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Apr 30, 2015

Gapi Vega Says Lands Department is Investigating Caye Caulker Cheat

Gaspar Vega

Last Thursday, a retired English couple came forward in the media to express frustration over a land swindle in Caye Caulker which has resulted in the devaluation of their beachfront property.  Sydney and Anna Higgins bought a parcel of land on the northern part of the island several years ago, only to find out that what should have been seafront access had in fact been surveyed and issued to another individual.  That non-existent plot is mostly submerged and it is believed that the dubious transaction took place within the Lands Department.  On Wednesday, Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega commented on the issue and said that blame must be attributed to the private surveyor who delineated the property.  According to Vega, the leases for that property and several others that were found to be erroneously surveyed have since been canceled.

 

Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources

“We have a map here to show to the entire nation of the situation in Caye Caulker.  It’s hundreds of people being affected by this act.  This is something that started from 2004.  So far the people that were on the television complaining about them being disenfranchised from their beachfront, that was not so.  Just that they did not come to visit us, they rather went to the media before they came to us because that was a case that was brought to us, I think it was in 2011 and immediately the permissions to survey were canceled.  There were some leases issued, I think they brought seven cases to us and they were all canceled, the leases.  So far that we have found out there are two cases where two people are affected and there are two cases where we, this present administration issued title to them.  There are about four other issues where we collected the purchase price but we did not issue the title after we learned of the situation.  All the other cases were done prior to 2008 and like I said, it’s hundreds of them.  We are going to be dealing with those two persons with the title to see if we can relocate them or do some type of negotiation with them to alleviate that problem.  The ones prior to this administration, it’s even more complicated because there are some cases where I see someone by the name of Renan Briceno owning a whole lot of beachfront.  But I mean it affects a lot of people.  We have someone like Radla Construction that affects probably hundreds of people.”

 

Reporter

“He has his one in the sea, I believe.”

 

Gaspar Vega

“The funny part, the complicated part is that these people have resold the property to other people so it becomes even more complicated for the Lands Department.”

 

Reporter

“And indeed in the case of Radla he may have sold it to friends in the U.D.P. as well.”

 

Gaspar Vega

“Well, they sell it to whomever they want. That’s their right.”

 

Reporter

“The Higgins’ and Mr. Villanueva, who appeared on TV, they said after two years of futile legal inquiries with the department, the land that appears directly in front of them, probably number 1267, am I right?  And parcel number 1267 and 68, those parcels are not existent, have been canceled, am I right?”

 

Gaspar Vega

“It was canceled right away Jules, if you notice there’s a portion here in white.  Those were the lots that were in question at the time and we right away went ahead and canceled the permission to survey and in some cases, I think there were three or four leases that were canceled also.  We didn’t know who lived behind, they didn’t come to us.  I don’t think we had to go looking for us, they should have come to us and find out if the lands were canceled and we could have told them right away.”

 

The Higgins, through their attorney in Belize, made several attempts in the past to rectify the issue and, according to them; the matter simply languished in the Lands Department.

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3 Responses for “Gapi Vega Says Lands Department is Investigating Caye Caulker Cheat”

  1. Rod says:

    Any time you hear thieving going on gapi I a always involved why is that because he is a big thief himself just like his boss judas and the rest of this udp gov. But keep voting them in you duncy rass belizeans you deserve what ever you get

  2. NorthView says:

    Have been trying to get in touch with the Minister of Natural Resources by means of visitations to his Belmopan office since March, and most currently by writing, to discuss a similar land matter issue but all attempts have been deceptive. Just hope it can be discuss the soonest possible as to keep the waters calm. Thank you.

  3. me says:

    NO BLAME GAME YA PAN D PUP. UNU HURRY PUT IN “MORATORIUM” ON ALL LAND TRANSACTIONS WHEN UNU GOT IN. SO HOW COME NOW DA SO MUCH CONFUSION? MAN MAN MAN, UNU DA PART AH IT TOO. BIG TIME! SO NO DI BLAME DAT DIS TING STARTED FROM 2004. UNU CONTINUED IT AND UN BIG UP EENA DIS PRACTICE.

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