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GOB Says They Will Meet with Maya Groups to Regain their Trust

A compliance hearing was held before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) two weeks ago to give an update on the progress of the implementation of the Free Prior Informed Consent (F-PIC) Protocol. As the public may recall, the F-PIC Protocol was designed to guide consultations between the Government of Belize (GOB) and the Maya communities regarding Indigenous Peoples’ land rights. The F-PIC protocol comes as a result of the 2015 CCJ Consent Order between the Government of Belize (GOB), the Maya Leaders Association (MLA) and the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA). The Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) recently made an application to the CCJ to join in the matter as an interested party. That application was rejected. The Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia explained that although not all Maya groups were included in the actual court case, the government has the responsibility to speak to all organizations to inform them on the matter. 

Hon. Dolores Balederamos Garcia, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs:  “The court made it clear that the actual appellants in the case are named and who made the appeal to the court so all they are basically saying is that the court having ruled on the matter with a certain set of appellants and the government as respondent the court is not minded to be adding in any other parties into the case at this point that’s all they were saying. What we are trying to do is to be inclusive but you see sometimes when you try to be inclusive the ones who feel that they own it they get a little bit uptight but we really believe that sitting down together we can come up with the confidence building measures before we go back to court on the next occasion.”

Balderamos-Garcia stated that the Ministry will be conducting meetings with representatives of the Maya Organizations to regain their confidence.