We’ve all heard the saying, “Land is wealth,” – and, while that may be true, acquiring a piece of land is not always easy, just ask the folks at BYGEA. Since acquiring over a thousand acre parcel of land in 2010, to distribute to first time land owners in Harmonyville, the group has met some road blocks in their initiative. The issue at hand this time they say, is the delaying of the processing of land documents to over a thousand plots by the Ministry of Natural Resources. BGYEA also claims that the Ministry has also misplaced over two hundred land documents that were already processed. But the C.E.O of the Ministry of Natural Resources Beverly Castillo, says that’s a lie. When she spoke to Channel 5 this week, she denied any land documents being unaccounted for. In fact, she says, that the leases have already been issued and that the only delay is the issuance of the purchase price, which will be delivered after the lease is paid for. We spoke with BGYEA’s President today, who says he visited the ministry this morning and those documents are still not ready.
Nigel Petillo – President BGYEA:
For months now, BGYEA has been on the media. BGYEA has been calling on the different talk shows. We have been back and forth at Lands Department, trying to get our documents completed. So everybody know that, yes we are frustrated. So they know that we have been behind them for quite some time now. This week we announced at a Press Conference that we’re still waiting for some of our documents, and we’re launching a demonstration. Hence the response from the CEO on Channel 5 stating that we are liers. First of all, she said we’re lying about the face that they have all our papers ready, completed, which is a lie. She also said we are lying when it comes to our peoples wanting to make their payments at Lands Department, that’s a lie again. Most of our members haven’t been able to make their land payments towards their title. Yes, about 5 people have been able to get their land titles, but fi tell you the truth, I’m shame fi have to mention [that] they had to make some back-door deals di get their Land Documents.
Apart from that, I just left the Lands Department to get the so-called amount of documents that the CEO said is ready; none of those documents are ready. Yes we received some documents last week Friday, when the Lands Department called us, after they heard we are planning a demonstration, they gave about a hundred forty documents. Apart from that, she mentioned that there are some more ready now, all Mr. Petillo needs to do is to walk into the office and receive those documents – that’s a lie.
With a national demonstration planned for later this month, we asked them what would happen should the ministry give them a call today saying the documents are ready. Well, Petillo expressed that because of the run-around the ministry has given them, they would still protest. Nonetheless, they aren’t confident that they will get that call anytime soon.
David Barnett – Vice President BGYEA
Well, I find that to be impossible, how they can make this call, because they missing over 200 a;ready, before this even happen. The next thing, I have to mention why some of our people now they go in no pay, is the ridiculous prices is what they may di give to some of they own people. So now, we di deal with the poorest of people, and the people they di come back to we and say, man I may think uno try for uno best fi get the best prices we. But now look what happened, an da like one slap ina fi we face. So we di look for the fairness of this thing. I don’t see how in the world they can do this within days, and we’ve been waiting on this for months. And what really hurt we di most id for them to call us liers, and tell we we lie. Now, who di tell lie now? So we have to come out and tell the truth, because the truth will set we free.
As we said, the association will be holding a countrywide demonstration at the Garden Square in Belmopan on Tuesday, February 26th. Petillo says this is not a Harmonyville fight, but a national one, and invites all Belizeans to join them in protest.
Nigel Petillo – President BGYEA:
So I’m reminding you, the Belizeans out there, especially the grassroots Belizeans, come out. Come out and demonstrate, and make your voices be heard. You are not alone, and don’t leave us out here alone either. It is us as a people, we must unite, so that the Government get the understanding that we smart enough to know when right is been right, or when wrong is being done to us, and in this case wrong is being done to us. All over the world we hear commercials by National Geographic TV, land for sale in Belize cheep. What about us, your people? They di sell out Belize land, when we di right here and can’t get land in this country