The Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Minister of the Environment, stands head and shoulders above her critics. Her monumental decision to burn illegally cut rosewood sent far reaching and powerful messages to the criminals that cut the rosewood and the corrupt, Forestry officers that allowed the cutting.
The message was clear that none would profit from the illegal cutting of rosewood and the Ministry would take all steps necessary, extreme or otherwise, to stop such illegal activity. The Hon. Lisel Alamilla showed good judgment and intestinal fortitude in making her decision.
The rosewood could have been sold for a considerable sum. However, such a sale would have sent the wrong message and would not be effective in deterring future illegal cutting of rosewood. Such a sale could have been construed as a tacit approval of the illegal cutting. Unfortunately, misguided politicians have criticized the decision to burn the rosewood. Such criticism is short-sighted and not in the best interest of Belize.
Belize has been endowed with great attributes, which include its forests and exceptional fisheries. Such attributes would have provided wealth for the people of Belize for many generations to come. Unfortunately, corruption is destroying assets to where soon there will be little remaining for the children or their children.
In the past when Government Ministers have attempted to expose such corruption and take measures to put an end to it, they have been put down and penalized for their efforts.
There were seven fine Ministers who attempted to put an end to a situation that smelled of corruption and was causing the country considerable financial losses. Their efforts were disregarded and some were disciplined. They were thereafter known as the “G7.”
In similar respect, the then Minister of Fisheries, the Hon. Servulo Baeza, was removed from office when he sought to stop Guatemalan gill net fishermen from destroying Belize’s fisheries.
The questions arise as to whether the Hon. Lisel Alamilla will also suffer similar results for her daring to stand up for the people of Belize and attempt to stop corruption.
Judge of US Superior Court, Retired