Posted: Friday, February 12, 2021. 9:26 am CST.
By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize has stepped in to address an issue over land use in Indian Creek Village between indigenous communities and former chairperson of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, Lisel Alamilla, who is acting on behalf of a private entity.
The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs, said that it has learned of a full-page ad that Alamilla placed in the Amandala Newspaper on behalf of Flora and Fauna International, telling the residents in the area to cease their livelihood activities on some 12,000 acres of land because the area is “private property” and not communal lands.
“The Ministry is concerned and disappointed that Ms. Alamilla, who recently demitted the office of Commissioner at the end of December 2020, and is well aware of the complex issues at hand, has made such a statement knowing the difficulties and potential conflicts it has caused. The police department had to be requested to visit Indian Creek in order to diffuse a potentially explosive situation,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry went on to say that Alamilla’s actions were unhelpful, not in good faith, and in clear contravention of the 2015 Consent Ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which called on all parties to respectfully balance competing interests of Maya customary land rights and private ownership by third parties and interests.
The Ministry pledged to work closely with the Commissioner Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Gregory Ch’oc, to carry out the CCJ’s consent order in a manner beneficial to all stakeholders. The Ministry also called all stakeholders to respect these processes in place.
The Maya Leaders Association commented on the issue earlier this week, noting that Alamilla has no authority in Indian Creek to issue a call for residents to cease their livelihood activities.
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