We last left the matter of the Santa Cruz Maya and their efforts to enforce the law against black resident Rupert Myles who had bulldozed part of the Uxbenka Maya ruin to build a pathway to the house in the village where the Institute of Archaeology (IOA) had announced plans to evict Myles and criminally charge him with destruction of sacred property. But this has not been done; in fact, according to Pablo Mis of the Maya Leaders’ Alliance, Myles continues to remain on his property. He tells us more and also why the CCJ has not taken kindly to the news.
Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, Maya Alliance: There has been public pronouncements by Institute of Archeology to take legal action against Mr. Myles because they have submitted to the fact that Mr. Myles has broken the laws of Belize, to date that has not happened. If you go to the Isbencah right now he continues to denude the sacred hill. We’re still waiting to hear from the Institute of Archeology on practical measures that they will take. And I think that that is one example of this continued violation. There also is the situation of Halacate where lands has been taken away from them without their consent. Now what is also important to take away from the…
Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, Maya Alliance :By them I mean the government taking away lands from the Maya communities without proper process or by allowing 3rd parties to infringe upon the right, the property rights of the Maya people. Now the court in their deliberations today spoke to the fact that if there are ongoing current violations, current acts that remove property away from Maya people without due process, they impressed upon the fact that we have all rights to take that to the Supreme Court of Belize. So that’s the pronouncement that was made today by the judges in their deliberation. Again, that is something that we do not want to do because for us it is much more healthy if we were to engage in a healthy dialogue with our government to figure out how best can we ensure that Belizeans, including the Mayan people are fully part of the ownership in deciding how they construct their lives and how they move into this modern area that we find ourselves in.
The case of the 13 Maya charged in the detention of Myles continues in court.