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Updates to Maya Land Rights Policy Following Backlash Says Minister

Dolores Balderamos- Garcia

Updates to Maya Land Rights Policy Following Backlash Says Minister

Minister Balderamos-Garcia also gave an update on her ministry’s work with the draft Maya Customary Land Rights Policy. Viewers will recall that the policy received significant objections from several Maya communities after its distribution. Minister Balderamos-Garcia says revisions have been made, and along with her new director, they are seeking to balance the playing field in the Toledo district. Here is what she told us.


Dolores Balderamos- Garcia, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs 

“Our senior council, Mr. Marshalleck, along with Samantha Matute, we have gone back and looked at the policy and made a few adjustments to what was proposed. Because if you will remember, some of the Maya communities were saying that they didn’t like the section five, which gives you to begin with a concentric circle of a kilometer or two or three kilometers going out in terms of radius. They were not two happy about that. But I believe there was a misconception there. We were not saying to the Maya communities this is all the land you are going to get. What we were saying is that is your starting point without you having to prove use and occupation. Now one of the proposals in the policy is that if you wish to claim as communal land more than the two- or three-kilometers radius then you will have to prove use and occupation for at least thirty years. Some of them don’t want to hear that. But unfortunately, the government is not in a position to please one people, we have to create a balancing act. I can tell you that mister Requena will be reaching out to the non-Maya communities as well, Jacinto Ville, Yemeri Grove, Barranco, these are areas we also have to look at. We are waiting to hear from the legal advisor from the MLA group and then we will be reporting back to the Caribbean Court of Justice.”

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