Double ownership of lands seems to happen more often than it should. Whatever procedures have lead to more than one person showing documents for land, has apparently still not been adequtely addressed at the Lands Department. We have another complaint today from a certain Lenox Garbutt who told us that on November 30th 2011, he acquired a lease for a piece of land- parcel number 73, situated on Consejo Road, South East, Registration Section, Corozal District.
Mr. Garbutt claims that from 2011- when he got his land lease- up to 2013, he has been paying $60 of taxes per annum as required. He showed us what appeared to be stamped papers and receipts made by the Department of Lands and Surveys to support his statement. However, according to Mr. Garbutt, when he visited the Lands Department on Thursday November 14th 2013, he found out that one Ada Luz Romero had a lease to the same piece of land- parcel number 1- 6- 73. Garbutt explains to us how he believes the Minister of Health and Area Rep. for Corozal Bay, Hon. Pablo Marin is involved in this latest land drama.
“I visited the Lands Department last week Thursday and only found out that someone else has a lease on this piece of land. I did an investigation and found out that it was the sister of Hon. Pablo Marin, the area representative for Corozal Bay. When I found out that the minister’s sister had that piece of land, I went back to the commissioner and told him, Mr. Vallejos, I heard that the lady has a lease for this piece of land. He said, “no, no, that could never happen.” So, I hauled out my paper, and I showed it to him…and he said, that must be an error”. The same parcel number 73, that’s what the lady has”.
Mr. Lennox Garbutt: “I also have her files…a copy of the files from Lands Department which it has here recommended by Hon. Pablo Marin. I just want the public to see what is happening in the Lands Department. He is the Minister of Bay and I have this land in north. A minister of Bay cannot recommend a land cancel in the north because that is not his division. when I went there to…and told him, “good day minister, I need to speak to you. He said, “yes?” I told him, why did you cancelled my piece of land? He told me that he never did that; recommended. So, I hauled it out the files and I showed it to him and he turned out his back and he said he already done that and walked away”.
But exactly under what grounds was Mr. Garbutt’s land lease cancelled? Well according to the many signed and stamped documents that Mr. Garbutt presented to us, his land lease was cancelled due to “Non-Development”..
Mr. Lennox Garbutt: “The land was in high bush. I get a couple of workers and I paid a bulldozer to bull a road to have access to this land. I have a paper here from the Lands Department which states that the reason for cancellation of the land is non development, but pushing a road to the property is development. The lease stated here that I have 7 years to develop the piece of land, and within one year, they cancelled it”.
As was stated before, Mr. Garbutt paid his $60 of annual tax including for the year of 2013, a year after his lease was allegedly cancelled. This is because, according to Garbutt, the cancellation of his land lease, which was allegedly issued on August 22nd 2012, was never given to him.
Mr. Lennox Garbutt: “They did not even get a cancellation letter…nothing to assert to say that the land is no longer mines; I have to come to Belmopan on my own to find out that they gave someone else my piece of land”.
Garbutt claims that he has applied for his purchase price since January 2012, but it was never issued to him. On the other hand, Ada Luz Romero, whom he believes to be Hon. Pablo Marin’s sister, has gotten the purchase price.
Mr. Lennox Garbutt: “The 1st January 2012, I applied for my purchase price which I have gotten, but was never issued to me. So, from then till now, I’m up and down in Belmopan in every other week to do my purchase the land. This land was issued to me on November 30th, 2011 and the cancellation letter for non development was issued in August 22nd, 2012. Come on, that’s 9 months. that’s not even a year and the land is cancelled! The lady applied for this piece of land on the 8th August on 2013 and get the land on t he 4th of September 2013- one month!
Garbutt says that he will be seeking legal advice on how to proceed. Meanwhile, we have been unable to get an interview with the Commissioner of Lands or the CEO regarding any of the land stories we have reported on so far, despite our numerous requests.