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Mar 19, 2014

Rosewood plunder on the rise in Toledo despite existing moratorium

The wholesale pillaging of rosewood in southern Belize continues unchecked despite a moratorium which came into effect in February 2012. And we can report tonight that since the start of the annual dry season there has seen a spike in illegal harvesting activities within the Toledo District.  On Tuesday, an operation in the vicinity of Trio Village reportedly yielded a Chinese businessman an undisclosed number of flitches.  This is the second encounter since last month involving the plunder of rosewood trees.  In early February, rangers from the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management happened upon a well organized operation within the area of the Sarstoon-Temash National Park.  That chance meeting involved Guatemalan loggers who were felling rosewood along the Belize/Guatemala border near Black Creek.  With the more recent encounter occurring on Tuesday afternoon, concerns are being raised regarding the effectiveness of the suspension.  According to Wil Maheia, of PGTV, there were no indications that Forest Officers were unaware of the activity, nor is there much effort being placed on the policing of the forest.


Via phone: Wil Maheia, PGTV

Via Phone: Wil Maheia

“Despite the moratorium, rosewood is being cut in our district.  A few weeks ago, SATIIM intercepted a number or rosewood flitches inside the Sarstoon-Temash National Park.  That went unchecked and uncensored, then as recent as yesterday, a container full of rosewood left Trio Village going north in a black Mack truck and if there is a moratorium on rosewood our question here in the Toledo District is why is rosewood still being cut, still being harvested and still being shipped out of the district?”


Isani Cayetano

“Do you know if, based on your observation of the activity which took place on Tuesday, whether forestry officials were involved or was this either an isolated case where there was no one around to check on what was taking place?”


Wil Maheia

“Clearly it was in the middle of the day, so clearly [the] Forestry [Department] should have, or someone in Forestry definitely knows about the fact that rosewood was being exported or loaded into a container from Trio Village.  Is the Chief Forest Officer or anyone in the Forest Department is saying this is salvaged wood I would like to challenge them on that because clearly this wood was recently cut and it is going out of the district.  And if there is, like they say, a moratorium on rosewood, then how come, how is it that so much rosewood is still being exported and leaving the district and where are the forest officers?”


Isani Cayetano

“Was there an attempt on your part to ascertain who this activity is being conducted under, i.e. the businessman or the company involved in this operation?”


Wil Maheia

“Yes, definitely the information we have received so far is that there is some Chinese company, Edison B, by the name of Edison B who has the permission or who has the authority to export it.  As far as we are concerned it’s a Chinese company that claims the name Edison B.”


Isani Cayetano

“Were any officials notified at the point where you or whomever observed this activity taking place, were any officials notified of what was happening?”


Wil Maheia

“Well, our complaints, I instantly called the Forest Department, the calls go unanswered and I am sure that other people have called them and notified them and informed them of the fact that rosewood is being moved from the Toledo District and it continues to move from the Toledo District.  It seems as though there is no regards for the laws of Belize when it comes to rosewood or the people involved in rosewood are above the laws of this country.”


The value of the rosewood cannot be appraised because the quantity is undetermined. 

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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6 Responses for “Rosewood plunder on the rise in Toledo despite existing moratorium”

  1. Ali BaBarrow, in Belize there is no justice. says:

    What are the odds that Ali and his 40 are at the center of this?

    Throw guns into the mix, somebody is going to end up dead. A Toledo Mayan, a Taiwanese broker, a Guat laborer, a corrupt government official? As long as it is not one of the 40, who cares? This is just the cost of doing business.

  2. Teddy Steinway says:

    The Forestry Dept. is a joke.

  3. hard woking Belizean says:

    Sadly & unfortunately only in Belize do all of these sh*& happens!! We will never advance in the world because of the mentality of our leaders and us Belizeans…..CIVIL UNREST is not good however it causes betterment for a country and its people! God Bless Belize!

  4. CEO says:

    Wil I hate to encourage public unrest but you need to set up road blocks and do not let them leave with the wood. If the GOB a.k.a. the Forestry Dept shows up or does not show up and does nothing about it then we know then that they are behind the lawlessness!

    Seems like every elected official are in bed with at least one chiny! We need to expose them just the way we did the passport mess!

    Saying they are leaving PG with Rosewood will not be as vivid as showing video footage.

    Belizeans at some point will need to stand up to protect our own interest.

  5. Rod says:

    Look who is involved again family of vega the minister the biggest thieves in Belize udp at work again.

  6. Timber says:

    I totally concur with you CEO. We have video footage and deter them long enough in the forest or on the highway so that the public can see what’s going. Then, when the police arrive, let’s see if they will do their jobs and enforce the law. This will eventually force the perpetrators to start calling names of all who’s involved.

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