The Sarstoon Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) will be taking the Forestry Department and Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido to court to reverse the department’s ban of SATIIM from co-managing the Sarstoon Temash National Park.
SATIIM Executive Director Greg Cho’c announced SATIIM’s intention to fight the ban at a press conference at the Social Security building in Punta Gorda on Tuesday, July 23.
He said the Forestry Department and Sabido had sent him two letters banning SATIIM from co-managing the Park. “I have two letters… one stating that ‘in accordance with this decision, SATIIM is being informed that it is no longer authorized to access the National Park and it is refrained from undertaking any negotiations or related business associated with the park and the usual park management’.
SATIIM will not give up co-managing the park without a fight, Cho’c warned. “As a people, we have sacrificed, we have been denied access to the very land that we owned; we have recognized and have always recognized the importance of protecting and safe guarding our natural resources and I want to tell the Forestry Department and the Government of Belize that SATIIM will continue to manage and protect the National Park because it is our interest and the interest of the Belizean people,” Cho’c affirmed.
Cho’c said SATIIM is not only protecting the park, but that the Government should say ‘thank you to the people that have made that possible for this country’. Not a letter that says, ‘we can no longer go inside the national park’