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“Maya Land Rights Commission has done a lot of work”: Solicitor General

On Monday the case involving Maya Communal Lands Rights was back before the Caribbean Court of Justice. As we have been reporting, three years ago the CCJ ordered that the Government of Belize “create an effective mechanism” to identify and protect Maya lands in accordance with Maya traditional governance.   While the Mayan Land Rights Commission has been formed, some believe that not much has been done by the government to comply with the ruling. Solicitor General Nigel Hawke spoke on the matter. 

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General

“The government and the Maya Land Rights Commission has done a lot of work, what really happen was that a draft work plan was prepared, it was shared with the other side. They made their comments and that was indicated to the court, what the court suggested that we should have had consultation with them and they ask us to meet again with them so we can finalize that work plan and then have it sent to the court before the 15th of March. It was supposed to be sent by the 9th of March so it is not to say that we haven’t done any work, the work plan is take us through the implantation of consent orders so it’s a very very comprehensive document and we have consulted, it’s not as though we sat there and we didn’t involve the other side. The court saw it fit to say we should have another meeting and then come back to us. Three years is long but not in inordinately long but I think the court itself has indicated to all the parties that given this nature of this matter it will take some time to roll out all the intricacies involved in this matter so I think the court appreciates the fact, it will take some time but we’re not saying their ought to be delays but we certainly know that this is going to be a very long process.”

According to Hawke, today a further meeting to discuss a draft Dispute Resolution Framework was held.

Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General

“Well the court just outline the suggestion of what they think the parties can look at as a possible frame work, a discrete resolution and framework so we now have to go back and consult and then we get back with the other side to see whether we can come up with a workable plan for this week’s resolution frame work. One thing the court emphasize this morning is we try to keep it in some ways a tribe you know a nature of authority that is accessible that is cheap, reasonable, and that is fair so we have to both go back now and we have to consult our superiors as to our positions on that matter.”

The case was adjourned to Thursday, March 15.