BELPO calls on GOB to help Conejo Villagers
Twenty-three employees from Conejo Village in the south were fired by U.S Capital Energy last week. The problems started when the residents complained that a seismic testing line was running through the village. The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management believes that the firings were an act of spite because Capital Energy did not get a license to place explosive on the line. The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy is also in solidarity with the villagers. Speaking with News Five via Phone, Candy Gonzalez, President of BELPO, said that they are calling on Government to follow through with its promise to the people of Conejo.
Via Phone: Candy Gonzalez, President, BELPO
“Mostly because we support the villagers in terms of seeking the upholding of the Supreme Court decision of 2007 where the Supreme Court decided that the villagers had the right to hold the village as a collective and traditionally held as the Mayas have held the land all along and that the villagers had the right to deiced what happened on the land. And the incursions of U.S. Capital Energy needed to go through the Village Council and the system that is set up by the village in terms of how to handle any incursions on to the village property.”
“So I know you are calling on the government to deal with this issue in a timely manner as well.”
Via Phone: Candy Gonzalez
“Well the government has already told SATIIM and the villagers that they would step in and address the problem directly with U.S. Capital Energy except I guess it was the Geology and Petroleum Department and so what we were doing was essentially saying that we hope that the government does act in a timely manner and that this does get done.”