The Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Orlando Habet and his Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kenrick Williams toured the rural villages of southern Belize over the weekend. The Minister’s tour ended on Sunday in the village of Barranco where he met with the villagers who were given an opportunity to voice their concerns. Correspondent Paul Mahung accompanied the Minister and filed the following report.
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Honorable Orlando Habet met with Barranco Village leaders to discuss relevant concerns affecting the development of their community. Minister Habet’s visit in Barranco on Saturday focused on a meeting with Barranco Village Council Executive Members with the opening prayer by Village Council Assistant Treasurer Chris Rodriguez, welcoming remarks by Treasurer Irma Gonzales and presentations by Vice Chairman Egbert Valencio and Secretary Dr.Francis Arzu. The meeting agenda also included remarks by Minister Orlando Habet and CEO Dr.Kenrick Williams and thereafter discussion session. At the completion of the meeting and visit, Minister Orlando Habet spoke to Love News.
Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “Barranco is sort of on a renaissance trying to build back the village because of former migration from the village. We can see a lot of needs within the village and we can see the potential also for the village. A major concern is that many of the resources from within and around the village have been extracted and taken out of the village with very little or no compensation and return to this village which could have helped to improve the livelihood of the community. Part of that natural resource is the extraction of timber which many companies or individuals have gotten licenses in the past and with very little coming back to improve the community. The village center proper we noted that it’s infested with woodlice, it needs to be refurbished and hopefully going forward some of the license that can be given can be, upon recommendation from the village council so that something can come back to the community.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: On behalf of Barranco Village Council Secretary Dr.Francis Arzu also spoke to Love News of major community level concerns discussed.
Dr.Francis ARZU, Secretary, Barranco Village Council: “Many areas of concerns were the logging issues and the logging concerns. The villagers want that the logging license be granted solely and only to the villagers knowing that they are indigenous to the area the importance of the indigenous status of the Garinagu of Barranco and of Belize was also mentioned. The road condition leading to Barranco knowing that it affects other villages in the Toledo district was also discussed and we are grateful, we appreciate that he was here. The way forward now is to plan, collaborate, to team work as to secure the safety, the economic wellbeing and the social wellbeing of the indigenous people of Barranco Village.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Before his departure Minister Habet visited and met with personnel on duty at Barranco Police SubStation and Belize Coast Guard Patrol Base. In appreciation to the visiting member of Cabinet to Barranco, Councilor George Coc expressed words of gratitude and gifts of appreciation were presented to Minister Habet by Dr. Francis Arzu and villager Steven Guttierez.