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Jul 29, 2013

Former Alcaldes want their named removed from Maya court action

Ligorio Coy

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal rendered a split decision, described by Greg Ch’oc of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management as a bittersweet outcome to a challenge brought by the Government of Belize against a ruling handed down by former Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh.  That judgment concerns the issue of communal land rights as it relates to Maya Communities in southern Belize.  While the appellate court re-affirmed their entitlement to decide what form of property rights should exist over their lands in accordance with their own values, President Manuel Sosa in delivering the verdict ruled that protection of the lands in question, by government, is optional.  Of the five grounds that were argued before the bench, the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association were only successful on the first two reasons.  That decision would ultimately set the precedent for a claim of contempt that was being pursued by the M.L.A. against G.O.B.  But this morning, Senior Counsel Antoinette Moore withdrew the claim.  Interestingly, while current members of both associations were absent from court, a group of former alcaldes were in Belize City to request the removal of their names from a list of respondents in the ongoing litigation.  Erstwhile village leader Ligorio Coy spoke with News Five this morning and he explained why they are seeking the exclusion of their names as defendants.

 

Ligorio Coy, Former Alcalde, Santa Ana Village

“We made all effort to be here because I received an email whereby I have read that the Maya Leaders Alliance want to take the government back to court and when I read that document it’s for contempt of court and, you know, we were not informed.  I was not informed and they were using my name out there on the claimants’ list and we are very concerned because I don’t know what is happening.  So I would like to listen and get to know more what is transpiring.  They should have informed me.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In light of the fact that you were not informed and I believe that the other three alcaldes weren’t either, did you reach out to the leadership of the MLA to find out what is taking place?”

 

Ligorio Coy

“Well no, I didn’t but I wrote a letter and I scanned it and I emailed it to their attorney asking them that they should remove my name from that list because I don’t want to continue to be a claimant.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now, at this point that particular case has been withdrawn.  Do you believe that your name might be used in any future action against the Government of Belize as it regards any legal challenge?”

 

Ligorio Coy

“Well I will wait for the response of their attorney whether they will remove my name or not then I might think what step I should take again to remove my name because I am not presently with these organizations.”

 

Also seeking the removal of their names are Lorenzo Coc, former Alcalde of Otoxha, Luis Cho of Crique Sarco and Pedro Cucul of Dolores Village.  

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