GOB Discrimination Against Maya People Still Alive, Says TAA

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Updated: August 1, 2017

The Toledo Alcalde Association says the government of Belize continues to discriminate against the Maya people of Belize. In a statement issued on Monday, the Association says that in February of this year, GOB informed the Toledo Alcaldes Association that it has not published the appointment of Alcaldes since 2015 and that no Alcalde jurisdictions have been properly published since 1953. The Association says that government had committed to regularize the alcaldes jurisdictions and to publish the Alcaldes in the Gazette but has so far failed to carry out its legal requirements. This, it goes on to say, quote “amounts to discrimination under domestic and international law”. Since the Alcalde Act of 1858, GOB has recognized and appointed Alcaldes elected by villages and in 1953, the Inferior Courts Act provided for the appointment of Maya elected Alcaldes and designation of Alcalde jurisdiction districts by publication in the Gazette. That, the Association notes, had not been happening but was not a problem as the Alcalde system was maintained under Maya customary law. However, after GOB committed to promote and protect the right of each Maya village to collectively manage the use and occupation of its lands and resources through Maya customary law, and after it was affirmed by the Caribbean Court of Justice in a Consent Order on April 22, 2015, the Association is asking that these commitments be honored. In support of what the Association calls the quote, “response to the Government of Belize’s Discriminatory Acts against the Maya People,” end of quote, the 78 Alcaldes of 39 Maya communities in Southern Belize signed the Association’s statement.