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Nov 3, 2014

Parties Still Awaiting Mediation Session

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

BGYEA has halted activity in the area as an act of good faith, but the two parties are yet to sit around the mediating table. According to Matura-Shepherd the grassroots organization had paid for surveys when the Lands Department put a halt to the initiative.

 

Reporter

“What is BGYEA’s position to what they Lands Commissioner had said? Mr. Vellos had mentioned to us that the people who are still living in that area are not being forced out of the land but BGYEA cannot do any kind of works on the land.”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Well you see they are still trespassers there and the Lands Department has failed to have them removed. If we look at what all has happened when BGYEA had identified that land and they paid for the survey of that entire land the intention was always that they will be the ones managing those lands for the good of grassroots people. That’s the basis that is where it all started. The fact that then the government saw what empowerment it will mean for people and sometime were willing and sometime it was difficulty and they kept negotiating back and forth, clearly showed that sometimes the government saw the wisdom in it but other times I think like many governments they fear empowering people because land is power. The issue is so important because it is grassroots people recognizing the importance of land. Why do you think all the immigrants whether legal or illegal track down a piece of land and claim it? These are grassroots Belizeans who are saying we want the same rights but we want it the legal way. They have invested their money they have gone through the right process, they have done everything up to today some of those people have not gotten their lease. So there is the lack of good faith so now that the matter is before the court a lot of issues can be solved and mediation can bring those to the table.”

 

Reporter

“And Mr. Sam he has financially invested in BGYEA’s initiative because I know he was involved in the clearing of the land and if so will he get his monies back?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Well clearly he has lost you know but his approach is that he doesn’t even want to be part of any contention, I was looking at helping out a group, I have done may part, I don’t even want to get involved in any wrangling because that’s not his position he is a business person and many business people don’t want to get tied up in that kind of thing you know. I find it rather interesting but as one senior person in the bar put it, it’s that government thinking they need to bring out bigger guns but I think with all due respect to Mr. Hawk he is a very competent attorney. It doesn’t matter who comes before he court, the law remains the same that is constant. Only the personalities change.”

 

The parties have been up until November twenty-eighth to conclude mediation and failing that they will to court.  

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