we need to be aware of that. Any value or element with value, certainly people will not give it just like that, particularly for gold having a much higher price; certainly we have to be cautious with this situation. We have seen it with Scarlet Macaws; illegal logging and we will not be surprised that of course, this thing can also be a big risk in terms of engagement. For that reason, we have noted recently that the Guatemalan Government needs to be aware of this situation because it can escalate, so at least they have been briefed that the amount of people involved. We already knew that this was going to attract many more people.”


Rafael Manzanero

Andrea Polanco

“Mr. Manzanero, as the Executive Director of the F.C.D., how prepared you feel the joint forces unit is in terms of adequately addressing this issue inside Belize?”


Rafael Manzanero

“Just like Xate and illegal logging, it takes us time to understand how this thing operates. I must say that over the last three weeks, now that we have a twenty four hour watch over that area, we are learning. With xate, it took us quite some time. In terms of the illegal gold panning, we are yet to understand how these people are organized and their strategies.”


Andrea Polanco

“Are you confident that you guys will be able to maybe solve this ongoing problem, especially when it comes to taking out the illegal gold panners from Belize?”


Rafael Manzanero

“We have to feel optimistic; we need to put the interventions and be effective. I think if there is something that we have learnt, is that we have been able to put an indent; an incision into the issue but when that really happens then something happens elsewhere. We have tried to be much more strategic in our activities on the ground but I need to feel optimistic and as a country we need to feel optimistic that it will require of course resources, and be much more synchronized as agencies.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you think that there needs to be some kind of revision of the laws and enforcement?”


Rafael Manzanero

“Yeah, I think that the regulations really need to be revisited. I know that the Forestry Department has been revisiting this for years like the Wildlife Protection Act, the national park systems act,; it is an ongoing exercise, particularly now, given the magnitude of the problem occurring in other protected areas at large, it’s not only Chiquibul, there’s like Colombia River and others, so I think now that it should encourages us more in terms of looking at those regs. As for the enforcement part, it is important for synchronization like BAHA for the horse; immigration for illegal entry; in the case of gold mining, Mines and Petroleum; in the case of the illegal logging, Forest Department. We can do our work and even though we might and we could do the work, we would like that they play their role as well.”

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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10 Responses for “Guatemalans panning for gold in Chiquibul without resistance”

  1. Storm says:

    We have laws to prevent this. let’s start with detaining them for illegal entry and putting them in internment camps to serve criminal sentences, Then deport them all.

    300 today will be 3,000 soon, maybe by year’s end.

  2. ang says:

    Belize should get proof. Sue Guat. Use the money to patrol more or buy stuff needrd to patrol…n demsnd oas press guats to promote tjat bze is not theirs its illegal to rob wjats not theirs. After ccj decision indemnization monies from brits will be used to builf a highway to let guats pass which is not benefitting us. Enuf confidence building measures all this does is gi mp vonfid to illegal poachers n squattas

  3. ang says:

    Belize shud get proof of incursions n sue the gust govt because tjey arent stoppong nor educating their farmers from robbing. With monies won have them promote that tjis is private land n patrol mo. When england indemnify us we will build a rd to allow guats to pass n will need monies to patrol. Tjis will benefit guats n enuf confid building measures.

  4. ang says:

    It may be time to call for brit help this is an invasion we had a pact before they left camp that if we were ever to be incursioned to this magnitude we could call on them to help us negotiate. We shouldbe gathering aerial digital proof of these incursions to show how gradually depletion is happening. You may have laughed at Musas horsy statement about a helicopter but even this could be shot down.

  5. DREALBELIZEAN!! says:

    jus make the area active bdf firing area. Then build the creole nation with culture. Cover the outside inside perimiters.
    Thanks Guatemalans.

  6. Belizean says:

    With Shot guns???do you even know what you are talking????

  7. blackberry says:

    Panning for gold without a license is illegal in Belize. If it were Belizeans doing this our prison would have 300 more inmates.

  8. Now i see says:

    Yes, we need the British they kick @&&. You will see how fast the Guats will learn to stay in their garbage. We are not 100% independent anyway. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

  9. Seletar says:

    The Brits have a budget crisis that has caused them to reduce their overseas military commitments, no chance of help from there.

    But MAYBE they could send trainers to teach villagers to defend their territory, which is not too expensive. The U.S. had a program like that in Vietnam called the Civilian Irregular Defense Group, which you can read about on the Internet. It sounds like a practical solution to me.

    SOMETHING must be done! Any better ideas?

  10. Josephino Estroberto Pesomedio says:


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