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Jun 30, 2021

Minister Dolores: G.O.B. Authority Over All Lands Has Not Been Taken Away

Dolores Balderamos Garcia

But Minister Dolores Balderamos-Garcia says that the case is a touchy one because while the government must adhere to the consent order of the Caribbean Court of Justice, where it ruled that the indigenous Maya people from the south have communal land rights, G.O.B. also has the final authority on the use of land for development. Minister Dolores says that it is about balancing competing interests.  Here’s how she explains it.


Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs

“The interest of the community cannot fully trump the interest of private land owners or vice versa. But we must always remember that the authority of the Government of Belize over all lands in Belize has not been taken away. And I spoke this morning about pre-existing rights that have not been extinguished when it comes to private land owners and the customary land rights of the Maya people, but it works both ways. The difficulty that we have and the challenge is that we must find that balance. If you run roughshod over communities, even though it is an excellent idea to build a road and pave a road, then there will be difficulty. And I believe that this is what the judgement of Chief Justice Arana found. But we will have a close look at it because what we are looking at in terms of consulting communities is we are not giving the communities a veto right or a veto power, but what we are saying is that we recognise our responsibility to speak to you first, to get your opinion and then if we really can’t decide or if we really cannot come to a compromise, then the government – I think the government will have to take the final approach to what happens. But please, I don’t say that to say that government has veto power. I say that to say that we will do all in our power to arrive at the compromises that will need to be made.”

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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