Land dispute brewing in the south
A land controversy is brewing in the south, particularly in the Yemeri Grove Village, Toledo District. Our correspondent, Paul Mahung, visited an area on Laguna Road in the village, where he found villagers gathering along with the Village Chairman, Harold Usher. The villagers are alleging that members of the Maya Leaders’ Alliance have placed survey pegs on land belonging to Yemeri Grove. Chairman Usher spoke with Love News, expressing a strong objection, particularly because they were not consulted.
“Right now we are totally discontented with the land issue that is happening within our village. I must tell you that I have gotten in touch with the Honorable Dolores Badleramos several times however the last time I spoke with her was on Holy Thursday and she had promised me that she would have gotten back in touch with me as soon as the Easter Holiday was over. I must say that up to this day no one had returned a call to me, no one has visited me and I am not hearing anything from that ministry however as you can see around here we still have these people from Laguna Village under the umbrella of the MLA still included in our land in what we know is well within the boundaries of EMery Grove and they are still cleaning. They have demarcated and they have placed as far as I know this is illegal land this is illegal land stuff that they placed on the ground. However I must tell this entire country that whenever we try to reach out to many of these people who are in government they’re telling us one thing the situation is touchy. Now as far as I am concerned these people were elected to take care of the entire country and all ethnic groups not for one group and what I know is that if the situation is touchy then I would expect that the government would be the right entities to deal with a situation like this because the only way the other ethnic groups would be able to deal with a situation like this might lead to violence. So we expect the government will do what they were elected to do and that they would stand their ground and they would come out and they will appreciate that Belize is made up of different ethnic groups not only one.”
Correspondent Paul Mahung reached out to the MLA, but was unsuccessful in getting a comment from them. Our newsroom did, however, get comment from Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Dolores Balderamos Garcia.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs: “We are just being informed that there may be a little contentious situation brewing in the Laguna and Yemeri Grove area but I have been in touch with the Commissioner of Police and of course our commissioner Mr.Greg Chuc will be out there to see what we can do about it but please let me repeat since we’re on the media I have asked all parties to stand down, to take it easy and to hold it down as we would say in Belize Kriol, hold it down until we can do the demarcation of the boundaries in a way maybe not everybody would like it but at least there can be compromise and we can do delimitation of boundaries in consultation with neighboring villages whether it’s Maya or non Maya. But the information that I received and I called the Commissioner of Police is that there may be some level of back and forth and hard words but my understanding is that the parties have already left the scene but I have asked Mr.Chuc to go with the Senior Police of Toledo to talk to the various parties because it would be I guess leaders from Laguna and leaders from Yemeri Grove. I’m a little disappointed because when this came up a month ago, over a month ago, we met with all the parties concerned: the people from Laguna, the people from Yemeri Grove and we pleaded with them to hold things down so I don’t know why there was some level of misunderstanding or confrontation but we are going to work on it very carefully.”
We will continue following this story as it unfolds.