BGYEA is facing a new hurdle. The latest update on this story was that the Government had finally taken heed to BGYEA’s constant plea for help in removing illegal squatting from the Buffer Zone, which BGYEA hoped to use as farming to generate some revenue for the community.
However, the situation took an unexpected turn for BGYEA as the government sent out a cease and desist order to them saying that
“…it is unlawful to clear and occupy any land designated as a Buffer Zone Area (Reserve)…On April 29th 2014, the Lands and Survey Department, issued an Eviction Notice and a cease and Desist Order to Individuals of the Harmonyville Development Area regarding the unlawful clearing and occupation of the land designated as the Buffer Zone Area (Reserve)…”
The cease and desist notice continued to say that
“Any activity within the Buffer Zone (Reserve) should only occur with permission from the Lands and survey Department within the Ministry of Resources and Agriculture”, Which according to the Ministry BGYEA did not have. President of BGYEA Nigel Petillo says he cannot understand why he is being frustrated by the Government.
“I didn’t expect deh ya certain hurdles and den ya wrench eena dih way because then, it is something good that we are doing, but if it means that you want I step dong, if you rather have me write off my name from Harmonyville, so that you, Mr. Government or you guys who believe who could do a better job, going to do a better job, I am willing to step aside…if it means that Harmonyville will be developed; if it means that you are going to put in roads for Harmonyville, light, watta, drainage, the whole nine yeaaz; if it means that you ahn stap find stupid excuses like this to halt our progress, I am willing to step aside, Mr. Government; if you wah do dih job dat you have been elected to do( Beca’ we are the votaaz!) da we ask you fuh reprizent us well”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Alright, sir, but all things being equal, the Buffer Zone is the property of the Government. That is why when you, in your initial stages, had to push back your planning, so that the Buffer Zone remains; it is the property of the government by law. You had already had plans to invest in this zone, but had you gotten the proper permissions or the proper documentations to proceed with these plans?”
Nigel Petillo: “Alright, well, dat da weh we deh right now. Yestudeh, me and david met with Commissioner of Lands, Mr. Vallejos. He informed us that we… are the managers of that buffer. The commishonah tel we dat da fuh we responsibility fih kip it cleen. The commishonah tel we yes, they are the owner; the government is the owner, but we are the managers. How do you expect us to keep that Buffer Zone clean? We have a way fuh kee it clean and have it beautified now! We find wa simple investment weh wa help Harmonyville, help country by extension. So, yes..I neva believe I haf fuh go ask you fuh plant caan, when da bush di deh all dih while-while bush dih gro deh! I neva believe I haf fuh go ask you fuh put wa invesmnet such as caan, or beans or wattamelan and at the same time, create wa revenue for our community”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Sir, but did you get the proper signatures or the proper papers to proceed with this? You say Mr. Vallejos said you can go ahead, just in words, but you know here in this country, everything has to be in black-and-white”.
Nigel Petillo: “We wil laan da haad way fuh chu bicaaz of being such a young aaganaisayshan and believing that we cud tros our leaders, and shouldn’t believe that they would come with deyah type of schemes’, I mean, the verbalities, hey the man’s words, you know? Hey, the man! But e luk dat dis da dih way that dehn behave, you know? However, he informed us yesterday that we need to request in writing, permission to utilize the buffer. We are doing that right now. In fact, as I am done with this interview right now, I am in Belmopan; I am taking that letter to him and we are expecting a definite, yes early Monday”.
In the initial stages of their planning, BGYEA says they had set aside 180 acres of land which they planned to use for farming. However, that was rejected by the Government.
Nevertheless, Petillo says they are moving forward with this written request and expect a definitive yes from the Government
Nigel Petillo: “Like I said, my bradda and to you the government, we are going to submit that request in writing and put that in writing and we are expecting a favourable yes, mein. I mean, I no sih how ununh cud turn down sonting like this, an initiative. I think this should have been a lesson that you should laan,and realize that you cud do this round dih country and create more revenue for the country and creating and getting Belize to play its role as the bread basket of the Caribbean. That’s what you need to do and you need fuh stop putting hurdles and wrench eena cases like these. No dih fight wih down men! We nuh dih problem ya”.