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May 22, 2015

Squatters Return to Demolished Home in Gungulung

There are more complaints tonight against the Minister of State Mark King over the issue of squatting in the area of Holy Emmanuel. After King came under fire he re-settled twelve families to Cotton Tree on the George Price Highway. But the problem continues to haunt King. Tonight a family of five is without a home after a pre-dawn demolition. News Five Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano Reporting

“The situation in Gungulung, involving illegal occupants of private property remains a sociopolitical dilemma for area representative Mark King.  Despite all efforts to assist with the relocation of squatters from the area of Holy Emmanuel Street, the UDP junior minister finds himself in a pickle.  Meet the Hopes, a family of five living in a secluded, waterlogged section of the six-acre plot that is reportedly owned by a Chinese businessman.  After five years of settling the land, they’ve returned to this, a destroyed wooden structure they call home.”

 

Winston Hope, Resident of Gungulung

Winston Hope

“ Lotta police come, lotta police come with workman and dehn cut down di house.  Now, Mr. Mark King has explained to us in a meeting, and I quote to the te, ih seh, each person backa gungulung here because everybody mi di deh.  Ih sehe everybody weh have wahn house pan di land, if dehn have to move dehn wahn get wahn land.  Now Mr. Mark King has gone against the word that he had promised us.  Now yo got twelve persons get house, get land, I don’t know why.  What happened to the rest of us?”

 

Reporter

“Squatting, by all means, is unlawful.  While residents have gone on to establish themselves on property belonging to either government or private individuals, to do nothing is condoning an illegality.  To forcefully remove them from the area by destroying their homes seems callous and insensitive.”

 

Winston Hope, Resident of Gungulung

“ Well it’s very hard because I try to have a little small business where I have to the front.  I also am a worker.  I work hard.  I get up from six in the morning and work ‘til four in the evening everyday.  Sundays I do private jobs because, you know, the financial situation is rough in this country.  But my wife also have a little small business that we were hoping one of these days we were going to relocate back in this area.  We wanted to stay here because, although ih hard, seka di wata, everything, ih hard but we wanted to come and live back here and start our business back here.  I believe if you could give twelve people land, why you can’t give the rest of people that have houses back here.  Why just come and cut down our house and treat us like we are nothing?”

 

Reporter

“ As a mother, seeing as though you have several kids living in this residence with you, coming home to find your property in this state, what has that been like for you?”

 

Natalie Hope

Natalie Hope Resident of Gungulung

“Well ih feel painful and like yo world just gaan down.  All yo strain, yo haad work, yo labor, yo time just gaan down di drain just like dat and yo feel like the world deh ova yo head and everybody deh against yo cause like yo cyant turn right or yo cyant turn left because nobody cares or wants to know nothing bout yo because yo poor and black and yo noh have nothing fi mek nobody look up to, to yo.”

 

Reporter

”This is a difficult environment for anyone to live.  There’s water all around, the situation is pretty harsh.  How have you guys been able to manage as a family in trying to own a piece of property and settle down in Belize City and start a life with your family?”

 

Natalie Hope

Well we look pan it like we di staat wah new beginning eena life and far from out eena di, out da front, ih mo betta fu me because yo feel peace, relax.  Yo noh haftu worry bout nobody di shoot yo.  Yo just di live like eena di open and like ih just feel good fu be back ya cause da like yo noh di eena di world then. dehn wah do.”

 

Isani Cayetano Reporting For News Five

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