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Nov 6, 2012

Mayas meet with attorney to consider legal action against G.O.B.

Cristina Coc

Since an unsuccessful public consultation exercise, held in Sundaywood Village on October twenty-fifth, to discuss the results of an environmental impact assessment conducted by U.S. Capital Energy Ltd., Maya leaders across all thirty-eight communities in Toledo have been meeting to discuss a legal way forward.  Today, representatives from the Sarstoon and Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, as well as the Maya Leaders Alliance, and the Toledo Alcaldes Association, met with attorneys in Belize City to strategize possible legal action against the Government of Belize.  Despite a Supreme Court ruling affirming their communal land rights, the Maya of southern Belize contend that the Barrow Administration purposely ignored their ownership of communal land when the Department of the Environment recently green lighted an EIA within the Sarstoon Temash National Park.  According to Cristina Coc, spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance, the communities have taken a collective position against government’s latest actions.


Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance

“With respect to U.S. Capital Energy development in Toledo; perhaps one of the most resounding message from the Maya people is that we recognize very quickly that within the environmental impact assessment, within the productions sharing agreement and within any communications we have had with the company we recognize that one of the greatest limitations has been the lack of recognition and respect for our rights to our lands and resources. As Maya people you will recall that several time; both in domestic and international court they have affirmed that as Mayas we have a right to our land and we have a say about what happens on our lands. It is very clear in all the judgments before the court, that the Maya people because they have rights to their land that they have to be consulted properly first of all on any developments whether by the government or any third party. That they have to have free prior and informed consent before the company or  any third party or government can come onto our land otherwise it constitutes trespass. The collective positions of the Alcaldes is such that we cannot even continue or even begin this conversation without our rights of ownership to the land being respected or recognized both by the G.O.B. who creates the terms of reference of the P.S.A. or the company. We cannot begin a conversation until that is respected that’s fundamental to the Maya people collectively.”

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6 Responses for “Mayas meet with attorney to consider legal action against G.O.B.”

  1. Young Gial says:

    Well said my frend. Keep up the efforts and stand up fu uno rights.

  2. Initiate! says:

    Is via the legal system the only way Mayans can dialogue??

  3. Seletar says:

    I believe the Mayans need to expand their leadership team, I think the demands are too much for just two people.

    And why not reach out for international support? The United Nations and many world organizations have programs — and experience — to help indigenous people in similar situations.

  4. I Belize it says:

    Go Mayans!

  5. Bzn says:

    The message is good but the messengers are the problem

    Nobody likes Greg choc and Cristina coc!

    They have become like Moses sulph and giovanni brackett, as you hear them speak
    you suck your teeth and change the channel!

    I do believe the Maya’s should get their fare share of the pie if oil is found there!

    The message is excellent the messengers are a waste of time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. OW Mayan says:

    Orange Walk and Corozal have many mayan people as well, Yucatec Mayas, whom are very fluent in speaking mayan language as well.

    If the people down south say they have mayan rights then the mayans from up north got rights too. Does this means that mayas from up north should claim communal land rights too??

    The mayans down south are not the only mayas in Belize. If they want rights then it should be across the table.

    Dont know what makes those southern mayas so special.

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