The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have canceled a major visit planned for the start of their Caribbean tour because local residents reportedly didn’t want them in their Belizean village.
William and Kate were scheduled to tour a cocoa farm on the first full day of their tour on Sunday, but the royal engagement was canceled by their office on Friday.
The royal visit to the Akte ‘il Ha cocoa farm in the village of Indian Creek in the foothills of the Maya Mountains was reportedly protested on Friday.
The issue threatens to overshadow the start of the couple’s eight-day tour to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas in honor of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, raising questions about the trip’s planning.
A number of issues were reported by local Belize media outlet Channel 7, including an alleged dispute between residents of the village of Indian Creek in Belize’s Toledo district and Flora and Fauna International, the conservation organization that William supports as a patron.
The landing pad for the Cambridges’ helicopter reportedly caused further problems with claims local residents had not been consulted about the site, which is on the local football ground.
Under the headline ‘Indian Creek Villagers Don’t Want William the Prince To Visit’, Channel 7 reported on its website: ‘Prince William and his wife Kate the Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Belize on Saturday afternoon – and a highlight of their trip is the visit a cocoa farm in the Toledo district.
“The problem is – it’s in the village of Indian Creek – which is in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International, which owns an adjacent, disputed property. In addition, Prince William is a patron of this conservation organization.
“And it appears to the villagers that preparations are being made for the Prince’s helicopter to and from the village football field. And tonight they say they weren’t asked and they don’t want the prince in their village!”
Indian Creek village leader Sebastian Shol told the Daily Mail: “We don’t want them to end up on our land, that’s the message we want to send. They could land anywhere but on our land.”
Kensington Palace has been contacted for comment.
Channel 7 said the background to the situation centered on tensions between citizens and the state over the “importance of consent in the context of communal land rights – rights to land that were wiped out by the British in colonial times”.
Voyager, the ministerial jet, will fly the Cambridges throughout their tour and their entourage will be 15, with Kate likely to be joined by hairstylist Amanda Cook Tucker and other personal staff, as well as private secretaries and her press office team.
The Duke and Duchess will arrive in Belize in the afternoon local time and will be greeted at the airport by the country’s Governor General, Froyla Tzalam, and later travel to central Belize City for an official meeting with Prime Minister Johnny Briceno.
Highlights of the tour will see the two renew their friendly sporting rivalry as they embark on a sailing regatta in the Bahamas in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
In Jamaica, the Cambridges celebrate the island’s musical and sporting heritage amid speculation that Usain Bolt might be involved.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/belize-caribbean-cambridge-voyager-bahamas-b2039445.html William and Kate cancel the trip to the farm in Belize, despite opposition from the villagers