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Indian Creek residents protest in Belmopan to keep their alcalde

GeneralIndian Creek residents protest in Belmopan to keep their alcalde

Photo: Chairman of Indian Creek, Ernesto Choc

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Wed. June 19, 2024

This week, on the heels of the Toledo Alcalde Association’s (TAA) request last week for judicial review of the Attorney General’s decision to replace Indian Creek’s alcalde and deputy alcalde, residents from Indian Creek, along with their village council chairman, traveled to the country’s capital to express their discontent with the judicial review request in front of the National Assembly Building.

In 2023, the villagers of Indian Creek had applied to the Attorney General’s Ministry to have their alcalde and deputy alcalde removed. They were unhappy with decisions made by these officials, which they claim were made without consulting the community. It is reported that the Attorney General then appointed new officials on the recommendation of the village council.

In response, representatives from various southern villages, including some residents from Indian Creek, along with the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and the TAA, then traveled to Belize City to challenge the Attorney General’s decision. They claimed that the appointments were undemocratic and did not reflect the will of the people.

On Wednesday, however, another group of Indian Creek residents, led by village council chairman Ernesto Choc, staged a peaceful protest in Belmopan. They argued that the current alcalde, Manuel Ack, was fairly elected by the majority of villagers, and without any influence from the village council. The protesters called for an end to external interference in their community’s affairs.

Chairman Ernesto Choc voiced his frustration, stating, “I heard that MLA and TAA are saying that the village council elected the alcalde by itself, which is not so. This is the message that I really want to send to Ms. Christina, Mr. Pablo, and the TAA: ‘Leave Indian Creek alone.’ We do whatever we have to do [within] our village. We don’t want people from outside, from different villages. They don’t have any say in our village.”

Indian Creek resident Donicio Sam explained the community’s right to self-governance, stating that the ongoing conflict has disrupted peace and created division among the villagers. He criticized the MLA for causing problems rather than forging harmony, and even inciting similar issues in other villages like Laguna and Emery Grove.

“If you can look at what is happening right now, not just Indian Creek, but look at what happened with Laguna and Emery Grove. It’s the same because MLA is bringing problems, not peace. If you know that you are the head of MLA, trying to help the people, then be specific, and come to the people. Tell them what is going on, what kind of assistance or help that you are giving, what kind of opportunity that you are bringing into the community,” Sam explained.

The protest lasted for about two hours, with protesters marching in circles within Independence Hill, peacefully demanding that their voices be heard and respected. They expressed the hope that their demonstration will reach the government and lead to a resolution that honors the will of the Indian Creek community.

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