Garifuna Council Seeks to Educate Its People on Land Rights

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Updated: May 5, 2017

The Father Ring Parish Hall in Punta Gorda will be the venue for a lecture on the CCJ’s judgement in the Maya Leaders Alliance case that was brought against the Attorney General of Belize. The initiative is a collaboration between the National Garifuna Council and the Impact Justice Project. Sandra Miranda is the President of the National Garifuna Council.

SANDRA MIRANDA

“We are having a special lecture by Justice Morrison on explaining the Maya land rights ruling to us and what the implications are. That is the case because you know that the Maya land rights ruling has a lot of international publicity and still there is this issue with the Barranco land and that of Midway which is one of the Maya communities because Barranco was there long before Midway and Midway was built on Garifuna farm land so that the lecture and its implication is very important to us as a people and to the villagers of Barranco. The second part of the lecture will be one delivered by Senior Crown Council Cecil Ramirez explaining ILO 169 which has to do with the rights of indigenous people because as you know Garifuna is considered indigenous by the UN because of our tribal activities.”

Miranda spoke of the way forward following tomorrow’s lecture.

SANDRA MIRANDA

“One, people will be informed and once you are informed then you can make good decisions, informed decisions. So after that is the impact justice is hosting and facilitating this event. So we will discuss this impact justice and the way forward. But we also need to then approach the responsible ministry in government on the issues with the land and where they are with the hearings and so for the Maya land rights case.”

Concerns have been raised about the ability of the Garinagu to unite and we asked Miranda how that will be addressed.

SANDRA MIRANDA

“Yes there is this issue that everybody thinks that it is difficult for Garinagu to come together but at a point we must stop and try. We are bound by so many commonalities and common issues and if we don’t try we will stay right where we are so this is one effort to unite all Garifuna because the interest is the same. So let’s see this as a start so if there is any division or anybody having problems coming together we will see from the outcome tomorrow where we are. I would urge every Garifuna to send at least one representative from a family, the entire family can get to PG tomorrow then they should but I would urge them to make every effort to attend the lecture and listen keenly and ask relevant questions because there will be a questions and answers segment and comments. Participate.”

Miranda said the Garinagu have not capitalized and benefited from their rights as indigenous people. Tomorrow’s lecture will begin at midday tomorrow at the Father Ring Parish Hall in Punta Gorda.