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Private Land Owner Claims Ownership of Big Tract of Land #548099
02/11/21 05:19 AM
02/11/21 05:19 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,125
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
Statement by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs on the Situation in Indian Creek Village, Toledo

It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs, that former chairperson of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, Ms. Lisel Alamilla, as agent for a private land owner, placed a full page ad in the Amandala Newspaper this past weekend asserting ownership by the company of a large tract of land in or near Indian Creek Village, Toledo District.

The Ministry is concerned and disappointed that Ms. Alamilla, who recently demitted the office of Commissioner at the end of December 2020, and is well aware of the complex issues at hand, has made such a statement knowing the difficulties and potential conflicts it has caused. The police department had to be requested to visit Indian Creek in order to diffuse a potentially explosive situation.

The Consent Ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2015 called on all parties to respectfully balance competing interests of Maya customary land rights and private ownership by third parties and interests. Ms. Alamilla’s actions were unhelpful and clearly not in good faith since all interventions require respectful and open consultation and dialogue.

The Ministry will work closely with the Commissioner Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Gregory Ch’oc, to carry out the consent order of the CCJ in a manner beneficial to all stakeholders, and we call on everyone concerned to respect these processes.

Re: Private Land Owner Claims Ownership of Big Tract of Land [Re: Marty] #548102
02/11/21 05:49 AM
02/11/21 05:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,125
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
Lisel and the Land

At the close of 2020, Lisel Alamilla remained Chairperson of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, But this week a mere month after remitting that office. Alamilla is representing private interests - an ecological reserve - which owns thousands of acres of private land opposite the indigenous territory of Indian Creek Village.

Minister of Human Development and Indigenous affairs Dolores Balderamos Garcia told LOVE TV yesterday that she was disappointed.

Voice of: Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development
"That statement that was put out, not only is it unhelpful, but I cannot look at it as being in good faith, because she is well aware that where you have competing interest of third parties as opposed to the Maya customary land rights, there has to be consultations, respect and dialogue to try to come to an agreement, so I just want to say that personally I feel very dismayed that she has taken that position knowing full well the complex issues and the role of the commissioner. We have a new commissioner now in the person of Mr. Gregory Choc and he has given us a report of what is happening in Indian Creek and that the very least there ought to have been before any kind of big media release, there ought to have been proper consultation and a respectful dialogue."

Also speaking out against Alamilla's new gig and the land interests it represents was spokesperson for the Maya Leadership Alliance, Christina Coc. She says that Alamilla now has "rangers" in the area who block the road and tell villagers where they can and cannot go.

Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, MLA, TTA
"The former chair from 2016 to December 2020 held a contract with the government of Belize and held the responsibility to properly implement the order of the Caribbean court of justice. So, Miss Alamilla is fully aware of the consent ruling. She is aware of where those claims are, she is aware of the 41 Maya villages, she is aware of Indian Creek village customary lands, use and application of those lands have been held by that village and members of that village and so she should also be aware that any competing interest in those lands does not extinguish the rights of the members of Indian Creek to their customary claim of those lands and thereby to the protection of those lands. We became aware through national publication of the Amandala newspaper which Miss Alamilla send agents to distribute to the village themselves, it was perhaps unpreceded that it's the first time that the Amandala newspaper was handed out free of cost to hundreds of copies in the village. We saw more recently agents that claim to be sent by Miss Alamilla to block the road using big boulders that they were putting in the road. Again, just to intimidate and harass the communities."

We reached out to Alamilla for Comment and she told us, quote: "What is noticeably absent in the recent declarations is a lack of clarity about freehold property. Is it that freehold titleholders' constitutional rights are considered null and void? Is it that title holders are not entitled to due process?

The government must make a declaratory statement as it relates the constitutional right of title holders within the 2,000,000 acres that the Maya are claiming as their customary land.

It's important to elevate the discussion on substantive matters. The Maya should get what they are legally entitled to but the government has a duty to see that all legal titleholders in Belize get the benefit of the rights enshrined in the constitution." End quote.

She also shared these maps, explaining that the area in the black island that is claimed as Mayan land but that those designations are merely a starting point.

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