By Zoila Palma: Today, the Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs issued a statement expressing its concern about the letter from the National Garifuna Council (NGC) and statement by its president, Sandra Miranda George regarding the order to Dr. Francis Arzu issued by the Lands Commissioner.
“It is the Ministry’s understanding that the said cease-and-desist order does not at all directly concern any claim by villagers of Barranco Village to lands of their community. Rather, Dr. Arzu himself, not the Barranco Village Council, was apparently granted permission to survey a large parcel of land in 2016,” the Ministry explained.
The Ministry says that the 2015 Consent Order of the Caribbean Court of Justice requires Government to respect Customary Land Rights of Maya communities, thus making necessary, consultation with stakeholders of both indigenous southern communities.
Therefore, the Ministry says that it is acting with caution to indicate the need for dialogue and mediation in delimiting respective village boundaries which have yet to be determined.
“The Ministry assures both indigenous communities that it will duly consult and engage with all relevant parties in seeking amicable resolutions to the challenges at hand,” the statement expressed.