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Guatemalan Duo Nabbed Inside Belize’s Chiquibul Forest

Two Guatemalan men were arrested inside the Chiquibul forest on Monday. According to Friends for Conservation and Development, FCD, two gold panners, 43 year old Isidro Garcia Roque and 23 year old Andres Ortis Ordones both from Peten, were detained ten point five kilometers in Belizean territory. Ordones and Roque were found inside their hut which they had built inside the Chiquibul Park, along with panning equipment. FCD states that quote, “Nearby their hut, the high impact of their activities on the headwaters, namely soil erosion, defacing of the park, garbage pollution and the contaminants on the stream were highly visible”, end of quote. Both Andres and Isidro were charged for illegal entry and they may face additional charges on defacing a protected area and operating without a permit in a national park. And finally, FCD makes is clear that preventing gold panning in the Chiquibul Forest has been a very difficult task in the last four years as it remains one of two illicit activities that is destroying the forest. What makes it worse is that Guatemala gold panners are moving further into the highlands eluding the FCD rangers and VDF soldiers.