Last week Friday we told you about the squatting and land clearing that is taking place behind the East Piccini Extention Area Belmopan near a designated green buffer that runs along a creek called the mount pleasant buffer. Before this area became known as the East Piccini Extention Area it was known as the Habet subdivision. When Belmopan was being expanded, the proposal for the Habet subdivision ran into some issues with the Land Utilization Authority. Yesterday we spoke with the first Mayor of Belmopan, Anthony Chanona who know lives a quiet retirement life as a farmer; he gave us a lesson on the history of that subdivision.
“When I became familiar with the Mount Pleasant buffer was when we took office in 2000, prior to our administration at City Hall. Those responsibilities were clearly designated to Recondev; and I want to believe still is. But how I became intimately familiar with the allocation of a park for the Habet Project was because since ultimately the city council will become the custodian of the subdivision, meaning the cleaning of the street, the collection of refuge and garbage and all the other amenities that residential areas expect for their taxes, we looked at two subdivisions in 2000, the Cohune Walk subdivision and the Habet project subdivision. What we discovered then was contrary to the LUA, which is the Land Utilization Authority Act, which requires under statute law, that a certain percentage of any subdivision, I think is 7%. Not less than 7 % of any subdivision must have designated green and open spaces. When we came to the Habet Project, there was also none. We were then told by the then Area Rep, then Agrapino Cawich, God rest the Dead, that there was none in the Habet Subdivision but there was an allocation of about 15 or 20 acres along the Mount Pleasant buffer,. Now the buffer would be 66ft on other side of the Mount Pleasant Creek.
But, as previously reported, there has been a clearing of that buffer on both sides of the creek. Chanona said it would be sad to see that there has been an erosion of those departments which are guardians of these assets.
“That is the job of Recondev and that is the responsibility of the Land Utilization Authority. My contributions to this discourse is; those who are guardians of these assents need to do their jobs and if they are failing in that responsibility, then how can we help with the proper administration of these lands. It’s not about us, it’s about our city.
Chanona says in 2004 he was chastised for a statement he made concerning illegal squatters in Belmopan.
“I think my intent on stopping squatting was side tracked by a statement I made when I referred to the Maya people who were specifically at the time in the Maya Mopan area and not properly addressing their title as indigenous Maya. So when I ask for the Police and enforcement authorities to help curb this squatting, this entire exercise got side tracked into politics of about news calls and news items about a people that were being discriminated against as oppose to an illgal act that was taking place.
We have made several calls to Recondev but have not gotten through to the Chairman Rodney Neal. We were told last week however that Recondev is familiar with the situation .