The first hearing of a claim by the Village Council of Cotton Tree against the Ministry of Natural Resources took place before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this morning in the Supreme Court.
The village complains that its consent was not obtained before a parcel was blocked out for potential landowners from outside the village, most notably the Port Loyola area of Belize City.
But the case hasn’t yet gotten off the ground because the Government has yet to file its defense.
The claim challenges both the creation of the subdivision and the manner of distribution of lots in the subdivision. As already noted there was allegedly no consultation with the village council, but Marshalleck claims that the Government violated its own law on the creation of subdivisions.
“The fundamental position is that the acquisition of the land utilization and environmental position applies equally to government as it does to private citizens. Historically, is that the government behaves on applying and they didn’t take any steps whatsoever”.
The claim, if successful, would ensure that village councils get a greater level of involvement in decision making in issues of this sort.
Marshalleck stated that suggestions like those of Minister Anthony Martinez that this claim is motivated by racial discrimination are attempts to throw off the scent of the Government’s own poor practices in land distribution.
The Ministry still has four days, up to June 20, to file its response.