Maya Leaders Alliance and Toledo Alcaldes Association vote to appeal court’s judgment

vlcsnap-2013-08-02-08h54m16s244On Thursday spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA), Cristina Coc, told PLUS News that the organizations plan to appeal last Thursday’s divided ruling of the Court of Appeal. That ruling was on the question of their ownership and rights to the land covered by 38 Maya communities in the Toledo District and part of southern Stann Creek District. Coc told us that while the MLA and TAA were pleased with the majority decision of Justices Brian Alleyne and Dennis Morrison upholding former Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh’s determination that the Maya people are the rightful owners of the territory in question, they are disappointed that the court chose not to affirm the further orders of the Chief Justice protecting that ownership through a formal title system among other things. According to Coc, the question for the Mayas now is this: “If our rights exist, who is there to protect those rights, if not the Government of Belize? Are the Mayas to protect our rights on our own?” That question will now be taken to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Belize’s last court of appeal. The organizations also say that they are open to dialogue with the Government and always have been, but it is the Government who must find the will to sit down with the Maya leaders and find a solution to the problem. Over 300 Alcaldes, Chairmen of villages and others attended Monday’s meeting.

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