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On eve of Royals’ visit, objection arises from Maya and African quarters

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Posted: Friday, March 18, 2022. 10:44 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Though security is expected to be tight and there will be little actual interaction, objections have begun to rise to the forthcoming visit of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Belize starting on Saturday.

According to Channel 7 News, villagers of Indian Creek in the Toledo District are scheduled to protest today over preparations for the couple’s visit to a cacao farm in the village.

The village is said to be in open conflict with the organization Flora and Fauna International, of which the Duke is a patron, over an adjoining, contesting property.

Moreover, the Duke’s helicopter is to apparently land on the village football field, about which the village says it was not consulted. The visit also comes against the backdrop of the continued struggle for communal land rights and the meaning of informed consent by the Maya to proposals and projects by the Government and third parties.

Meanwhile, the United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF) has sent a release condemning the “British Colonizers Visit” as “an atrocity to our [African] Ancestors, and [African] people living in Belize!”

In charged language, the UEF claims Belize’s independence as granted by the United Kingdom in 1981 is “flag independence” and that Belize and fellow Caribbean countries including Jamaica and The Bahamas are described – correctly – as realms of the United Kingdom. (The Queen of the United Kingdom is also Queen of Belize and fourteen other such realms, though except for the UK she is represented by the Governor-General as Head of State, and all laws, acts, and actions of the State are technically done in her name.)

The visit is described in colourful Kriol by the UEF as “di face aah brass” and “retraumatizing” Afro-Belizeans in the face of efforts to obtain reparations for slavery, with the complicity of the political class of Belize.

Though absolutely no mention of any discussions of reparations was announced and indeed the couple is not even expected to speak to the press at any point during the visit, the UEF reiterates previous communication claiming that the Government “has no legal or moral right to negotiate, speak, bargain, or act on behalf of anyone” of African descent in Belize about reparations and that this matter has been internationalized to various interested organizations dealing with African heritage.

The visit concludes on Tuesday and Breaking Belize News will have full coverage.

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