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Aug 6, 2014

Greg Ch’oc Says Some Community Leaders Excluded From U.S. Capital Sit-down

Greg Ch’oc

The arrival of drilling equipment in Sunday Wood on July twenty-fifth, has brought with it certain discord among members of the Maya communities fringing the Sarstoon Temash National Park.  In a recent press release, the elected leaders of Conejo, Midway, Crique Sarco and Graham Creek voiced their discontent with the manner in which discussions concerning communal land usage were held with representatives of U.S. Capital Energy.  To begin with, the group of four contends that it was not invited to a meeting held between the Toledo Alcaldes Association, the Maya Leaders Alliance and U.S. Capital Energy.  Moreover, they refuse to accept or fulfill any accommodations coming out of the talks since they were not party to the proceedings.  News Five spoke by phone with Executive Director Greg Ch’oc who says that SATIIM’s position on the matter remains the same; that as representatives of the buffer communities, there should have been dialogue.

 

Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“They are disappointed that a decision has been taken by the leadership of the MLA and the [Toledo] Alcaldes Association to engage in discussions without the knowledge, participation and consent of the four claimant communities.  I don’t think that I can say much more on that, you know.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Where does SATIIM stand in regards to what is currently taking place?”

 

Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc

“Well, SATIIM’s position as you and as everybody knows is that we were appointed, elected by the communities to assist them in safeguarding their voice, rights and interests, as it relates to oil drilling on their ancestral land and we have been providing that support and it is that particular process that the community has established that we, SATIIM, expect the process for consultation and discussion would have happened.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case at this point in time.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What’s the next thing in terms of moving forward?”

 

Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc

“Well the communities have met and have issued that release that was circulated to the media.  They are going to be, they have written a strong letter to the leadership of the Maya Leaders Alliance, the [Toledo] Alcaldes Association and their legal counsel and they await for the leadership to respond to their letter.  They are going to be meeting again shortly, Friday, to plan additional action that they may want to take.  Of course, as they’ve always said in the past the community, the members of the community need to be onboard and informed of what decisions are taken.  So that is really what they are doing, you know.”

 

As mentioned, a subsequent meeting will be held on Friday in Punta Gorda. 

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