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Jun 18, 2021

Are Maya Communities Yielding to G.O.B.’s Divide and Conquer Strategy?

Cristina Coc

Once the communities have given consent, they can still withdraw it any point.  Additionally, an FPIC Protocol allows both parties to negotiate the conditions under which an undertaking will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated.  This is also enshrined within the universal right to self-determination.  But the government, according to the Toledo Alcaldes Association, is once again attempting to question or challenge the collective representation of the indigenous communities.  The TAA and the Maya Leaders Alliance have represented these communities as customary leaders for many years.  The issue, according to Cristina Coc, is that various groups have since emerged, all wanting a seat and equal say at the negotiating table.


Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, TAA/MLA

“This, from our point of view, is just another attempt to undermine and sideline and disrespect the traditional governance system of the Maya people.  This issue of representation, it’s not the first time it’s coming up.  In fact, for us it’s déjà vu, it came up at the beginning of these claims when the Government of Belize questioned our standings in court, whether or not the Toledo Alcaldes Association can bring this case forward and they were unsuccessful at that first attempt.  Later, we went through six years with the previous commissioner constantly undermining the customary leadership of the Maya people and now we see that the dawn of the establishment of a new commission, the emergence of these random groups that are telling us that they ought to have an equal vote at the negotiating table, equal to that of the Maya people’s governance system.  What we see this amounting to is a continued disrespect of the Maya people’s chosen representatives.”

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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