The communities of Midway and Barranco are still at odds over lands in the south with each claiming ownership. The situation has been up in the air for some time now. This weekend members of both sides met but an understanding was still not reached. Correspondent Paul Mahung covered the meeting over the weekend; here is his report.
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: A young community leader of Barranco feels that shared mutual respect between leaders and inhabitants of Barranco and Midway villages can helps as efforts continue to solve ongoing boundary issues between the two Indigenous communities in Toledo. At a recent meeting of relevant representatives of government, Commission of Indigenous People’s Affairs and both communities National Garifuna Council Barranco Branch Vice Treasurer Rozel Arana spoke at the event.
Rozel Arana, National Garifuna Council Barranco Branch Vice Treasurer: “Historically the indigenous people of Barranco did their traditional farming, hunting and fishing as far back in the early 1800’s from the Caribbean Sea into the Moho River all the way down to the Sarstoon River. Our people went as far as what is now the indigenous community of Crique Sarco to farm cassava and even assisted in the Dolores Estate. The indigenous people of Conejo farmed with the indigenous people of Barranco and both indigenous communities maintained respect for each other’s space. All this was part of our Garifuna traditional land territory. Nonetheless we can sit here and rehearse over and over again of how Midway became more populated with residential space as opposed to our farmland however this is an accepted fact that the first family came and farmed with a Baranguna on what was Barranco land in 1992. That Baranguna is the founder of Midway and still lives in our land. We appreciate the people of Midway and therefore want to continue to foster that neighborliness as we have always embraced. In closing Barranco has always exercised high level of friendliness with our neighbor Midway and we want to keep it that way. If Midway would be willing to agree to the boundary proposal that we propose we can set laws and regulation to help reduce or avoid issues at hand. Whatever land we both have should be managed properly and preserved for our future generations.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Directly pertaining to the villages’ border issues a map of surveyed lands within boundaries of Barranco and proposed boundary was presented by village leaders of Barranco at the meeting. As expressed at the event Midway Village Chairman Marcus Ico spoke of his disagreement.
Marcus Ico, Midway Village Chairman: “Today’s meeting is very important to us as Midway leaders and I believe we’re going back in our community to present it to our community. I saw the map that they proposed to us, the Barranco people proposed to us and it’s very sad but I saw the map lines that they give and I don’t like and I disagree on it. I really disagree on it because my people don’t want that and I think we need to go back and discuss more and if we have to get a mediator we need to get a mediator so that they can solve both parties for us.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Closing remarks at the meeting from representatives of all parties of concern expressed words of appreciation and gratitude to all those involved in working jointly to eventually implement amicable solutions to the current boundary issues between Barranco and Midway villages.