Last week, Plunews brought to you the story of Santa Cruz village in the Stann Creek district and the villagers’ concern over the surveying of prime land in the village. Santa Cruz village is located right at the roundabout on the southern highway at the junction with the Placencia road. Several large businesses are going up in the area and land prices are beginning to soar.
On, August 10th, surveyors appeared in the Village and, without the knowledge or the support of the village council, began surveying two huge parcels of land in the middle of the community; land community leaders say that is desperately needed for the community’s own development. The lands, according to the cadastral are areas that have been reserved for green spaces and community buildings but the survey is being done to convert the community land into private properties. Here is what the Vice Chairwoman Hilama Robles, told us.
[Translated] “What we are doing is protecting those areas that they are surveying, so that they do not sell them. Those areas have been reserved to the community for parks and health centers or for a school. It’s for anything that is necessary for the entire village. So we are trying to ensure that it does not happen.”
Louis Wade – PlusTV
“Did the Village Council give permission for the survey of the public lands?”
“No, at no time, not the Council nor the people who live in this village. We are against all of this, because it is an injustice that they want to sell everything.”
The Village Council claims they were not consulted in any way regarding the permission to survey; a decision that requires a permit exclusively from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Surveyors and Mr Allan Pandy, who claimed to be an assistant of Caretaker Melvin Hulse, ended up in a confrontation with the Village council and residents on one side and the surveyors and the UDP Caretaker’s assistant on the other but the surveying continued.
On Wednesday, caretaker for Stann Creek West, Melvin Hulse, visited our studios to explain about the surveying of the lands in question. He did not wish to appear on camera, but told us that of the three greens in the community, two of them will remain intact; the football field and the reserve designated for the future school and health center. According to Mr Hulse, Government intends to complete the survey on the reserve, subdividing it into 5 parcels. One parcel will be reserved for a fire station, one will be for a library or other public purpose and the other three parcels will be declared commercial and sold to selected buyers.