Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), told Amandala today that they are awaiting the court’s decision on when it will hear SATIIM’s application for an injunction to restrain the Government of Belize from renewing, extending and/or issuing an extension of US Capital Energy’s permit to enter the Sarstoon Temash National Park.
Ch’oc told Amandala that over the next few days, he will also be undertaking consultations with the Maya communities.
On Monday, April 14, 2014, the legal team from Courtenay Coye LLP which represents SATIIM and the indigenous communities of Conejo, Crique Sarco, Midway and Graham Creek filed an application for the injunction.
They said that the injunction request follows a Cabinet decision on April 8, 2014, to extend US Capital’s permit to enter the Sarstoon Temash National Park, which the Maya community insist is ancestral land. That permit, which was issued on April 30, 2013, is due to expire at the end of the month.
On April 3, 2014, Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana issued an order directing the Government of Belize to secure “the free, prior and informed consent from the claimants with respect of any contract of licence that falls within the national park.”
The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) has issued a statement in which it “urges the Government to respect the Court decisions, abide by international law, the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the 10-point program the Government signed with the Maya peoples following the IACHR decision.”
It added that, “To do otherwise, leads to a complete breakdown of respect for the law. Such a breakdown can have terrible ramifications.”