Greg Choc will not be leaving SATIIM right away

vlcsnap-2013-08-30-08h01m14s170Greg Ch’oc is not leaving SATIIM; at least not yet. There has been widespread speculation that executive director Gregory Ch’oc of the NGO Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) was leaving his post to study law. Last week a four-page letter from an unnamed source titled “Concerned Maya and Garifuna youth from buffer villages,” was circulated claiming that Choc had already resigned. The letter accused him of “abandoning” his people at a critical time, when SATIIM is pressing its case for a permanent injunction against the Government and US Capital Energy to stop drilling for petroleum in the Park. Also, there is the Land Rights case on behalf of the Toledo Alcaldes Association and Maya Leaders Alliance that Mr Ch’oc himself said recently he would push to see go all the way to the CCJ. Greg Ch’oc made his response during the press tour of the Sarstoon Temash National Park at a press conference and community forum in Midway village in the Toledo District. He specifically denied resigning and says his detractors are trying to push him out.

Greg Ch’oc – Executive Director of SATIIM:

vlcsnap-2013-09-03-09h11m18s188I never resigned as the Executive Director of SATIIM. I have never tended my resignation at no time.  The trust and the responsibility given to me by these communities, I have to consult and have consulted with them, and it was in that, that I believe the information was leaked.  Obviously those who don’t like what we do take it to a different level.


However, Mr Ch’oc did confirm that he has been accepted for the current academic year, 2013-2014 to study law at the University of the West Indies campus at Cave Hill, Barbados. He details the nature of the offer and denies reports that he is using SATIIM funds to improve himself while denying others the right.

Greg Ch’oc – Executive Director of SATIIM:

I’ve been accepted to the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus. [I applied] the beginning of this year.  I applied for this year.  There is a provision at the University to defer.  I have not resigned from SATIIM.

Greg Ch’oc says he will not “dignify” the letter by responding to its contents, but he did mention one important facet: questions as to whether Mr Ch’oc will pursue the alleged embezzlement of thousands of dollars from SATIIM’s finances by a former finance officer, which they say he has let go unresolved. He says the matter is before the police, and wonders whether politics is behind their lack of interest in charging the person alleged to be responsible.

Greg Ch’oc – Executive Director of SATIIM:

There were many issues raised in that letter, and I want to address one of them which is important to the organization, of which I am the Executive Director, and will continue to be the Executive Director. I filed a criminal complaint with the police, when our external auditors found inappropriate transactions. All the evidence that was needed, that we had before us, we sent it to the police. I have no influence on how the police department conducts its work.  Perhaps you can help us by asking the police why they are taking over three months to file criminal charges. Is it that the person accused is a former UDP village council? I don’t know.  I will never know. The facts are before the police and it is for them to make that decision, whether to charge.

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