Charles Wright, OBE spent his last years of life engaged in a desperate battle to
save Belize's rainforest,
especially the Columbia River Forest Preserve. Not a wealthy man, this was
the only legacy he could leave.
The following is excerpted from an article he wrote for ECO, Journal of
Environmental Information, in 1996.
"I have been holding a
watching-brief for nearly half my life, and I am naturally concerned at what now appears
to be happening.
When I first came to British Honduras (now Belize) in 1952, I was in charge of the
Land Use Survey Team...to evaluate the ...
potential...our report... appeared as a book, Land in British Honduras
(1959)... Our fieldwork established that the
headwaters of the Columbia and Rio Grande Rivers were clothed in an unusual type of
forest not elsewhere found...
In short, British Honduras was the custodian of a very significant and quite
extensive biological relic. Toledo
(the southernmost political district) is the only place in Belize where Campur
limestone supports a true tropical rainforest..."
My note - in 1995, logging began in this preserve under an exclusive government
contract after what
Charles' characterized as "covert (under-the-table) issuance of
licenses..." Charles concluded the article...
"To wait almost 50 years only to
find that a process of rape of a valuable biological asset
has been contrived for the ultimate benefit of a few..., then I certainly cannot
die a happy person.
I feel that I have, in some measure, let down my many Mayan friends.