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Jan 25, 2016

Julius Espat Says G.O.B. Slipping Down on Santander Land Situation

Julius Espat

More than six months ago Santander and thirty-one farmers who had been involved in a lengthy dispute came to an agreement on a settlement. The farmers had no title to the land on which they had been farming for many years, but the terms of the understanding determined that they would. That was a half year ago and at the House meeting on Friday Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat revealed that G.O.B. had not kept its part of the agreement. According to Espat, despite multiple entreaties to the Lands Department the farmers have been unable to secure title to the land.

 

Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South

“Santander Group has fulfilled everything that they have promised to the farmers, meaning they have located the land, they have done their initial surveys…they have developed the land and put in the subdivision. They have put in the water system that was agreed to by the attorneys, and then the Santander Group went to the third party, the Government of Belize, previously under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister. Mr. Speaker, but it is now going for over six months and I as the Area Representative for these people, the thirty-one families in the Valley of Peace, went to see the Santander Group to see how far we were because the agreement said that everything should have been completed by August last year. As I said everything has been done and the Santander Group has reported to us that they have tried all that they could to make sure that the Government of Belize, specifically the Ministry of Lands, issue the land certificate to these needy and poor farmers. I understand that there has been a change in the Ministry and the honourable member for Orange Walk North is not the Minister anymore. But we have the junior Minister here, the member for Belize Rural Central if I’m not mistaken, and the Senator now is the Minister of Lands. But Mr. Speaker, these farmers need their titles and it’s been too long, and now two parties are starting to lose faith in the agreed proposal that was made.”

 

Following Espat’s presentation the Prime Minister committed to check into the situation with a view to finding a resolution.

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