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Mar 1, 2023

Is There Tension Brewing Over Village Boundaries in the South?

Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Dolores Balderamos-Garcia has written to the President of the Toledo Alcaldes Association, as well as the Program Manager for the Maya Leaders Alliance in respect of an issue that is being reported by the chairwoman of Barranco Village.  It is also a concern that is being raised by the chairperson of Yemeri Grove Village.  They are fearful that villagers in the surrounding communities may be encroaching on land belong to Barranco and Yemeri Grove, respectively.  Both villages are non-Maya communities and, in the case of Barranco, predates other communities in that area of Toledo District.  News Five spoke with the Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs earlier today and she explained the purpose of the letter.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

On the phone: Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs

“When we were down south two weekends ago, we received certain representations and even complaints from the people of Barranco, through their chairperson, Beatrice Mariano, and the people of Yemeri Grove, through their chairman, Herald Usher.  We held meetings, of course the outreach in the south is very important and the nature of the complaints is that certain Maya villages may, and I repeat, may because we are still looking into the situation.  Certain Maya villages or villagers may be going into lands that are claimed by Barranco and Yemeri Grove as non-Maya villages, you know.  And so, I would not wish for any kind of difficult situation to arise, so I felt it necessary to write to the president of the Toledo Alcaldes Association and the MLA representative, Mr. Pablo Mis, because we had met with them as well, when we were down south two weekends ago.  And so the nature of my writing to them is that when it comes to the delimitation of village boundaries, it must be done in consultation with other villages, whether those villages are Maya or non-Maya, because in what we call the auto-delimitation principles and methodology, Maya villages, they are allowed to delimit their boundaries in terms of what is claimed, however, this must be done with a proper methodology, as I had said.  That methodology is that you must consult with a neighboring village if you are going to be delimiting or setting boundaries.”


Isani Cayetano

“Would this happen to be in respect of Midway Village?”


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

“Clearly, there is boundary issue between Midway and Barranco and this is why we have had to ask that when you set boundaries, you do so in consultation and that it be mutually and respectfully agreed.  But yes, indeed, Barranco and Midway adjoin and so we have to figure it out and government has to play the role of an honest broker, you know, and even a mediator if necessary.  But we felt that it was important to notify all parties concerned that you can’t just well this da my land and then yoh go clear out more land fi milpa or whatever it might be without consulting.  That’s not going to be good going forward and so we have to request that there be respectful discussions when boundaries are being claimed or delimited.”

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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