William and Kate scrap visit to Belize farm after villagers stage protest about ‘colonialism’


(DAILY MAIL) William and Kate last night cancelled the first big engagement of their Caribbean tour in an extraordinary row over indigenous rights.

The royal couple had been due to begin their visit to Belize with a trip to a sustainable cocoa farm tomorrow.

But the charm offensive got off to a rocky start yesterday when villagers in Indian Creek staged a protest, describing the visit as ‘colonialism’ and a ‘slap in the face’.

 They are said to be particularly outraged that William and Kate’s helicopter was given permission to land on their football field without consultation.

The protest was part of a long-running row over communal land rights. Last night Kensington Palace announced that the village visit was scrapped.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the UK later today to fly to Belize and will enjoy an official welcome at the airport before meeting the prime minister. Their trip – in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – will begin in earnest tomorrow and they had been due to travel to Indian Creek, home to fewer than 1,000 people.

The couple planned to visit the Akte’iL Ha cacao farm in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, a prime example of sustainable farming. But the village of Indian Creek has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International, a charity that owns adjoining, contested property. William has been FFI’s patron since 2020, the latest in a line of royals stretching back to George VI.

Villagers are involved in a highly emotional fight against the state and FFI, which works to protect ecosystems worldwide, over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era. In particular, they are angry about 12,000 acres of land that agents working for FFI have told them is ‘private property and not for communal use.

The indigenous Q’eqchi Maya people say they were not consulted about William and Kate’s visit and this week held a community meeting that was followed by yesterday’s protest.

Sebastian Shol, chairman of Indian Creek village, said: ‘We don’t want them to land on our land, that’s the message that we want to send. They could land anywhere but not on our land.’

Village youth leader Dionisio Shol said the way the visit had been handled raised the issue of ‘colonialism’.

He said: ‘For us it really hits right at home because of the treatment. The organiser said we had to let them use the football field and that people were coming to our village and it had to look good.

‘But they didn’t want to divulge who. Eventually somebody said it was Prince William coming to our village. That’s where the first issue arose. These are high-profile people, we respect them, but they also have to be giving respect to the community leaders. Giving community leaders commands did not sit well with the community.’

The police refused to allow them to protest during the planned visit tomorrow because of security concerns, so villagers staged a demonstration yesterday carrying banners reading ‘Prince William leave our land’ and ‘Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI’.

Dionisio said that although their issue was with the charity, they believed William had to take responsibility as its patron.

There was no comment from Kensington Palace but aides confirmed that the visit had now been scrapped and the couple would make alternative arrangements.

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  1. Yes, people are waking up to all this royalty nonsense. They didn’t give a damn about the region until Barbados kicked them out.

    I hope that other Caribbean countries do the same.


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