BELMOPAN, Thurs. Apr. 7, 2016–The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), in solidarity with its member organization Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), condemns the aggressive behaviour of the Guatemalan Armed Forces towards community members on a monitoring patrol led by SATIIM in Belizean territory.
On a daily basis, our non-government and community-based organizations are undertaking the challenging work of protecting Belize’s natural resources within and outside protected areas, on behalf of the government and people of Belize.
With the increasing sensitivity of the bi-national relations between Belize and Guatemala, these organizations operating in protected areas near the border need the support of the relevant government agencies to ensure the deterrence of the ongoing pillaging of our natural resources by non-Belizeans.
As is the case with most protected areas in Belize, the only management presence comes from our co-managers and we proudly salute SATIIM for its dedicated work in protecting the Sarstoon Temash National Park with the increased risks and limited resources, and despite being denied renewal of its co-management agreement with the Government in 2013.
We are pleased that with the new administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment, and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD), we are making major strides in renewing and strengthening our collaboration with the Government and express our gratitude to the Ministry for re-establishing an excellent working relationship.
We look forward to continue engaging the MAFFESD in discussions on the administration, management, and financing of protected areas to ensure the sustainability of Belize’s natural resources for the benefit of Belizeans.