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Jul 3, 2015

Senators Rumble Over Mayan Communal Rights

Lisa Shoman

As you heard earlier in the newscast, the situation in Santa Cruz is still very much on centre stage, and so is the issue of the CCJ consent order – what it actually orders, and what the term communal land really means. At the moment all of that is very much up in the air, and like most other things, have become sparring points by the two major political parties. Earlier this week in the Senate, the communal rights discussion turned emotional in an exchange between Senator Lisa Shoman and Senator Lisel Alamilla. Alamilla has been appointed head of a commission to deal with the issue of communal lands.

 

Lisa Shoman, P.U.P. Senator

“Since assuming office in 2008, this administration in government has been determined legally to deny the rights of Maya Belizeans, going so far as to appoint Special Counsel to argue against indigenous land rights and to conduct appeals to overturn the decisions of the Supreme Court. Why? The government went so far as to have its experts assert that the Mayans living in Toledo were not indigenous to Belize because they are supposedly and purportedly not historically linked to the Maya who had occupied the area centuries ago and that many are, quote – recent immigrants from Guatemala. Nothing else has really been done to implement the consent order and so predictably the evidence shows that the events not only of the past two weekends but of the past months, when certain people have been trying to push and assert their way onto Maya communal lands, boiled over into a mess of confusion fuelled by government inaction over the continuing and persistent encroachment of ayan communal lands and culminating in the unfortunate confrontation between Rupert Myles and the villagers of Santa Cruz who hold their title under communal land since at least legally the decision of 2008 by Justice Conteh.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla, U.D.P. Senator

“Don’t pretend that they want to find a solution because they do not want to find a solution. They are undermining the CCJ Consent Order.”

 

Lisa Shoman

“And you’re heading the Commission?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“I am heading the Commission.”

 

Lisa Shoman

“Shame.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Not a shame because I know the truth. They were just in the village of Indian Creek and you know what they told the people? You know what Mr. Alfonso Cal who is the President of the Toledo Alcaldes Association told the people? He told them, he told the villagers that they have every right to go into any protected area, including any private protected area and stake claim, because all those lands belong to them. That is not what the consent order gave them. What was happening in Santa Cruz, what was happening in Pueblo Viejo is that they were pulling pegs of land that was already leased and people have leasehold papers for land. Pueblo Viejo is a long established village. People have documents. That is not what the consent order stated. What happened to Mr. Myles is illegal detention, and that is unlawful.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Senators Rumble Over Mayan Communal Rights”

  1. Ali BaBarrow & his 40 say, Je juis Castro says:

    Lisel all you have to do is stonewall the investigation like Godwin Hulse on the Penner passport.

    Another UDP investigation going nowhere, a cover up well done!!

    Send the whole cabinet to prison, take away all their stolen wealth.

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