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Jul 28, 2014

Mediation Ordered in BGYEA Land Dispute…

The ongoing dispute between the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, and the Government of Belize, over the use of the road reserve adjacent to Harmonyville, will see both parties attempting to resolve the matter amicably through mediation.  Since making public its intention to plant corn within the buffer zone, BGYEA has come under intense pressure from the Ministry of Natural Resources.  The organization was initially prohibited from cultivating maize along the fringes of the community, an order which was enforced through an injunction granted on May twenty-third.  Several weeks later, BGYEA scored a legal victory when the Supreme Court of Justice Courtney Abel ruled in its favor, canceling the injunction.  Notwithstanding their often contentious relationship, BGYEA and G.O.B. will sit down in the days ahead to settle the matter with the assistance of a court-appointed arbiter.  This morning, attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd apprised the media on the latest round of talks.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for BGYEA

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Two orders were given by the court: the first one is a mediation order.  Both parties, the attorney for the government and myself, on the instruction of my clients, believe that it is a matter in the interest of all that can be settled.  So we consented to mediation which will be worked out through the courts.  That means we’ll get an independent mediator to put the issue on the table and I think that’s good, it’s always good to try and settle your problems with talking because if you don’t then the court will make a decision.  The second order that was given is that in case the talk doesn’t work out then there’ll be full trial.”


Isani Cayetano

“Is there a timeline when the mediation commences?”


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Yes.  We must have mediation within forty-five days from today.”



“And end?”


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Mediation is usually a day or two but when you go into the first day of mediation, depending how the dialogue is going on, you decide right there and then that you need an extra day or another two days or stuff like that.  That how mediation works.  It’s a new process that the court has.  It’s a process that many people are exploring now to settle issues and so that’s the first step. And I am sure that when sober minds reflect on everything, people want to sit back and see what is it that we were trying to do.  What is it that the community is supposed to represent?  Who are the people who will benefit?  I am sure the government, as BGYEA feels, will want to make sure that people who are supposed to benefit from that community end up benefiting.  That they don’t get lost between a fight and that’s what we are looking at.”

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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