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Apr 22, 2015

Some Mayans Protest Communal Land

Dahlia Sho

This morning, dozens of men, women and children from thirty-eight indigenous communities in the south gathered at the Battlefield Park in anticipation of the CCJ’s ruling on the issue of Maya Land Rights.  While they all stood around waiting for the decision to be handed down, another group showed up at the venue, placards in hand, to protest the ramifications of the judgment.  That faction firmly opposes the idea of communal land ownership and remains adamant that as members of the wider Mayan population they are entitled to individual ownership of the parcels they occupy.  Though at  points it appears to be a personal attack against the leadership of the MLA and the Toledo Alcaldes’ Association, one primary school teacher, who traveled all the way from Pueblo Viejo to voice her displeasure, argues that there is a great deal of mis-education as it relates to the pros and cons of communal land ownership.

 

Dahlia Sho, Resident, Pueblo Viejo

“I am an educated young lady.  I am young, she might have her degree in so much because of the people’s money she’s at that stage.  I am not afraid… I am not afraid.  I stand here as a Belizean, not as a part of any organization.  I come here because I am a concerned citizen.  I am a teacher, I took the day off, I sacrificed a little baby’s time today to be here because whatever decision that happens today is for the benefit of the future children and for me as a Belizean.  What I want, the reason why I am here is because I want a titled land.  That’s what every Belizean is entitled to, that’s what’s in the constitution.  Every Belizean must be entitled to a piece of land.  Communal land, we respect that but yet they are not respecting that.  We should get our titled land.  We respect that they get, let them get their communal land but we, a majority who are here and we still have more people.  Due to their work, due to their families they are unable to reach here because the amount that is here we have sacrificed to reach here because it is not about politics.  It’s not about organizations.  This is about Belizean land, this is about our Belizean people and the future of today and tomorrow.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“But why is this issue now dividing the Maya community, seeing as though there are thirty-eight communities and you guys are seemingly breaking away from the idea of owning land communally?”

 

Dahlia Sho

“Let me explain it to the very part.  A lot of our leaders from the past, again I go back to mis-education to misrepresentation, misinterpretation of information because they are not educating our people on what is the benefit of owning a land or land title or what is the reason or the benefit of having communal land?”

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3 Responses for “Some Mayans Protest Communal Land”

  1. Timber says:

    So right. We have forgotten and cast your culture aside for the past twenty years while your history is vital to that of Belize and it’s own history. Primarily, this neglect was due to the lack of education of your ancestors and both parties shoved anything down their throats. Educate your people on the pros and cons of Communal vs Tenure land as well as titled land. Educate them on Overdoing, Overlapping, Complementary as well as Competing Interests. Educate them on the different forms of Land Tenure; Private, Communal, Open Access and State (which no one wants). Will it be only what we term in my education in university as ” Use Rights, Control Rights or Transfer Rights.” Tell your people be careful what they ask for. Communal land causes problems. Who gets to use the land and when. Who pays taxes. Who gets to determine when the land is used. Get them titled land! There have been landmarks cases on these in South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam.

  2. CEO says:

    Can you guys please work together for the greater good of the original peoples of Belize?

    We cannot all have our own little piece of the pie and still have the whole pie. You will always have more power in numbers. Stick together and you will be better off!

  3. Modesto Chiac says:

    I wonder where this young lady since this struggle have been going on? What would look better on television id she had composed herself and talked professionally to the media. why speak arogantly about the matter with no substance. Is assuming that Ms Coc stealing money to make herself educated? Its too low to be talking like that. I like Ms Coc way articulating her position and the same what Ms Sho could have done.

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