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Sep 29, 2015

Santa Cruz Thirteen Back In Court… Uxbenka Denuding Continues

Pablo Mis

The Santa Cruz Thirteen, including outspoken Maya activist Cristina Coc, were back in court today where they appeared before Magistrate Emerson Banner.  The group has been back and forth before the magistracy since being arrested and charged on June twenty-fourth for the unlawful imprisonment of Rupert Myles.  Myles has denuded parts of the sacred site of Uxbenka, where he has erected a wooden structure.  Despite previous attempts by villagers of Santa Cruz to remove him from the location, all efforts have been futile and Uxbenka continues to be cleared.  This morning, before Magistrate Banner, the matter against the Santa Cruz thirteen was adjourned yet again to October twenty-sixth.  According to Program Coordinator Pablo Mis, of the Maya Leaders Alliance, a meeting was held this afternoon in the village to address the way forward since little has been done to prevent further destruction of the monument.

 

Via Phone: Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, MLA

“Today the thirteen leaders, the twelve from Santa Cruz and Cristina Coc from Maya Leaders Alliance appeared again in magistrate court. Today they were informed that the case is again adjourned until October 27th. So in about a month time we will be returning to court and hopefully that time we would be able to get closure so that we can understand the nature of the case. So the case itself was on the benefit however there is growing concern from the community of Santa Cruz while the leaders are being dragged through the court system for defending the rule of law. The perpetrator at the Uxbenka Site continues to; with no regard clear and plant on the site. This is even after NICH has publicly announced some months ago, that they agreed with Santa Cruz that damaged was being cost to the site and that they will take action against Mr. Myles to date that has not happened. More clearing is happening as I mentioned and more damage is being done to the site. So clearly there is a level of high frustration among the community members of Santa Cruz. The village leaders met with the Alcalde Association to discuss a way forward in preparation for the upcoming hearing as well for October 27th. The leaders decided that they will in good fate prepare a letter to write NICH and ask again for their urgent attention to the matter and there than that the community say that if there is no response from NICH then they will consider other alternatives that they can do to address the matter. The major concern is as I said that he continue to damage the site and that’s a major concern that is not being addressed by the relevant authorities.”

 

Myles’ removal has been a hot-button issue in the Toledo District since it is widely seen by residents of Punta Gorda Town as an act of racial discrimination.  The Maya community, however, insists that on an earlier ruling by the high court it is simply enforcing communal land rights.

 

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