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Nov 23, 2016

Trio Farmers Press Government for Solution to Land Dispute

Six days have passed since five homes were burned down and demolished by suspected arsonists in Trio Village, Toledo. The incident appears to be linked to a land dispute involving over fifteen thousand acres of land located four miles outside of the community. So far, the company that claims the land has issued no statement with regard to the unfortunate incident. On Tuesday, a group of farmers affected by last Thursday’s arson, and their supporters ventured to the nation’s capital, Belmopan, seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. They wished to discuss the ongoing dispute with a Chinese landowner who, it is believed, sent persons to burn down the houses where five families lived. Spokesman Francis Sanchez told News Five that while the Ministry of Natural Resources believes that the farmers have a good case for staying on the property, the only thing that will satisfy the situation long-term is a guaranteed title.

 

On the Phone: Francis Sanchez, Toledo Farmers Committee

“These people have been trying their best to look forward to seek the assistance of the Government; but at the same time no response on what they have been trying to explain. They have been writing the Government several times and it’s been ten years since I could have witnessed they were after this same land issue. And they have been working for so much years, cultivating pineapples and plantains, I mean in big quantities, because they mostly cultivate it for the company in Pomona and from there on they’ve been marketing from Belmopan to Belize, and this production has been coming out of this area. In one understanding, the Ministry of Lands have told them that nobody can take them out, since they live there and have been working there for so much time and so much long. So there is a directive, directly by Mr. Gillett, Mister Denver Gillett, was the person who came to directly assist and see the area and take a view and a reading of the area, to have an understanding of where these people have been existing and counting for. So all this situation was taking place for all those years, and now, as farmers in general, we tried to “buckle up” that and see how we could get these people to be legal and to get their legal documents. And they wanted to apply for these lands, but going through the process of Government, they tried, but again there was no feedback, no response.”

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