The Cotton Tree Village Council has a grievance with the Barrow administration dating back to last year when the latter decided to set aside 240 lots in a section of the village to be shared up between eight UDP-controlled Belize City constituencies. According to the Council, as the duly elected representatives of the village in eastern Cayo District they were not consulted about the decision, and so they brought a lawsuit against the Ministry of Natural Resources. Following months of case management, a one-day trial was held in the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Thursday. We spoke to attorney for the Council, Andrew Marshalleck, who dismissed the chief argument raised by the Ministry as to the boundary of Cotton Tree village.
Andrew Marshaleck – Attorney for Cotton Tree Village Council
“There are three witness statements put foraward and they are quite extensive… I don’t know if I can tell you everythingthats in them. In essence, the Government disputes that the land on the right side of the highway forms a part of Cotton Tree Village. the suggestion is that the village ends on the left side of the highway so the legal requirements for dealing the land within the village were satisfied.
“Sir, what is the response of your clients to this particular issue that they raised?”
“Can you expand on that. Why does your clients feel like it is an argument that holds no weight?”
“Because they lived there for many years…. for decades and they have always known residents to also occupy that side. “
“I don’t want to challenge it, it’s the truth. We are assaulting him because we want to change this government. We believe that they are standing for the wrong things. What we are doing here in court is again one of those assaults, if you want to call it that, to prove that he is wrong. We are using the legal recourse in this instance.”
The Chief Justice has reserved his decision in the case.