Garifuna Communities Raise Concerns Over Land Disputes
When villagers of Yemeri Grove in the Toledo district, held a press conference last week to discuss a land dispute, a representative of a Garifuna community went with them. Like Yemeri Grove, the chairperson of Barranco, reported an ongoing issue where members of Maya communities have claimed that portions of the village are Maya communal lands. We spoke with the National Garifuna Council this week to find out if the issue of traditional Garifuna communities being classified as communal lands is an issue of concern. Melissa Zuniga, Vice President of the NGC’s Belize City branch, said that the issue has been a topic of discussion at the NGC for many years and that efforts are underway to have the matter addressed. She noted that while Garifuna communities have no grievances with Maya communities, there are some elements who are acting in bad faith.