Mayor of Dangriga tells Rise & Shine of Land Dispute

vlcsnap-2013-05-09-20h02m07s90There is an issue of land controversy in Dangriga Town. This particular case started back in 2000, when a Dangriga resident purchased a small parcel of land, located near the main bridge in downtown Dangriga, which the town council says was set aside for public use. The purchaser of the land wanted to build a restaurant at the site but that project was quickly shut down by then Mayor Cassian Nunez, due to outrage from the public. Then in 2008, the Ministry of Natural Resources, gave the Dangriga resident possession of the land for a payment of a little over five thousand dollars. This brought more controversy and now in 2013 the matter has still not been resolved. This morning, the present Mayor of Dangriga Gilbert Swaso, visited Rise and Shine to discuss the matter, one that he calls an assault of public lands by the Ministry of Natural Resources. He told us that the Town Council has expressed its disapproval to the Ministry, but the only consolation they have gotten so far is that the parking lot will remain in the Council’s possession. He also gave us a break down of the public use of the area.

Gilbert Swaso – Mayor of Dangriga:
vlcsnap-2013-05-09-20h02m37s134That entire parcel of land includes an area which should be a parking lot for the Market, and then that area was also used as Nelberta Park.  That area was also used as Jones Wharf.  And that area continues to be used on a yearly basis for the re-enactment of the Garifuna Settlement every 19th morning.  So essentially, those things have been brought to the attention of the general public.  We are saying that, what has happened now is that we have been granted that the car park will remain.  In the letter that was sent by the Ministry, by the CEO Mrs Beverly Castillo, Mr Anthony Adderley was somehow directed and given permission to survey 991, which is then to exclude the parking lot.

Mayor Swaso further stated that the sale of the  991 parcel will limit the public’s use of the area and will also compel vendors as well as the Council to pay for use of the area.

Gilbert Swaso – Mayor of Dangriga:
vlcsnap-2013-05-09-20h08m48s32Mr Adderley [in] the first instance has established some development. [Indicates area on the map] The claim is for 991, so which is indicating then it will be the entire portion.  So how can you try to get the entire portion when this was the only subject of your development.  Now what remains? You’ll notice that this area here now, that parcel of land,  includes in this area what used to be the Jones Wharf.  Also, where Jones Wharf is as well, is also where on a yearly basis where the Re-enactment of the Garifuna Settlement Day lands.  On a yearly basis. So by giving this entire property to this gentleman, who’s only development was only part of the property, is obviously saying to Dangriga, well to the Garifuna culture, then you won’t be able to use that property because it’s for a private villager, then you need to get special rights, or even have to pay this individual for that.

We tried contacting CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources Beverly Castillo this evening to confirm what the Ministry plans to do with this area, but we were notified that she was in a meeting.

About the Author