The Villagers of St. Matthew’s Village are complaining about a land issue they say has been brewing since 2011 and is causing much frustration in the village. They say that 15 parcels of 5 acre plots were issued by the Village Council in collaboration with the then area representative Ramon Witz.
Villagers say permit to survey was also obtained and a Dean Williams was assigned to them as surveyor. Each applicant paid for the survey but since February 2011, different village chairmen and lots committees have been unsuccessful to make progress even to the point of a lease.
Leaders claim that the surveyor produced a wrong survey plan which was not accepted at mapping section. After receiving additional money from villagers he re-surveyed but little progress has been made since.
The village leaders say that they have visited the Lands Commissioner on numerous occasions, and have made attempts to see Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Gaspar Vega to no avail.
In 2013 Ismael “Miley Garcia” was appointed as UDP caretaker for Cayo South, but leaders soon found out that no approval permit for survey/application for survey GOB lands was on file at the Department.
After passing this hurdle, at the beginning of 2014 they learned that land officials at the Estate section had problems locating the file. Then came the story that the file was incomplete and they needed a declaration affidavit form and a land development plan for the next 5 years.
The Villagers say after waiting for about a month to reach Minister Vega’s office, he refused to sign it because according to the estate officials the application for survey was made in the name of “St Mathews Farmers United”.
The villagers changed the name to “St Mathews Village Land/Lot Committee” and in March re-submitted the application. All through this process, the lands were surveyed and people have occupied the lands with farming.
Two months ago the village leaders in desperation sent a letter appealing and requesting the assistance from the PM, Minister Vega and Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, but to date no response has been received from any of them.