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CCJ awards full land rights to Toledo Maya

On Wednesday last week the Caribbean Court of Justice, meeting in Belize, pronounced its findings in the appeal case of the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Government of Belize.

The following is the full text of the court order:
Before the Right Honourable and the Honourables:
Mr. Justice D. Byron, President Mr. Justice R. Nelson, JCCJ Mr. Justice A. Saunders, JCCJ Mr. Justice J. Wit, JCCJ, Mr. Justice D. Hayton, JCCJ Mr. Justice W. Anderson, JCCJ Mme. Justice M. Rajnauth-Lee, JCCJ
UPON this matter being called for a hearing, pursuant to the re-scheduled notice issued by the Honourable Court on the 24th day of March 2015,
AND UPON READ-I NG the Notice of Appeal filed on behalf of the Appellants on the 21st day of February 2014; the Notice of Cross Appeal filed on behalf of the Respondents on the 14th day of March 2014 and the Record of Appeal filed herein on the 19th day of August 2014,
AND upon reading the submissions filed on behalf of the Appellants on the 30th day of December 2014; the submissions of the Respondents filed herein on the 16th day of January 2015 and the submissions in reply filed herein on behalf of the Appellants on the 30th day of January 2015,
AND upon hearing the oral submissions of Ms. Antoinette Moore, SC appearing with Ms. Monica Coc Magnusson, Attorneys-at-Law for the Appellants and the oral submissions of Mr. Denys Barrow, SC appearing with Ms. Naima Barrow, Attorneys-at-Law for the Respondent.
BY CONSENT it is ordered and declared that:
1. The judgment of the Court of Appeal of Belize is affirmed insofar as it holds that Maya customary land tenure exists in the Maya villages in the Toledo District and gives rise to collective and individual property rights within the meaning of sections 3(d) and 17 of the Belize Constitution.
2. The Court accepts the undertaking of the government to adopt affirmative measures to identify and protect the rights of the appellants arising from Maya customary tenure, in conformity with the constitutional protection of property and non-discrimination in sections 3, 3(d), 16 and 17 of the Belize Constitution.
3. In order to achieve the objective of paragraph 2, the Court accepts the undertaking of the government to, in consultation with the Maya people or their representatives, develop the legislative, administrative and/or other measures necessary to create an effective mechanism to identify and protect the property and other rights arising from Maya customary land tenure, in accordance with Maya customary laws and land tenure practices.
4. The Court accepts the undertaking of the Government that, until such time as the measures in paragraph 2 are achieved, it shall cease and abstain from any acts, whether by the agents of the government itself or third parties acting with its leave, acquiescence or tolerance,that might adversely affect the value, use or enjoyment of the lands that are used and occupied by the Maya villages, unless such acts are preceded by consultation with them in order to obtain their informed consent, and are in conformity with their hereby recognized property rights and the safeguards of the Belize Constitution. This undertaking includes, but is not limited to, abstaining from:
a) issuing any leases or grants to lands or resources under the National Lands Act or any other Act;
b) registering any interest in land;
c) issuing or renewing any authorizations for resource exploitation, including concessions, permits or contracts authorizing logging, prospecting or exploration, mining or similar activity under the Forests Act, the Mines and Minerals Act, the Petroleum Act, or any other Act.
5. The constitutional authority of the Government over all lands in Belize is not affected by this order.
6. The Court shall determine the remaining issue in this case, namely, theApellants’ claim for damages.
7. There shall be liberty to apply.
8. The Apellants’ costs of this appeal and in the courts below shall be agreed by 30th April 2015 or taxed.
9. The Court retains jurisdiction to oversee compliance with this order and sets 30th. April, 2016 for reporting by the parties. ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣ for damages.
7. There shall be liberty to apply.
8. ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣shall be agreed by 30th April 2015 or taxed.
9. The Court retains jurisdiction to oversee compliance with this order and sets 30th April 2016 for reporting by the parties.
To: And To:
TheRegistrar of theSupremeCourt of Belize
Ms. AntoinetteMoore, SC
Cassian Nunez Street Dangriga, Stann Creek District Belize City Belize Attorney-at-Law for the Appellants
BZCV2014/002 Page 10813 of 10814 22/04//2015
Jacqueline Graham
Registrar and Marshal
BZCV2014/002 Page 10814 of 10814 22/04//2015
And To:
Mr. DenysBarrows, SC
Barrow & Co 1440 Coney Drive Belize City Belize Attorney-at-Lawfor theRespondent
The Registry is located at 134 Henry Street, Port of Spain. Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Telephone Voice: 868-623-2225, 624-2256. Facsimile: 868-623-0527. E-mail:[email protected]
The Registry is open between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays except Public Holidays and Court Holidays.
BZCV2014/002 Page 10814 of 10814 22/04//2015

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