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Jun 22, 2015

Citizen’s Arrest in Santa Cruz; Was It Racially Motivated?

Rupert Myles

A citizen’s arrest effected by residents of Santa Cruz on Saturday, at the request of Village Chairman Aram Canti, has sparked controversy across the Toledo District, among members of the Maya and Garifuna communities. Rupert Myles, who has been occupying land within the village for almost two years, was bound and shackled. It happened following an outburst during a meeting which preceded a planned cleanup of the village. That is according to a statement issued by the Toledo Alcaldes Association earlier today.  We will get to that a bit later in this story; however, the question tonight is whether racial discrimination was indeed at the heart of Myles’ detention over the weekend.  Myles, who had been formally asked to remove his home from the sacred Maya site of Uxbenka, is in an interracial relationship with a villager.  Myles alleges that the chairman referred to him using racial epithets while confronting him.  Our colleague at PGTV, Wil Maheia, visited the community during the incident and was able to speak with Myles candidly about the purported circumstances leading up to his arrest.


Rupert Myles, Resident, Santa Cruz Village

“Ih upset wahn black man di walk through di village, much less ah wahn Kerobi cohn live ya.  Aram Canti.”


Wil Maheia

“What about that they had given you some warning not to build?”


Rupert Myles

“Well, yo sih weh happen when di man tell me dat I cyant, my gial haftu live ya, right.”


Wil Maheia

“What he tell you?”


Rupert Myles

“Anytime wahn gial find wahn man from outside ah di village dat dehn haftu go alright.  Ih seh and you da Garifuna and we noh want dat mix up long with we Indian people ya, right.  So, I tell di man well I wahn contest dat because wahn lotta gial di ya, wahn lotta lee gial di ya, right.  Dis da my gial, ih just got wahn baby, yo undastand mi and I noh think this right.”


Wil Maheia

“But dehn tell yo dat da part ah wahn archaeological site?”


Rupert Myles

“Listen to me.  Dehn tell me dis right, I tell dehn put me sohnweh, gimme wahn piece ah place weh I could build my house, yo undastand me.  But then dehn no wahn dat, dehn seh yo haftu go.  Dehn noh wahn no black people ya.”


Wil Maheia

“Who tell you dat?”


Rupert Myles

“Di chairman.  If di chairman look pan me and seh…”


Wil Maheia

“Who da di chairman?”


Rupert Myles

“Aram Canti.  Ih seh he upset, right, when he sih wahn black man di walk through dis village, much less ah wahn Kerobi live ya, right.  Dat da di words ih use to me and I tell he dat I wahn contest dat.  I da Creole mista.”

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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6 Responses for “Citizen’s Arrest in Santa Cruz; Was It Racially Motivated?”

  1. Leo says:

    How times have changed. In my youth we were ” BELIZEANS ‘ not black,blue,pink,yellow or brown. ” BELIZEANS ” Goddamn it!

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    I guess the Mayan people need to be reminded that most if not all of them were educated by Garifuna Teachers.

  3. Belizean Pride says:

    I guess it’s not a racial issue but a tradition of land issue and cultural rules, just look at the Mennonites you can marry a Mennonite girl from shipyard but are you entitle to stay there, never. It’s tradition people but sadly the issue of race is spiking all around the world we tend to say and shout racial at every chance we have.
    This should not be taken as racial but traditional way of there doing, even do the physical harm they did was uncalled, those involved should be charged for that.

  4. george says:

    Times have changed indeed

    in belize whenever someone gets in trouble with the law,,,,human rights abuse gets them off the hook….

    Mr miles has been in the village for two weeks? he has a baby,,,that means he has been visiting the village for at least one year…no complaints of any racial slurs.. during that time.

    He waits until he gets into trouble,,, then be brings out his lifeline,,,”"the rascism card.”"

    in the process……Belize forgets the offence…building on a maya ruin,,, which is an offense under the Ancient Monuments and Antiquities Act – Cap. 330

  5. BelizeanInAsia says:

    SO what is the difference between this and what the LGBT movement is fighting for? Isn’t ostracizing someone because of having a partner who is not of your race a form of discrimination? Sure he should not have been digging at an archaeological site but they would not even provide his wife with a piece of land? Is this not discrimination? All Belizeans should be entitled to a piece of land not just the Maya. The Mennonites came to Belize long long after every one else and yet they have lands. Sick! We should blame ourselves for not rectifying this foolishness though.

  6. born belizean says:

    We are all belizeans. we should be treated equally. these people in santa cruz just dont want to have anybody in there village even us mayas. our own people. its a shame n disgrace to our mayan community. i am a mayan woman n justice should be serve. it has nothng to do with racisim its all about the land.

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