The Forestry Department also participated in today's meeting. Before the election, that department had become the scourge of conservation groups because of its lax position on a largely unregulated rosewood trade.
But one of Minister Alamilla's first actions when she got into office was to effect a moratorium.
The pleased the conservationists but angered rosewood cutters and traders.
Today Chief Forestry Officer Sabido told us that an inventory of all rosewood is underway, including those trees that are still standing in the forest and those that have already been felled.
He outlined the plan going forward:..
Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forestry Officer
"There will be several teams out in the field in the Toledo District and parts of Stann Creek because it is occurring in the Stann Creek District as well to go in and start doing assessments of the material that is already cut."
"We will also be informing the villages and villagers who have material that are already fallen in the forest to start bringing out their material, with a view to us having a global assessment of how much have already been fell."
"What we want is to make sure that in terms of the villagers, the villages down there that have made some investment in this material that they have cut that we do take into consideration to an extent that there is some benefit that they can derive of it now. But then certainly as you said in terms of the standing volume we will also be doing that so that we can also make those recommendations to cabinet in terms of what is there and how much can be taken out over a period of time."
"What we are seeing is to take a step back and assess the situation, appraised cabinet through our minister and then we can move ahead in terms of making a decision that doesn't dis-enfranchise the people that have some livelihood that they can benefit from the timber."
At some point in the future after things have been regularized, Sabido says he expects that Rosewood extraction will be permitted in a regulated fashion but under revamped regulations.