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07/24/13 05:26 AM
07/24/13 05:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Belize’s virgin forest inside the Chiquibul is fast disappearing; xate nearly decimated

If the Government of Belize does not act to stop the mounting incursions by Guatemalans into the Chiquibul Forest—an asset valued conservatively at $3.4 billion: more than the nation’s GDP—it could vanish within just two decades, according to information presented at a symposium held today in Belize City.

Dubbed Alarming Threats to Biodiversity, Peace and National Stability, the event was a standing-room-only showcase which attracted people from all walks of life in Belize: students, public officers, teachers, environmentalists, businesspeople, and politicians. Belize’s Governor-General Sir Colville Young took a front-row seat to hear just what these alarming threats are.

Apart from the Caracol Archaeological Reserve, the Chiquibul forest houses Belize’s largest protected area — the Chiquibul National Park (CNP), which according to Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), covers more than 264,000 acres of tropical broadleaf forests.

It is also the area through which passes the Chiquibul River, which meanders into Guatemala and comes back into Belize as the Mopan, Macal River, and Belize Rivers – three major waterways that help sustain Belize’s population; including providing a source for hydropower generation.

FCD organized today’s symposium as a part of its continued efforts to get badly needed national and international attention to push back the incursions by Guatemalans into this prized Belizean forest.

Rafael Manzanero, FCD’s Executive Director, said that the fear is that with the increasing use of firearms by those coming into Belize, there is the risk that the escalating encroachments will lead to serious confrontations that could disturb the peace between Belize and Guatemala.

With the expansion of the human footprint and the rapid escalation of deforestation, Belize’s virgin forest inside the Chiquibul is fast disappearing.

“We have people who are living inside of these areas – not Belizeans – these are Guatemalans who have made their shelter, they are living there,” said Manzanero.

He said that today, there are over 7,400 acres used today by Guatemalan farmers, and anyone who walks in the forest will likely meet illegal migrants.

As for illegal logging, the total impact zone is over 41,000 acres. According to Manzanero, the Guatemalans come with the lists of what sizes and types of timber they want.

A similar pattern is seen with the extraction of xate, which, he said, is nearly decimated.

The endangered scarlet macaw and other wildlife are also targeted by poachers. According to Manzanero, in 2011, 8.9% of monitored macaw nests were lost. In 2012, the ratio skyrocketed to 30%.

He said that the poachers curse and shout at Belizean authorities; and if they sleep for just one hour, the poachers climb the trees with the spikes and steal the birds.

Chiquibul wildlife is, at times, poached to populate a pet zoo owned by a drug lord in Guatemala, the FCD director said.

As for Chiquibul’s gold, that is also procured at will by the Guatemalans. Manzanero said that once gold was found in Belize, the call went out in Guatemala: “Belice tiene oro!”

He said that communities dissect the Belize forest and they make rules dictating which Guatemalans are allowed in particular parts for the Belize forest for gold panning.

“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 even bleaker,” said Retired Belize Defence Force (BDF) Major Lloyd Jones, responding to Manzanero’s overview of the eastward drift by Guatemalans.

Jones expressed the view that the Chiquibul represents the continued and sustained breach of Belize’s sovereignty.

“No matter how you slice it, that is what it is… Let me tell you a little secret: Belize is no longer 8,867 square miles. The adjacency zone amounts to about 82 square miles. The area of influence that Rafael pointed out to us just now – I had his original presentation which said it was about 35,000 hectares. That translates to about 135 square miles. If you add those two together, we are at 8,650 square miles. Now on paper we own the full 8,867; so we have what they call in diplomatic circles sovereignty de jure, but on the ground… sovereignty de facto is only 8,650 square miles,” said Major Jones.

He pointed to the data presented by Manzanero, indicating that in 1994 figures, there were 692 acres of land under agricultural exploitation by Guatemalans. By 2007, that increased more than 6-fold to almost 4,500 acres.

Jones said that during that period, two significant events happened: the British forces had left about 1993 and around 1995, the BDF were deployed to the streets of Belize City. The military’s role shifted from the defense of the border to teaming up with police to maintain law and order in Belize City.

“This [expanding encroachment] has been the consequence of that decision,” said Jones, insisting that Belize has to move from a policy of appeasement to a policy of containment.

Jones said that the Guatemalans are now 18 kilometers (11 miles) inside Belize, and immediate collective action is required to ensure that no further encroachment occurs. He added that Belize then needs to put into effect a strategy of interdiction and slowly move that line back to where it belongs – along the Belize-Guatemala border.

“I would hope that whatever plan of action comes out of these discussions, that once again we have pointed actions, they are time-bound and as well we can identify how it is that we are actually going to execute the actions,” said Chief Forest Officer Sabido, also responding to Manzanero’s presentation.

“At this point, we are at a very critical juncture, in terms [of] Chiquibul, in terms of what it is that we want to address in the Chiquibul, and I think that after all the presentations, all the different issues they may seem daunting, but I think that once we are able to clearly define who is responsible or which entity is responsible for what action, there has to be some concerted level of effort to carry out those actions,” Sabido added.

The estimated value of the Chiquibul Forest is $3.4 billion, according to a presentation delivered by Percival Cho, Sustainable Forest Management Expert. The vast majority of that is in the form of material wealth: $2.1 billion, and natural wealth: $1.3 billion.

Cho demonstrated the progression of encroachments from the Petén into western Belize, beginning in 1975/1976, when there were mostly fire scars in the Chiquibul Forest. In 1991, there was massive deforestation in next-door Petén. By 2001, those encroachments had spilled over into Belize and over the next 10 years, those continued further into Belize. Cho said that the only thing quelling the eastward deforestation is the border.

“There is a high probability that in 10 years’ time, if we do nothing, that is what will happen to the Chiquibul: we lose half of it! In 20 years’ time, we lose the other half,” he emphasized.

At the end of his presentation, he asked: “Will it be sunset or sunrise for the Chiquibul?”

Chief Executive Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister Audrey Wallace said that Government has resolved to “internationalize” the problem, and Belize will be talking with officials from Britain, Guatemala and the OAS.

She said that “…in the face of sustained and increasing threats — we cannot do it alone, we must raise international awareness.”

Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla said, “I want to caution you that the Chiquibul is not the only protected area that is threatened…. The threats to protected areas also come from within, from our own Belizeans.” One of the ways to solve the problem, she said, is to involve the private sector.


07/25/13 05:11 AM
07/25/13 05:11 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

100+ Acres of Chiquibul Forest Destroyed For Milpa Farms

Last week – we told you about the Chiquibul Symposium – a meeting of the minds to figure out how to solve the problem that faces this vast national park. The problem is, simply, that Guatemalan farmers in search of fertile land are pushing over from the Peten to make their farms in the Chiquibul. Last week at the symposium, the BDF Commander called it “alarming.” But to hear it said is one thing, to see it, quote another. So yesterday, Daniel Ortiz and Camera-man Codie Norales left before dawn heading for the edge of Belize to see the milpa farms for themselves. Led by the Friends For Conservation and Development which co-manages Chiquibul, they found over a hundred acres of milpa farms squarely and unapologetically within Belizean territory. Here’s the full story.

Daniel Ortiz reporting Looking at it, a uniformed observer might think that this clearing of land is unimportant, and routine, just another developer working on his or her property. But it is not; this actually a part of the Chiquibul Forest - 55 acres to be exact in a protected reserve where farming is prohibited.

The Guatemalan milpa farmers from South Peten have been making more brazen encroachments in this protected area. More unthinkable than that is that these downed trees were not going be used for anything; nope, the farmer’s intentions were to burn them completely, and then plant on the land.

We asked the Executive Director of FCD about the significance of this unauthorized milpa.

Rafael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD
"We are approximately 2km from the Western Border in the Chiquibul National Park in Belizean territory. This is one of the typical farms that we had been reporting concerning the agricultural expansion into this protected area into the Belizean territory.

So what you can see here is basically a plantation of pumpkin. Pumpkin is usually used a lot by Guatemalans because of the seed so that is sold a lot in the local communities - so what you'll see here is that main kind of crop, although you will also find a mix of corn if you walk around this particular farm. We will estimate that this will take a week or so and because the idea is that firstly we have to cut down the big trees which is called the 'slash' and then the burn - the type of farming is called the 'slash and burn method of cultivation'. So once they burn it then they are able to plant so you will see some of the trees that have been burnt on the stems and so it will take about a week."

Yes, you heard right, 1 week to do 55 acres of damage to a section of the Chiquibul. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but over time it adds up when considering years of illegal incursions inside this national reserve.

The vast amount of land that the farmers have strong-armed was no easy task. They had to cut down huge trees in the densely forest to make this clearing. Manzanero said that this tells how highly motivated the Guatemalan farmer was.

Rafael Manzanero
"It's highly motivated and highly determined individuals that you will find around these areas. We all know that these are all Guatemalans who are operating in zones. In fact we conducted an over flight along the Western Border, we documented over 43 of these Milpas which were basically removed out of its first cover and then it will eventually become a farm like this."

But this illegal clearing of the forest was not the only one we got to witness, as the Chief Range explained, there was second milpa nearby.

Jose Sierra - Chief Ranger, FCD
"From here we're going to move a bit north from this location - it's not going to be more than 800 meters."

And so we travelled to that clearing, which was bigger than that last one, 67 acres of forest razed for a second milpa farm. If the rapier efficiency does not provoke nationalist sentiment to save the Chiquibul, the FCD thinks it should, especially because Belize is losing approximately over a million dollars annually due to these encroachments.

The experts say that this is only one aspect of the valuation, and in reality it may be multiples of that figure.

Rafael Manzanero
"It is very difficult to look at the true value of everything because once we start to look at the fragmentation of the forest, we look at the loss of wild animals, we look at the degradation of the land, and we look at the destruction of the timber and trees and everything. But to give you one example only - what we have lost annually along the border, in terms of these trees that you have seen already moved but we're not only loosing in biomass but we're losing approximately $526,000 USD only in carbon - that's only one of the values. So this thing is going into the thousands and thousands of dollars that we are losing as a country and more importantly we're losing the part of a virgin forest that belongs to Belize."

So, how do the rangers and the BDF tie a Guatemalan to the farm? They say it is not a simple matter.

Rafael Manzanero
"We have about to some individuals but they have been particularly under work that is being done around this barrier and we are able to spot them they would just run away so it's very hard to capture them."

Daniel Ortiz
"If you do capture them, how difficult is it to tie them to this particular destruction at this particular farm?"

Rafael Manzanero
"If we find them infraganti or we find them on the spot then of course it is very clear and obvious for us to convict them in terms of doing farming inside a protected area but otherwise once we find them inside of Belize of course they are here as illegal immigrants inside of the country."

FCD: Enforcement Not As Simple As Should Be

And while discovery is one thing, enforcement is quite another. The rangers from Friends for Conservation and Development expend a great amount of time and resources to police the Chiquibul.

It is very difficult for them to actually capture the Guatemalans who are engaging in illegal activities, and when they do, it is not always a solid case that they can present against them in court.

Well, the FCD is reporting that even before they get to that stage, they encounter resistance from various government agencies.

The Executive Director explained how it is not as easy as one would think when trying to protect the national park after they’ve extracted the Guatemalans:

Rafael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD
"We are really not well synchronized in terms of all the agencies - if you look at a Milpa like this it means that there was an infraction of illegal entry, it means that they are occupying a protected area which means under the National Parks Systems Act and the deforestation also falls either under the forest act or under the National System Parks Act. So we would assume that the regulatory agencies would be able really to uphold those particular rules and laws but at the end of the day we will need that synchronicity so that everybody would be able to do that particular tasking. For example if we take out a person out from here - we would require the assistance the of the Forest Department, Immigration Department - if there's a horse it will require BAHA to be involved - if it is inside of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve - it will require the Institute of Archaeology. If they actually brought any goods, chain saw or so then it would include customs so if you notice there are many players that need to be involved - now in reality that is where we don't really have the synchronicity. So at the time we feel that the institutions will be there to say 'this is the charge that we are going to place' and it might not really be that forthcoming. If it happens even inside or close by to the adjacency zone as known by Guatemalans - for us we know it as a border- for Guatemalans they think it's an adjacency zone and an adjacency line. For example here where a farmer from Guatemala would be captured and detained more than likely the OAS will be coming about only to verify after a call from Guatemala to verify if this is Belize or if this is Guatemala."

Daniel Ortiz
"And that adjacency zone complicates things."

Rafael Manzanero
"It complicates it very much because that is where - in fact many people will refer to it as a no man zone but for us it's a border. We know that any single inch inside the territory is already Belize so we should be able to uphold the law which means that we need to be much more bold and stronger and say that if we find you here we'll just take you out - of course understanding the human rights aspect of things and according to the law -they are supposed to be charged, processed in court and that is where the other issues arrives. Because let's say that we bring the GPS - that's the closest we can bring, we cannot bring in a part of the soil - it has to be shown on a GPS point/machine which reads that if you are 500 meters to the border and we send that to the court. The magistrates assume that this is a petty little thing - why even bother with this thing? We are saying that once you see this, of course we need really to worry and to be much more stronger and bolder to make sure that we can uphold the laws and we can successfully prosecute people in courts because that is the only way that we will really demonstrate that yes we are maintaining sovereignty of the territory and also uphold the laws in a National Park like this one."

Daniel Ortiz
"So if I understand you the authorities involved tend not to appreciate the devastation that is taking place and the damage that really is - to them they are seeing that it's just a person that came in and it's not such a big deal."

Rafael Manzanero
"I think that's why we have received the support from Channel 7 and from the media because we want to see how really they are going to bring the story home because a typical person from Belize City might say 'what are you talking about - the Milpa - that's a small thing'. But this one here was 67 acres - this is a big chunk of land that is gone and this thing will never come back to be the same - it will never appear so the area is already fragmented and like what I mentioned is that the impact is not only on the forest cover - it also has devastation on wildlife, sounds, creates fragmentation so that there is much more of a canopy opening. It changes the whole ecological process or the nature, the environment here is basically altered."

We’ll have more from that trip to the Chiquibul in tomorrow’s newscast.

Channel 7

07/26/13 05:06 AM
07/26/13 05:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Chiquibul, the Adventure Is Just Getting There

It’s not quite like climbing Victoria Peak, but when you go into the Chiquibul, all the way to the Western Border, half the story is just getting there! Tonight Daniel Ortiz dedicates a whole story to that. As we showed you last night, he and camera-man Codie Norales went there, and it’s important to note because it sort of explains why the place is so abstract, because it’s so darn far! Here’s his story-

Daniel Ortiz reporting
The environment inside the Chiquibul knows no sense of urgency, it is lost in time, immune to everyday exigencies; in fact, time is just a means of measurement which the guides use to estimate how far they’ve travelled, and how much further they have to go. For us in the media, time is always of the essence, and being sucked into the tangle of green on a deadline day, was, at first disorienting.

But, in place of time’s dictates, we had another kind of pressure: an early morning ride through the Chiquibul on this John Deer tractor – or jumping viper – which the FCD rangers use as the main means of transportation.

And on every move they make in the forest, they are joined by BDF Soldiers and police officers.

Being so close to so many firearms, trigger fingers at the ready in case of any armed threat, is enough to unsettle anyone, but this has become the reality of the men who work inside the national park.

So, on this day, we accompanied them on one of their patrols to a part of the forest inundated by increasing Guatemalan incursions. Our journey was 11 Kilometers – or 6.8 miles – the first part being deceptively simple, resembling passengers hitching a ride in the back of a pickup.

But as soon as we hit off-road, on a far less travelled path, the real situation started to unfold. Yes, and as our camera witnessed, branches from all sides of the tightly wound, and resilient jungle came flying out at the passengers, leaving behind pain, a sense of embarrassment and souvenirs such as prickles, needles, small critters or dust and debris – sometimes even a combination.

We adapted quickly to those nuisances, and while being thrown around in the trailer was tough – it was inevitable – as the tractor plowed through the muddy terrain sinking as much as a foot into the earth at times.

All around, the canopy shielded us from the sun further separating us from the passage of time, increasing the disconnection the deeper we got into the remote location.

And while we felt out of place, the rangers and the BDF, seemed to be enjoying it – just another day at the office, even if it is a 400 thousand acre office.

And then, after an hour and half on the tractor –we had to hike the final 2 kilometers. The rangers and the BDF led the way, with us in the middle, and soldiers bringing up the rear, guns at the ready.

Getting to that final location was no easy task, fraught with steep uphill climbs, uneven terrain, dangerous plants, and unsteady foot paths likely to trip up the most experienced hikers. And the unwanted Guatemalan visitors weren’t making it easy either, it wasn’t uncommon to find trees cut down specifically to block the path.

The deeper we travelled, the more signs we saw of illegal activities inside the Chiquibul, like this tree which was cut down, and the timber harvested.

But by this time, I was exhausted, and grateful for a bite of a fruit, a little quick boost of energy and chance to rest. We also started recognizing the huge gap in fitness levels between ourselves and our escorts.

My camera man and I were slowing down the hiking party forcing them to stop more often than they needed to, and we got left behind a few times. We could barely catch our breaths after trudging up steep hills, but everyone else seem relaxed, just a stroll through the park – in this case the Chiquibul National Park.

And then, they broke the news to us, we weren’t even half way to our location. And from then on, it became a matter of just putting one foot in front of the other, trying not to be discouraged by how far yet we had to go, and ignoring the pain.

An hour and a half later, after running on E, willpower alone fueling us, our escorts told us they heard gunshots from a hunting rifle, and to avoid confronting anyone armed, they told us to back track – in this case up a hill we had just walked down. 20 minutes after that, after being covered for so long by the forest, the vast change in environment surprised us.

We arrived at the first of 2 milpa farms in the Chiquibul, and the devastation to the forest was immediately clear.

Jose Sierra – Ranger, FCD
"About 400 meters or less than that while we were coming we heard a gunshot south from us so that shows us that someone is in the area - however, we have not seen anybody since we're here. Approximately traveled 11km to right where we are right now."

After that difficult but productive hike, it was time to backtrack through the difficult terrain to the jumping viper.

We’ll have one more story on our Chiquibul trip in tomorrow’s newscast…

Channel 7

07/27/13 04:39 AM
07/27/13 04:39 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Re-thinking The Fight Against Encroachment In Chiquibul

Last week at the Chiquibul symposium, one of the many initiatives to rescue the park was to create sustained public awareness – the same kind that the Belize jaguars, or even the drive to independence got.

The Friends For Conservation and Development which co-manages the park believes they also have to change their tactics. Here how they explained their new policies which have international implications.

Daniel Ortiz reporting
The FCD is reporting that there has been an increase in illegal activity in the Chiquibul for 2013.

Rafael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD
"When we observed it 7 years ago we were just learning about the particular threats at that particular time it was Xate extraction - if you look at it now in terms of the environmental and the loss of land - we are seeing that if we do not really take strong, bold and a sustained action in the Chiquibul we will not be able to do it again in the future. This really means that we are reaching to a point where we need to make decisive decisions, it means that we're really reaching to a point where it's optimum in terms of that buffer that we can't really pass or we've passed over that already. So for us observing it on the ground, it's already reaching to a point where we need really to put this thing like now."

Derrick Chan - Manager, Chiquibul National Park
"For this year we started to do aerial flights in the month of February, March and April and we noticed an aggressive slash and burning, progressive of the slashing and burning of the forest. It seems apparent that it is advancing more than other years and we have been able to acquire some satellite images and we have been able to map that and that proves that indeed, this is occurring."

Daniel Ortiz
"Are you able to tell us - how often your team makes sightings of any Guatemalans doing illegal activity in the Chiquibul National Park?"

Derrick Chan
"It is very frequent you know, that happens every week. There's a patrol that goes everyday and goes along the border - we see them every day as long as we're out there - we'll meet them."

And because the unwanted visitors make trips into the forest very frequently, the rangers do not rely on their knowledge of the park as the only means of traversing it. They say that they are constantly surprised by freshly made routes weren’t there before.

Jose Sierra - Chief Ranger, FCD
"The area that we operate as you can see has a lot tracks and different directional areas that these people come from - some of them are dealing with farming and some of them are dealing with Xate and some are hunting. You always sometimes find yourself that you cannot just stray away out in the track - you need to have some sort of knowledge of the area. Also we usually use GPS because although we can be familiar with the area, from time to time you will find that a new track might come up and whenever you come out it's not the same place that you came the first time."

Derrick Chan
"It is practically from north to south in the areas that border with Guatemala in the Chiquibul National Park - there are two main areas along the border that there are concentrated communities also and directly across from those areas you can see that that is where the incursions are coming."

Rafael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD
"The reason why we wanted to highlight the milpa farming was because even though we have seen a trend evolving over the years of losing about 200 hectares of Forest every year - this year in particular we saw a rapid increase of the destruction of the forest. So along the border we might have lost 400-500 acres already."

Derrick Chan
"Every year when the rainy seasons start we notice that there is usually an increase of Xate also and that is what is occurring right now. This week here we are going to concentrate on two main areas where we know they cross the road - they come from up in the mountains around the area of Raspa Culo branch which is a river and the upper Macal; that's an area that there is a lot of Xate, so they come from that area."

While this year has seen increased activity, the FCD says that the targeting of the Chiquibul is only a symptom of a bigger, lingering problem for these Guatemalan farming communities.

Derrick Chan
"We keep patrolling, we keep arresting them and it just keeps happening. It's very aggressive, there's got to be a demand or maybe poverty or what it is but they are persistent. People don't have a way of living and they come across and see that there's a Chiquibul forest which is a super market - it has forest, wildlife, water, land, soil - which is what they are looking for to plant their crops."

But no matter how many Guatemalans they arrest, charge and get convicted before the courts for breaking Belize’s laws, there is always someone else behind to take their place.

Derrick Chan
"We don't usually detain the same person or arrest the same person and what we notice also is that we will detain one guy from Alta Vera Paz and Guatemala is big. It shows that there is a very strong demographic movement in Guatemala and again these people are poor and they are needy - they need to find a way of making a living. Since there's always the moving of people and we don't detain the same persons - the one that got detained, jailed or maybe fined - he goes his way and then someone else will come around."

And so, the organization is recognizing that the message is not being clearly sent:

Derrick Chan
"The incursions continue, perhaps you know Belize is a small country - you will see on the news, most people have a television and hear that somebody was detained. But in Guatemala they don't get the news that someone was detained, arrested and jailed - these are marginal people living in the settlements - in the jungle so they don't know what's going on."

As a result, the FCD recognizes that they need to start a media campaign in Guatemala.

Derrick Chan
"But I think it shows that the awareness needs to be created across there in Guatemala - they won't come across here because this is Belize because they will get arrested, it's a protected area - that is important and I think that's the objective of bringing the media from Guatemala to this area. We have been trying to get that across here and also bring the awareness across in Guatemala and of course that's what the media does. Whoever has to do it across in Guatemala but it has to be done."

Another change that the FCD plans to make is to start raising awareness among other nations, in the hopes of stirring the Guatemalan Government to help in deterring its citizens from making incursions

Derrick Chan
"We are proposing - which Raphael coined as the 'friendship park' (Parque del Amistad) where both countries work towards the same objective of being protected areas. Also providing assistance to the communities across in Guatemala is important."

Rafael Manzanero
"We are saying that Guatemala needs to be able to restrain, be able really to ensure that it's citizens are respecting that border that we have - without that we will continue to see the over flow of people into it. So Guatemala as a government would be required or should be able really to deter their people across the border and that's why we believe that bringing it internationally, is one of the hopes - we are still yet to try it but we are hopeful that it can really bring an international pressure in terms of what a neighboring country is doing to its neighbor by devastating its resources. So we are hopeful that that can be one of the key actions that can really be able to ensure that Guatemala as a country can really deter citizens from continuously being able to just destroy these resources."

But in the meantime, until those strategies are put into action, the FCD recommends an increased presence to try to deter these activities.

Rafael Manzanero
"What we have basically recommended is to put more guys on the ground - the more rangers and more enforcement on the ground then we can do more frequent patrol around the area because the area is so vast there is only so much that we can do. We are to do patrol everyday but certainly there are other areas that we will be required to patrol. So one of the key things that we have been recommending is how are we able to put more guys on the ground in terms of the patrol and be able to conduct the surveillance."

In August the bi-national plan between Belize and Guatemala will be developed for protection of the Chiquibul – and the ceremony will be held in Guatemala.

Channel 7

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