Santa Cruz Villagers Face Additional Court Charges

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Updated: July 28, 2015

Additional charge was levied against those previously charged in connection with the recent Santa Cruz incident in Toledo. Correspondent Paul Mahung was at the Punta Gorda magistrate’s court and has the story.

PAUL MAHUNG

“Attorney Monica Coc of Maya Leader’s Alliance, Santa Cruz leaders and Villagers who was in Punta Gorda’s Magistrate Court spoke of the additional charge.”

MONICA COC

“Today additional charges were levied against the Santa Cruz 13. Eleven got an additional charge of common assault and they were arraigned and the court has been adjourned until September 29.  I believe it was unlawful imprisonment for all of them and I believe several of them were previously charged with common assault and aggravated assault so this is an addition to the unlawful imprisonment charge.”

PAUL MAHUNG

“MLA spokesperson Pablo Mess who was along with other Santa Cruz villagers outside the Punta Gorda magistrate court spoke to Love News.”

PABLO MIS

“At this session we expected to learn much what the nature of the charges are and where they will go from here. I believe the attorney already explained what happened in court but Santa Cruz remains very committed to ensuring that we see this through with our leaders. We maintain that the struggle of Santa Cruz is shared by all Maya villages and all of Belize and we believe that we will see justice prevail in the end.”

PAUL MAHUNG

“In your own words what did you understand to have happened in the court this morning?”

PABLO MIS

“I wasn’t in there so I wouldn’t be able to speak on that.  I think the attorney can speak on that but I also wanted to mention that last week we heard from the institute of archeology and NICH through the media that they intend to evict Mr. Myles and to levy charges where infractions may have occurred. We are encouraged to hear that the institute is finally coming on board with that.  It is the position of the communities that any infractions that may have occurred must be dealt with according to the laws of Belize. The community also maintains that the eviction need to happen urgently because as we speak Mr. Myles continues to denude the area, he continues to clear and he continues to plant. I think he is living true to his words  where he said “I want to see how high they will jump.” But we expect archaeology to move as quickly as possible and to keep the leaders of Santa Cruz informed as to their plans.”

PAUL MAHUNG

“Could you comment as to what other villages that were represented here or name the villages that were represented here?”

PABLO MIS

“This was mostly just Santa Cruz village. Several other Alcaldes from other villages that were able to make it to town.  Today is a Tuesday so it is difficult for people to make it in on a Tuesday because there are no public buses but Santa Cruz stays united, the other villages of course are monitoring the situation. We have heard from many of them expressing interest to be here and when the time is right we will be bringing our people together particularly as we continue to call upon the government and the Prime Minister to ensure that we begin to implement the orders of the court. We are still awaiting for a response from the government on the calls of the Maya leaders for the government to commence dialogue with the Maya people.”

PAUL MAHUNG

“Mis also commented on the reason why several of the Santa Cruz women had their right arms in slings while the court proceeding was on and while awaiting the court hearing result.”

PABLO MIS

“We will recall that during the raid one of the grandmothers was knocked over by the police and they stepped on her arm that has been a very traumatic experience for the women of Santa Cruz and it is something that they would not like to be repeated to any other women in Belize or in the world and for that they decided that they would like to show their solidarity with their husbands and the men of Santa Cruz and the women by wearing a sling. They also want to show that the sling signifies peace the color white so more than that the grandmother that was injured was denied a medical legal form by the police so their stance today is to show solidarity behind all the mothers to show that they stand for peace and justice.”