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#451379 - 11/17/12 07:52 AM Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up  
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Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Walk The Straight And Narrow

Crooked Tree is about as laid back and homely a place as you can find in the Belize district - but residents of the island village also don't like being messed with - and they say that's what the Audubon Society is doing with them.

Audubon manages the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary - but today the villagers held a protest to say they'd had enough. It's an interesting declaration of the right to self-determination -and we got an earful today:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary - and its centerpiece the Lagoon - broad and tranquil - home to all kinds of wildlife even the domesticated kind all overlooked by the nearby visitor's center run by the Audubon Society.

But this morning, the Audubon was the target of villagers who came out to protest against it.

"Audubon must go because we run things - things don't run we. Everything you do, you have to do it properly in my village Crooked Tree number one."

They want Audubon out because the villagers feel that the Audubon's conservation efforts are intruding upon a way of life established over two centuries of occupation.

Dudley Tillett, Villager
"They are taking away our livelihood. We used to hunt for a living; we used to hunt armadillo and gibnut ofr a living. I educate my little sisters from that - they have master's degree right now from hunting for armadillo and gibnut. They want to take that away from us."

Steve Anthony - Vice Chmn - Crooked Tree
"After years of trying to live under the laws and rules that Fisheries, Forestry and Audubon set down on us - we can't do it anymore - it's taking away from our livelihood - it's taking away money out on our homes and food out of our children's mouth."

Ava Tillett, Villager
"I am out here to take my village back from Audubon because Audubon is doing so much foolishness in our community keeping our young people down especially my young people. What do they expect - if they stop the young people from fishing and cutting their posts - what will they do? Have them come to rob us?"

They say that Audubon is enforcing wildlife regulations that are outside of its purview:

Steve Anthony - Vice Chmn - Crooked Tree
"When Audubon sees somebody fishing - Audubon who again is a bird entity automatically becomes a fish entity and they start confiscating nets. I don't know if it's on behalf of Fisheries or how that works but they start taking nets and they have taken over 50 nets since they'd been here."

"We can't live like this; If a man sells 20 posts to make money and take that money to buy some food or school uniform for his children - how will they come and take that away. What give Audubon the right to take that away? They can't tell you when you were making $1,000 selling fish - all of a sudden you have to suffice on $15 worth of fish. They can't tell you that and truth be told - the same people who say we are breaking the law to sell fish are the same people who come here to buy fish."

Dudley Tillett
"They are taking our livelihood away from me. They don't want us to fish or hunt. When the tiger came to kill our cows in the pasture - I got a letter from them saying that it was a two foot tiger that eat the cow. When I shoot the tiger, I call them to see that it was not a two foot tiger. It's a tiger and not a two foot man. I will protect my farm with my gun, I told them that."

James Dawson, Villager
"Wildlife means everything that moves in the village - they wants to control. That is what the village is upset about because the village lives off the fish. We have cattle and we have to cut posts for our fence. They want the cattle to stop run - how could you fence the place if you can't cut the posts - 20 posts for personal use - not commercial use. We don't do commercial use here. This is how we live."

And a lot of the anger seems to be that the Audubon does not show up for meetings:

Steve Anthony
"At the meeting last night we as a village were willing to sit down with Audubon and to come up with ways that we could work together but they them not showing up was a complete insult and a slap in the face of the village. The villagers went from a frame of mind of negotiation to a frame of mind of get out."

James Dawson, Villager
"We invited them for meetings and we try to work with them and they don't show up. They look at Crooked Tree people like Crooked Tree people doesn't worth anything."

Now they want self-determination - and self-regulation and are taking a stand for it

James Dawson, Villager
"The people need to live off this village. This village was here before Audubon got here. Audubon is trying to change our living. It's hard for the people to adapt this because we don't have any other way of living in this village. Crooked Tree is an island - this is how we live."

Steve Anthony
"We have a right as a village to say this is what we want and we feel as a village that we could do a much better job of running this sanctuary than Audubon is doing currently. We don't feel like Audubon contribute financially, we don't feel like they contribute enough socially and we don't feel like they contribute enough educationally for what we are receiving from them - 395 a day Jules - do the math. Audubon came here in the 70s, that's 40 plus years ago - times change."

TODAY, the villagers are talking hard and passionate about going for civil disobedience

Steve Anthony
"We will have our civil disobedience - I personally as the vice chairman will not have anything to do with anybody who is hauling net out there - let them haul, I will not stop them. That is not my job. Anyone who is cutting posts - let them cut, that is not my job. These people have to make money. Anybody who comes here and tell; these people to stop fish or to stop cut post -bring some money with you - bring an alternative way for us to make some money, then we will talk."

Dudley Tillett
"They cannot and will not come in our village, I will make a stand - they will not come in my village and take away my livelihood. If they want that - then give me money every week, and then they can start to talk to me. Otherwise than that I don't need to talk to them anymore."

Audubon's manager was out of the office today - but we did speak to one representative who said that the problem is not about Audubon, they say it is a legislative one. That legislation emanates from the Forest Department - which protects forestry resources. The villagers have publicly invited the Audubon to a meeting tomorrow evening in the village.

We could not get an answer from the Audubon rep today on whether they would be attending.

Channel 7

#451402 - 11/17/12 09:27 AM Re: Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
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In their own words .... Crooked Tree residents are not happy with the Belize Audubon Society.

#451434 - 11/18/12 08:17 AM Re: Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
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Crooked Tree residents up in arms

Protest in Crooked Tree village

The village of Crooked Tree in the Belize district is a quiet and peaceful community. But this morning the residents were not a happy group and they rose up against a member of the community … the Belize Audubon Society. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Myles Gillett went to Crooked Tree to bring you this story.


#451524 - 11/20/12 08:37 AM Re: Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
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Crooked Tree Residents Demonstrate Against Audubon Society

Screen_shot_2012-11-16_at_6.50.05_PMThere was a demonstration in the Village of Crooked Tree this morning where the villagers were demanding that the Belize Audubon Society get out from their village. Crooked Tree Village is a unique village because it is also a wild life sanctuary where various animals such as jaguars and alligators coexist with the villagers. The Belize Audubon Society’s logo is “Creating a Balance between the people and the environment” but the villagers allege that the environmental organization is doing the opposite. Our news team travelled to the village this morning and filed the following report.

Hipolito Novelo - Reporting

The Belize Audubon Society became part of Crooked Tree Village in the 1970’s and later on, the village was dubbed as a wild life sanctuary. The scenic lagoon may portray a calm in the village, but as we found out today, it’s the total opposite. The villagers are upset with the Belize Audubon Society along with both the Fisheries and Forestry Departments.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“The last few years Audubon has been apparently in charge of birds, fish and lumber, so they have been putting down a lot of rules to the villagers of Crooked Tree restricting the way we could make a living, Crooked Tree was founded on log wood cutting and a lot of us villagers make a living out of log wood cutting and so we requested several meeting with fisheries, Audubon and Forestry to discuss and to come to some workable a viable compromise.”

The most recent meeting was held last night in the village’s community centre.  Perriot says that the Belize Audubon Society, the Fisheries Department and Forestry Department were invited to take part in the meeting, but no one from those organizations showed up.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“But when they didn’t showed up the village of Crooked Tree almost unanimously the people that attended took that like a slap in the face like if they don’t really want to hear what we want to say so the villagers took a vote and they voted that they wanted Audubon out of the village completely so that we the villagers could run the village much as they do with the Baboons Sanctuary and like that.  Crooked tree is the only one of the hand full of places that a Sanctuary is being declared where animal are right in the middle people are, so there has to be a harmonious balance in which we coexist with the wild life we been doing so hundreds of years.”

But the barriers of communications are not the only problem.  According to Perriot, there is too much wild animals running amuck and causing some serious harm to the villagers.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“There is too many alligators, there is too many Jaguars killing the cattle and when a Jaguar kills somebody’s cattle they don’t get compensated but if that person would kill that jaguar they would have to pay a fine or go to jail same thing with alligators if we were to kill an alligator we would have to pay a fine or go to jail.”

And so with no one to represent Audubon, Forestry or the Fisheries Departments, the villagers decided to take a stand and with plackers in hand, picketed in front of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary Visitor’s Center.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“We agreed we are going to meet at Audubon and some people were there from 6:30 and we are not going to allow them to open until we reach the proper authorities, until they come down and talk to us or until the police come and say we have to let them open, unfortunately as is usually the case  the police were here first before anybody form these ministries and that was surprising  because when there is a real crime happening in Crooked Tree the police takes hours to get here so it just makes me wonder, again we don’t have any problem with people working with Audubon in Crooked Tree, they are villagers like we they are following laws, they are following the rules, we have no problem with the police officers living in Crooked Tree they are doing their job when they tell us we have to let them open but we have a problem with the system the way it is right now.”

Over 20 families in the village make their daily living from fishing in the lagoon, but with the present rules and limitations set forth, ends will be much harder to meet.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“The point is that we as a village cannot sustain our lifestyle in a time when we know that jobs are hard to find, in a time that crime is rampant all over the country, when you have people that is trying to do the right thing, trying to make a living honestly with hard work because it is not easy to get out there in that cold water at night and in the day time to fish, it is not easy to cut post and backing it across from the lagoon to go and sell and to buy food for your kids, so if forestry, fisheries and Audubon want tell us to stop doing they need to tell us what they are going to start doing to alleviate the poverty that would follow if we stop doing what we been doing.”

But, which is the straw that broke the camel’s back?  Well, according to villager James Dawson, a number of logs were confiscated from Perriot by members of the Aududom Society and Forestry Department with no proper justification.

James Dawson, Villager

“One of the Audubon wardens went and took away some post from this buy which is a part of his living, this is personal use he has cut this post for, they went and took away the posts and as you could see the posts are under the house bottom there.  Don’t come and set out rules for people and take away things from people and they don’t even know what they taking away.  This guy didn’t even know, they ordered him to bring the posts at their lodge, Audubon have possession of these logs, if these were for forestry why didn’t forestry took them with them, why didn’t they come and stamp these posts, I don’t think it is right.”

According to Perriot, the lines of communication are still open and once again invited the interested party to be part of a meeting tomorrow night.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“We want to know that the head of these places get the message first hand, we want them to see the passion and the conviction that we the villagers of Crooked Tree have in what we now believe and what we have always believe in but we are now trying to live in under their rules.”

But if the Belize Audubon Society along with the Forestry and Fisheries Departments do not show up, Perriot says that the villagers will take further action.

Steve Perriot, Vice Chairman Crooked Tree Village

“What we will be doing in the next few days is identifying people in this village that are interested, that have experience that could do the work that Audubon is been doing or I should say not been doing.”

By 10:30am the peaceful demonstration disappeared in hopes that the interested bodies would come to an agreement.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the village’s community center and starts at 7:30pm on Saturday, November 17th.


#451754 - 11/23/12 09:10 AM Re: Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
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Straight Talk On Crooked Tree

Last week, we showed you Crooked Tree Residents lashing out at the Audubon Society which manages the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

But the Audubon says it's a bigger problem a legislative one - having to do with the Departments of Forestry and Fisheries.

Today the minister with responsibility for those ministries told us a legislative review is underway:

Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development
"What you need to visit is the legislations which governs these protected areas, and we are in the midst of an exercise - in fact, at the very tail end of the exercise to look at the protected areas system of Belize to determine whether we're going to re-categorize those protected areas which will allow harvesting and other activities to happen within protected areas. Until that exercise happens, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary will remain in that category because we will not do it in a piece-meal manner. We're looking at the entire protected areas system of Belize."

According to a release sent out by the Audubon, the entire flare up in Crooked Tree stems from an event onFriday November 9th when the Police Dept, Forest Dept and staff of Belize Audubon Society carried out a joint patrol in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Channel 7

#452211 - 11/29/12 08:12 AM Re: Crooked Tree Residents Tell Audubon To Shape Up [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Minister Alamilla Sets Things Straight With Crooked Tree

Two weeks ago, we showed you how the villagers of Crooked Tree were "chopped up" with the Belize Audubon Society. Some of that anger was misplaced because the forestry and fisheries regulations they were talking abut really fall under Government Department.

And so, today, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla met with representatives from the Crooked Tree Action Group.

The idea behind the meeting was for the community to vent their concerns about the management of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Alamilla told them that there is an exercise underway which looking at the viability of the present status of the protected areas, and this includes the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

But, as an interim olive branch, she directed that the logwood that was seized would be returned to the villager.

And going forward, Forestry and Fisheries authorities will meet in two weeks' time with representatives from Crooked Tree to improve dialogue.

An official release says that in the interim, the representatives agreed to work within the confines of the regulations of Wildlife Sanctuary.

Channel 7

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