SATIIM and Indigenous Mayan Communities Supreme Court Victory is a Victory for all Belizeans
The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and Oceana in Belize salute t he Sarstoon Temash Institute for
Indigenous Management (SATIIM) for its ongoing efforts to have the indigenous rights of the Maya of
Southern Belize respected.
Madam Justice Michelle Arana's historic ruling on April 3'd 2014 affirmed those rights when the Supreme
Court found that while the Government of Belize has the right to issue permits to explore for oil and
even drill, they must consult with the members of the affected indigenous communities to determine
what activities can happen on their lands as well as the forms of compensation to follow.
The lesson all Belizeans should take away from this issue is that we all have the inherent right to be part
of a consultative and participatory process in the management of our resources--especially when
political policies have the potential to cause irrevocable damage.