By BBN Staff: Villagers of Baranco held a protest in Belmopan this week to voice their discontent with the way the Ministry of Forestry has been handling logging concessions in their area.
A group of five loggers claim they had applied to the Ministry for logging concessions, but the ministry rejected all of them without providing any justification, and then gave the concessions to persons not living in Baranco.
According to Village Chair, Fabian Cayetano, the villagers are demanding that GOB: give an explanation as to why the 5 applications were rejected; approve the rejected concessions with the licenses for 2 logging seasons from October 15th 2018 to June 15th 2020, and be granted rights as indigenous people to manage the entire Barranco forest area from the Moho river to the northern banks of the Sarstoon river to conduct re-forestation, sustainable logging and eco-tourism to generate economic activity and jobs.
The villagers had a meeting with the ministry, and are awaiting a response on their demands. They underscored the urgency to fulfilling those demands, because the village is in need of finances for upkeep and upgrading.
The National Garifuna Council has been engaging with the government of Belize over the past few years in regards to establishing indigenous land rights for the Garinagu of southern Belize.