Today is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples and to commemorate the occasion, SATIIM launched the Maya Lands Registry.
They say this is following up on the directive of the Caribbean Court of Justice to "create an effective mechanism" to identify and protect Mayan lands in accordance with their traditional governance. They say that 2 years later and still no mechanism exists. So, they took the matter into their own hands and created that mechanism for Crique Sarco village - one of the 38 communities with customary land use rights.
NGO Senator Osmany Salas attended the event - and we have his interview courtesy PGTV:
Hon. Osmany Salas - NGO Senator
"I'm very happy that I came all the way to Crique Sarco to witness history. I think it's an incredible way to celebrate Belize international day of the World's Indigenous people so here at Crique Sarco was a presentation of the community boundaries of Crique Sarco after what I understand was some years of very hard work. What I found very not only stimulating but inspiring what has culminated today Crique Sarco is that to produce this community map, the village leaders had to negotiate and communicate with their neighboring communities; Sunday Wood and Corazon Creek. So I think that is inspiring, it provides an excellent example for other communities to emulate."
Froyla Tzalam - Executive Director, SATIIM
"Just the community wait until the government of Belize has the resources to do this work, the question is no. There is a lot of things that is going on and we cannot possibly wait for when the government is ready. The community has the resources, they have the traditional knowledge to do this and just a bit more support they can get this work done but ideally it should be led by the government of Belize or rather funded."
"Noticeably absent here today is the Maya Leader's Alliance, is there an explanation for that?"
"I cannot say what I can say for us and our part is that SATIIM has a very different approach to working with the communities."
SATIIM has also compiled a mini-documentary on the model developed in Crique Sarco.