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Sep 2, 2013

Greg Ch’oc says he’ll study law and clarifies whether he has resigned from SATIIM

Greg Ch’oc, the Executive Director of SATIIM, also used the trip to Sarstoon Temash to provide clarity to the question of whether he had resigned from the N.G.O. Speaking in Ketchi and then in English to reporters, Ch’oc said that detractors have been spreading mischief and that any decision he takes is in consultation with Maya leaders. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since Wednesday of last week, rumors of Greg Ch’oc’s resignation, as Executive Director of the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, have been spreading like wildfire across the NGO community, particularly among environmentalists.  The buzz was fueled by an email sent to various members of the media in which it was alleged that Ch’oc was leaving the organization to pursue an academic scholarship in law.  On Friday, during a press conference held in the village of Midway, Ch’oc took the opportunity to address the hearsay.

 

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

Greg Ch’oc

“I have not, at no time compromised the dignity of my people.  Despite numerous attempts to do so, many of my detractors would love that I move on.  Many would love that I get tired and frustrated.  I am not going anywhere, I am here to continue the struggle with the Maya communities.  Yes, I have been accepted to law school.  It’s a personal decision that I have taken in consultation with the leaders of these communities.  They have given me their trust to lead them and it’s only right that I consult with them in decisions, even those that are personal to me.  When I decide to go there will be someone that will rise to the challenge to continue to honor the legacy of resistance of our ancestors.”

 

Before an audience of men, women and children, all of Maya descent, save for us journalists who traveled to the southern village at the start of the weekend, Ch’oc laid bear his soul on a number of personal and professional matters that concern the struggle of his people and the fate of his tenure as a respected leader.

 

Greg Ch’oc

“I need to be honest with the community that I have been accepted [to law school] and it was in that conversation that it got blown out of proportion.  I’ve been accepted to the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.”

 

Reporter

“So when did you apply?”

 

Greg Ch’oc

“That was probably the beginning of this year.”

 

Reporter

“What academic year did you apply for?”

 

Greg Ch’oc

“I applied for this year.”

 

Reporter

“2012-2013. So from the fact that you applied that means you have a interest in studying law.”

 

Greg Ch’oc

“You can probably say that, yes.  Well I don’t think you would have applied if you didn’t intend to go to law school. There is always, and there is a provision at the university to defer.”

 

The letter issued under the pseudonym Maya Belize, excoriated Ch’oc for allegedly taking away educational and other opportunities from his fellow Maya people, as well as Garifuna youths.  He responded to those criticisms.

 

Greg Ch’oc

“I have not taken up a lot of opportunities that have come my way and I have done so because the work that I have been doing, I wanted to see them until the end and I can say that the work I started in 2006 to where we are now, we’ve had significant, and I think, impressive accomplishments.”

 

Ch’oc, despite not resigning, has chosen to defer enrolment at UWI Cave Hill until the next academic year, in order to see existing litigation against U.S. Capital, before the Supreme Court, to conclusion. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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