PUNTA GORDA, Toledo District, Mon. May 16, 2016–Up to press time tonight, the Government of Belize has not reacted to a statement issued by the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA), claiming that alcaldes who had gone to the office of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, led by former minister Lisel Alamilla, were told to “Get off my premises!” and chased from the office when they showed up to attend a meeting earlier today.
The TAA said that last week, the Commission had invited the alcaldes and other persons to a meeting scheduled for this morning.
According to the TAA, the organization, the highest governing body of the Maya people, had met on Saturday, May 14, to discuss the invitation from the Commission to a single observer from the Steering Committee.
“The general assembly of the TAA resolved that they be led by President Alfonso Cal to deliver the collective position of the traditional leaders in writing to the Chair of the Commission on Monday, May 16, 2016.
“Ms. Alamilla refused an audience with Mr. Cal on behalf of his alcaldes, and instead called the police to remove all the alcaldes and members of the Steering Committee out of the Commission’s office,” their statement said.
Amandala was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Alamilla today, and we were also unable to reach police to find out why the Maya were allegedly ejected from the Commission’s office.
The TAA said that “the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission has held only one meeting with the Steering Committee and that the request of the TAA is that a schedule/plan be developed together, by both the Steering Committee and Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, which clearly outlines an implementation process” for the consent order handed down over a year ago by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
They added that, “the TAA unanimously decided that they table again to the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission a request for good faith consultations.”
Cal tried to communicate the TAA’s resolution to Alamilla: “Thank you for your invitation to the meetings that you have scheduled. However, we are here today, my Alcaldes and I, to inform the Commission that we are very concerned about the way the Commission is carrying out consultation,” said Alfonso Cal to Chair Alamilla.
We received no explanation to clarify exactly what is the bone of contention in relation to the consultations.
For its part, the TAA said that it remains hopeful that they can collaborate with the Commission to implement the CCJ consent order, with mutual respect.