SATIIM and Mayan leaders associated with the Sarstoon Temash National Park continue in a tug of war with the Government of Belize. The Mayan inhabitants are accusing the Government of not fully complying with the recent court ruling which granted the residents rights over communal lands. They are particularly up in arms over Government granting US Capital Energy an oil exploration permit to occupy the Sarstoon Temash National Park. But Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow believes that the court’s ruling does not include the national park.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
The SATIIM National Park is a national park. The Court hearings, the litigations, were at the insistence of the villagers, and the court talked about lands owned by the villagers. As far as I’m concerned, the National Park is not included in that. In any event, the National Park is subject to a particular legal and statutory regime. In my view, there can be no question of any kind of ownership other than the ownership of the State when it comes to the National Park, which has been legislated over.
SATIIM has filed an injunction to stop US Capital from proceeding with plans to drill for petroleum inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park. The case is slated to begin later this month.