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Jan 31, 2022

GOB Sets Record Straight on Consultations Over F.P.I.C.

The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has responded to the claims put forward by the Toledo Alcaldes Association and the Maya Leaders Alliance during Friday’s press conference.  As we reported on January twenty-seventh, the Briceño administration has approved the Free, Prior and Informed Consent Protocol.  Otherwise known as F.P.I.C., it is a specific right that pertains to indigenous peoples and is recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With a protocol in place, F.P.I.C. allows the Maya communities in southern Belize to give or withhold consent on matters that may affect them or their territories. During Friday’s virtual event, M.L.A. spokesperson, Cristina Coc, emphatically stated that there was a lack of consultations on the part of the Commission of Indigenous People’s Affairs prior to the submission of a final document to the Government of Belize.  That document once presented to the Caribbean Court of Justice, whose consent order is being implemented, is considered definitive.  The T.A.A. and M.L.A. have raised strong objections.  On the other hand, Minister Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, whose portfolio oversees indigenous people’s affairs, set out this morning to dismiss the idea that there weren’t adequate consultations with the various communities and their respective organizations in Toledo District.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs

“Please let me dispel any notion, at this point, that there has been a lack of consultation.  Everything on the table, you can see, is the series of consultations with all our Maya partners and sisters and brothers and all the organizations of the south, starting as far back as February or March of last year. As a matter of fact, I vividly recall, I believe it may have even been in January of last year, we had a meeting with some of the members of the Maya Leaders Alliance, including Mr. Pablo Mis and Ms. Cristina Coc at the George Price Center, when the very topic of discussion was the F.P.I.C. Protocol, and you can see for yourselves that consultation has continued from all of last year. We submitted a draft of the F.P.I.C. Protocol to the C.C.J. by September. There were further consultations because of certain objections that were made by some of the organizations at the time. There was a hearing of the Caribbean Court of Justice on the twenty-third of November at which time the court gave us the deadline, well we don’t want to call it a deadline but they gave us until the end of January, which is today, to file the Free, Prior, Informed, Consent Protocol which we have done. So please allow me to repeat: any notion of a lack of consultation there could be nothing further from the truth.”

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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