Latest — 25 April 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
Barranco villagers prepared “to fight government” over logging rights

The villagers will demonstrate against the Forestry Department tomorrow, Tuesday, in Belmopan

BELMOPAN, Mon. Apr. 23, 2018– It is not only the Maya who have been contending with Government over land and human rights; residents of the Toledo District’s Barranco village have also, among other gripes, been angered by the Forestry Department’s decision to reject their requests for logging licenses, even though the department has reportedly granted licenses to entities the villagers consider undeserving.

The residents plan to express their displeasure through a protest which is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, in Belmopan, which is when Cabinet meets.

“Residents of Barranco will be marching on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in protest of their human rights being violated. Garifuna in Toledo have rights to our land according to the International Labor Organization Convention No.169 that we have traditionally occupied. Further, we have rights to manage those resources inherent to the land,” says a release issued today, Monday.

According to a press release from the villagers, five residents were denied logging concessions in the last remaining area of Barranco with harvestable trees. The residents, according to the release, are “also upset at information that the department constantly issues concessions to non-Barranco residents and to non-Garifunas in other districts in Belize … this practice has been happening for years.”

They are also vexed that the government has been giving logging licenses to foreign companies without the informed consent of the villagers, and that they have received no compensation for their violated rights and for the losses they have suffered economically and otherwise.

According to the release, “the residents of Barranco Village have had enough and are now prepared to fight for our rights.”

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