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Apr 23, 2015

Retired English Couple Allegedly Scammed in Land Hustle

A dubious land transaction involving the sale of a beachfront parcel on Caye Caulker has left a retired English couple short of tens of thousands of dollars.  Sydney and Anna Higgins fell in love with the island a few years ago and decided to own a property north of the village.  The Londoners purchased an undeveloped plot and planned on building their retirement home when they discovered that the frontage that they bought, including a portion which extends into the sea, had been sold to someone else.  Once developed, the presently non-existent property, a majority of which remains submerged in waist-high water, will block the Higgins’ access to the shoreline and has already devalued their asset significantly.  The scam, it is strongly believed, occurred within the Lands Department and isn’t unique to the elderly pair alone.  News Five understands that there are a number of property owners, including native Belizeans, whose real estate have been devalued as a result of the cheat.

 

Sydney Higgins

Sydney Higgins, Land Owner

“When we bought the land, according to the information, it says for the legal representation, a hundred and twenty feet of beachfront by a hundred and fifty feet deep in size.  Recorded survey and full legal description to prevail.  A couple of years ago we were informed that the land or another plot had been sold, which was immediately in front of our original plot and therefore it meant that we weren’t able to continue with any work there.  It’s been cleaned, all ready to go.  Because we paid, for example, a hundred and twenty thousand U.S. dollars for it which is two hundred and forty thousand Belizean dollars and we’ve been told that because another plot was being allocated, probably our land is now worth twenty thousand.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“So there’s been a devaluation of the property that you bought.”

 

Sydney Higgins

“A devaluation of about eighty-five percent.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Who would you attribute or to what would you attribute this issue?  Has this been the fault of the Lands Department in this case or is this some other private transaction that has now overlapped?”

 

Sydney Higgins

“No.  Clearly it’s not a private transaction and the commission to allocate new plots has to come from the Lands [Department].  So it has to be that, the Registrar of Lands I assume.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I understand that you guys were planning to retire in Belize.  Correct?”

 

Sydney Higgins

“That’s correct.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us a bit about your efforts, in terms of wanting to develop the plot of land that you purchased in order to relocate to Caye Caulker.”

 

Sydney Higgins

“Well of course it involved a lot of work and effort and because we paid a substantial money we wanted to be sure about everything.  But the reality is that I’m just very glad that we didn’t start building because we would not have been able to sell.  The building would be worthless because if this plot is developed, this non-existent plot, who knows, it might be a hotel, it might be a disco, it might be anything that’s going to be built there and going to have and to have a little house behind it would be of little use or value.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Retired English Couple Allegedly Scammed in Land Hustle”

  1. Teddy Steinway says:

    This is the same scam that was tried on an Ambergris Caye.
    It’s time for the courts to discipline the political class AGAIN

  2. Belizean Pride says:

    STOP THE LAND HUSTLE GAPY VEGA!! arent u ashame of yourself that you and your family (sons & daughters, brothers) have raped this country! isnt millions enough for you or you need billions to be satistfied. or is it heredia trying to get a piece of the pie?? you really not normal in your brain gapy! dont even know how to cover up a another scandal like this!

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