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Jul 19, 2016

…But, Is Government Pulling Its Weight and Playing Its Part?

Cristina Coc

Additionally, Coc told the media following the session that government failed to show that it has attempted to seek international support from organizations, including the United Nations to help with the implementation of the CCJ’s order.

 

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“In addition to that we raised the issue of the three hundred thousand dollar fund that was set aside for reparation for the Maya people as a first step to implement the CCJ order.  The Caribbean Court of Justice sought the consideration of the government again saying to them, you know, we need to understand what has happened, what is the commitment of the government.  We realize that it will take a lot of money to implement; what is the government doing?  Is it seeking international support?  Has it reached out to the United Nations who would be willing to help governments implement rulings that are favorable to indigenous peoples.  They could not answer whether or not they’ve done any of that.  In fact, they’ve only said that they have expended and exhausted three hundred thousand dollars already that was set aside as a first step and the only thing that they accounted for was for rental for their office space, for furniture that was bought and for paying staff; while at the same time the Maya people continue to raise issue with that because our understanding was that it would support our participation and involvement in these consultations with the Commission when in fact it has not. Every time our people has come to meetings, we have asked for reimbursement of bus fares which is fairly cheap and the government and the Commission has said, we don’t have the money to give you. At the same time when it meets with N.G.O.s and other stakeholders, it offers not only bus compensation, but compensation for their time and so this is contrary to what you would consider good faith consultations. In addition to that the CCJ justices raised the concern of whether or not the Maya people were consulted when the Commission was constituted and when it was set up and whether or not their inputs were sought with respect to having joint representation on the Commission and I know you all have asked us that question as well in the past. The CCJ asked the government to consider an undertaking to form a joint commission—one that would see the representation of indigenous peoples, one that would seek the input of the Maya people with respect to the composition of this Commission. So we are very pleased, the Commission has set the next date for reporting for January nineteenth of 2017; it said explicitly that it would like to see clearly a work plan written out by the Commission; that has not been forthright and we continue to make suggestions to the Commission. We continue to offer our capacity and our resources to the Commission; in fact, we’ve placed on the record a number of suggested work plans and the Commission continues to continue to just avoid even considering those work plans. We’ve offered the Commission a consultation framework which they have again denied even talk of it, use of it, adopting it to guide their process. At the same time, they complain that their meetings are not happening in the villages and it is because they are not following the customary practices and protocols that are already established to engage Maya communities. And so we wait to see what good they would make of the undertakings they took today and we will come back in six months and see what they report and expect that in six months, we can see some practical measures taken to adequately implement the CCJ order.”

 

The MLA is set to return to court with another update in 2017.

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