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Ministers for Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs conclude working visit in Toledo

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2022. 1:56 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, accompanied by Minister of State Elvia Vega Samos, has completed a three-day working visit to the Toledo District.

Along with area representative Oscar Requeña and Commissioner of Indigenous People’s Affairs Greg Ch’oc, they visited the two largest Maya communities, San Pedro Columbia and San Antonio, holding meetings approved by the Ministry of Health according to health protocols.

The meetings concerned the recently filed Free, Prior and Informed Consent Protocol (FPIC) before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and the Ministers are touring the Maya villages to share the document and further consult with villagers.

The Minister made the point that while the Government fully respects the traditional alcalde system of governance in Maya villages, the alcaldes banding together as the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) is not the sole authority as they claim within the system and that each community has the right to meet as a village – which is also Maya custom – and make decisions affecting their villages’ activities.

The Government has further pledged to engage with all representative organizations and calls on elements of the TAA “to refrain from incendiary and inaccurate statements.”

The Ministers also met in Punta Gorda Town with alcaldes, village chairs and villagers from five other villages and representatives of the Kekchi Council of Belize (KCB) and Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), who pledged to work hand-in-hand with the Government to implement the April 2015 consent judgment of the CCJ. A compliance hearing before that court is scheduled for April 7.

 

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