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Dec 1, 2022

Christina Coc Accuses G.O.B. Unilaterally Implementing FPIC

Christina Coc

The Caribbean Court of Justice chastised the Government of Belize, following reports that G.O.B. has moved to implement a draft Free, Prior and Informed Consent Protocol without first consulting the claimants, particularly the Toledo Alcaldes Association. During its latest compliance hearing, Justice Adrian Saunders, the President of the C.C.J., told government’s lead attorney, Andrew Marshalleck, that he was “disappointed to hear that the FPIC Protocol… could be finalized by one party and be implemented, and the other party has not seen the final version. That is very disappointing”. These compliance hearings are set up as a mechanism to provide updates to the C.C.J. on how the Government of Belize has been progressing in the implementation of the Maya Customary Land Rights. Today, we spoke with Christina Coc, the spokesperson for the Toledo Alcalde Association and the Mayan claimants, via Zoom. She asserts that the Government of Belize has been undermining the role of the T.A.A. in this process.


Christina Coc, Spokesperson, T.A.A./Mayan Claimants

“I think it was clear and we have been sounding the alarm over the last seven years since we began to attempt to implement this consent order. We have time and time again reporting none compliance in many regards. We have been reporting that at least in the last two years there seems to be an intentional shift to remove the meaningful participation of the Maya party in this consent order. The government seems to have this overarching policy of moving forward in this implementation in a unilateral fashion, excluding the involvement and participation of, in particular, the Toledo Alcalde Association, undermining its role and I think that we have said this time and time again at court. And I am not surprised, but I am certainly grateful that the court has seen and heard and continues to monitor that this is a unilateral process. I think the court made it very clear to remind us all, both parties, that this implementation of the consent order arose not out of government’s intent or desire to implement or to protect Maya people’s land right but it arose out of litigation. It arose out of a court order telling them that whether or not they recognize indigenous people’s rights and territories the highest court, the highest appellate court has affirmed that these rights exist and they must be protected and that the government has a duty and an obligation to do so. So the court reminded us that the Maya party has a stake in how this consent order is implemented.”

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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