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Jun 24, 2015

Was Former U.D.P. Minister Juan Coy Selling Mayan Lands?

Pablo Mis

Also in the south… On Friday, Magdalena Buul came forward with a story alleging that former U.D.P. Minister of State Juan Coy sold off a forty-five acre tract of land belonging to her in San Pedro, Columbia.  The title for the land was granted to Clive Ferrell, a resident of the United Kingdom who reportedly bought the land from Coy.  Well, there’s a similar story coming out of Medina Bank, one of thirty-eight Mayan communities that subscribe to communal land rights.  In December 2013, three years after the landmark Supreme Court decision on communal land rights, several pieces of land were sold to Emilio and Mary Elizabeth Zabaneh without the consent of the village leader.  When Zabaneh purportedly attempted to develop the property he was met by angry villagers who brought the works to a halt.  Upon further investigation it was discovered that the parcels were sold by Tecla Pop, Coy’s common-law wife, to the Zabaneh’s.  This afternoon, MLA program coordinator Pablo Mis commented on the sale of Maya communal lands.

 

Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, MLA

“Several months ago the community of Medina Bank, men, women and children had to physically go out and ask the developer of the land to put the bulldozer back on the truck and leave the land.  The developer showed the communities land documents, land titles that was issued to the said person by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2013.  It was bought for, there are several pieces, one was bought for about thirty-five thousand dollars, another one for forty thousand dollars.  I can’t recall the price for the other one but it was bought from a known relative of government officials and without the knowledge of villagers of Medina Bank.  There are other incidences such as logging concessions that are live at this moment and we have called upon the government to pay keen attention to these developing situations because the lack of action in addressing those can quickly, can quickly become incidents such as the situation that is now being seen in Santa Cruz.  Fortunately, for the Medina Bank situation the gentleman who bought the land was very respectful of the community’s way and he listened to the communities and he ensured, he assured the communities that he was going to find out other relevant information regarding his purchase of the land and that he will return to the community.  In that case, I know through reports from the village leaders that they told the developer that he cannot enter into any discussion with the community about accommodating him based on the title from the government because the court explicitly states that the government cannot sell those lands.  They informed the gentleman that if he is interested in engaging with the community that he has to come back and abide by the proper procedures and engage with the community from the beginning, perhaps even explore potential business opportunities.”

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