Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

FFI focused after Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Belize land dispute





The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of Central America and the Caribbean was marred by an event cancelled due to protests by villagers in Belize.

Jamaica tour; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Jane Barlow/PA) (55654571)
Jamaica tour; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Jane Barlow/PA) (55654571)

The visit, which began on Saturday, was due to include a Sunday outing to Indian Creek, an indigenous Maya village in southern Belize. However, villagers said they were upset that the royal couple’s helicopter had been granted permission to land on a local soccer field without prior consultation.

The village is in a land dispute with Cambridge-based conservation charity Fauna & Flora International (FFI) – of which Prince William is a patron – over colonial-era territorial settlements still contested by indigenous groups.

A visit to a different site was planned instead, Belize’s government said. In a statement, Kensington Palace confirmed the schedule was changed because of “sensitive issues” involving the Indian Creek community.

An FFI spokesperson said: “FFI has been working in southern Belize for 25 years in close collaboration with local conservationists, with whom we created the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, an invaluable wildlife corridor connecting the highland forests of the Maya Mountains with the Caribbean Sea. This area is a stronghold for Central America’s spectacular biodiversity. FFI continues its commitment to Belize’s conservation goals and has just expanded its project to encompass the Boden Creek Ecological Preserve; this land further strengthens Belize’s Southern Biological Corridor.

“The land had attracted considerable commercial interest from third parties, specifically for conversion to agriculture, namely for banana planting. The ecological integrity of Boden Creek, and with it the Golden Stream Corridor was under threat were the land to be bought up for agriculture, so there was an urgent case to secure its future. FFI have secured the land for the benefits of conservation, local communities and as a national asset for Belize as a whole.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Belize. Picture: PA
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Belize. Picture: PA

“While conserving and protecting the extraordinary wildlife of Boden Creek, FFI will support the livelihoods and traditional rights of local people. Nature protection has to go hand-in-hand with people’s right to secure their livelihoods and to preserve their traditional and human rights, a principle that FFI brings to all its projects wherever they are in the world.”

“As part of the new project at Boden Creek, FFI will be supporting the livelihoods, educational opportunities and the customary rights of the people that live there and will maintain an open and continuous dialogue with the local community.”

"We are establishing a dialogue with key stakeholders about the future ownership and management of land, and want to work with – and in support of – the indigenous community, respecting traditional Mayan rights.

“The Duke of Cambridge became patron of Fauna & Flora International in October 2020 and has been an outstanding advocate for conservation, and for the local communities that are at the heart of restoring and protecting nature worldwide.”

The Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a meeting at his office in Kingston (Jane Barlow/PA) (55654573)
The Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a meeting at his office in Kingston (Jane Barlow/PA) (55654573)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s subsequent visit to Jamaica has given the nation the opportunity address “unresolved” issues, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the couple.

As he welcomed the couple before sitting down for talks, Mr Holness said: “There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved but your presence gives an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed in as best (a way) as we can.

William and Kate received an official welcome from the Caribbean nation’s premier and he described how Jamaica intended to fufill its destiny “as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More