Duo Protest Against Discrimination in Maya Communities

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Updated: July 28, 2015

And while the court proceedings were ongoing, a symbolic protest was held by two members of the Creole community.

SANDRA BROWN 

“I’m here because I am beginning to see a discrimination rear its ugly head in Belize. I grew up in a Belize especially the districts where we boast that we have five or six ethnic groups and we grew up in harmony and in peace as family. I have family that live in Columbia and speak fluent Kekchi and that’s the Belize that I know. Now I’m beginning to discover we have a new Belize; the Belize which is trying to separate the Mayas from the Kriol and the rest of the nation. We’re looking to have our own community, our own land but basically it’s separating. Its bringing division among us and we as Belizeans can become victims like this man and be expelled from a community. The Belize I grew up in, we could go into any community. If you wanted to go to Columbia, San Antonio, enjoy the waterfalls, enjoy everything we had the rights. But now fear has been introduced to us that we could be fearful of being expelled from any community. According to the Maya he was building on a Maya site, well the entire Columbia is a Maya site. That means all the Maya presently living there must have dug up something. I know for a fact they have dug up something because I have been living in Columbia all the way up to the Resumidero area as my childhood and it was normal to be digging up things. So to use that as an excuse to expel him I think is just a way to cover up the real cause which is because he’s black, he is of Creole descent and that’s the only reason I believe.”

Santa Cruz protestorHENRY WEATHERBURNE

“I took this matter seriously because I thought that Belize and everyone born in Belize should share the same rights even though some people share different rights as communal land rights. I feel a bit offended because here in PG town, the Mayas come and intermingle. They have IndianVille, they live in this town, in Foresthome you have Mayas living there. The East Indians have not done anything to them; have not thrown them out, they have accepted them and so far there is evidence of a whole lot of other incidents and besides that I don’t know what has been influencing the Mayas that much. It must be race because when I tell the Mayas that I am indigenous they say but look at my hair, it’s tough and black but my grandmother came from Bacalar, her name is Manuela Coc. I tell them I have evidence that I am indigenous too but it seems like it was the UN that made it clear that the Garifuna were indigenous, the Maya were indigenous but the Kriole weren’t indigenous so I wonder what give them that right. I am out here because I have love for everybody because they can tell me who I am. I am a bush but I can’t say who they are.”

PAUL MAHUNG

“The two peaceful protestors had other supporters who felt alike and were in the area of the Punta Gorda court building but preferred to be away from the spotlight as protestors.”