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

The royals are starting a tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

19 March 2022

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have cancelled a major visit planned for the start of their Caribbean tour amid reports local residents did not want them in their Belize village.

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

According to reports, a protest was staged on Friday opposing the royal visit to Akte ‘il Ha cacao farm in Indian Creek village in the foothills of the Maya Mountains.

Royal visit to Pakistan – Day Three
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, pictured arriving at an event in Pakistan by helicopter, were due to have flown using the same mode of transport to the Belize village (Samir Hussein/PA)

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

A number of issues have been reported by local Belize media outlet Channel 7, including a claimed dispute between residents of Indian Creek village in Belize’s Toledo District and Flora and Fauna International, the conservation charity William supports as patron.

The landing site for the Cambridges’ helicopter reportedly caused further problems with claims residents were not consulted about the location which is on 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 cacao farm in the Toledo District.

Cop26 – Glasgow
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)

“The problem is – it’s in Indian Creek village – which has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International which owns an adjoining, contested property. More than that Prince William is a patron of that conservation organisation.

“And it appears to villagers preparations are being made for the Prince’s helicopter to and on the village football field. And tonight they are saying they weren’t consulted and they don’t want the Prince in their village!”

Kensington Palace have been contacted for a comment.

Channel 7 said the background to the situation centred on tensions between citizens and the state about the “meaning of consent in the context of communal land rights – rights to lands that were expunged in the colonial period by the British”.

RAF Voyager paint makeover
William and Kate will arrive in Belize in the Voyager ministerial jet (Sgt ‘Matty’ Matthews/RAF/MoD/Crown/PA)

Voyager, the ministerial jet will fly the Cambridges throughout their tour and their entourage will number 15, with Kate likely to be joined by hair dresser Amanda Cook Tucker and other personal staff, along with private secretaries and their press office team.

The duke and duchess are due to arrive in Belize during the afternoon, local time,  and will be welcomed at the airport by the country’s Governor General Froyla Tzalam and later travel to the centre of Belize City for an official meeting with Prime Minister Johnny Briceno.

Highlights of the tour will see the couple renew their friendly sporting rivalry when they take to the waters for a sailing regatta in the Bahamas in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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

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