An indigenous group of Belizean Indians halted a tour of their Mayan farm which Britain’s Prince William aka the Duke of Cambridge and his duchess Kate Middleton intended to visit in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th jubilee anniversary reign on the throne.
Plans for the future monarchs and their 15-member entourage were derailed when villagers denied landing rights on their Maya Mountain farm.
“We don’t want them on our land, that’s the message that we want to send. They could land anywhere but not on our land,” Dionisio Skol, a youth leader said on the eve of the couple’s arrival.
It’s “very colonial in nature,” the spokesperson added.
William, the grandson of the ruling monarch deplaned in Belmopan to greetings befitting a king, however, not everyone in the Central American capital agreed with the red-carpet rollout.
According to reports, the Mayan rebuke resulted because the Belizean government did not consult with villagers before scheduling an itinerary which included a helicopter stop on the farm.
As a preemptive protest, Friday, Skol and like-minded supporters waved banners saying: “Prince William leave our land,” “Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI” and other unwelcoming signs of the visit.
Apparently disputes have been smoldering between the villagers and the Flora and Fauna International — a charity which strives to protect ecosystems across the world.
It is believed the decision to land a chopper on Akte’il Ha cacao, a sustainable farm in the village of Boden Creek was decided without consultation.
“We the villagers consider that we have suffered the legacy of colonialism and we are directly still being impacted by that,” the Mayan Mountain villager said.
Following the demonstrations, Kensington Palace issued a statement saying: “We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit was “moved to a different location.”
The Belizean government also issued a statement that the visit to the farm was scheduled to “showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry.”
In 2020 Prince William assumed patronage of the conservation when his grandmother, the queen relinquished her position after 70 years. Prior to that his great grandfather George VI served as a patron
Formerly known as British Honduras, the only English speaking nation in Central America is also home to the Garifuna nation, a community of nationals whose heritage can be traced from Africa to St. Vincent and later to intermarriages with indigenous Arawak Indians.
On the second day of the royal visit, representatives of the Garifuna nation welcomed the visitors with food and music. A picture-perfect government release featured William and Kate socializing with their hosts.
Belize was the first stop of a three-nation tour to Commonwealth nations heralding the long reign of the monarch.
Tuesday the couple will head to Jamaica where increased calls to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state heightened when Barbados ceremonially became a republic in November.
The sovereign queen has visited Jamaica six times, — 1953, 1966, 1975, 1983, 1994 and 2002.
On the last royal visit there, Prince William’s younger brother Prince Harry received a warm reception.
The bachelor prince was seen wearing the country’s national colors racing against Olympian Usain Bolt. In a mock race, the athlete yielded to the prince allowing him to bolt past the gold medalist to the finish.
Numerous photo opportunities revealed Prince Harry’s parody of the athlete’s signature pose. To the delight of a global audience, social media and perhaps Buckingham Palace, shutterbugs also captured the uninhibited member of the royal family dancing to dancehall music and meeting with Rita Marley, the acclaimed queen of reggae.
In 2012 it was safe to say ‘Jamaican were wild about Harry.’
While in Jamaica, the prince who could be king will visit the prime minister, the governor general, educational facilities, the Spanish Town community and Bob Marley holdings before heading to the Bahamas on March 24 where a kinder and gentler reception will spotlight his sporting prowess during a regatta.
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