Posted: Monday, May 28, 2018. 3:41 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The villagers of Barranco and the Government of Belize have met and come to an agreement on a way forward with the issuing of logging concessions within the village.
Barranco villagers met with Minister of Forestry and Fisheries Omar Figueroa, last week in Belmopan and agreed on four major points that will be looked at in the short and medium term. Those points include: issuing small concessions to Barranco residents Leslie Colon and Alfredo Rash while the Forestry Department reviews their applications for larger areas; to either rescind the license given to Ruperto Blanco, or split the concession and have Colon’s area given to him; that the Minister will assist the community in setting up a co-management plan, for the community to be able to control the Barranco’s marine and forest area, to promote sustainable fishing, logging and reforestation.
The villagers and GOB also agreed to create a Development Plan that will encourage a boost in economic activity, entrepreneurship, and tourism.
The villagers took to Belmopan in a peaceful protest last month to show that they were unhappy with the way GOB was issuing logging concessions. They noted that Blanco had Rash and Colon who are from the village, had their applications rejected, while Blanco, who isn’t from the village, was given a concession. The villagers also took issue with the fact that Blanco was issued a concession without a recommendation from the village council, which was a part of the process to receive a concession.
The villagers are advocating for the forest, which is nearing depletion, to bring some economic benefit to Barranco, which has not been the case in the years gone by.
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