Maya Leader’s Address Sparks Controversy at Santa Elena Meeting
Of all the addresses delivered on Saturday at the Santa Elena meeting, the remarks made by Cristina Coc were perhaps the most interesting. Coc riled up the villagers at the meeting as she spoke on the entitlements of the Maya people. Essentially, Coc, who is the spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) made it clear that they could hold the government ransom if they so choose. She further spoke on the infrastructural projects carried out in the rural south, saying that those projects value little when compared to the communal lands. It was a quite the message she delivered, with some not-so-subtle threats to the government.
Christina Coc, Activist: “That the government knows that it needs us. The market in Punta Gorda we supply the food for everybody in that town. You take our food we take yours. Our communities we will not be blinded by the little projects, the launch of many projects in our villages even before our houses are connected they want to celebrate the launch of a project right ? Communities it is time for us to stop our government from fooling us. It is time for us to stop our government from blinding us with these little projects. The projects are short lived. Our land is forever. Our land is forever. We deserve those projects because our taxes are being paid. People have to stop saying that Maya people don’t pay taxes, we pay tax everyday. Every time we buy food we pay tax. Every one of our teachers, our children that are teachers, that are BDF, that a police that have jobs we pay tax, income tax every month so we contribute to the development of Belize. But we can also withhold from our government the needed resources because those resources are not making their way back to our communities. You see us here now we might be three thousand, the next time you see us we’re not gonna be three thousand we’re gonna double our numbers every time we come to you. We’re gonna double our numbers in Belmopan, we’re gonna double our numbers in Belize City, we’re gonna double our numbers because government you have to know Maya people are alive and we’re going to demand our justice and our respect. That is how we are going to speak to the government. We’re not going to come to our meetings. We are going to bring our people to the Capital. We are going to bring our people to the Prime Minister. We are going to bring our people to the ministers in government who are responsible for writing this policy. We are not going to sit and take this disrespect. We are coming to you government. We are gonna find you in your homes, we are going to find you in our offices, we are gonna find you on the streets, We are gonna find you government, you don’t come to us we are coming to you. In the words of the late Julian Cho come hell or high water we are going to fight come hell or high water we are going to find you government, come hell or high water we are going to defend our land because this is our survival.”
The meeting was held in Santa Elena Village, Toledo District./////