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Feb 1, 2023

M.L.A. Responds to Toledo East Area Rep’s Vile Comments

The Maya Leaders Alliance has responded to offensive statements made by Toledo East Area Representative Mike Espat during the annual P.G. Day celebration on January twenty-eighth.  The comments were made by the senior politician in respect of the Maya land rights issue and construed it as a matter of the Maya people against other ethnic groups in Belize.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Cristina Coc, spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance.


On the phone: Cristina Coc

On the phone: Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“We have examined the statements made by Minister Espat where he of course represents the Maya Land Rights affirmation as a problem and made it a matter of the Maya people seemingly against other ethnic groups.  He framed the Maya people struggle and movement as a separatist movement which he described as, you know, their aim is to create new borders with checkpoints, charging people to enter their land financed by foreigners.  But perhaps most damning was when he described the movement as a brick wall against which a sledgehammer must be used to break it down, even calling on the people of Punta Gorda to stop the Maya.  This is, of course, in our humble view, it is nothing short of racist and nothing short of inciting violence against the Maya people.  That is, in summary, our view of Minister Espat’s statement.  This comes at a time when we continue to see the government operate as if it is above the need to comply with the orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice.  This is not an isolated issue, this is continuous government rhetoric, it has just escalated now, using blatantly racist language to stoke division.  So whether or not it has a place, we have seen a pattern in government’s response, government’s attitude, government’s rhetoric.  In fact, there have been many statements made out as unfiltered or as naked as Minister Mike made it to be, but we have heard that, you know, statements made against the Maya people suggesting that we will not be happy until the government gives us all of the Toledo District or that we are balkanizing.  But all of this is, in our view, an attempt to rally the general public against the Maya people, against their struggle by irresponsibly stirring up racial tension and misrepresenting the Maya struggle.”


The M.L.A. reiterates that such statements are dangerous, emboldening those who want to cause harm and grab Maya lands.

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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