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Deputy Prime Minister: Cabinet to discuss logging issue in Crique Sarco

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Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2021. 2:53 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde said that government intends to discuss private logging in Crique Sarco Village, an area that is Maya communal land, following the issuance of a cease and desist order by the Forestry Department to private landowner Gary Seawell.

Seawell, whose lease on the land predates the Caribbean Court of Justice’s Consent Order  2015, was issued a logging concession in May, but later told to stop all logging activities in the area. Hyde said this week that the matter needs to be discussed as the government is in “uncharted territory” with respect to the implementation of communal land rights.

“Big questions remain. How do you work the whole private land, private rights situation inside of communal lands and there are lots of people who have private properties in these communal lands?  How do you, you have people who have leases who’ve not been able to renew their leases,” Hyde said.

He noted that the difficulties with lease renewal are compounded by the fact that the Ministry has a standing moratorium against renewing leases within communal land areas. Hyde stressed that another major issue that needs to be discussed is how to obtain prior confirmed consent from the Maya communities with respect to land usage.

Hyde said that those matters will be brought up in Cabinet next week.

Earlier this week, the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) issued a statement commending the Forestry Department for issuing the stop order, noting that the concession was not granted within the required process.

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