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Maya Communities of the South Face Division over the ​Maya Communal Land Rights Issue

There is division in the Maya communities tonight, and it has to do with Maya Communal Land Rights. In April, the Alcalde of Big Falls Village, Eulalio Choko, wrote and sent a letter to the Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, telling the minister that villagers no longer want possession of their land under the customary land tenure. He added that it has difficult for villagers to be pay property taxes, leases and renewals which has in turn made it near impossible to get a loan from financial institutions. In San Marcus Village, one hundred and eight villagers expressed that they too are not interested in the customary land tenure because of the same issues. Treasurer of the San Marcus Village Council, Marcus Choc explained in an interview that they are now at a point where they no longer want anything to do with the Maya Communal Lands Right.

Under the Maya Communal Lands Rights, the villagers cannot independently do anything with the lands without having to consult with various organizations. They cannot take out mortgages as the lands are owned by the communities and not individuals. Prior to the Consent Order in 2015 handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice many of the villagers had individual leases and were paying taxes. It is a situation that they are now desirous to reverse.