By BBN Staff: The National Garifuna Council (NGC) said this week that it fully supports the Barranco villagers fighting to get logging concessions within their own village from the Ministry of Forestry.
The NGC’s President, Sandra Miranda, said that the forest within the Barranco area has almost been completely logged out by outsiders, with no benefits to the villagers or their community. She emphasized that the Council stands with the villagers, as shown by its attendance at both the Tuesday protest and the meetings with the Chief Forestry Officer over the applications of the five villagers that were rejected.
“The ministry needs to review its processes because outsiders got the concessions after Barranco villagers made the investments to have the area surveyed,” Miranda said.
She noted that the council has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Belize with respect to logging concessions, which is still binding according to the conversation the council has had with Attorney General, Micheal Peyrefitte.
Miranda added that the difficulties being faced by the Barranco villagers forms a part of a larger dialogue that the NGC is having with GOB, to get Garinagu customary land rights recognized. The NGC had a meeting in February with Minister of State Dr. Carla Barnett, and is currently conducting surveys of various areas within the Garinagu communities for a follow-up meeting.