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Mar 17, 2011

Mayas from 38 Villages appear in Appeals Court over land rights

Representatives from Maya communities converged at the Battlefield Park in downtown Belize today for day one of an appeal by the Government on a Supreme Court ruling handed down last year. That ruling affirmed ancestral Maya land rights for thirty-eight villages in southern Belize. The case was a major win for the Maya Leaders’ Alliance that had been struggling since 2007 to ascertain communal rights in the lands they have been occupying.  GOB’s position is to the contrary, that the Mayas have no customary land rights and is, therefore appealing the Supreme Court decision of June 2010. The Alliance believes that the government is attempting to strip them of their way of life without compensation to make way for oil and timber companies.  News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez

A contradiction of images was on display near the courthouse in Belize City this morning. In front of Magistrate Court, armed men with powerful rifles stood guard while across the street were the prayers of Mayas being heard in two languages.

The mood was somber in Battlefield Park as representatives from thirty eight villages held their heads down with their eyes closed. Alcaldes, past and future leaders, were present for the government’s appeal of the land case.

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“We have known from the onset that the government does not agree with us. We knew that they would fight us to the highest courts. I mean the Prime Minister said that a few times publically. So we anticipated coming back to the Court of Appeals. We’re here to continue to defend our right to life. Our right to those lands and resources that we call our home. We’re here to continue to express our disappointment with how the government has violated our rights, with how the government has refused to respect and to recognize us as a people.  Maya people are not asking for special rights. There is nothing special about Belizeans having a right to property and property of any kind. Maya people are Belizeans and they have a right to property and they are describing what kind of property they have, what kind of property they hold and their right needs to be respected.”

Cristina Coc

But in this new millennium, the burning flames from oil rigs that signify multimillion dollar earnings for the country in the form of mineral rights, also inspires the government’s pursuit.

Cristina Coc

“Our struggle is a very long struggle. In fact a lot of our leaders have passed on. This started long before there was the whole campaign for oil concessions and oil drilling in Belize and we have proven that we value our resources, we value the things that provide life and sustenance to our communities. Oil is a very important issue. I think that indeed if there is resources to be exploited, that at the very least, Belizeans ought to be consulted, Belizeans ought to give their consent to whatever kinds and forms of development that happens. That includes Maya people and that includes Maya people under whose lands those oil wells might be. So what we are asking for is an inclusion. Have our state recognize that we have a voice and we want to be able to be a part of ensuring that whatever  development—be it oil, be it timber, whatever kind of development comes—that the Maya people begin to define with that kind of development. This is about Belizeans realizing that they can have an active part in defining the changes that they want to see in Belize. We are going through some challenging times—all of us Belizeans—and we need to unite; we do not need to divide ourselves. We need to unite and to bring about collective change through our diversity, through our differences as people. Let’s put our thoughts together, let’s put our ideas together, let’s put our energy together and let us bring about the change we want to see in this country.”

The prayers and songs continued in Battle Field Park, as the Appeals’ Court war occurred simultaneously across the street. Two flags were erected in the park. The Belizean Flag for nationality and the Maya flag which represents cardinal points through colors. Red symbolizing blood and life as East and Yellow for south, the besieged Mayan heartland.   Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The case continues on Friday and arguments are expected to conclude next Monday.

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16 Responses for “Mayas from 38 Villages appear in Appeals Court over land rights”

  1. rod says:

    lets fight on my mayan people do not give up one inch of land to this trecherous pm and go. the worse in the history of belize every aspect of belizean life is in desaray since this gov. has been in power and it keeps getting worse so today i tell you u na jil uchben ba” tel we will rise again my people and we will get rid of this disgrace of a pm and gov. who is the most useless and impotent pm and gov. in the history of our country barrow yum cimil is waiting for you.

  2. MyLegacyB4myPeople says:

    Very well said Miss Coc if you have not done so I suggest that you send out invitations to the rest of the country to join you before your next outing, would be nice if all Belizeans could unite in this way, I think that the rest of Belize should come out and show solidarity with the Mayas since they are all suffering under this Barrow regime whose main interest is to advance their wealth building legacy scheme. Remember, My Legacy B 4 My People.

  3. Bruce says:

    WORLD WIDE NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Lord Gives Us But all GOVERNMENTS take it away!!!!!!!!!

    Look at Libya the latest abuse for power.

    Does this mean the definition of a politician is: Someone who has what it TAKES to take what YOU HAVE?????????????????????????????????????????????????

  4. BLVNJAH says:

    ITS ALL ABOUT GREED. NONE OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES, AS A COLLECTIVE, HAVE EVER CARED ABOUT THE FOLKS IN PG.

    STAND STRONG AND UNITED MY BELIZEAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS….

  5. javier solis says:

    The issue of communal rights is not about this PM or the past PM, you dodo bird, its about sovereignty. There cannot exist a state within a state. We are all of different cultures and races, but we are all belizeans once we are born here or of parents of belizean nationals. Let us not fool ourselves with politics and make people from oceana try to dictate thier policies to us and divide us as belizeans. The maya like any other indigenous or local group must abide by the constitution of belize. We are a nation of laws and not of men. Communal rights are a thing of the past, like human sacrifices to non-existent gods. Wake up and look at the people who are trying to create unrest and disunity. Who is paying them????

  6. MyLegacyB4myPeople says:

    Poly meaning many Tics meaning blood suckers (Many blood suckers) Remember, My Legacy B 4 My People.

  7. roberto shal says:

    Ok. So we the Mayas all want to live in communal land right? Well let me tell you Ms. Cristina Coc that is not so. I have a land in Blue Creek, Toledo and have been fighting to get it in title because I want it to be mine and be able to pass it to my children. This can’t be done in a communal land with people that are ignorant and easily manipulated, I am shame to say. Now thanks to you Ms. Cristina Coc I can not do this since all papers have stopped…. Know I got to fine out that you have land and it is yours, that is, property (title). Why are you fighting for this communal land and not giving up yours? Ms. Cristina Coc I know you from childhood and I always said you are a smart woman. So why are you allowing yourself to be manipulated by these people (you know who I am talking about). I guess money$$$$ is the root of all evil and now you have all the Maya people fooled and the rest of Belizeans with this nonsense shame on you.

  8. Maria Marshall says:

    My heart and best wishes are with the Mayans from whom most of our ancestors originated.

    Government should know that visitors from around the world, finds the Mayan Temples to be one of our best tourist attractions.
    Tourism financially benefits our country in so many ways, and the government owes it to the decendants of the great Mayan society by acknowledging their cause.

  9. Disgusted! says:

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE. UNITY IS STRENGTH. Now the Mayan people need to arm themselves to protect life and property because, knowing this vindictive dictatorsip regime, the battle has just started. Shoot to kil anyone who infringes on your properties and rights and if it reaches a point where the rest of the nation have to join you in literally fighting this oppressive government, then WAR we will. POWER TO THE MAYANS!!!!!!!!! POWER TO CHRISTINA COC AND GREG CH’OC!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Iniate says:

    Here is how the Mennonites do it. …

    Everyone that wants “communal land”, submit and right over your title to one title that is administered by the leaders in that “communal land.” – THAT’S IT! Those of you that want “communal land” join yourself together and form a community – great. Works ok with the Mennonites – for now at least.

    DON’T GO PUT UP A FIGHT WITH THE GOVERNMENT – COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY AND INSANE.

    What you are trying to do Miss Coc, will never work, because you have people like javier solis and roberto shal, and they have a honorable LEGAL right to live like that.

    I hope you are reading this, because this can completely dissolve your petty problem in an instant, like sugar in water.

  11. Concerned Maya says:

    Come on Belizeans, first there was the Guatemala Claim, now we have the Maya Claim, HELLO !!!!! they are invading us, those Maya’s are originally from Guatemala, who is founding all these money for them to stand up to GOB ??? Nobody gives money away without having an agenda, “what the eyes see the mind believes” wake up people, find out what is the hidden agenda. Guatemala is taking over Toledo using the Mayas, do you actually think that Christina lives in thatch house running around barefoot making corn tortillas lol

  12. Amazed says:

    Concerned Maya, you should be ashamed to call yourself that. Your comment reveals that you know nothing about your people, or are ashamed of your past and have chosen to leave their “primitive” ways for the modern life. Good luck to you.

  13. Elgin Martinez says:

    I love the solidarity within the Mayas.These people will get whatever they want because they’re willing to come together.

  14. shock says:

    Fellow Belizeans if you want to be fear to this issue that isne’t going away any time soon, I advise that you go and do serious historical research to find out the real facts about this piece of land, now call Belize. Us older Belizeans were taught brief scetch of British Honduras, and the vast majority of you all never saw a history written by independent historian. I saw and read the works of two historians back in 1959 about this Belize Guatemala issue and the two historical record showed that Britian held on to this teritory by trickry up to the time that they beat spain in war, and after that it was by intimidation since Guatemala was scare to challenge Great Briton. Not to mention the war of the Pacific with Peru and other south American Nations when as a result of Grace Company tricky on commercial contract. it put the whole Pacific nations under receivership, which brought about the MONRO doctrine by the United States of America as it assumed the debt of those countries to prevent Britian from going to war with them.

    First to thy ownself be true;so, even though I’m a black Belizean I have to follow what I believe is true, which is,this piece of land under International sovereign law belong to the Mayas. Under such law only the proven original owner can claim sovereignty. The British took slaves there was to fight the Mayas, who elce? Since they were dealing with a bunch of slaves they no doubt they told them what they wanted them to know. How about the Island of Jamaica that was part of Venezuela ,then occupied by the ARAWAK INDIANS that got whipped out by Henry Morgan as he went about plundring and stealing all the way down to Panama?

    Folks, the Mayas has suffered tremendeously. Go to your Internet and read for yourselves what had been done to them in resent time right next door in Guatemala when foreignors went in and paid off politicians to kill them off so that they could get access to their minerals. Many of you will get yourselves kill because of ignorance, sleeping with the eyes of politicains. Read history and see how many times politicians has caused innosent citizens to be slaughtered. Even in our time we saw how the Bushe’s caused so many people to lost their lives and the thousands that are living as vegetables.

  15. The People Had Enough says:

    Good point concerned Maya, there is always an (hidden) agenda. However, people like you and myself are called conspiracy theorists and quickly given a shun of the shoulder and a pout of the lips. However, Guatemala is making a move, they know they can’t get Belize by force, too much Americans live here now and own most of this country, so they are doing it by stealth. Very sad and pathetic that the mainstream media in Belize don’t touch on this in more elaboration, if any at all.

  16. The People Had Enough says:

    There is so many things going on in Belize and it is all orchestrated by powerful people inside and outside our borders. Its all about mass deception and sleight of hand.

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