Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2017. 4:49 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Forest Department issued a press release today informing that it confiscated a total of 31,000 board feet of rosewood on December 7, 2016 in the Benque Viejo area.
The Department proceeded to charge Miguel Angel Estala this morning at the San Ignacio Magistrate Court with “unlawful possession of forest produce” in accordance with Section 19 of the Forest Act CAP 213. Estala pleaded guilty and was charged the maximum fine of $1,000. The rosewood material was forfeited to the Government of Belize.
“The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development recognizes that perpetrators face a relatively minor penalty for forest crimes. Therefore, it has embarked on an exercise to revise penalties and fines for forest crimes, and will seek to introduce the necessary amendments to the Forest Act at the next sitting of the House of Representatives,” the release explains.
The Forest Department also conducted an operation in the area known as the Gomez Estate, an extensive area of privately owned forest in the Toledo District, and found approximately 1,000 board feet of rosewood along with 2,500 board feet of Santa Maria lumber. All the confiscated material is housed at the Forest Department under 24-hour surveillance.
The Department reminds the public that a permit is required for the cutting of timber in national and private lands. Anyone found cutting a tree without permission or in possession of illegal lumber commits an offense and is liable to prosecution under the law.
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