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Jan 31, 2022

Greg Ch’oc Responds to T.A.A. and Confusion with Alcalde System

Greg Ch’oc

At the heart of the ongoing dispute over the F.P.I.C. Protocol and the Maya customary land rights issue is the Commission of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.  Succeeding Lisel Alamilla as commissioner, Greg Ch’oc, the former executive director of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, has been tasked with spearheading the effort to formulate the F.P.I.C. Protocol.  The contention, Ch’oc says, has to do with the classification and role of the alcalde system, and its differentiation with the Toledo Alcaldes Association.


Greg Ch’oc, Commissioner of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs

“The argument has been propagated that the alcalde system or the system of governance and the Toledo Alcalde Association is the same. That is not accurate. T.A.A., the Toledo Alcalde Association, is an association. An association is not the system of governance of the Maya people, we have to be clear on that. They are not the same. One is a system and one is an association. The central principle of Maya customary law states that the villagers in a village are the only authority to make decisions on behalf of that village on any matter that may affect them. So, the villagers are the supreme authority, not the leaders.  It’s fundamental because it goes to the crux of the issues that have been laid before the public. The villagers of the villages of Toledo have not taken the decision for the T.A.A. to be the alcalde system. Not that it cannot happen.  If the villagers are the authoritative body, then only the villagers can decide whether the T.A.A. becomes the system of governance for the Maya people.  That has to be fundamentally clear. The Maya Leaders Alliance, an entity that I established, is an umbrella organization. It’s membership is comprised of Mayan organizations working with communities, the villages of Toledo District. I am not only saying that, there’s a document there where the ten points of agreement were signed and you would see the Mayan organization representing the community, but they had to have obtained the consent of the community and the effort. The M.L.A. did not sit in a room and negotiate with the Government of Belize.”

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