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Feb 8, 2024

Is the Mayan Community Properly Informed on Draft Land Policy?

The controversial, provisional document put forward by the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs has been met with cold water by the wider Maya community with one alcalde openly trashing the draft land tenure policy.  With the Government of Belize on one side of the divisive issue and the Toledo Alcaldes Association/Maya Leaders Alliance on the other side, are the masses of residents in Toledo District properly informed of what’s taking place?  That’s what we asked Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck earlier today.


Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck, SC, Attorney-at-law

“I see certain Mayan villages claiming interest to land that third parties and other Mayan villages and other Belizean villages also claim interest to that space and I see everybody looking to the government to find a solution to that problem.  I don’t see it as a race for popularity as between MLA and TAA and the government.  The government must act responsibly and has a responsibility to each and every one of those persons who will be affected, including the Maya people, and they have been.  There are, as I have repeatedly said, we acknowledge that there is a historical moral imperative to correct certain wrongs, to try to correct certain wrongs done to the Maya people.  That is so, we accept that, but in correcting those wrongs, we can’t create another one.  There are other interests in that space and everybody has to be considered fairly.  The history is one thing, yes, but what exists today on the ground is what we must look to and try to resolve. Now it’s fundamentally untrue to say you’re being confined to one kilometer.  First off, and you will recognize this right away, a one kilometer radius means the actual diameter is two kilometers, it’s not one.  So from outer boundary to outer boundary is two kilometers.  From the center to the outer boundary is one.  What has been described is a radius, so when you hear language like that, that I am being confined to one kilometer, corralling the Maya people like hogs and all of that, that’s designed to inflame.  It’s not designed to paint the correct picture of what it is… well this is why I am trying to address it, but I am trying to address it in fairly neutral terms because I don’t want to engage in any inflammatory back and forth on it.  So, first off, recognize that what has been stated is a radius, it’s not the diameter.  The diameter is actually two times the radius.”

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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