Crooked Tree is a beautiful island village!
This is a village rich with natural and cultural history.
It’s the only inland island of significance in the country and probably
this entire hemisphere. This is one of the reasons that the
international community was quick to name it a RAMSAR site. But
despite this RAMSAR designation, this land area seems to illustrate that the
“ministah dah Boss” culture is alive and well. The Minister do not
have to adhere to the environmental regulations and after the scare they gave to
SATIM, it seems that every other environmental NGO has gotten “Lock Jaw.”
Everyone is afraid to speak! We all must be reminded that
we must speak out when we witness a wrongdoing or else we will continue to be in
this turmoil that now exists in our country. Let us remember a
wise saying by the Great Phillip Goldson, “The time to save our country is
before we lose it.”
Let me continue by clarifying that I am not against
development; I am against senseless development that can be classified as crimes
against the environment. I love Belize and that’s why I am
speaking out since APAMO has gotten “Lock Jaw.” The road across
the Crooked Tree lagoon can, and should be, classified as a crime against the
environment. We did the exact thing about twenty-five years ago
and we all saw the damage that it caused. Now we are repeating the
same mistake and it seems that we have learned nothing over the years.
We all can remember a time when Crooked Tree had nice
swimming areas with a hard-bottom lagoon ideal for recreation among many other
things. But now these areas have become mud pits. It
used to be fun to swim there but not now! This is because a road
was built across the lagoon and the bridges were not put in place until several
years later. What is amazing is that this is happening again and
the people of the village have said nothing publicly. Many of them
benefit from the tourism dollars and they are standing there watching a minister
killing the goose that’s laying the golden egg yet jaws remain locked.
I fully support the road across the lagoon if it is done
right. This can be done where it is a win-win situation for
everyone. If only the minister would follow the environmental
compliance plan outlined to the Audubon Society and the Minister by the
Department of Environment. It would cost only a few dollars more
to do it properly and we should view this as an investment in protecting our
precious natural resources. But this lack of foresight seems to be
our ministers way of doing things. Sure, the road
project gets done, but at what cost? A magnificent wetland area
will be reduced to an almost lifeless pond. Funny how history has
a way of repeating itself.
Peoples National Party
Res ipsa loquitor, Latin for "the thing speaks for itself," as
these attached pictures and Wil Maheia's statement surely
in addition to the problems Wil identifies in his attached statement, our
Minister, "Clear the Land" Castro, has accomplished the following by building
this road in a way that Wil says is in direct contravention of the environmental
compliance plan for the road:
Crooked Tree and other communities to much greater storm damage by removing the
natural storm protection provided by these wetlands;
- Contaminated the water systems for Crooked Tree and other
- Destroyed the water system that replenishes the aquifer that provides
water to Crooked Tree;
- Destroyed the habitat of the birds that are the primary reason that
tourists go to Crooked Tree - - thus ruining the tourism industry
WERE the Belize Audubon Society, the Department of the Environment and the
Association of Protected Area Management Organizations? Where were all of
OK for our government to refuse to obey our laws? Is it OK for the Department
of the Environment to look the other way because this possibly irreversible
damage was done under the direct order of a minister of government?
it's ok for the current government to refuse to obey the environmental
compliance plan for the Crooked Tree road, then why wasn't it OK for former
Prime Minister Musa to divert a "few" million dollars from housing to cover the
debt of people providing a hospital? What's the difference? (How much did it
cost to build this road, anyway?)
OK that the Audubon Society seems to have been co-opted by the government (be it
PUP or UDP) because BAS gets most of its income from the government for
its management of Crooked Tree, Cockscomb and other protected areas? (As is the
case with most of our country's larger NGOs, such as the Southern Environmental
Association (formerly Friends of Nature) and Programme for Belize.)
the Audubon Society and the Association of Protected Areas Management
Organizations have NOT been co-opted, why wasn't a lawsuit filed to obtain an
injunction against the building of this road when it did not include culverts
that may have prevented this environmental disaster and were mandated by the
Environmental Compliance Plan for the road?
are our biggest and most well-funded environmental organizations.
If we can't rely on them, who can we rely on? Surely not the
government, as has been amply demonstrated by the Crooked Tree road
like Candy Gonzalez struggle alone, without funding, to attempt to require the
government and BEL to obey the orders of our Supreme Court. A tiny little
organization like ours has to take on an environmental disaster waiting in the
wings with the building of a marina on the seaside of the Placencia Peninsula; a
fledging organization like ACCSD faces the almost certain destruction of a
natural treasure, Hol Chan, all by itself; one organization, SATIIM, stands
alone wile the Sarstoon-Temash is threatened with seismic testing for the "God"
of oil, while our government refuses to instead invest heavily in the
sustainable power resources that we have in abundance -- wind, sun, bagasse.
Indeed, we all stand silently by while toxic fumes from battery acid,
arsenic in treated wood, cleaning fluids and and other toxic wastes float
out over the air of Belize City from a burning garbage dump, exposing people not
just to immediate respiratory problems but to long term terminal illnesses
including cancer, leukemia and birth defects in future generations -- not to
mention the water holding these toxins after the dump was flooded by NEMO. Our
government assures us that this water did not or will not reach the sea. Is
that true? And, even if it is, how much of the ground water was contaminated by
this toxic waste - water that WILL reach the rivers that provide drinking water
to much of the Belize District, even if it does not reach the
ok that DOE will not comply with its own laws regarding protected areas and the
cayes? Is it ok that a well-run and efficient organization is booted out of its
management of a protected area that directly affects the culture and birthright
of the third largest segment of our population?
it's not in our own backyard, then it's ok???????
is wrong with US, as organizations AND as individual people? Are we afraid?
And if we are afraid, what are we afraid OF? Afraid of losing our lives?
Probably no one is going to take us out and stand us in front of a firing
squad. So, what are our fears? Losing our businesses, our social standing, our
"contacts?" I have to think that none of those things are going to be valuable
to any of us if we lose our drinking water, our reef, our fish, our lobster and
conch, our birds, our jaguars -- and our people to floods and disease -- and
importantly, our personal sense of right and wrong, our ethics, our values --
it time for more than a mostly ignored Lamanai Declaration, part deux? We have
power, but we're losing. Why?
because we're all just concerned with the one little part we have and we're
afraid that we'll lose that if we expand our horizons? What happens if GOB
takes away management of Cockscomb and Crooked Tree from BAS? What happens if
SEA no longer manages Gladden Spit and Laughing Bird? Who will? Who will make
the reports and assume the responsibility that is associated with the funding
agencies that provide so much support to GOB? Can GOB afford to lose these
organizations and their credibility? Can Belize afford to lose what little
remaining credibility it has left with the international tourism
but true, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. So, what are going to do?
And if we're going to do anything, we need to do it FAST. And if we're not going
to do anything, then I propose that we all just shut up, take what happens and
hope for mercy when it's time for our judgment day.
Toy - PCSD