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Jun 16, 2014

SATIIM’s Executive Director openly critical of the Prime Minister

Greg Ch’oc

Executive Director of SATIIM, Greg Ch’oc, also pulled no punches when he spoke to the media today. He was openly critical of the Prime Minister for the decision to bar SATIIM from the discussion…a discussion which they initiated and a fight they have maintained.

 

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“I would have expected that by now the prime minister would have risen to the challenge of statesmanship and sadly he has not. For him to continue to berate civil society leaders, trade union leaders, because they are there to bring these national issues to the forefront and he is taking that personal; it is a sad time for governance in this country. The prime minister made mention that SATIIM has no standing as it relates to our case before the courts and US Capital. I don’t want to make public what I think about his statement, but I will say this; international law provides the right for indigenous people to elect, select and choose their representatives when they are dealing with issues of the state and this is clearly one of those issues. The framers of these international law and I dare say national law provide safeguards in these international law to protect indigenous people from leaders like the prime minister that we have in this country who prefer to drag indigenous leaders out of their community, bringing them into a room in Belmopan without the opportunity of counsel to coerce, intimidate them, seduce them, induce them for them to write and agree to consent. I think it has gone to the lowest point of governance in this country. The prime minister not only has the standing, he has no place, he has no right to tell the indigenous people who their representative is supposed to be. They have the right to choose. It was in that context that we chose him as our legal counsel in 2006. What is wrong with us choosing anybody else to represent us; what is wrong with the indigenous communities choosing somebody else to represent them?”

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