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May 3, 2023

TAA/MLA Fires Back at Government

This afternoon, following the walkout in Belmopan, the Toledo Alcaldes Association issued a statement in which it said, “we are at a disadvantage if we trust government officials who seem set on defeating us, set on working against us.  The government has repeatedly mischaracterized our aspirations for protection of our judicially-recognized rights and has repeatedly characterized communal land rights as inferior rights.  But we remind you that, according to the Consent Order, Maya land rights are defined in accordance with Maya custom, Maya communities have exclusive right to hold and determine how the land is used”.  News Five spoke with Cristina Coc, the T.A.A.’s spokesperson, by phone.


On the phone: Cristina Coc

On the phone: Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, MLA/TAA

“There was a scheduled meeting today at nine a.m., this is following the process of engaging in good faith dialogues to advance implementation of the CCJ Consent Order and this was a meeting that was scheduled from months ago.  Yesterday, on our way to Belmopan, as you know we traveled from Toledo at almost the eleventh hour, government was asking us to postpone this meeting.  Unfortunately, we were not able to do so and we could not agree to that because we had made arrangements with our leaders to be here and we were already in Belmopan.  And so, we asked them to reconsider and they pushed the meeting to one o’clock this afternoon and basically they didn’t explain why but we learned earlier this morning that they had scheduled a press conference on the very issues that these good faith dialogues were meant to discuss.  Certainly, that could be seen as bad faith, the fact that government insists on going to the public to communicate to the Maya party where they are when in fact this is exactly why the good faith dialogue is needed or recommended in the first instance.  So we met with them at one o’clock following the press conference that they held, after listening to what they were saying at the press conference, we felt that they continued to make inflammatory statements and misrepresenting or mischaracterizing the Maya people’s rights on land and resources and fundamentally, what we gathered from their position this morning was that the government is intent on taking away the legally affirmed rights of the Maya villages and in particular, the twenty-six Maya villages in Toledo West.”

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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