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Jul 16, 2021

Tensions rise between Maya residents and Private Landowner in Toledo

Tensions are brewing in Indian Creek Village in Toledo between Mayan residents and agents for the private landowners. You’ll recall that back in February the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs sent out a press release to express its disappointment that former chair of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission Lisel Alamilla, who had only just demitted that office, had published a full-page ad in the local newspaper where she stated that she was acting in the capacity of an agent for a private company who has ownership of a large tract of land in the Indian Creek Village area. Since then, there have been a couple of incidents between villagers and the handlers of the private estate where access to the river and dumpsite were blocked off from the villagers. Well, the problem is still simmering and just on Wednesday, there was another incident between a villager and rangers who work for the private company. According to information received from a representative of the private company, a villager requested access to the private property and that’s when the rangers did a site inspection and found a stack of bush sticks which they destroyed. And they say that the ranger was detained by the village leaders. They allege that Cristina Coc of the Toledo Alcalde Association was on the property and allegedly threatened the rangers. Today, News Five spoke with Cristina Coc who says that she learned of the incident when it was reported to the office of the Alcalde Association on Thursday.


Via Phone: Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, T.A.A./M.L.A.

Via Phone: Cristina Coc

“The report included that one of the villagers Mister George Coy had requested a customary use permit from the village to harvest some bush sticks to build his house which he was granted. He then harvested the bush sticks and before he could collect them and transport them for his use to build his house, he reported that the sticks were cut into pieces by chainsaw by the rangers. So, that is the latest incident that has happened in Indian Creek. I did go to Indian Creek to observe the damage to the three hundred bush sticks that were there. So this is situation where Indian Creek has repeatedly requested for the government’s intervention and they are still waiting for the government to stop the rangers from the continued obstruction of their use and enjoyment of their lands and resources. As you have been following the CCJ Consent Order made it very clear that the government needs to cease and desist from interfering with the use and enjoyment of the Maya people use of the resources. It also expands to say that the government has a responsibility to not allow third parties or agents of the state to obstruct or interfere with the use and enjoyment of these resources by the Maya communities, Indian Creek being one of them. So, since that time not much has been done and so the tension is rising and so this is not surprising. Thankfully there was no violence but what they witnessed was that the rangers, and they admitted, intentionally cut, at the instruction of their boss, that they cut the bush sticks to prevent the villager from using the resource. So, this is a live issue before the court and multiple reports have been made before the court and certainly you can rest assured that we will be reporting before the CCJ again as this is a clear breach.”

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