Highlights — 28 October 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Court mediation in Maya land rights dispute faces GOB challenge

BELIZE CITY–Conejo, Crique Sarco, Midway and Graham Creek are four Maya villages surrounding the Sarstoon Temash National Park, where US Capital Energy has been drilling for oil in rural Toledo. The communities have gone to court challenging the decision by the Government of Belize to permit drilling inside the national park, on what they insist is Maya ancestral lands, without properly consulting the indigenous communities in question.

Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana has ordered that the parties meet for court-connected mediation, but the Government of Belize is challenging that mediation order on the claim that the matter has been submitted for appeal.

A date and time have been set for the hearing of the Government’s challenge. At 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 28, 2014, Justice Arana is scheduled to hear the Government’s petition to have the mediation order vacated.

Meanwhile, petroleum exploration inside the national park has commenced, as the court did not quash the Government’s decision to permit the oil company inside the national park, and it has not issued a stop order barring petroleum exploration.

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