Another issue Dr. Joseph Palacio touched on was the substantive role that the local government of Barranco could take in the ongoing tensions between Belize and Guatemala. Given that the village is at the forefront in the interplay of powers and decisions taken by both governments that drastically impact the local community, Dr. Palacio elaborated on ways in which local government and central government can collaborate in an effort to confront the Guatemalan aggression.
DR JOSEPH PALACIO
“Number one, we need consultation but not consultation where they come and spend a few hours and ask a couple questions, take notes and leave. What we need to have is a deep understanding on both sides. There has never been a plan of development for Barranco for example or a plan for development of coastal communities. Never. And you cannot move in this world if you do not have a plan and that is what governments should do. Help the people, come up with a plan and then come up with how to implement the plan. That is the kind of call it, intimate consultation on both sides which has never been done. It has to be done. Central Government feels like they’re macho, they will do whatever they want on both sides of the fence, failing to realize that there is such a thing as lived experience, such a thing as the links that these people have established on both sides. This is a fact and that the local people can provide a high level of leadership and understanding that is often not regarded or not taken seriously. Live in that area for generations and generations. We know the Guatemalans and we wouldn’t like to put ourselves in situations where they would take advantage so in a way we have had to avoid going to areas that we go to for our own safety which is not ideal and we are hoping that the solution which has to be one where our rights as Garinagu; people with traditional lands as well as Belizeans.”