William and Kate cancel trip to Belize farm despite opposition from villagers

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have canceled a major visit scheduled for the start of their Caribbean tour amid reports that local residents do not want them in their Belize village.

William and Kate were due to visit a cocoa farm on the first full day of their tour on Sunday, but the royal engagement was dropped from the schedule by their office on Friday.

Reports said a protest was staged on Friday against the royal visit to the Akte ‘il Ha cocoa farm in the village of Indian Creek at the foot of the Maya Mountains.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, pictured arriving at an event in Pakistan by helicopter, were due to fly using the same mode of transport to the village of Belize (Samir Hussein/PA) / PA Archives

The question threatens to overshadow the start of the couple’s eight-day tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and raises questions about the planning of the trip.

A number of issues were reported by local Belize news outlet Channel 7, including an alleged dispute between residents of Indian Creek village in Belize’s Toledo district and Flora and Fauna International, the charity for conservation which William supports as a patron.

The Cambridges’ helicopter landing site is said to have caused further problems with claims residents were not consulted on the location which is at the local football pitch.

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 a visit to a cocoa farm in the Toledo district.

During the first day of their Caribbean tour, William and Kate will meet Belize’s Prime Minister, Johnny Briceno, pictured at Cop26 (Phil Noble/PA) / PA wire

“The problem is – it’s in the village of Indian Creek – which has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International who have disputed adjacent property. More than that, Prince William is a patron of this conservation organization.

“And it seems to the villagers that preparations are underway for the Prince’s helicopter to fly to the village football ground. And tonight, they say they weren’t consulted and they don’t want the Prince in their village!

Indian Creek Village Chairman Sebastian Shol told the Daily Mail: “We don’t want them landing on our land, that’s the message we want to send. They could land anywhere but not on our land.

Kensington Palace has been contacted for comment.

Channel 7 said the context of the situation centered on tensions between citizens and the state over the “sense of consent in the context of communal land rights – rights to land that was taken away during the colonial period by the British”.

William and Kate will arrive in Belize on the Voyager departmental jet (Sgt ‘Matty’ Matthews/RAF/MoD/Crown/PA) / PA Media

Traveling, the ministerial jet will fly the Cambridges throughout their tour and their entourage will number 15, with Kate likely to be joined by hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker and other staff, as well as private secretaries and their press office team.

The Duke and Duchess are due to arrive in Belize in the afternoon local time and will be met at the airport by the country’s Governor General, Froyla Tzalam, then travel to central Belize City for an official meeting with the Prime Minister Johnny Briceno.

Highlights of the tour will see the couple renew their friendly sporting rivalry when they set sail for a sailing regatta in the Bahamas in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

In Jamaica, the Cambridges are to celebrate the island’s musical and sporting heritage amid speculation that Usain Bolt could be involved.

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