KATE Middleton and Prince William have canceled the first major 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 of the small village of Indian Creek staged a protest against the trip, calling it “colonialism” and a “slap in the face”, the Daily Mail reports.
Villagers were said to have been particularly outraged that the Cambridges were allowed to land their helicopter on the village football ground without permission.
And palace aides reportedly confirmed on Friday that the stopover would be cancelled.
The royal family had planned to visit the Akte’iL Ha cocoa farm in the foothills of the Mayan Mountains.
But Indian Creek has been embroiled in an ongoing row with Flora and Fauna International, a charity that owns disputed property next door.
William has been the boss of FFI since 2020, the last in a royal line since George VI.
The Q’eqchi Maya indigenous 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.
Dionisio Shol, the village youth leader, said the way the visit was organized raised the issue of “colonialism”.
He told the Mail: “For us, it really affects us because of the treatment.
“The organizer said we should let them use the football pitch and people come to our village and it should look good.
“But they didn’t want to divulge who. Eventually someone said it was Prince William who was coming to our village. That’s where the first problem arose.
“They are high level people, we respect them, but they also have to respect the community leaders. Giving orders to the community leaders did not suit the community.”
The villagers are involved in a fight against FFI, which works to protect ecosystems, for rights to land lost during colonial times.
They are particularly angry at 12,000 acres of land that agents working for FFI told them was “private property”.
Police reportedly refused to allow villagers to demonstrate during the planned royal visit for security reasons.
Instead, villagers staged a protest on Friday, carrying banners that read: “Prince William leaves our land.”
Indian Creek Village Chairman Sebastian Shol said: “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.”
Wills and Kate will still fly to Belize on Sunday where they are expected to be officially greeted at the airport before meeting the country’s Prime Minister.
There was no comment from Kensington Palace, but aides con-
confirmed to the Daily Mail that the couple would be making alternative arrangements.
A spokesperson for FFI said: “FFI will conserve and protect the extraordinary wildlife of Boden Creek, while supporting the livelihoods and traditional rights of local people.
“The protection of nature must go hand in hand with the right of people to secure their livelihoods and preserve their traditional and human rights.”