The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have cancelled a major visit planned for the start of their Caribbean tour after local residents opposed the royal trip to their Belize village.
William and Kate were set to tour a cacao farm during the first full day of their tour on Sunday (20 March), but the visit was removed from the schedule by their office on Friday (18 March).
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, according to reports.
The couple’s eight-day tour to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas is in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but the cancelled visit to the farm has raised questions about the planning of the trip.
Local Belize media outlet Channel 7 has reported a number of issues, 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 royal couple’s helicopter also reportedly caused 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.
“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.”
The article added: “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!”
A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location – further details will be provided in due course.”
The Belize Government said in a statement: “Indian Creek was one of several sites being considered. Due to issues in the village, the Government of Belize activated its contingency planning and another venue has been selected to showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry.”