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Oct 30, 2019

Cristina Coc Comments on Dismissed Rupert Myles Suit

Rupert Myles

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court dismissed a case against the Government of Belize that was brought by Manuel Pop, who at the time was First Alcalde of Santa Cruz Village which is one of twenty-three indigenous communities.  The lawsuit against G.O.B. and Rupert Myles was filed in 2016 whereby the claimant was seeking damages.  This succeeded two incidents, the first being an altercation with Myles by residents of Santa Cruz during which he was bound at the wrists and ankles and paraded through the village.  Secondly, the homes of those villagers were raided during a pre-dawn operation in the wake of the incident in which Myles was arrested and evicted from Santa Cruz.  Justice Michelle Arana ruled, however, that Myles did not act as an agent of the state.  According to Coc, while they await the process of delimiting and defining Maya communal lands, there should be a cease and desist from allowing any new developments in areas that are deemed indigenous lands.


Cristina Coc

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“In terms of the case that was dismissed, you will remember the Rupert Myles case, the village of Santa Cruz filed a case against the Government of Belize and also against Rupert Myles, in addition, against the incursion that happened on the Maya temple site.  This was a trespass case.  The court, I won’t comment on the integrity of the judiciary or why they came to that decision but the court decided that they could not with the case, that they dismissed the case on the reasoning that it was hard to tell, for them to tell if it was a trespass case because the Maya lands have yet to be demarcated, delimited and defined.  This is an obligation of the government, so the government’s failure to clearly define and delimit the territory that has raised the question of whether or not trespass can be determined.  I will give you my opinion and the opinion of the Maya people, is such that this paragraph four of the consent order was in fact there in order to put in interim measures as we wait for the implementation.  Until such time that Maya land rights have been protected through new legislation there is a measure to cease and desist from granting any further development on Maya lands that might seek to interfere with the use and enjoyment of those lands.”

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