Hopkins land conflict resolved by court

Last week Thursday August 7th reports coming from the village of Hopkins, Stann Creek District, were that police authorities in the area were replacing the locks of a small beach resort which housed nine people. The building was formerly owned by Luke Castillo who passed away in November of 2011. The residents complained of harassment, as Hopkins police reportedly worked towards evicting the family residents. The new proprietor of the land, specifically lots 112 and 113, Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District, is Damian Greico, but on Thursday when we spoke to the niece of Luke Castillo, who was as of Friday August 8th still living in the property along with 8 other members of the extended family, she told us that they had given them no notice and that the procedure in which Greico attained title-ship to the land is even questionable.

vlcsnap-2014-08-16-06h14m07s160Earlier this week, however, Conrad Lewis, who is in fact the father-in-Law of Damian Greico, visited our studio to give account of their side of the story affirming that due process was taken. As we told you last week, when the proprietor of the land Luke Castillo died in 2011, he left no will. But since his wife was still alive, she could apply for administration of the property without the consent of all the children. A grant of Administration dated the 21st of March and signed by Justice Michelle Arana shows that the wife Maria Castillo and the eldest son Ashley Castillo became the administrators of the land. But before they could be granted administrators of the property the claimant had to be gazetted three times over a period of three weeks to give an opportunity for other claimants of the land to object, which, according to Conrad Lewis, was never done.

After the wife died earlier this year, Ashley Castillo became the sole administrator of the property. Ashley died a few weeks ago and relatives believe that administrative rights should have automatically fallen to the second eldest sibling who is one Thomasa Castillo; however according to a court document signed by Frank Symns, Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Belize, Ashley Castillo signed a letter sent to the family saying that  “As administrator of the estate of Luke Castillo who was the previous Title holder of Lots 112 and 113 Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District, I hereby notify you that I have sold the said lots to Mr. Anthony Damian Greico who now holds title thereto by Conveyance. In the circumstances, you are informed that you must deliver possession of the said lost to Mr. Greico.” The letter was dated April 22nd 2014. Subsequently a court order dated the 30th of July ordered the defendants Thomasa Castillo, the sister of Ashley Castillo; Ivan Castillo, also known as Ivan Mejia; and Avis Nunez, the niece of Ashley Castillo, to give possession of the land to the claimant Damian Greico. On the 2nd of August that court order was served the people mentioned above but they reportedly refused to move. On the 4th of August the claimant’s attorney applied for writ of possession, which prompted the Supreme Court Marshal’s with assistance from Hopkins police to enforce the eviction of the extended family.

The Castillo’s have evacuated the property since Friday of last week. Furthermore, according to a court order made by Madam Justice Griffith dated July 30th, the defendants mentioned above must pay $4,000 and that affidavits are filed for damages by the 16th day of September. That case resumes on the 25th of September 2014.

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