The Alcalde's Court at San Pedro Columbia, 1949
Maya alcalde holds his court session. The Alcalde is the headman of an Indian village. His insignia of office is a Barre- a silver knobbed stick- which he is seen holding.
Notice the picture of the then colonial King George VI prominently displayed in court. As the colony of British Honduras back then, it was mandatory by law for colonial subjects to display the picture of the king in all public buildings. All school exercise books also had the picture of the king on the front cover. The alcalde leadership and system have been an integral part of Maya communities as a way to establish order and justice and to settle local disputes.
As a young Police Officer in the mid 80's, i was posted at Pueblo Viejo and San Antonio Police sub stations in the Toledo District.The Police Station was where the Alcalde held his Court hearings, I'll tell you i had the oppurtunity to listen to their hearngs and although the Alcalde Court and decisions made therein are legal and binding,the defendants/accuse has no rights in that court. Gabriel Casey