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Women who lead: lessons from a forgotten district

Posted By: Marty

Women who lead: lessons from a forgotten district - 05/05/13 11:10 AM

Machakila is a beautiful village in southern district of Toledo. Belizeans consider Toledo to be one of the most pristine parts of Belize. It is not listed in the most technologically advanced nor infrastructural but this village has a great lesson for the rest of Belize.

This village is a pioneering village in politics. Not partisan politics but in the expression of progressive politics.

BELIZE TIMES has learnt that Machakila boasts the only female Alcalde in the Toledo District. Her name is Conceptiona Ical. An Alcalde is an important and respected position in Mayan Communities which are historically patriarchal.

Every 3 years an Alcalde is elected in the month of November. All Villagers are invited to an assembly and a majority vote decides on a leader. The Alcalde is very important to the community as she has complete authority and a mandate to govern.

Her role is to ensure peace and harmony in the Village through judging disputes and levying small fines. Under the Inferior Courts Act, Chapter 94 of the Laws of Belize, at sections 67 to 75 the Alcalde wields the power of a fully empowered resident magistrate in both civil and criminal matters.

But the progressiveness of this village goes further because the Chairperson of the village is also a strong woman by the name of Ofelia Chiac. Chiac also impressively serves as the Deputy Alcalde of Machakila.

The BELIZE TIMES thanks the Toledo East Area Representative, Mike Espat for sharing the accompanying photos and this fact with the nation of Belize. We recall that he has sustained his unbiased work ethic with remote and very often forgotten families in these areas of our country. These images are from one of the routine visits to the people and homes in his constituency.

In fact, we at BELIZE TIMES recall that he had opened a road to the village in 2007 which was never graveled or cared for after the UDP took government. The villagers shared with us that since the change of Government that it is only owing to some logging work that is being done in the area that they have collaterally gotten a bulldozed road.

Although we are tempted to tell this story as another instance of the UDP forgetting and ignoring hard working Belizean communities in Toledo, we at BELIZE TIMES believe that the more important story is the political success and evolution of the communities who have shed gender hindrances still strong in other areas with far more modern amenities.

This is impressive and needs to be fully commended and promoted as another example of crossing divisive lines. The PUP and the Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca together with the Hon. Mike Espat all extend and register our respect, love and acknowledgment to the progressive positive developments and achievements of these pioneering female Belizeans.

The Belize Times

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