Saturday, August 13, 2011

Belize Mayan Alliance catch illegal ROSEWOOD exportation from Toledo District on video.



The extraction of Rosewood and its exportation out of the Toledo District remains a concern. The Maya Leaders Alliance issued a release saying that on Thursday August 4 they met with Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido and second in command Marcelo Windsor. The Alliance says at that meeting it was agreed that illegal logging in Toledo is a common concern and the urgency to forge partnership to stop illegal activities was a priority for both Forest Department and the Maya of Toledo. The release goes on to the say the Chief Forest Officer committed to work immediately with the Alliance to send out a scouting team and to begin to place check points on the roads to intercept the movement of these unstamped lumber and committed to placing an order to cease the stamping of all logs as of Monday August 7th. According to the Alliance these commitments have not been upheld as the Forest Department continues stamping of logs with no regard for the fact that they have no permits or licenses. At the same time, Forest officer Rivas continues to facilitate this illegal operation with no regard for the laws of Belize and less so for the fragile ecology of the forest of Toledo. The Alliance says they hope to expose the corruption in the entire illegal logging operation. Meanwhile correspondent Paul Mahung filed this report earlier today.

Paul Mahung reporting...
The ongoing daily cutting of Rosewood trees by many Toledo inhabitants, selling of the cut product to local buyers in Toledo and frequent exportation of the Rosewood logs out this district is a growing issue as expressed recently on radio and television by concerned individuals in Toledo. Love News in Toledo was able to meet with a family member of one of the local buyers who resides in Jacintoville located eight miles out Punta Gorda on the Southern Highway. Gerald Williams spoke of his family’s involvement in the current rosewood business operation in Toledo.

Gerald Williams – Son sells Rosewood
“I am the father of Rodwell Williams; my son is the one who does the Rosewood business. He buys from almost all the villages in the Toledo District, he stacks it in the yard, the forest comes and stamps it and then he re-sell it to somebody else from Orange Walk. The person from Orange Walk brings their truck here, pick it up and take it. Before Rodwell ever bring any Rosewood from any village he has to inform the Forest Officer that he is bringing some and then the Forest Officer gives him the okay. In the past couple of weeks the Forest Department wasn’t releasing any Rosewood because of some problem and within those two weeks, people have been calling me from the villages and saying Mr. Williams I want to speak to your son; I say my son is not here but how can I help? He said Mr. Williams I have a few piece of Rosewood I want to sell it bad because I need to buy books and clothes for my children soon attending school and this is the only way we can get a little income by selling our Rosewood. Finally in the last couple of days the Forest Department has given my son permission to pick up some.

Paul Mahung - Reporter
How often does the truck or containers come from Orange Walk and how much Rosewood fits in one of the container?

Gerald Williams – Son sells Rosewood
“I would say a little over 9,000 feet in a container, I would say almost every 10 days or thereabouts two or three containers move from Punta Gorda. My son is not the only one who sells Rosewood, you have many other buyers just like my son, represents other people, buy it and just sell it to other people.”

As Williams was in the process of the Wednesday afternoon explanation and account of his son’s involvement of the ongoing Rosewood business, two large container trucks were at the location in Jacintovlle as work continued in loading another shipment of rosewood with a destination to Orange Walk and exportation destination abroad. Love News thereafter caught up with Toledo Forest Officer Charles Rivas who spoke of the Rosewood situation.

Charles Rivas – Forest Officer
“This situation here in Toledo with Rosewood they are blaming the Forestry Department about the cutting of Rosewood. We from the Forestry Department cannot go into any of the villages due to the communal land rights lawsuit that the MLA made out with the Government of Belize. I had explained to many of the villages that we cannot stamp any lumber for them within their villages. I cannot stop these people from cutting any Rosewood or any type of lumber within their village. I can only apprehend lumber that comes out without any authority on the highway or checkpoints, that is all I can do. I cannot help them in the village or nowhere else. Everyone is blaming the Forestry Department that we should go into the village and stop these people from cutting lumber, how can we go in there, we are not the alcaldes and chairmen of these villages. The chairmen and alcaldes of these villages gave their villagers permission to cut lumber in the village and these people want to sell their lumber. They in turn behind our back sell the persons who want to buy it but we don’t know from exactly which village the lumber is coming."

Paul Mahung - Reporter
There are a number of local buyers here who are gathering the Rosewood and from what I gave gathered is that the Rosewood is being shipped out of the Toledo District. Do you know here the Rosewood is going to and can you account that the Forestry Department knows about the Rosewood?

Charles Rivas – Forest Officer
“I believe the Rosewood is being exported to some other country. The Forestry Department issues export permits when the lumber leaves from here. We down here collect our royalties for these lumber, these lumbers do not leave Punta Gorda without royalty being paid.”

As it appears, the Rosewood business including extraction, selling and buying locally in Toledo and Rosewood exportation.


An e-mail to my agent in Guadong, China with photos courtesy of the Maya Alliance videos, of illegal exportation of Rosewood from the Toledo District gives an amateurish value of a container load of Rosewood, landed in Guadong, of $150,000 USA currency, per container as seen in Toledo District of Belize.
The ROSEWOOD is worldwide scarce. The ASIAN MARKET HUGE. The Philipines, Sumatra, and Borneo have already been raped and looted of their ROSEWOOD. A rosewood tree takes a couple of hundred years to grow.
What they do in China, is veneer the wood. It is too valuable to use in pieces. You can for instance make expensive musical instruments and by expoxying on a 1/32 of an inch ROSEWOOD THIN VENEER, over an ordinary cheap piece of wood, making the customer believe they have an expensive piece.
The CORRUPTION IN THE FORESTRY DEPARTMENT GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE UDP CABINET and is condoned there. The UDP Minister of Forestry back in the last time they were in office, cost them the election among other issues. Newspaper articles back then said the UDP Cabinet were splitting BRIBES from Asia of up to $285,000 usa, to ship ROSEWOOD. Then there were two terms of the PUP in office, where exports were stopped and made illegal. Now the UDP CABINET are back at it again, looting and raping, Belize.

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