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Oct 25, 2021

Minister Garcia Says Competing Interests for Land Rights Must be Balanced

During her appearance on this morning’s Open Your Eyes, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Dolores Balderamos Garcia spoke to the apparent division between several Maya communities in the Toledo District over customary land rights. As we have reported, members of at least three communities have come out to say that they do not want to their lands to be held under customary land rights. We asked Minister Garcia for the Government’s position on this.


Dolores Balderamos Garcia

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs

“We are listening to people and we are taking an approach of inclusivity. We are listening, we are visiting. We were down in Otoxcha. We were down in Dolores. We have been to San Antonio, San Pedro Colombia. We have been really all over. I think the approach we must continue to take is that everybody must be heard, and, alcaldes, ex-alcaldes, very important role. But these leaders should not speak without consulting with their individual communities. That is where we are. We are rolling the approach of the implementation.  Cabinet has submitted a draft of the Free Prior Informed Consent Protocols to the Caribbean Court of Justice. We are taking some of the complaints coming in from the villages seriously, in terms of land matters. And, clearly, we will have to find a way to balance the competing interest of those who wish for the customary land rights, as opposed to those who may want their lease and their individual titles. I think the main thing in terms of where we are as a ministry, reaching out, listening to people, knowing that we have to look at the concerns of the Garfiuna people for example, Garifuna Settlement day coming up in November. We are not here, Cabinet and the Government, is not here to impose our views on anyone.”

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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