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Jul 5, 2022

Village Leaders Cannot Arbitrarily Hinder Access to Roadways, etc…

According to the Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, village leaders and Maya leaders cannot conduct themselves as if private land owners do not continue to enjoy their rights of ownership to their land. Existing roadways, easements, and shared access cannot arbitrarily be fettered by alcaldes and village chairpersons as they see fit.


On the phone: Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

“It would not be correct for the Maya leaders, they could be alcaldes, village council chairs, etc… It wouldn‘t be right for them because of the ruling of the court, to conduct themselves in a way that they are saying, “Well get out of our lands.”  Even wanting to say that to private land owners.  It‘s just not on.  As a government we cannot stand by and see that occur.  So we have felt it necessary to put out a broad statement, carefully worded, as you can see, but we do intend to carry on with what we call the roadmap and the policy for the customary land tenure.  And then, of course, with our legal counsels we will be working on what we call the legislative and administrative framework.  So that has to come.  The legislative and administrative framework has to come because government is required to implement the ruling of the court, but at the same time we have to balance.  We have to ask people to be respectful of one another‘s rights.  As you can see in the release, we have even said that the full extent of land tenure and Maya rights have not yet been determined.  That is something that will have to come with laws that will be put in place and of course those laws have to be in keeping with the constitution where maybe a parcel of land may have to be acquired.  It will have to be done in accordance with the Constitution of Belize which requires notice, it requires compensation, for example.  Those are the kinds of issues that government will have to deal with and is dealing with.  It‘s no different than anywhere else in the country, it could be Corozal and you might have a competing interest and you might have to find a way to try to achieve the reasonable balance so that we can live in peace.”


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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