The case of Maya Customary Land Right is making its way to the Caribbean Court of Justice, that's what the Court of Appeal announced today at its final sitting for this October session.
As we told you, the Appeal Court handed down a judgement of the issue after a 2 and a half year delay. In that judgment, the court affirmed that the Mayan Communities of the south have Customary Land Rights, but they also ruled in the Government's favour by removing their obligation to protect those rights.
Both sides are not happy with the judgment, so they are taking it to the highest court in the land to decide the matter once and for all.
After the Hearing, 7News spoke to the attorney for the Mayans, and she told us that this will be the first case of its type to be heard at the CCJ:
Antoinette Moore - Attorney for Claimants
"On the 25 of July, when the Court of Appeal issued its' judgment it basically gave a split decision; On one hand they affirmed that the Mayan people have the right to the land but, on the other hand they rejected the relief that the former Chief Justice had granted. So they're was injunctive relief, there was no other remedy that was granted or that was affirmed by the Court of Appeal."
"Now what is happening is that the government is cross appealing that affirmation of customary rights, so the government is going to the highest court just as they have to our trial court and to the Court of Appeal saying the Maya people have no customary traditional right to their land. That is what they are appealing which is the portion of the court of appeals judgment, we on the other hand are appealing the part of the court of appeal judgment that said there's no relief or protection of the rights. So we're seeking some form of protection of the right to land."
"It is extremely important that the highest court in the land now the Caribbean Court of Justice will hear this matter and will make a final decision atleast with respect to the law, what the rights in terms of land are for the Mayan people and what the rights in terms of equal protection of the law and discrimination are for Mayan people in the Toledo District of Belize."
As we've reported, the Mayans also have another case in the Supreme Court which they've brought against the Government of Belize and US Capital Energy to block them continuing oil exploration inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park. That case has gone to completion, and the judgment is now pending.