By Aaron Humes: This week, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) held a status hearing with the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and the Government of Belize in respect of its 2015 Consent Order and was disappointed, according to the former, to hear that the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) protocol was apparently finalized and implemented without final approval from the litigants in the case.
Per a statement from the MLA and the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA), “The Court reminded the Government of Belize that the international community is keeping its gaze on Belize as it implements the novel Consent Order agreed to by the Parties,” as outlined by President of the Court Adrian Saunders: “… the problems that it seeks to address are problems that other countries also are also grappling with. And the reason why this court became involved in the monitoring process is that it’s a very complicated, complex order to implement but more so you want to ensure that there is a neutral body standing between the parties to keep them on the straight and narrow. To try and ensure that the court’s order is being implemented with integrity and in good faith.”
The CCJ’s disappointment is nothing new for the MLA/TAA, who says they have been consistently let down by the Government, in violation of the vision of former Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh’s 2010 judgment, in which he called for an “honourable settlement” through a “process of reconciliation.”
And to all Maya, the organization says that their unity is what has kept the fight going for more than 30 years and that litigation, not the State’s desires, has gotten them to this point: “The Government then must implement the Order in good faith, and in a spirit that respects the fact that implementation arises out of a Consent Order where there are litigants on the other side.”