KATE Middleton and Prince William have cancelled the first big engagement of their Platinum Jubilee Tour in a row over indigenous rights.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were due to kick off their Caribbean tour with a trip to a cocoa farm in Belize on Sunday.
But residents in the small village of Indian Creek staged a protest against the trip, describing it as “colonialism” and a “slap in the face”, Daily Mail reports.
Villagers were said to be particularly outraged the Cambridges were allowed to land their helicopter on the village football field without permission.
And Palace aids reportedly confirmed on Friday the stop-off would be scrapped.
The royals had planned to visit the Akte’iL Ha cacao farm in the foothills of the Maya mountains.
But Indian Creek has been involved in an ongoing row with Flora and Fauna International, a charity which owns a contested property next door.
William has been FFI’s patron since 2020, the latest in a line of royals since George VI.
The indigenous Q’eqchi Maya people said they were not consulted about William and Kate’s visit, prompting them to hold a community meeting followed by a protest on Friday.
Village youth leader Dionisio Shol said the way the visit had been handled raised the issue of “colonialism”.
He told the Mail: “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.”
Villagers are involved in a fight against FFI, which works to protect ecosystems, over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era.
They are particularly angry about 12,000 acres of land that agents working for FFI have told them is “private property”.
Police reportedly refused to allow villagers to protest during the planned royal visit because of security concerns.
Instead, villagers staged a demonstration on Friday, carrying banners which read: “Prince William leave our land”.
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.”
Wills and Kate will still fly to Belize on Sunday where they are expected to be given an official welcome at the airport before meeting the country’s PM.
There was no comment from Kensington Palace but aides con-
firmed to the Daily Mail the couple would be making alternative arrangements.
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An FFI spokesperson said: “FFI will conserve and protect the extraordinary wildlife of Boden Creek, while supporting 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.”