Now as Mes said, Santa Cruz and Jalacte are only 2 of many land conflicts. There is another ongoing issue in Toledo between the Garifuna community of Barranco and the neighbouring Maya community of Midway. The residents of Barranco are building a cultural monument a short distance away from Midway, but the Maya residents aren't too pleased about that because they say it is being built on their village lands. So the leaders from Midway Village sent a letter to the Barranco council urging, quote, "constructions be put to a stop immediately until both our villages meet to discuss the issue", end quote. Today Mis further discussed what the issue is in his perspective.
Pablo Mes - Programme Coordinator, Maya Leader Alliance
"I want to make it very clear that a monument to honour the history, the legacy of the Garifuna people of Belize is something that we at any time will support. Unfortunately I believe that the letter that was send by Midway's leaders perhaps was understood out of context. You will realise that all these communities in the Toledo district, 39 of them to this date have not been able to get the support of government to define clearly the limits of their boundaries. Where any effort to define the territory of a community is present, of course it will require a process of negotiation between those two neighbours. In that spirit the letter that was sent to Barranco which was very close to Midway was merely saying look as honourable neighbours, please let us know what's happening so that we could be fully supportive so that we can be appreciative of what you working on, what existed for a very long time, we want to continue to exist harmoniously. There was a meeting held just this past Sunday between the leaders and we were invited by Midway to observe and to be present there and the report I received is that it became clear that it is a monument but it will also be used as the marker to show where the village lines of Barranco is which is something that the community of Midway wanted clarification on."
But the Chairman of the Barranco Village Council says no clarification is needed because they are building their monument on private land.
Joseph Palacio - Chairman, Barranco Village Council
"Midway is Ketchi community and they were complaining that we are building a monument on their land so they wanted to find out more. The issue was that we built a monument on what we are saying is the boundary between the two villages. The monument is actually on private land not on Midway land."
Although both sides have very different views on this issue, they met on Sunday and will meet again to settle this matter.