Cotton Tree Village Council to Sue Government Over Land Distribution

Cotton Tree villagersYou will recall that Plus News broke the story of the discontent in the village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District when  villagers learned that a large parcel of land surveyed in the Cotton Tree village for distribution would be given exclusively to residents from Belize City and not for the villagers of Cotton Tree.

When we spoke to the village chairman he told us that the one hundred and eleven acre distribution bypassed the Cotton tree village council and the lots committee.

Julius Espat Coton Tree Village chairmanHe voiced his concern that there are hundreds of villagers who are in need of land. In a subsequent meeting held on March 30th, 2014, at the community center, the village voted to sue the Government of Belize over the said issue.

At that meeting area representative Julius Espat, he told Plus News that they had obtained over four hundred signatures, creating a petition for Government to act.

Today, the village of Cotton Tree secured the services of Andrew Marshaleck, of the lawfirm of Barrow and Co. Limited to fight their case before the courts.

The suit, names the Minister of Natural Resources and the Attorney General of Belize, versus the Village Council of Cotton tree.

It states that the 265 lots and 4 open spaces were issued without consultation of the duly elected Village council in compliance with the village council act, the land utilization act and the environmental protection act.

It appears that the case may take a swing at the concept of Caretakers introduced by the United Democratic party in constituencies such as cayo south where they lost the subdivision on  2012. It states that this action is “a colourable exercise of statutory power fro improper purpose, namely, promoting  the prospects of the election of UDP candidates in upcoming elections, and is illegal and void,”

If it reaches the courts, this one may well set new precedence as it relates to village council powers vs that of central government as it relates to land, as well as the powers of Caretakers.

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