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Dec 1, 2022

“Many Quibbles over Meaningless Details”, Says Government Attorney on FPIC Protocol

Andrew Marshalleck

Late this evening, we spoke with Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, government’s lead attorney in their effort to implement the Maya Customary Land Rights in Belize. According to Marshalleck, Christina Coc and the Mayan claimants are making much ado about nothing.  He responded to the assertion that the Toledo Alcalde Association is being excluded from the process. Marshalleck also spoke to the objections the T.A.A. has raised to certain aspects of the protocol. He described their complaints as quibble over meaningless details.

 

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney- at-Law

“I don’t think there is any exclusion. I think there may be issues over the degrees of participation, the degrees of consultations, when it takes place. The government committed to implement consent order in consultation with the Mayan people. There has been significant consultation. The court took issue with the fact that an amended version of the FPIC policy wasn’t sent. The changes to the policy are really meaningless and insignificant. The policy itself has been in their possession for a long time and the criticism and changes they ask for were all addressed and they were told individually, in writing, which was being accepted and which weren’t. The FPIC Protocol, I think is being elevated to something it really was not intended to be. The FPIC Protocol was meant to hold the ring while the order was being implemented and it falls away as soon as the appropriate legislated has been enacted. So it is a temporary measure. It is not the beginning and end of this. There seems to be so many quibbling over what I consider to be really meaningless details that a focus more on process and form rather than on achieving the overall result. Our focus has been trying to find a way to implement the policy in a way that implements the consent order in a way that is fair to all Belizeans. You have to put what has happened in the overall context. The overall context is that you have ten percent of the population a portion of land that amounts to about twenty percent of the overall land mass of the country.”


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