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#466173 - 06/08/13 06:05 AM CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013
Marty Offline

Friday, July 19th at the Radisson Fort Geourge Hotel,
8am til noon

#467114 - 06/23/13 05:41 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
More Information ...

#468015 - 07/12/13 06:16 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Chiquibul Symposium is on Friday the 19th. For some odd reason, it's in Belize City instead of Cayo, but at least it's in the Caracol room at the Radison. There are some great shots from Southern Cayo in the video. It sounds like they'll be doing some great brainstorming on how to preserve it.

"Join us at the first national symposium on the amazing but threatened Chiquibul Forest where Valerie Woods will gather some of the brightest minds from conservation, business, government and national security agencies to share critical information about this biodiversity hotspot and discuss strategies to reduce threats to it."

#468253 - 07/16/13 06:35 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Valerie Woods, symposium coordinator, explains the importance of the Chiquibul

The Easter holidays are the times when Belizeans do the most traveling in and around the country.

This past Easter, Valarie Woods and her family made a special journeyed to explore the natural wonders of the Chiquibul forest nestled deep inside the Mountain Pine Ridge range, in the Cayo District.

But Woods and her family were not alone. They had made the trip to the Chiquibul, with other like-minded campers from Friends of Conservation and Development. From out of that Easter vacation trip was born the idea for the Chiquibul National Symposium, which will be held on July 19, at the Radison Fort George Hotel.

Once they were camped out in the forest, the disturbing evidence of illegal logging and other human activities that were deemed harmful to the natural balance of the Chiquibul became apparent.

“We kept hearing chainsaws and seeing evidence of tracks,” Woods said.

As a consequence of this, a healthy discussion ensued between Woods, who had worked with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), and the Friends of Conservation and Development, who were her fellow campers.

“There and then I decided to sign up to be a friend of the Chiquibul,” Woods recalled.

“After that, we decided to have further discussion to determine what was going on in one of the most beautiful areas of the country that seems to be under a very serious threat.

What can I do to help, as a volunteer member of Friends of Conservation?” Woods pondered.

So after brain-storming the issue of the threat to the Chiquibul, they came up with the idea for a National Symposum on the Chiquibul.

“The idea is to generate awareness to a wide cross-section of the Belizean public,” Woods explained. “The Chiquibul Symposium is being done with support of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Forestry Department.”

Woods said that the National Symposium on the Chiquibul is not just from a conservation standpoint. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Chief Forest Officer as well as the Belize Defense Force Commander are key to the discussion, because they are very familiar with the realities there.

“We felt that the business sector would lend a lot of credibility to the discussion, after having done presentations to them,” Woods added. “A lot of work is being done on the symposium in a collaborative manner.”

This symposium arose out of a need to raise awareness of the Belizean public, because of what we witnessed. It became evident to me that a lot of people don’t know enough about the Chiquibul.

Woods explained that it is not just about the illegal activities, but why that area is so critical to Belize’s development. We are talking watershed and the need for that watershed quality to be preserve. Not just for the communities of Guatemala that depends on it, but for Belize and Belize City. We are talking about gold and other minerals.

When asked about the incursions inside the Chiquibul, Woods said that every year, hundreds of Guatemalans go into the forest to do all kinds of illegal activities.

“There is a very strong tourism potential for the Chiquibul that is yet to be developed, both soft as well as extreme adventure tourism. There is also a very strong cultural resource with the Caracol natural monument as well. It is also a major anchor point for tourism in the Mountain Pine Ridge area,” Woods pointed out.

The Chiquibul Forest encompass over 437,000 acres that represents 7.7% of Belize’s landmass and is the largest bloc of protected area in Belize.

In 1938, the Carocol Archeological Reserve was first discovered. The Chiquibul Forest Reserve was established in 1956 and the Chiquibul National Park was established in 1991.

The Caracol Maya Site and the Chiquibul Caves System are among the four “unique tourism assets” cited in the Belize National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

The Reporter

#468511 - 07/19/13 05:45 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Expanding Awareness Of Chiquibul

The Chiquibul Forest – is the largest protected area in Belize and being along the western border, it’s under constant pressure from populations on the Guatemalan side. The residents on that side are looking for green land where they can farm, or virgin forests from which they can extract huge logs, or Xate – and that’s because their forests have been stripped and they’ve run out of arable land….Which leads them to the Chiquibul’s vast expanse of protected areas.

That un-relenting pressure is the subject of a high level Symposium that’s being held tomorrow. It’s called “Alarming Threats To Peace Conservation National Stability.” That’s pretty dramatic and Valerie Woods who is a Member of the Friends For Conservation and Development which co-manages Chiquibul, explains the urgency and the need for a national reaction:

Valerie Woods - Member, Friends For Conservation and Development
"This is not a foreign abstract concept, this is happening right in our backyard just like Noh Mul just like any shipwreck on our reef or in the seas. The only reason we are not seeing it as we see those other things because it's so far in Chiquibul, all the news media and the general public - all we've had is a few Guatemalans coming over with the incidents. What we're trying to do is to show you that those few incidents fit in the context of the big area and where it is. So tomorrow we do hope that we change what is an abstract to an absolute positive, tangible 'it's here' in our backyard and as emotionally attached as we are to Noh Mul we should equally know that when you say Chiquibul it's like you're looking right over your shoulder because it's for us and it's in our backyard. We do see that it deserves a singular campaign in the House too so to be honest it's a long term thing - it will require nothing different than the road to the independence and I'm not exaggerating. House to house - business to business - school to school, that's how serious we are about this Chiquibul area and that's the importance we've put to it and the amount of effort it took to get us to independence that is what it will require to get people to rally around Chiquibul and have it become a household name. Chiquibul forest is four times the size of Barbados, the amount of agricultural farms and Milpa farming that is going on in the area is occupying about one and a half times the size of Belize City around thousands of acres that's being impacted deforested every year so it's reaching critical mass that everybody needs to be aware. Because we can't talk about we're sovereign and independent if it's happening everyday right through the table using Chiquibul as the gateway. So it is the first time that we're bringing pretty much most of the parties involved together - airing it publicly. What we are hoping is that because we've had the symposium Friday, July 19th - first and foremost more Belizeans understand the importance and why we collectively need to act. What we hope to present tomorrow is with the stark reality but from a comprehensive perspective. So it's Caracol, the National Park and the Forest Reserve which collectively is dubbed the Chiquibul Forest."

Tomorrow’s symposium at the Radisson is not your regular talk shop; it will run from 8 – 12 only and will minimize on speeches. It is open to the public.

Channel 7

#468615 - 07/20/13 04:59 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Symposium Brings Awareness on the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in Belize

The Chiquibul National Park has been in the news countless times because its resources have come under undeterred plundering by our neighbors from across the border.  Reporter Hipolito Novelo brings you this in depth report on another effort to create awareness on the illegal activity within the vast expanse of this natural wonder called the Chiquibul.


The Caracol Room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel was packed to capacity as stake holders, invited guests and visitors filled the room for the Chiquibul Symposium 2013. The topic for the day was the “Alarming Threats to Biodiversity, Peace and National Stability.” The Chiquibul Forest is one of Belize’s most precious and valuable resources. It’s described as a hotspot for biodiversity as it is inhabited by various species; both animals and plants. Over forty percent of Belize’s population depends on the crystal water that is produced in the Chiquibul Rain Forest. Spanning over  half a million hectares, the Chiquibul Forest, as the largest protected reserve in Belize, is valued at over three billion dollars, as explained by Forest Officer, Percival Cho.


“I basically talked about the value of the Chiquibul from two angles, the material value and the natural value; we, Belizeans usually understand the material value, the xate, the gold, the timber; so, I looked at that and said it is worth about two billion Belize dollars; that’s about the country’s GDP;   now, there is the natural wealth of the Chiquibul – the water services, the clean air and so forth.  Most Belizeans don’t know that we get most of our water from the Chiquibul; it flows out of the Chiquibul into the Macal, the Mopan and into the Belize River; we valued that as well but really and truly you can’t put value on life and water is life but we support a value of one point three billion dollars, if you could sell all the water that comes out of the Chiquibul.  Gold comes from the Chiquibul but no one has said how much is there, it’s difficult to say, I have tried it but we estimate it is worth about forty million dollars over forty years but it is probably more than that.  Xate, timber – we also buy timber from the wood market and we don’t know where it comes from, we don’t know the full value of it, we pay a dollar or two per foot but in all the Chiquibul no one has really valued this wood and we estimate it’s worth about two billion dollars.”


“With recent incidents of encroachment into the Chiquibul by Guatemalans, various treats have been introduced; those from the other side of the border are panning for gold, exploiting Xate, killing and selling the wildlife like the mountain cow and scarlet macaws. The reserve is managed by Friends of Conservation. Executive Director Rafael Manzanero said it is a national conservation priority.”


“The primary threats, if we put on a level of scale and urgency, the first one would be the agricultural frontier expansion in the sense of milpa farming and secondly, illegal logging in the Chiquibul Forest.  There has been a lot of things that has been happening in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in terms of intervention s that have been placed, the problem however, is that we find ourselves dealing with issues that  would tend to appear from time to time.  At the aspect of doing xatero activity, we knew that there was a need of patrolling along those tracks and trails.”


And those trails are carefully being followed by Belize Defense Force soldiers but with just over a thousand strong, the breath and length of the Chiquibul cannot be monitored adequately, unless there is a unified partnership from the various stakeholders. Commander of the BDF, Brigadier General David Jones, has been deep into the Chiquibul and if encroachment, poaching and illegal entry are to be dealt with accordingly, he says that a strategic plan must be set in place.


“There is a need for all the stakeholders to get together; the government has to be involved, FCD, Forestry, Customs, Immigration, in particular the BDF because we will provide the support to any eventuality that occurs out there but there needs to be a strategy where we decide what we want to achieve, how do we want to achieve it and then we need to get together and decide all the resources that we need because within the Belize Defense Force, we require more resources and of course, human resources is one,  physical resources in regards to equipment and whatever devices we need to operate out in the area is needed.  Whatever the government can provide, we have it at the moment, there is need for more but in regards to the rest of the stakeholders, they need to assist us, get to the table with us,  sit down and decide what we want to do but firstly they must come and sit down and let us come up with a plan.”

Reporting For Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo

There are 22 soldiers, four Special Patrol Units and eight rangers operating inside the Chiquibul covering an area of nearly half a million acres of forest. Investment by these authorities on an annual basis is over 1 million. 


#468618 - 07/20/13 05:09 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Chiquibul, What’s the Way Forward?

Chiquibul Forest – it’s almost half a million acres, four times the size of Barbados and it’s been on the news many times. That’s because the vast area is under sustained population pressure from Guatemala, where there are over 63 communities and over 52,700 people are bordering Chiquibul. That leads to all kinds of pressures on the protected area, and today that galaxy of problems was all brought into focus at the first Chiquibul Symposium. 7news was at the standing room only event:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
It was a very full room at the Radisson today and it wasn’t just folks from the conservation community. The room was full of business people, influencers, an just regular folks with an interest in Chiquibul and it’s obviously a lot of people, it was standing room only and the amazing part is - they kept standing for more than four hours. And that’s because after years of news stories and public education - Chiquibul is in the national spotlight and now it’s time to harness that awareness into action and the galvanizing calls is as simple as water like this one that runs through the Chiquibul cave system:

Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Ministry of Forestry
"In fact for the people in Belize City - your water originates from the Chiquibul and it makes and meanders all the way down into Belize City. If we don't protect the Chiquibul - Belize City you are going to be in problems and maybe you'll want to move to Punta Gorda."

Percival Cho - Chiquibul Expert
"So, people from Guatemala to Belize City all drink from Chiquibul's rain which is a rain forest. We all depend on it for life sustaining water."

But, it’s not only water, as Chiquibul expert Percival Cho explained, the material and economic benefits of Chiquibul can be quantified.

Percival Cho
"Material, gold, xate and timber is worth about $2.1 Billion Belize dollars. Every year because of anual interest through growth we increase that value by $3 million dollars. The natural wealth, water and so fort is worth to me more than $1.3 billion dollars but we can put that figure on it. Cultural at the moment, $81,000 a year - so the grand total, if you indulge me a little bit, will be about $3.4 billion Belize dollars - I think it's much more than that, I'm sure it's much more than that; that's one and a half times the GDP of Belize. Who knew a piece of bush worth so much."

As this satellite image illustrates the left side where all the green has been stripped is Guatemala - the greens side is Belize.

Percival Cho
"There's a high probability that in ten years time, if we do nothing, that is what will happen to the Chiquibul - we will loose half of it. This is equivalent to the rate that was occurring here. And in 20 years time we will loose the other half."

According to Rafael Manzanero, it is advancing:

Rafael Manzanero - Executive Director, Friends For Conservation And Development "We documented 43 points milpas for this year alone."

Major Lloyd Jones (Ret'd)- Discussant
"We have ignored the advice of the people on the ground- we have ignored the advice of the Belize Defence Force and so now we end up with what is a national crises. What is going on in the Chiquibul in my view is nothing short of a national embarrassment - it is a failure to act properly and quickly and unless we find the courage and the will to take the action that is needed, at next year's symposium - the picture is going to be bleaker. In 1995 we deployed the Belize Defence Force to the streets of Belize so we shifted the defence from its primary task of defence of the country to assisting the police in maintaining law and order in Belize City. This has been the consequence of that decision. This in my view is hinged on an undeclared policy of appeasement when it comes to Guatemala. If we are going to fix this Chiquibul problem - we have to now transition from a policy of appeasement to a policy of containment. We have got to establish a line somewhere - we see now that there are 15km inside of Belize, we have to establish a line and to make sure that there are no further encroachment occurs."

Manzanero says the most urgent problem right now is Milpa Farming - which the BDF commander agrees with after a recent over-flight:

Rafael Manzanero
"We are recommending, apart from the illegal logging, apart from the gold panning - we are saying Milpas is the one that has not been addressed to the extent. I know the Belize Defence Force was recently there but in reality only about 40% of those Milpas could have really been destroyed. Not because the will is not there but it's the share of man power it is going to require to get rid of a Milpa of 87 acres or 120 acreas that is still out there right now. How many people are willing to say that they are going there to chop those crops."

Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF
"When I took that flight it was alarming - the amount of clearing, planting, encroachment, illegal logging in the Chiquibul at this time. Some of the Milpas Mr. Manzanero spoke about - we destroyed from the 1st - 7th June about 11 of these Milpas - they range from 2 areas to 20 acreas in size. This is what our soldiers have been doing - a lot of acres of farming we destroyed in the area."

Of course, Milpa farming is just one problem and the question that was wrestled with today was how to stop them all.

Wilbur Sabido - Chief Forest Officer
"We have to tackle these actions simultaneously - we cannot be cherry picking of what is the least conflictive activity that we would want to address on any given day."

One of the most interesting models put forward is bi-national partnership:

Roan Balas - Wildlife Conservation Society, Guatemala
"The good news folks is that a lot of interest that is now growing on the Guatemalan side of the border is to begin dealing with these issues. One thing that is readily evident is that this is a program that Belize has to tackly immediately but it cannot do so only by itself. We need to be positive engagement on both sides of the border and there is a lot of civil society interest - a municipal government who enters on the Guatemalan side of the border to begin dealing with these issues."

Rafael Manzanero
"There is no way the Belize can become isolatedi in dealing with this problem. I mostly thank the NGO's that have practically embraced us. I must admit that progress - I was really afraid - we have elements of Guatemala coming to Belize because I was afraid that the counter parts from Guatemala would have had a higher level of hatred and they would curse me but ini reality that has never happened - in fact we have embraced that idea that we have to work together."

Wilbur Sabido
"At this point we're at a really critical juncture in terms of Chiquibul - in terms of what it is to address in the Chiquibul and I think that after all the presentations and all the different issues may seem daunting. I think that once we are able to clearly define which entity is reponsible for what actions - there has to be some conserted level of effort to carry out these actions."

Brig. Gen. David Jones
"The Belize Defence Force cannot do it alone - no single organization in this country can do it alone. You cannot blame and accept that only the government can do it - it is going to be a collective effort."

But who will steer the effort?

Brig. Gen. David Jones
"Two things that need to happen - There needs to be a policy and what should happen in that area. which there should be a political directive. There has to be guidance from the top - that policy needs to be driven and supported by a strategy."

Audrey Wallace - CEO, Office of the Prime Minister
"We have resolved for some time now that we would have internationalize the nature of the problem - we must let the world know that we're doing everything we can to protect these Natural Assests but that in the face of sustained and increasing threats - we cannot do it alone, we must raise international awareness. To this end, we have held discussions with the British, with the Guatemlans and the OAS. We expect that an international conference to raise global awareness will be held in London later this year."

Valerie Woods - Symposium Organizer
"The challenge now is exactly as we've been discussing back stage. What do we do with the recommendations and the commentary by the way by some of the panelists and put it in a format that we can present to government and all authorities and say 'ok guys we can't bite off everything, we know that' for all the reasons that have been stated. What next small focus brainstorming sessions can be done to attack this area, that suggestion and recommendation."

The symposium will be reviewed and then the organizers will decide if it CAN BE an annual event.

Channel 7

#468630 - 07/20/13 05:57 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Chiquibul symposium speaks of wonders and threats

And from rosewood to the symposium on the Chiquibul National Park held in Belize City by the Friends for Conservation and Development…it signifies the launch of an intensive campaign to raise countrywide awareness of the value of this little known and understood mother lode of natural resources. The primary target of this focused campaign is the private sector, which is being asked to step in and shoulder some of the burden of protecting and monitoring the park which is roughly the size of the Corozal District. There was barely standing room this morning as representatives of the public and private sector and pertinent organizations came out in numbers. Mike Rudon was at the symposium and has the story.   At the very start of the symposium this morning, Minister of Forests Lisel Alamilla set the tone for the session with a dose of financial reality where the protection of areas like the Chiquibul National Park are concerned.

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forests

“The optimal amount of money needed to manage Belize’s protected areas system is 40 million dollars a year. And the only contribution that the government of Belize makes in managing these protected areas is through PACT. The Protected Areas Conservation Trust that was set up more than sixteen year ago that may people from across the work come and are struck by the commitment that we as a people has made. To financing protected areas.”   And that stark reality is why the purpose behind the symposium is so critical.

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla

“I would hope that we would find a way to engage the private sector. I think that is the main reason why the symposium was organized to really educate people outside of the conservation community to understand that this that we are facing is not really just the responsibility of the conservation organization and government.”

David Jones, Commander, BDF

“There is a need for all the stakeholders to get together: the government has to be involved, F.C.D., forestry, customs, immigration, in particular the Belize Defense Force because we will provide escort to any event that occurs out there. But there needs to be a strategy where we sit down and decide what do we want o achieve, how do we want o achieve it and then we need to get together and decide all the resources that we need.”  To open the eyes of those at the symposium, the first business of the day was breaking down the resources within the Chiquibul into dollars and cents, a lot of dollars and cents.

Percival Cho

Percival Cho, Forest Ecologist, Forest Department

“We Belizeans we generally don’t understand the material the xate, the gold, the timber. So I valued that and we said it worth about 2 billion Belize dollars that’s like our G.D.P. Now there is the natural value of the Chiquibul, the water services, the clean air and so forth. Most Belizeans don’t know that we get most of our water from the Chiquibul. It flows out of the Chiquibul into the Macal, the Mopan and then the Belize River. So value that as well and it’s not a total value because really and truly you can’t put a value on life and water is life. Wee estimated that it’s valued about 1.3 billion dollars if you could sell all the water that comes out of the Chiquibul.”   Executive Director of FCD Rafael Manzanero gave presentations on the threats to the Chiquibul National Park and the way forward – and putting it simply, he mirrored the words of Brigadier General David Jones by stating that the most critical step forward will be the formulation of a concrete strategy.

David Jones

David Jones

“Whatever the government can provide we have it at the moment. There is need for more but in regards of the stakeholders they need to assist us get to the table with us, sit down and decide what we want to do and then start to do it but first I think we need to come up with a plan.”

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“I think what is becoming very clear is there is an entire set of recommendations which have been done over a couple of weeks or months even. And more recently I think we are coming back again to revisit some of those key recommendations but I feel that one of the key aspect outlined was the concept of developing it as a strategy. In other words to bring up all of those particular recommendations and she how they really basically fits and how we start and how we are basically able to do it on the ground.”  That strategy will likely include revisiting the management of the park so that resources there can be properly utilized to promote long term sustainability.

Rafael Manzanero

Rafael Manzanero

“If some parts of the park must be changed in terms of category in terms of use and utilization. Then we will have to do that if it’s really for the long term sustainability. We are now proposing to the government of Belize and the forestry department to look at how do we get one or two communities from Cayo or from somewhere else to come in and exploit the xate. It can be done but once we have the mechanism in place. Gold is already being extracted in the Chiquibul; its already being done. And there is a logging company that is already extracting the logs in the Chiquibul; a Belizean company. So I feel that it can actually go more but yet it will still require the monitory program and the regulatory agencies.”   Today there were discussions after each presentation followed by a question and answer segment. There was full participation by the private sector including the Chamber of Commerce.

At the close of the symposium, community activist, Wil Maheia noted that there are more resources spent on the gangs at George Street than to protect the Chiquibul.

Channel 5

#468715 - 07/21/13 06:22 AM Re: CHIQUIBUL SYMPOSIUM - 19 JUL, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Chiquibul – Opening a Can of Worms

By Norris Hall

A national symposium on the enormous threats to the Chiquibul National Park which sits in the Western region of Belize on the border with Guatemala gets underway in Belize City this weekend.

The Belize government’s incompetence to protect and defend the borders and in securing this nation’s territorial integrity, will undoubtedly come under very serious scrutiny.

Environmentalists have said that apart from the issue of national security, this crown jewel of Belize’s natural environment and its bio-diversity is under pressure.

Frustrated with the failure, or indifference, of the governments on both sides of the border, environmental groups in both Belize and Guatemala are seeking to strengthen their collaboration for the protection of this important forest. They are also expected to publicly demand that both governments up the ante against farmers, loggers, poachers and gold pan-handlers.

The inability of Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration to address the problem of the incursions by Guatemalans into Belize’s territory is one of the key catalysts for the up-coming talk shop on border security and environmental degradation.

But this deteriorating situation which is leading to the destruction of our national forest is also exacerbated by the government’s inability to properly equip the Belize Defence Force with the tools they need to effectively patrol the borders.

Baird’s Tapir calf captured for the illegal pet trade by a poacher in the Chiquibul Forest

The Belize Defence Force recently received a donation of used British Army truck to move soldiers. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, on his recent “Royal visit” to Britain, also ate humble pie, begging the British government to return its forces to use Belize as a military training ground. What the Prime Minister did not say is that his government has become totally dependent on British support and military hardware and more. This represents an embarrassing fallback to a pre-independent Belize.

Mired in rampant corruption in every faucet of his government, from the very top and down to all levels of his administration, the Belize military is seriously handicapped. They are now relying on mule-trains to move equipment in and out of forests and other rough terrain. The government has not even been able to equip the BDF with a small military helicopter. Its air wing of two small Cessna aircrafts has been virtually grounded, or simply, not cleared for take-off because of budgetary constraints, despite the top-of-the- line and high priced SUVs driven by Cabinet Ministers.

The Ministry of National Security appears to be unaware, or probably is hoping that the public will not become aware, of the increasing destruction of the Chiquibul Forest by Guatemalan incursions into Belize and the persistent presence of Guatemalan settlers on the Belize side of the border, because of official paralysis and the inability of our security forces to deal with the problem.

Illegal Guatemalans caught panning for gold inside the Chiquibul forest

However, it is not surprising, given the government’s almost tacit support for the plundering of rosewood forest in the Toledo District by political criminals with close ties in the Cabinet.

The threat to Belize’s national security along its borders with Guatemala gets worse by the day. This is also because of the intransigence (perhaps deliberately) by the Guatemalan government and the Organization of American States (OAS). The Belize government continues to depend on quiet, or do-little diplomacy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have chosen to ignore the progress made by the former People’s United Party government towards a settlement with Guatemala over the border problem by strengthening trade agreement and through “Defence Diplomacy”. These have been replaced by stupidity, profiling and arrogance which look more like ignorance.

The Guatemalan government will soon be facing mounting pressure to deploy military forces along its border with Belize. The drug cartels have been establishing themselves in at least five strategic locations in the Peten. They continue to seek alternative routes, possibly through Belize, for the shipment of drugs into the United States of America while trying to establish high level connections here..

As Belize’s National Security officials sit and twiddle their thumbs, given this new development, it would not be surprising that the U.S. government will make a considerable contribution to beef up the capabilities of the Belize Defence Force, in the hope that they will be able to choke off these new drug routes.

Belize’s dependency on Foreign Aid now comes from just about any country that is prepared to give. The dependency on aid is at an all time high. This includes donations and other forms of assistance from the Republic of Taiwan (the big godfather), Venezuela, Mexico, the United States of America, Canada, Britain, Japan, Israel and other “Friends of Belize”.

The Belize Times


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Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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