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Aug 25, 2015

GSU Boss Mark Flowers at Centre of Land Controversy

The quaint village of Blackman Eddy is the second smallest village in the Cayo South Constituency. Located at mile fifty-seven on the George Price Highway, the village is home to some five hundred and thirty-seven residents. But tonight, the villagers and the village council are up in arms over a plot of land for village expansion has purportedly been granted, unknown to them, to a high official in the police department.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The burning shrubs and trees in this open area in the village extend to approximately twenty point seven-zero-three acres. Since 2009, the village council, under Chairlady Yolanda Molina, has been applying for the parcel of land for the expansion of the village. But that initiative has run into a major block because the land has reportedly been sold.

 

Yolanda Molina

Yolanda Molina, Chairlady, Blackman Eddy Village Council

“2007, I went to the Lands Department when I found out that this land was owned by Mister George Davis. But I don’t know if you know that the media has been out here already. I then found out that it was mortgaged. So when I found that out I went to the bank and they said that they can’t give me any information; that I had to find George Davis. And then I found out that he was deceased. So I told the lady we wanted to apply for village expansion; we could purchase it at this time, we have the money. So I went to lands and they had me back and forth.”

 

Today, villagers gathered near the land to voice their disappointment with what is happening. Carmen Portillo has been living in Blackman Eddy for the past thirty-two years; she says it is her children’s birthright to acquire a piece of land in the village. And for thirty-one year old David Cocom, he wants to be able to provide for his family.

 

David Cocom

David Cocom, Villager, Blackman Eddy (Translated)

“We want a piece of land because we are Belizeans and we need piece of land for us to live. We don’t have an adequate piece of land to live in the community. We want the government to help us in getting a piece of land where we can build a home for our children.”

 

Carmen Portillo

Carmen Portillo, Villager, Blackman Eddy (Translated)

“We live on a small piece of land…well I have that, but my children are leaving he village because they don’t want to live in a congested area. And then for some time now we have been cleaning and cutting down this area so that they can give it to us, but now Miss Yolanda is fighting for us. But we want the land because it is for us.”

 

To date, the plot, according to the records at the Lands Department, remains the property of George Davis, who is now deceased. In April of 2014, however, the outstanding tax of four hundred and fifty dollars was paid in full. But by who? The council says that it was Mark Flowers, the head of the GSU, who made the payment.

 

Yolanda Molina

“When I went in, I found out that Mister Flowers paid the land tax. So I asked how he could pay the land tax and we applying for it so long? They told me they don’t know because that needed to get canceled before Mister Flowers paid for the land tax. They told me that they sent a letter already to the Bank and that the committee in Lands Department decided that they will give Mister Flowers the land. And that’s the reason why I am here because I was up and down at Lands Department and they never did told me that the land was owned by…as I showed you the documents, George Davis is still [the owner] at this time.”

 

Several calls were made to GSU Commander, Superintendent Mark Flowers today for comment at information that he had the title for the land but there was no response. U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Cayo South, Ralph Huang, however, was accessible. He says that Flowers informed him that he indeed is in possession of a freehold title to the property. This, according to Huang, is despite a recommendation he made to the Lands Department that the twenty plus acres be given to the council for village expansion.

 

Ralph Huang

Ralph Huang, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Cayo South

“When I heard this thing this morning, I spoke with Miss Molina and I went to the Land’s Department to print out the Land Tax and it is still under George Davis’ name. And I think this is very simple matter. Either Mister Mark Flowers relocate his land or that Lands Department acquires more land for the villagers.”

 

Duane Moody

“Were you able to ascertain whether this new individual has title to this property?”

 

Mark Flowers

Ralph Huang

“That I don’t know; that I don’t know. But I talked to him earlier when I spoke to him on the phone, but he said he has the freehold property. But I asked him if he would be happy enough to give me a copy of his land title so that we can clear the matter. We demand his freehold title. Then I wish the Lands Department would give us a next piece of land so we can acquire for the villagers.”

 

Duane Moody

“So he confirmed to you that he has this twenty-point seven acres?”

 

Ralph Huang

“On the phone, but not on the paper. On the phone when I talked to him yeah. At no time the Lands Department tell the chairlady, including myself—I went there by myself—no one in the department said that this land is not available. And I even wrote a recommendation to Lands Department suggesting and recommending that the village council could have that same piece of land for its villagers. And the reason why I did that was because no one from the department says the land was not available until this morning I got to know from Mark Flowers that he has interest in the same piece of land.”

 

So where is this land dispute heading? We went to the Lands Department and were unable to get a comment from the Lands Commissioner, Wilbert Vallejos. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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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7 Responses for “GSU Boss Mark Flowers at Centre of Land Controversy”

  1. Prig Minister of Belize, Ali BaBarrow says:

    Not only is Belize run by idiots, it is run by criminal idiots.

    What do you expect?
    Eight years of Ali, somebody has to pay.
    In Belize there are plenty of weak scapegoats.
    The strong scapegoats we will gut another day.

  2. Media says:

    Big pieces of bullsht!!!
    To heck with ralph, to heck with julius.
    Let flowers develop this land, he is deserving it!

  3. Timber says:

    You will never get a comment from Vallejos because he’s a crook! He’s in on a lot of these shady deals and too busy holding personal grudges against his employees who want to do their jobs properly and stand up to him when he’s doing questionable things in office.

  4. rudy says:

    Amazing..what is Belize coming to…power to the people

  5. Rod says:

    More blatant corruption from this pm and this udp gov they are all stealing but unu duncy belizeans deserve whe unu get.

  6. Hatari says:

    Now this smells like a very shady and WRONG kinda’ deal! It’s like insider trading. It ain’t legal and it ain’t FAIR! The villagers should get their land . . no questions asked! Except to the politician/bureaucrat that set up the deal . . for a profit you understand. Shame on you!

  7. Hatari says:

    And let me see, it’s 20 acres or so and ol’ Markie Boy” paid how much for it? $450! Now that sounds like one of those GOOD DEALS I’ve always heard about. Put a pencil to it . . tidy li’l profit, that we’re gonna’ split, Right?! Markie?

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