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Feb 2, 2022

TAA/MLA Say They Were Never Consulted for FPIC Protocol

Cristina Coc

The controversial Free, Prior and Informed Consent Protocol has been filed with the Caribbean Court of Justice, much to the chagrin of the Toledo Alcaldes Association and the Maya Leaders Alliance.  The focal point of the dispute between representatives of the indigenous community and the Government of Belize is a perceived lack of consultation regarding the drawing up of the document.  Earlier this week, T.A.A./M.L.A. spokesperson Cristina Coc said that they were never consulted prior to the formalization of the FPIC document.  She maintains that the Commission of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs never engaged the Toledo Alcaldes Association nor the Maya Leaders Alliance.


Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, TAA/MLA

“We don’t know who they consulted.  They are saying that they consulted, but they certainly did not consult the Toledo Alcaldes Association and the Maya Leaders Alliance.  After the last compliance hearing in November, even after the guidance of the court, the court basically told them, you have to sit with the other parties.  You have to sit with the TAA, the MLA and you have to come to some kind of mutually agreeable protocol before you submit it to the court.  At no point, all of November, all of December, all of January, we learnt of it after, on the day that they filed to the CCJ which I believe was on the twenty-seventh of this month.  And so that just tells you that the government is unwilling, they seem to be unwilling to engage with us.  I think if they had engaged with us, there is no doubt that we would have been open to dialog on the new revisions and see where are the concerns, what are the issues, what still needs to be worked out and then be able to come to some kind of mutual agreement that would move the process forward because we do want to move the process forward.”

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