Thursday, April 3, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The attorney for the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indegenous Management, SATIIM, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay describes this morning’s judgment by Justice Michelle Arana as “enlightened.”
According to the Senior Counsel what will happen now is that before applying for a renewal of their permit which expires on April 30, 2014, US Capital Energy must now get the informed consent from Maya people.
Senior Counsel Courtenay further makes clear that SATIIM did not go after injunctive relief because in his opinion, Justice Arana’s decision makes clear that the Maya people should not have to go to court to enforce their right; but that it is the duty of the state, the government, to provide a framework for how the issue is to be approached.
Attorney for US Capital Energy Michael Peyrifitte meanwhile, maintains that SATIIM and the Maya people are only pursuing the matter because they want a larger share of any potential revenues from an oil find by US Capital Energy.
Courtenay describes comments made by the attorney representing US Capital Energy, Mike Peyyrifitte last week as “crude, rude, insulting and neocolonial in tone.”
Courtenay called on his employers to condemn and distance themselves from it.
Justice Michelle Arana this morning handed down judgment in favor of SATIIM and the villages of Crique Sarco, Conejo, Graham Creek and Midway which went to court to get government to affirm their customary land rights.
Today’s ruling by Justice Arana upholds an unbroken series of rulings from the Supreme Court to the Belize Court of Appeals in favor of customary land rights for the indigenous Maya of Toledo.
Additional reporting for this story by Patrick E. Jones.
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