Today, a house which was illegally located in the Mountain View area was taken down by members of the Belmopan City Council and the Police Authority, leaving a family of 8 persons homeless.
The hut was built on the edge of a dried creek and it was no bigger than 30 square feet. Yet, it housed a family of eight. Originally from El Salvador, Mr. Douglas Cruz, 18 years naturalized Belizean, lived there with his wife, four children and his 2 grandchildren. They moved to the hut in October of last year with no authorization.
Today, the law caught up with Douglas and his family, and his house exists no more. Douglas Cruz pleaded for help and a little leniency.
(As said in Spanish)
“Yo les pido a las autoridades, al ministro que nos ayude. Nosotros no le estamos pidiendo que nos regale un lote; que nos de una oportunidad para conseguir un lote para hacer nuestra casita. Este esta bueno para nosotros, pero les pido de favor a ellos que me ayuden y que no usen la ley como vinieron hoy como que nosotros fueramos unos animales nos han tratado; han tumbado todo. Somos ciudadanos y necesitamos el apoyo de los grandes, de los ministros, pues”.
(Interpreted to English)
“I beg to the authorities, to the Minister to help us. We are not asking him to give us away a lot; that he give us an opportunity to get a lot to make a little house. This one is good for us, but I please beg them that they aid me and that they don’t use the law as they came to us today. They have treated us as if we were animals; they have broken down everything. We are citizens and we need the support from the big ones, from the Ministers”.
Mayor Simeon Lopez explained that the council had been telling the Cruz family to move for quite some time now.
“We have been after them for some time for them to move and they just refused. So, we had to issue an ultimatum to them to move and they said they would not move. So, this is the consequence of that they don’t want to move. So, we had to get the police in because they are on the property of the Belmopan City council.
According to the Mr. Cruz, he has attempted to attain ownership of the piece of land that he built his house on but was denied countless times.
The fact is, it is against the law to build on that particular piece of land, due to the fact that it is a creek reserve.
Mayor Simeon Lopez: “The area on which Ms. Xiomara Cruz is, is on a creek reserve. In all legislation there should be a 66 foot reserve in case of flooding, and that is what it is, it is a reserve. It is a reserve owned by the council and as we said, they did not get any permission to build there; they just squat. That is the problem we have when people decide that they will just squat and don’t want to obey the law of the land”.
Nevertheless, Mr. Cruz reiterated that all he wants is an opportunity to acquire a piece of property in Belmopan even if he has to pay it in installments.
However, when we sat down today with the General Manager of RECONDEV, he explained that Recondev no more land to sell in Belmopan.