The three officers were all reportedly appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega to fill very senior posts in the Lands Department, (LANDS FIRED PICS) The posts, we understand, are those of the Deputy Commissioner of Lands, Nestor Hernandez, the Deputy Registrar of Lands, Barony Hernandez, and National Estate Officer, Darleen Padron.
We understand that two of them, Nestor and Barony Hernandez are close relatives of the Vegas. But that’s not all, PLusNews has also learned that three cashiers at the Lands Department have been suspended. The two females and one male employee were detained by Police two weeks ago after the sum of five thousand dollars went missing from the night deposit at First Caribbean International Bank.
We understand that the security cameras at the Lands department were not working at the time the Finance Officer checked the cashiers’ accounts. The three cashiers were placed on two weeks suspension which ended today. Only two of the three cashiers showed up for work today but they were told to return home. We understand that one of the cashiers had been recently transferred from the Immigration Department.
We do not know if the entire process has been completed, and if so, where that report is at this time. We know that it has not been made public.
PLUS News has reported on several land scams facilitated by various individuals high up in the Lands Department. In his visit to the US in October of last year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told Belizean Americans in LA that the Ministry of Natural Resources was QUOTE “a hot bed of corruption”. Rise and shine Belize conducted a Land clinic with 5 volunteer attorneys in January of this year and 54 complaints were recorded.
Add to that that Jose Alpuche was named Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture with the recent resignation of Beverly Castillo as C.E.O. of Natural Resources to run for political office, but he tendered his resignation weeks later. The 3 months notice he gave Government ends any day now. All these suspensions, resignations and terminations must leave this important Ministry in quite a stir.