BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 13, 2019– A group of Maya villagers from Santa Theresa Village in the Toledo District came forward this morning with a disturbing allegation that a policeman, along with a contractor who is said to be well-connected to the ruling United Democratic Party, went to their village yesterday and stole a large quantity of rosewood.
The villagers, including their alcalde, told Wil Maheia of PGTV their story.
Pablo Max, the chairperson of a Santa Theresa community- based enterprise which deals with forestry products; Mateao Salam, the first alcalde from Santa Theresa; and Jose Thomas, Santa Theresa deputy alcalde, told Maheia that they are concerned that a police officer went to their area and stole their rosewood.
In a video interview Maheia shared with the media, he asked the group how they were so certain that the police officer stole their rosewood.
The men explained that the officer went into their village at 6:00 p.m. yesterday and came out sometime around 4:00 a.m. today, Monday.
The villagers said that they set up a team along the roadside and when he came out this morning, “all of us were there and we tried to stop this guy, but he just sped off.”
The villagers attempted to follow the pickup truck on a motorcycle, but the road condition made it easy for the pickup truck to escape in a cloud of dust.
Maheia also confirmed that the Forestry Officer, Victoria Chi, also confirmed that the villagers made a report to her about the rosewood incident.
The alcalde told Maheia that six of them tried to stop the policeman, who did not stop. He drove away in his pickup truck, which was loaded with 3 to 4 hundred feet of rosewood, which would have earned the villagers $5 per foot. The rosewood was already cut and lying in the bushes.
After the policeman and his highly connected accomplice had left the village, which is located about 30 miles from Punta Gorda Town, where the police is stationed, the villagers went to make a police report about the incident.
According to Maheia, the villagers waited for more than three hours at the police station, but their report was not taken.