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Aug 9, 2018

Attorney General Takes on SATIIM on Maya Lands Registry

Late this afternoon, the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, issued a release critical of the government for being noticeably quiet on the issue of the Maya Lands Registry, as it relates to customary land usage and delineation.  In August 2018, the village of Crique Sarco was first to present a map outlining its boundaries.  In that statement, SATIIM’s Executive Director Froyla Tz’alam says, “as far as we know, the Attorney General never even looked at the map.” We asked AG Peyrefitte for a response to SATIIM’s release.  Here’s what he told News Five earlier this evening.

 

Mike Peyrefitte

Mike Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“I will not respond, except to say that anything short of severing Toledo from the country of Belize and having SATIIM rule it, will not be satisfactory to SATIIM.  What they want is total and absolute control of the Toledo District.  That cannot happen.  The Toledo District is a part of the country of Belize.  You cannot have a piece of the country to yourself.  The consent judgment from the CCJ made it very clear that the constitutional authority of government is not affected.  Toledo, whether SATIIM likes it or not, is a part of Belize and so they will have to adhere to Belize’s laws, to the justice system of Belize and they will have to wait for the process to go along as it should go along.  We also have the Garinagu people who have expressed to us their desire to be involved in anything like this and they should be involved on a technical basis.  So it is not that we can snap our fingers and it happens tomorrow, that is not how it works because there is a process and that process will never be fast enough for them.  So I put no stock in anything SATIIM says in a press release.”

 

In 2015, the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered government to establish an effective system to identify and protect Mayan lands, in accordance with their traditional governance.  SATIIM says that three years after the order, government is yet to devise that mechanism.

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