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Apr 11, 2013

How can confiscated rosewood be sustainably harvested?

So, finally there is an explanation of an official sort; even if delivered in a less than official fashion. But there are glaring points which the Minister of National Security brushed aside during his regularly scheduled appearance on the “Fus Ting Da Mawnin” show. In March, rosewood found in Belize and the rest of the region were granted Cites Appendix Two Classification. That classification does not stop exportation, but it ensures stricter regulation of the timber trade. It has to be proven that the rosewood was sustainably harvested. The fact that it was not monitored by the Forest Department makes it logical that it violates the Cites classification. Doing business with the exporters who violated the moratorium and allowing them to produce more flitches that were hidden from the law, is highly questionable. Today the media, including freelance reporter Mike Rudon, caught up with Saldivar outside of the U.D.P. Headquarters at the foot of the Belchina Bridge in Belize City.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Minister of National Security John Saldivar defends a Cabinet decision which was taken to release confiscated rosewood into the hands of exporters who will then handle the sale of the product and split the profits with government.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“I imagine what is of concern to Cabinet is what we do with this valuable product that is on the ground and we have to be realistic about what to do with it. The last time the Minister set fire to close to half a million dollars worth of rosewood there were those who applauded her for it but there were also those who felt that it was a waste of resources and so Cabinet has tried to strike a balance and see how they can get rid of that rosewood that is on the ground so that after April twenty-sixth, we can have a clearer direction as to where we go with the rosewood trade.”



“But how do those who were smuggling it in stand now to gain legitimacy from it when they should have lost all rights when it was confiscated under a government enacted moratorium?”


John Saldivar

“Well, like I said we’re trying to strike a balance between bringing some finality to this issue, remembering that yes there is some rosewood that has been confiscated but there is also rosewood that has not been confiscated that we don’t know where it is, it is just lying out there and so we want to make sure that we round up all the rosewood so that when we start with a new rosewood harvesting policy that we’re starting from scratch.”


Some of the exporters are linked to extremely high-level politicians in government, and one is even a close relation of a very senior government minister. But Saldivar says that didn’t factor in, or in his own careful words…


John Saldivar

“I don’t know that that factored into Cabinet’s decision to come up with this program…that any of the names of the exporters were discussed, and this is being done because we feel that this is the best way to conclude this matter so that the Forestry Department when it is finished with its stocktaking and comes up with a new rosewood harvesting policy, can start from scratch without having to worry about those rosewood that were harvested before the new policy takes place.”


Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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3 Responses for “How can confiscated rosewood be sustainably harvested?”

  1. Bear says:

    Share the profits, share a prison cell, too.

    RESIGN, SALDIVAR! You’re a disgrace.

  2. Jose Acosta says:

    Not satisfied by the 50 grand given during Xmas GOB is now forking out monies to reps for village councils. How do I go about requesting those accounts under the freedom of information act?

  3. Tarasbulba says:

    If you want to strike an honest and legal balance, then thelaws of our country should have been in process. Culprits, who you call Exporters to be arrested, due process, sent to jail/fine, and item sold by either GOB or Town Council (Jurisdiction where crime was committed) to conduct sale of said Rosewood. Documents for prior sales can be easily traced because I’m positive that Buyers don’t give a Rat’s butt who they buy this comodity from. We da noh all kunumunu Minista, da fool di talk but da noh fool di listen. Dean’s famous word, “Jackass”!!!!

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