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Filing Attorney and Advocate: Monica Coc Magnusson

Regional Bar No.MAGM1454BZ
Service Address: VOA Road,
Punta Gorda Town, Belize, Central America
Tel. No. 501-652-2075
E-mail address:
Advocate: Magali Marin Young
Regional Bar No. YOUM20111166BZ.
Service Address:
828 Coney Drive
P.O. Box 2208
Belize City, Belize
Tel: 501-223-3044

Appellate Jurisdiction


CCJ Appeal No. BZCV2014/002
BZ Civil Appeal No 27 of 2010


THE TOLEDO ALCALDES ASSOCIATION on behalf of the Maya villages of Toledo District, and
JUAN POP on behalf of the Maya village of Golden Stream, and
DOMINGO CAL on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Aguacate, and
LUCIANO CAL on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Bladen, and
ALBERTO HUN on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Blue Creek, and
CANDIDO CHO on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Crique Jute, and
LUIS CHO on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Crique Sarco, and
PEDRO CUCUL on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Dolores, and
MANUEL CHOC on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Indian Creek, and
ALFONSO OH on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Jalacte, and
MARIANO CHOC on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Jordan, and
EDWARDO COY on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Laguna, and
PABLO SALAM on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Medina Bank, and
ROLANDO AUGUSTINE PAU on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Midway, and
LORENZO COC on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Otoxha, and
SANTIAGO COC on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Pueblo Viejo, and
SILVINO SHO on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Antonio, and
IGNACIO TEC on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Benito Poite, and
GALO MEJANGRE on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Felipe, and
FRANCISCO CUS on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Marcos, and
MARCOS ACK on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Miguel, and
JUAN QUIB on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of San Vicente, and
LIGORIO COY on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Santa Anna, and
ELIGORIO CUS on his own behalf and on behalf of the Maya village of Santa Theresa.




In compliance with the Court’s directive given on the 19th day of July 2016 to file a further
report by January 19, 2017, the Maya villages, individuals and organizations that are the
Appellants in this matter report on the government of Belize’s compliance with the April
22, 2015 Order (“the Order”) as follows:

1. Initial implementation of the Order, on the part of the government, has been sluggish and
this is a cause of great concern for Appellants because they fear that the historic pattern
of government inaction and disregard for Maya land rights is being repeated.

2. Incursions onto Maya lands by the government and third parties continue. No alternative
mechanism for reporting and resolving such incursions has been offered, nor to the
Appellants’ knowledge, have any commitments been made or actions taken toward
establishing such a mechanism.

3. It has been almost two years since the Order. The Appellants have met with the
Commission twice. Both meetings were preliminary and showed some promise.
However, one aspect of the Commission's approach is of great concern to the Appellants
and promises to undermine the legitimacy of the implementation process, and the spirit of
the Order. The approach referred to, is that Commission appears to view the Appellants,
and particularly the TAA and MLA, as only one group among many with whom it must
consult, and not as the representatives of the Maya villages for the purposes of the Order.

4. Because of this attitude, the Commission's work has been undertaking without
consultation with the Appellants, and for the most part opaque to the Appellants.

5. With respect to damages, the entire $300,000 damages award has been expended on the
government’s administrative actions in establishing the Commission, actions to which the
government had already committed prior to the Court’s making of the damages award.
Not a single penny of those funds was made available to the Appellants, to assist them in
participating in the consultation and implementation process.

I. Interference with lands used and occupied by Maya villages continue, by or with the
permission of government officials in violation of paragraph 4 of the Order. No alternative
mechanism for resolving these issues has been created.

6. Since our last report in April 2016, the government of Belize has continued to acquiesce
to or tolerate third party interference with Maya village lands.

7. At the last supervision hearing before this Court, the government suggested that it would
consider creating some forum or mechanism through which issues such as these could be
resolved without the necessity of court action by the Maya villages for every incursion
(something that is beyond the villages' resources to do). No such mechanism has been
established, nor has there been any consultation with the Appellants or any other
indication that one is being contemplated.

(a) Logging in Golden Stream continues

8. As reported in our July 3, 2015 application, January 31, 2016 report, and April 30, 2016
report, the government signed permits authorizing the removal of mahogany logs from
Golden Stream lands was signed by government officials on May 15, 2015, after the
Order. The underlying concession has since been renewed, and even up to a month ago,
logging continued in the village of Golden Stream. The village is concerned that logging
activities will resume upon the arrival of the dry season. The May 15, 2015
authorization, which the local alcalde was able to obtain, is again attached as Annex 1.
the Appellants have not been able to obtain a copy of the logging concession renewal.

(b) The government extended an oil exploration permit this year, despite the Order

9. On March 8th, 2016 Minister Erwin Contreras of the Ministry of Economic Development,
Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce approved a one (1) year extension to US
Capital’s oil exploration contract. US Capital’s oil exploration concession encompasses
some of the Appellants’ village lands. The Government of Belize did not consult with the
Appellants or the affected villages with respect to the extension. In fact, the Appellants
only learned of this extension through the news media. Attached as Annex 2 is an
Amandala newspaper article, which includes a Belize Petroleum Contract Map, reporting
on the extension granted to US Capital.

(c) Taking of Jalacte village lands by the government of Belize and its agents

10. Litigation with respect to the expropriation of Jalacte village lands by the Ministry of
Works and the Ministry of Agriculture, including actions after the Order, continues. The
government continues to use the expropriated lands.

II. The implementation process is proceeding slowly, and unilaterally.

(a) The government appears to have taken it upon itself to decide who the
appropriate representatives of the Maya people are for the purposes of
consultation, and determined that the Appellants are not.

11. Since the last report to the Court, the Appellants have been invited to only one
consultation meeting, on June 20, 2016. The Appellants are concerned with several

aspects of the Commission's work thus far, but most of those concerns have their root in a
fact that the Commission appears to consider the Appellants to be anything more than
another group or NGO among the many it intends to consult. The Appellants consider
this approach to be a violation of the letter and spirit of the Order since the Appellants are
represented by the TAA and the MLA.

12. The Appellants, particularly the Toledo Alcaldes Association, is comprised of all of the
traditional alcaldes of all the Maya villages in Toledo. It was a party to the original land
rights litigation in 1997; it supported the two villages in the 2007 Re Maya Land Rights
litigation; and it was the main party to the present litigation. Individual villages were
only added as parties to this litigation when the government brought an application
contesting the TAA's standing to represent all the Maya villages, in order that those
villages could continue the litigation if the government application was successful. The
government was not successful; Chief Justice Conteh (as he then was) ruled in the Court
below that the TAA and the MLA were representative claimants for all the Toledo Maya

13. Clearly, as they have from time immemorial, and since the mid-1990s the Maya villages
have elected their customary leaders. Over the decades-long course of the land rights
struggle, those customary leaders have consistently promoted and carried forth the land
rights litigation against, and negotiations with, the government to achieve recognition of
their customary land rights, through their collective body, the TAA, and through the
MLA. In fact, the MLA was initially created in response to complaints by the
government of the day that it did not know who to negotiate with, leadership among the
Maya (and the TAA at the time) was too dispersed. The MLA was, effectively, the
equivalent in that time to today's Steering Committee.

14. Thus, the village alcaldes, collectively through the TAA and with the support of the
MLA, have been the Maya villages' chosen representatives with respect to the struggle to
have their customary land rights recognized and protected by the government. A core
aspect of the role of alcalde is to be the voice and the ears of the village in its relationship
with the outside world. This is the context in which the Order was drafted between the

15. After the Order and Judgment were issued in this case, an assembly of all the Maya
village alcaldes chose to create a Steering Committee to participate in the consultation
and implementation process on their behalf, and elected the members of that committee.
This was formalized by a resolution of the assembly, and after the Commission was
formed, that resolution was forwarded to the Commission. A copy of that TAA
resolution is attached as Annex 3.

16. At the June 2016 meeting between the Steering Committee and the Commission, the
Commission took issue with the TAA resolution's assertion that the Steering Committee
was being tasked to represent the Maya villages in the implementation process. The
Appellants were very concerned when the Commission chair asserted that “the villages
have not chosen who they want to represent them.”

17. It is worth pointing out that the Steering Committee has never asserted that they are or
that they should be the sole conduit for Maya participation in the consultation process.
Rather, as they expressed to the Commission, they have expected that the Commission
would work with them to develop an agenda and timeline for the consultation and
implementation process, and that they would be involved in meetings between individual
Maya communities and the Commission. At the very least, the Steering Committee
expects that the Commission would work with them with respect to the information to be
presented to villages about the content and meaning of the Order and Judgment. This
expectation was received positively in the June 20, 2016 meeting, but the Commission
has taken no action to do so and has conducted meetings in individual villages in the
absence of such material.

18. There is a long history in southern Belize of government actors attempting to provoke
and support opposition to customary land rights in the Maya villages. While the
Appellants do not pretend to understand the motives of the Commission, its actions have
the appearance of attempting to marginalize Maya customary leaders who have been at
the forefront of this struggle for decades – the Appellants - and identify other Maya
“representatives” who will be most amenable to the Commission's own objectives.

19. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has the following to
say about this issue of representation in consultations:

(a) Article 18 - Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-
making in matters which would affect their rights, through
representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own
procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous
decision-making institutions.

(b) Article 19 - States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the
indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative
institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before
adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that
may affect them.1

20. As noted by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “without
the buy-in of indigenous peoples, through consultation, at the earliest stages of the
development of Government initiatives, the effectiveness of Government programmes,
even those that are intended to specifically benefit indigenous peoples, can be crippled at
the outset. Invariably, it appears that a lack of adequate consultation leads to conflictive
situations, with indigenous expressions of anger and mistrust, which, in some cases, have
spiraled into violence.” That Report is attached to this as Annex 4.

21. The Rapporteur goes on to state:

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, available at , attached as Annex 12.

The building of confidence and the possibility of genuine consensus also depends
on a consultation procedure in which indigenous peoples’ own institutions of
representation and decision-making are fully respected, as explicitly required
by the Declaration (art. 19) and ILO Convention No. 169 (art. 6, para. 1 (a)). The
Special Rapporteur notes that indigenous peoples may also need to develop or
revise their own institutions, through their own decision-making procedures, in
order to set up representative structures to facilitate the consultation processes.
(emphasis added)

22. Similarly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has confirmed that “it is the
[indigenous] people, not the State, who must decide which person or group of
persons will represent the [indigenous] people in each consultation process ordered by
the Tribunal.” (emphasis added) That judgment is attached as Annex 5.

23. Yet here in Belize, the Commission appears to be marginalizing and bypassing the Maya
peoples' own procedures and representative institutions – the alcaldes and their collective
organization the TAA - even though it is those very institutions that are parties to the
agreement that resulted in the Consent Order it is mandated to fulfil.

(b.) The Commission has yet to develop an agenda and timeline for implementation in
consultation with the Appellants

24. The UN Special Rapporteur report on consultation at Annex 4 noted that:

“To achieve a climate of confidence and mutual respect for the consultations, the
consultation procedure itself should be the product of consensus. The Special
Rapporteur has observed that, in many instances, consultation procedures are not
effective and do not enjoy the confidence of indigenous peoples, because the
affected indigenous peoples were not adequately included in the discussions
leading to the design and implementation of the consultation procedures.
Additionally, States must duly address the imbalance of power by ensuring
arrangements by which indigenous peoples have the financial, technical and other
assistance they need, and they must do so without using such assistance to
leverage or influence indigenous positions in the consultations.” (emphasis added)

25. In conjunction with the Order, on April 20, 2015 the government of Belize provided the
Appellants with a “Statement of GOP Commitment to Advance the undertakings
contained in the judgment in CCJ Appeal No. 2 of 2014”, which described the
government’s understanding of and commitment to its obligations in the Consent Order.
That Commitment is attached as Annex 6. Paragraph 6 of that Commitment states that:

(a) “GOB agrees in consultation with the Maya to develop an agenda and schedule
for the development of a mechanism, with full regard for the following timelines

proposed by the Maya. The GOB will seek to complete the design or model of
the mechanism by December 31, 2015.” [emphasis added]

26. The government established the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission in January 2016.
As previously reported, the Appellants proposed an implementation timeline to the
February 2016, June 2016 meeting, to which the Commission responded that it was for
the Commission to determine the scope of its work and the timeline, in essence that the
Appellants should not be telling the Commission how to do its job.

27. At the June meeting between the Commission and the Steering Committee, the
Commission advised that it would develop such a plan, and would invite the Steering
Committee to provide input. It has not done so and to the best of the Appellants'
knowledge, it has no such plan.

c. The Commission has been undertaking activities unilaterally, in the absence of a
jointly developed work plan.

28. In the government’s February2016 report to the Court, the Appellants first learned that
the Commission intended to engage in direct consultations with Maya villages. In their
own report, the Appellants communicated their willingness to work with the Commission
in the development of those meetings. Nevertheless, the Commission did not consult
with the Appellants about any aspect of those meetings; neither the scheduling, the
objectives, the location, nor the participation of the Steering Committee. It did not
involve the Appellants in facilitating the villages’ participation in those meetings.

29. Rather, in May, 2016 the Commission advised the Appellants of a series of meetings it
intended to have with all (Maya and non-Maya) villages and Toledo NGOs at its office in
Punta Gorda. It invited a single member of the Steering Committee to attend those
meetings as an observer, with strict conditions on that person's role and participation.
That letter is attached to this report as Annex 7.

30. In the Belizean context, Maya mistrust of the state in this context is neither irrational or
uncalled-for. This is the state that, on the appeal of this litigation submitted that the Court
of Appeal ought to ignore the statement the government made in the Ten Points of
Agreement recognizing Maya rights to land based on their longstanding use and
occupancy because the government had only signed it “to let negotiations go smoothly.”
This is the state that litigated the 2007 case by introducing evidence concerning many of
the Maya villages outside of the two claimant villages of Santa Cruz and Conejo, and that
in its first meeting with the Appellants after the 2007 judgment acknowledged that the
decision applied to all the Maya villages, and then within weeks reversed itself and
asserted that further litigation was required for it to recognize customary rights outside
the two claimant villages. This is the state that signed a GOB commitment in April
agreeing that Maya customary rights include the right to control residency in their village,
then immediately made public statements to the contrary and is currently litigating
against that right in the Supreme Court against the village of Santa Cruz. Given the long
history of state efforts to undermine the land rights struggle prior to its abrupt apparent

change of heart in early 2015, many Maya people remain suspicious of government

31. In light of the longstanding historical dynamic, it is naive to expect that simple
affirmations that the adversarial phase is over, will heal a longstanding relationship of
mistrust, especially when actions taken (even if innocent) feed that mistrust.

32. This dynamic is not unique to Belize. As noted by the UN Special Rapporteur in his
report on consultation at Annex 4, “The creation of a climate of confidence is particularly
important in relation to indigenous peoples, given their lack of trust in State institutions
and their feeling of marginalization, both of which have their origins in extremely old and
complex historic events, and both of which have yet to be overcome”

33. Understanding and overcoming this context is one reason why it is important for the
Commission, which is relatively new to the issue, to develop the process together with
the Appellants, in order that the process is accepted as legitimate and reduce the effects of
such lingering suspicion.

34. As could have been anticipated, many alcaldes were confused by the individual village
invitations, having named a Steering Committee to be their voice and conduit for
information with respect to the implementation procedure. Many viewed the
Commission’s attempt to meet with individual or small groups of villages separately, on
short notice, was seen by many in the villages as an attempt to “divide and conquer”.
Most were upset about the unilateral scheduling of this meeting on relatively short notice
(a week). They had expected that the Steering Committee they had elected for the
purpose would convey information about such events.

35. At a Toledo Alcaldes Association assembly on May 14, 2016, the meetings with the
Commission became the main topic of discussion. The membership passed a resolution
reaffirming their choice of the Steering Committee as their representative for the
consultations. The TAA assembly mandated its president, Alfonso Cal (who is also a
member of the Steering Committee), to communicate that position to the Commission at
the May 16 meeting.

36. The TAA president consequently attended the May 16 meeting, as did other members of
the Steering Committee and several alcaldes. Mr. Cal attempted to convey the TAA
resolution to the Commission. He was not permitted to read the five paragraph
resolution to them. The Chair of the Commission interrupted him, and called on police
officers to remove all the alcaldes and members of the Steering Committee from the

37. Again, all of this confusion could have been avoided had the Commission consulted with
the Steering Committee in a timely fashion about the proposed meetings, as to who they
had invited, and their objectives, so that when alcaldes had questions the Steering
Committee could respond and support village participation.

38. The Commission exacerbated the concerns of many Maya when it subsequently issued a
press statement characterizing Mr. Cal's actions as an “interruption” and indicating:

The Commission will proceed with its consultations with elected leaders of
all villages in the Toledo District and Punta Gorda Town. The Commission
has a very clear Terms of Reference and will not be distracted with actions
that undermine a process that is transparent and inclusive.”

39. The Commission held some or all of the rest of the meetings, without an observer from
the Steering Committee, because based on the words and actions of the Commission at
that first meeting, the Steering Committee believed the observer invitation to have been
revoked. The Commission also subsequently held an unknown number of meetings in
Maya villages, again without the knowledge, participation, and therefore involvement of
the Appellants.

40. The Commission has not provided the Appellants with any information concerning the
information provided nor input received at those meetings. The Appellants were
informed by a number of village leaders that they did not participate because of the
treatment they and the Steering Committee had received, as a majority of alcaldes
accompanied the Steering Committee to the Commission’s office. Information received
by the Appellants from some of those who did participate in those meetings indicates that
confusing or possibly misleading information about the Order and Judgment was
delivered. For example, the Commission repeatedly referred to the Order as an
agreement between the parties and conveyed that it is not enforceable (this position was
repeated to the Appellants in the letter attached at Annex 8).

41. The Appellants are concerned that when they relayed to the Commission that in one
village, an individual had advised the alcalde that the Commission had asked him to
promote individual land tenure, and showed the alcalde blank application forms for land,
the Commission did not deny the information. This unfortunately feeds into perceptions
that the Commission is at least as interested in fomenting opposition to customary land
rights as it is in working to identify and protect them.

d. Consultations with the Appellants, such as they are, have been confrontational and

42. It appears to the Appellants that when they press forward with suggestions and proposals,
they are told to wait for the Commission to act first; when they wait for the Commission
to act, little to nothing happens.

43. The Appellants are concerned that the Commission often appears to characterize or
erroneously perceive the Appellants' attempts to engage in the process as adversarial or
antagonistic. For example, as noted above, the Appellants made a proposal for a
workplan and schedule. Rather than taking the proposal as a starting point, the
Commission rejected it and took the position that it is inappropriate for the Appellants to
make such proposals. See the correspondence from the Commission dated March 14,

2016, attached as Annex 9. Yet, over two years after the Order and Judgment, the
Commission has not yet taken this preliminary step of a draft work plan or schedule for
the development of the mechanism.

44. Another example is the Commission's over-reaction to the TAA's attempt to convey its
resolution to them at the May 16 meeting. What could otherwise have been a few
minutes of listening – possibly followed by some respectful dialogue or explanation from
the Commission about where the meeting fit with its consultation mandate and the role of
the Steering Committee, instead was met with fury and ejection by the police.

45. As a further example, one of the first documents provided to the Commission by the
Appellants was the Consultation Framework published by the TAA and MLA in 2014.
This Framework had previously been provided to the Prime Minister. It is the result of a
long process of development by the alcaldes of the Maya villages through the TAA, in
order to assist any outside organization interested in engaging with them effectively, that
is, in a way that conforms with Maya customary decision-making practices and norms.
The Commission has proceeded to engage in consultations without reference to it, and at
the June 20 meeting, advised the Appellants that it considered portions of the Framework
unconstitutional, and asserted that it had effectively usurped the jurisdiction of the
government. Unfortunately, the Commission declined to provide details of such concerns.

46. Where the interaction by the Commission with the Appellants is not confrontational, it
has been very slow. In the June 20 meeting, it appeared to the Appellants that there
actually may be several points of agreement between the parties concerning the meaning
of the Order, but the discussion did not enter into enough detail to confirm points of
commonality. Some areas of disagreement were also suggested, but again not in
sufficient detail to identify their extent.

47. Coming out of that meeting, both sides committed to exchanging information and
working on joint materials that could be used in meetings between the Commission and
Maya villages. The Appellants were to provide the Commission with information
concerning the applicability of the TAA Consultation Framework, and a member of the
Commission was to contact and work with the Maya on creating joint documents for
consultation meetings with the villages.

48. The Steering Committee did the former in July; the Commission responded over four
months later, at the end of November, to which the Steering Committee has responded. It
remains unclear whether the Commission found what the Steering Committee provided
them to be useful.

49. The Commission has not taken any action with respect to creating joint documents for
use at consultation meetings with Maya villages, and has carried out meetings in
individual Maya villages without such documents.

50. To the best of the Appellants' knowledge, no further meetings between the Commission
and the Appellants are scheduled.

51. The Appellants seek to be partners in the implementation process, to make it as inclusive,
successful, legitimate, and reflective of Maya customary land tenure as possible. At
minimum, this means developing the process in consultation with them, through the
Steering Committee, and meeting and talking with them regularly throughout the process.
The Commission has described its process as “transparent”. To the Applicants, it has
been anything but.

III. The damages fund has been completely spent, and none of the money was made available to
the Appellants nor to individual Maya villages to facilitate their participation in the process.

52. The Appellants received an accounting of the $300,000 on December 5, 2016 from the
Government’s Attorney. That accounting is attached as Annex 10.

53. The Appellants point out that the government of Belize had undertaken to develop the
demarcation mechanism and its other obligations under the Order in April 2015, months
before the damages award was made. Thus, at the time of the award, the government of
Belize had already undertaken to commit the resources necessary to fulfil its obligations
under the order. No award of damages was required for the government to undertake that

54. The Appellants also point out that the damages award was sought and granted as a
remedy to them for violations of their constitutional rights.

55. Nevertheless, the government is asserting that the award has been paid by it having paid
the money for purposes of establishing the Commission. The entire damages award fund
has been spent on establishing the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission and funding its
operations - activities to which the government had already committed itself as a result of
the Consent Order.

56. In addition, the Appellants point out that most of the meetings the Commission has
conducted have been with a combination of Maya and non-Maya individuals and groups,
or with solely non-Maya groups and organizations. That is, funds intended to remedy
violations of Maya peoples' rights have been expended in order to seek input from non-
Maya entities with no interest in those rights, and who may very well wish to minimize or
ignore those rights. Furthermore, the main institution of the Maya villages' customary
leadership – the TAA – and several individual alcaldes were ejected from one such

57. To the best of the Appellants' knowledge, only four meetings have been held exclusively
with Maya villagers or representatives. The Steering Committee, which is made up
mostly of Maya subsistence farmers from the villages, was not offered any per diems nor
travel allowances to facilitate their participation in the consultations. No funds were
offered to facilitate the Appellants ability to prepare for and meaningfully participate in

those meetings. All of the Appellants' participation in the consultation process thus far
has been on their own meager resources.

58. At the June meeting, the parties agreed that translating the Order and Judgment into the
Maya languages, together with a mutually developed discussion paper, would be a good
idea. Ideally, a joint project such as this was proposed to be should be funded from the
damages award. However, since no movement to implement this idea has occurred, and
the Commission made no suggestion that it would fund such a translation, the MLA
obtained some outside funding for translating the order on its own.

59. The Appellants invite the Court to appoint assessors to ascertain for itself whether the
accounting of the $300,000 meets the criteria to satisfy the Order. The Appellants submit
that it does not, in that much of it has not been spent to further the goal of demarcating
and protecting Maya customary land rights, and none of it was made available to those
for whose benefit it was awarded, to enable them to participate in the process.

IV. The Court should retain its supervisory role.

60. As noted above, the relationship between the government of Belize and the Maya people
continues to be shaped by mistrust and misunderstandings, and progress toward
demarcation, and ultimately reconciliation, has been slow. The Constitution, and the
courts that interpret it, have been the only tool that has proven to have any effectiveness
in moving government attitudes toward acceptance and recognition of Maya rights. That
shift is not yet complete.

61. The Maya people are the poorest population in Belize. They do not have the financial nor
indeed legal resources to challenge every incursion into or dealing with their lands in the
courts. To the Appellants’ knowledge, there is only one lawyer located in the Toledo
District. Court proceedings are slow and expensive. Nor would the existence of a number
of lawsuits between the parties over incursions be conducive to the relationship of trust
and cooperation necessary to implement the Order and achieve ultimate reconciliation.
Where such issues all stem from the same lack of respect for Maya customary land right,
justice can only properly be served if they can be dealt with through this proceeding,
which affirmed those rights.

62. Supervisory orders enable the Court to respond to implementation problems at a level
that corresponds to the severity and reasons for those problems, be they inattentiveness,
incapacity, or intransigence. Bringing contempt proceedings in lower courts are often
inappropriate when the action required of government through an order is complex, as
contempt proceedings are often a blunt instrument, and they require different judges to
familiarize themselves with complex litigation in order to interpret the original order.2

See, e.g. Kent Roach, “Mandatory Relief and Supervisory Jurisdiction: When Is It Appropriate, Just and
Equitable? “(2005)122 South African Law Journal 325. Attached as Annex 11.

Court supervision is the best way to modulate the extent of the court's exercise of power
while also ensuring that rights are not left unprotected.

63. We know that this Court appreciates that for a relief to be effective, it cannot be
“smothered in procedural delays and difficulties”3. This is exactly what the Appellants
are experiencing. The Appellants therefore ask that this Court takes a more pro-active
supervisory role in relation to the Order.

64. The Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest appellant court of Belize has the
jurisdiction and power to make findings of fact with respect to non-compliance with its
orders. The Court of Appeal Act, which by operation of s.11(6) of the Caribbean Court of
Justice Act defines the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ, gives this Court jurisdiction to
draw inferences of fact (s.19(1)(b)), compel documents (s.20(a)), hear witnesses whether
or not they appeared at trial (s.20(b)), appoint a special commissioner to investigate any
question arising on the appeal (s.20(e)), or appoint an expert advisor to the court (s.20(f)).
These are certainly sufficient powers for the Court to make sufficient determination as to
whether the Order is being complied with to make Orders.

65. The Appellants are concerned that the state’s reluctance or dragging of its feet in regards
to the implementation will only be exacerbated without the supervision of the Court.

V. The government has not taken any action on the recommendations of members of the
court at the last hearing.

66. The last supervisory hearing the Court also suggested to the government that an
ombudsman like body to deal with incursions as they occur would help to resolve some
of the issues without having to resort to litigation. As already noted, the Appellants are
unaware of any actions taken towards this recommendation.

67. The Court also made suggestions to the government to seek outside funding such as the
United Nation bodies for the work of implementing the judgment. Again, the Appellants
are unware of any actions taken in regards to this recommendation. The Appellants have
suggested inviting international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights to assist with the implementation, perhaps by acting in a mediator role if
the parties are at an impasse on specific issues, but the Commission was not in favour of
this idea.

68. At the last hearing, the court inquired about whether the Appellants were consulted prior
to the creation of the Commission and (although it was not sought by the Appellants)
made recommendations about amending the constitution of the Commission to include a
Maya representative. The Appellants have not been consulted in respect of any Maya
representative on the commission, and no such Commission member has been

Doucet-Boudreau v Nova Scotia (Minister of Education) [2003] 3 SCR 3, at para. 55. Attached as Annex 13.

69. Despite the slowness of the implementation phase on the part of the government, the
Appellants have taken the initiative to secure funding to have the Order translated in the
native languages – Q’eqchi՛ and Mopan. The Appellants have reached out to the
Commission to make this a collaborative effort. The Appellants remain hopeful that the
Commission will be receptive of this effort.

VI. Remedies sought:

The Appellants seek the following remedies from the Court:

a. That the CCJ continue its supervisory role and the parties' liberty to apply;

b. a declaration that the award of damages in the Judgment of October 30, 2015 has not
been satisfied;

c. a declaration that the Order of April 22, 2015 requires the government to consult
primarily with the Appellants, particularly the Toledo Alcaldes Association, as the
collective of customary representatives of the Maya people of southern Belize, in
these proceedings and otherwise, or its chosen representatives, the Steering

d. clarification of the uses toward which the award of damages may or must be put in
order to satisfy the October 30, 2015 Judgment, including that 50% of the funds be
allocated to the representatives chosen by the Appellants to participate in the
consultations (the Steering Committee), for the purpose of facilitating Maya
participation in the consultations;

e. a declaration that the government provide a draft agenda and timeline for the
implementation of the Order and Judgment to the Appellants (through their chosen
Steering Committee) within 30 days, and consult with the Appellants through their
chosen Steering Committee about that agenda and timeline within 30 days of so
providing it, in good faith and with the objective of arriving at an agreed-upon
agenda and timeline;

f. a declaration that the government develop its consultation procedure through
consultation and consensus with the Appellants;

g. that, if by May 15, 2017 the government has not created, in consultation with the
Appellants, an impartial administrative procedure to deal promptly with concerns
regarding intrusions in Maya lands and other actions falling under paragraph 4 of
the April 22, 2015 Order, the court will set a date to hear, decide, and remedy such

Documents attached to this Compliance Report

Annex 1 Mahogany release Permit (May 15, 2015)

Annex 2 “US Capital gets contract extension – did Toledo Maya acquiesce?” Amandala
newspaper, May 14, 2016
Annex 3 TAA resolution re Steering Committee for implementation consultations
Annex 4 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, James Anaya, U.N. Doc
A/HRC/12/34 (July 15, 2009)
Annex 5 Case of the Saramaka people v. Suriname, Judgment of August 12,
2008(Interpretation of the Judgment on Preliminary Objections, Merits,
Reparations, and Costs), Inter-American Court of Human Rights (August 12,
Annex 6 Statement of GOB’s Commitment to advance the undertakings contained in the
judgment in CCJ Appeal No. 2 of 2014 (April 20, 2015)
Annex 7 Correspondence from the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission to Steering
Committee (May 3, 2016)
Annex 8 Correspondence from the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission to Monica Coc-
Magnusson (November 28, 2016)
Annex 9 Correspondence from Commission to Monica Coc Magnusson (March 14, 2016)
Annex 10 GOB Financial Summary of funds spent on compliance with CCJ Judgment.
Annex 11 Kent Roach and Geoff Budlender, “Mandatory Relief and Supervisory
Jurisdiction: When Is It Appropriate, Just and Equitable? “(2005)122 South
African Law Journal 325.
Annex 12 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
Annex 13 Doucet-Boudreau v Nova Scotia (Minister of Education) [2003] 3 SCR 3.

DATED the 19th day of January, 2017.

Monica Coc Magnusson
Attorney-at-Law for and on behalf of the Appellants

This Compliance Report was filed by Monica Coc Magnusson, VOA Road, Punta Gorda, Belize,
Attorney-at-Law for and on behalf of the Appellants, whose address for service is V.O.A. Road,
Punta Gorda Town, Belize C.A. Service may also be effected by email to the filing attorney at:

To: The Registrar of the Caribbean Court of Justice

And To: Denys Barrow, SC
Attorney-at -Law for the Respondent
Albert Street
Belize City, Belize

The Registry is located at
134 Henry Street
Port of Spain,
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
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