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Oct 26, 2012

SATIIM’s Greg Ch’oc removed from mic during US Capital Consultation

The southern part of the country, which is the most economically deprived does not experience the violence associated with the Belize District. However, the residents of Toledo now have a battle of their own with a corporate citizen, since discussions have faltered with US Capital Energy Limited. Consultations regarding the environmental impact assessment for oil exploration and drilling operations by the company were held in Sundaywood Village on Thursday.  Greg Ch’oc, the Executive Director of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) represented four communities at the consultations and had a ten page presentation to make on their behalf. But while Ch’oc was prepared to give the Department of the Environment an earful on their concerns, it didn’t quite work out that way. That’s because a time limit was placed on presenters and he was cut off mid-speech. One of the main points Ch’oc wanted to make was that the government is ignoring a court ruling that bars it from issuing permits for exploration on the traditional lands of the indigenous people. He told News Five via phone that communities have been wronged and were not given a fair chance to express their concerns.


Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“Four communities had selected me to represent their interest in these matters related to the EIA and development in their communities. I was in the process of making my presentation when I was asked and demanded and forcibly removed from the—from presenting my contribution.”


Delahnie Bain

“Did they give a reason why?”


Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc

“There wasn’t a reason other than everybody should be confined to one minute according to them; one question, one minute.”


Delahnie Bain

“So what were the concerns that you were presenting on behalf of these communities?”


Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc

“I would have to send you my presentation, my ten page presentation. It’s a lot.”


Delahnie Bain

“Okay, but were there any major concerns among them?”


Via Phone: Greg Ch’oc

“Well, many of the communities recognize and felt that there was not adequate—the government was not adequately addressing the legal issues related to their land rights and those rights affirmed by the courts, they were absent from all this discussion. It is unfortunate what happened yesterday. I thought that considering that the community was never consulted during the development of the EIA, that SATIIM was never consulted in the development of the EIA and that the community was not even aware that such a study was being undertaken and this one and only opportunity to say and make contributions to the presentation that was made, that that right of these communities were denied and taken away from them. It’s unfortunate because the constitution upholds the communities, Belizean on a whole to have a say in all that affects or may affect them in wherever they are and I think that was not afforded to the community yesterday. I hope that the government reconsiders this position and engage the community in an open, fair transparent way or development of a mechanism in conjunction with these communities to address the wrongs that government continues to commit against them.”


But US Capital Energy had a different view on the consultations and sent out a release today saying, “US Capital Energy Belize Ltd. would like to extend our thanks to the Chairmen, Alcaldes, NGO’s and all Toledo communities for making the Sunday Wood EIA Public Consultation a tremendous success.” The release also says the company is especially encouraged by the overwhelming public support for the oil exploration project. The video of the consultation was provided courtesy of Oceana Belize. 

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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18 Responses for “SATIIM’s Greg Ch’oc removed from mic during US Capital Consultation”

  1. Rod says:

    March my Mayan people march don’t let this useless gov. Trample you march to the pm house demand his resignation today march.

  2. Belizean says:

    Let them drill, at least some good comes out of this country. What SATIIM is doing is silly, making a fool of themselves. Making a spectacle is what I would call it. Lets allow foreign investment and job creation…

  3. PM says:

    Greg Choc needs a slap at the back of his head. He claims he is indigenous. Since when indigenous people live in big mansions with AC units in all rooms??

    To hell with land rights, lets drill for oil. all of those mayans will benefit tremendously if oil is discovered in Toledo.

    those mayas thinks they are important and keep asking for some many things

  4. Maya says:

    of course the mayans are important. BZ thrive off us and benefit alot from what our ancestors left behind. why u think tourist come to BZ? It might create jobs but mayans have a right to present their concerns. After all who else looks out for the Mayans in Toledo. Only u incompetent imbeciles let other come around and walk all over you with no questions asked. Make sound decisions with all the information there is. No wonder BZ is not for us anymore.

  5. Maya says:

    its because of incompetent imbeciles above that BZ so corrupt. Have other pple come and walk all over u with no questions asked. Asked questions, state your concern and look out for our country and the pple whether mayans or not. We all did NOT live in big mansion and AC(damn Idiot) so take care of what we have. BZ benefit a heap from what my ancestors left behind BELIZE.

  6. Belizean says:

    Not even letting people speak? Why are they afraid of dialogue? Why did they have a consultation if they don’t allow people to express their concerns? What was the purpose of the “consultation” then? Manipulation? Money more important than people? Too many interests?

  7. MayaMan says:

    PM, you are an imbecile. Your post reveals the depth of your ignorance. So, Maya people should live in thatch houses only? Does a Maya person living in a concrete house automatically stop being Maya? Did you know that you are racist? Please educate yourself or don’t bother to write again.

  8. Rosem says:

    Their concerns have to be heard,they are not asking for so many things!!!
    They have a right to protect the territory in which Mayan people have a communal property right

  9. XXXX says:

    I say let them voice their concerns!!! But beware of Greg Choc, the Mayans should speak for themselves, Greg Choc doesn’t have their best interest at heart, he will use them and when money is given under the table he will take it and let them fend for themselves, he will sell them out. I agree with Maya, living in a cement house doesn’t make one less Maya, but Greg Choc, becoming rich by representing the poor indigenous Maya should tell you something, how come only greg choc prospering while the other Mayas he represent still struggle to put corn tortillas and beans on the table? I believe that job creations would greatly benefits the Mayas and Belize, let the oil company explore but, ensure that you let them sign a agreement that at least 50% of the employees will be Mayas or is from the region/location that they find the oil!!! No disrespect but I believe that many Mayans are very difficult to deal with, they are among some of the stupidest people I’ve known, they rank right there with the Americans!!!Or maybe I’m wrong and its just their culture that make them look stupid…from my experience they cannot think logically and they lack the ability to reason, for lack of a better word they are _________, please fill in the blank.

  10. XXXX says:

    I say let them voice their concerns!!! But beware of Greg Choc, the Mayans should speak for t

  11. johnny says:

    do you know what would happen if instead of oil, disaster strikes in the Toledo area due to drilling? Who will suffer then? what are these companies prepared for, what kind of money is allocated by Government to help in an ecological disaster? NONE I GUESS, everything for their pocket. When &%*^&* hits the fan, then you will hear the PM on radio and tv with is ugly ignorant face trying to wash his hand. Think man if there is oil in there, it’s going no where, let’s do this thing right!!!

  12. Storm says:

    I’m not sure Ch’oc is the best or most effective representative of the indigenous communities, he has a history of being “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Lots of noise, few results.

    If the only consultation ever offered was a single minute, then that is a meaningless, possibly corrupt process. But there probably was or will be opportunities for written submissions in opposition, and those should be made.

    I’m sad to see so much Mayan-bashing here, they are an important and integral part of the country, and we have laws we all agreed on to protect them, but those laws are ignored by GOB when it is profitable.

    Oil drilling hasn’t been a great windfall for the Jewel, because somehow all the money ends up elsewhere, and only the oil spills stay in the Jewel. Are the deals corrupt? I’d like to see all the paperwork so we could know that one way or the other.

    There are important questions at issue here, and they should be fully aired and thoughtfully resolved.

  13. Simone says:

    Lebanese, Chinese and Indians come to belize and learn creole and english and spanish and get ahead in life with hard work. We live in Belize-they should know English as well, or suffer the consequences or go back to guatemala if you dont like it here.

  14. Southern says:

    We can say let them drill. But what good will it do? We have already drilled in Belize. Belizeans are not benefiting. So tell me who are benefiting?

  15. Jose says:

    ONLY A FEW PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM THE OIL INDUSTRY IN BELIZE. We have oil and the price of fuel is $13 . In the abundance of oil the fool cannot afford it.

  16. Louisville,Ky says:

    From all indications, everybody is not singing from the same page when it comes to oil explorations in the South of the country. Look like not even the Mayas are united and talking with one accord.
    This is not good because, just like ‘hog eena yuh koeko patch’, the foreigners (white man) will come in and divide and conquer and ‘tief ‘ everything right from under unnu nose. Before you know it all the oil will be gone like ‘Cap’n Foot money’ and Belizeans, Mayas included will be left holding an empty krocos bag. I might be all dead and gone but, mark my words this 29th day of October 2012!! You’ll see…….

  17. WAKE UP says:

    the Mayas that beleive US CAPITAL wil save them from poverty need to watch the movie CRUDE. on check online the case of CHEVRON in ECUADOR. they polluted the rain forest contaminated the rivers, extracted all the oil and them left, even after an 18 BILLION dollar judgement against them was passed they have refused to pay . wake up Belize.

  18. Maya says:

    Simone i can tell you have no education whatsoever. Mayans were the first people in BZ. Do you not see those huge temples in almost all the district Man if u fool please keep it home. Make no mistake we da BZ. Goolge honey thats if you know what that is. Also please educate yourself with the fact dat Belizeans dont profit from all this drilling. Just like the logging concessions they use and abuse BZ. Oil is no different if not i say worst. evrybody weh inna dis just money hungry. I pray some good can come out of this for the South of Bz.

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