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Sep 4, 2017

Las Flores Residents Complain Over Loss of Land for School’s Expansion

This morning residents of Las Flores in Belmopan gathered at the community primary school, St. Michael R.C., on the first day of classes. They were protesting the decision of the Belmopan City Council to sell two parcels of land which they say have belonged to the school since 1985, to Amy Anabella Chen. Police were on guard as residents vented their frustration at not being able to directly address Mayor Khalid Belisle and area representative John Saldivar, who they said avoided attending community meetings on August tenth and nineteenth and September third. The second meeting took place after the city’s U.D.P. municipal convention where Belisle told us that no one formally approached his council about acquiring the land for future school expansion. A letter from the “Las Flores Steering Committee” posted on Facebook is threatening legal action to recover the land, stating that it does not accept any other parcel of land for the school grounds. Our colleagues at PLUS TV spoke to resident Anjel Pop who explained why the residents feel so strongly about this issue. We also replay what the Mayor said in August.

 

Anjel Pop

Anjel Pop, Las Flores Resident

“I’m concerned that the Mayor is not looking into the matter that we have the future of Belize at hand in all the schools in Belize. So [education is always a priority] to us; and this land has been taken care of by the community of Las Flores for thirty-two years – it has been chopped, cleaned. And all the purpose of the parents has been to have a place for the students to call school, and in the future, hopefully, to expand the school and make it better than it is.”

 

Khalid Belisle, Mayor of Belmopan [File: August 14th, 2017]

“In terms of anybody having approached this sitting Council about acquiring that land for future school expansion, that was non-existent on our part. And I would appreciate if anyone has facts to the contrary, them bringing those forward; because maybe it happened under former mayor Lopez or former mayor Chanona, but it has never happened under this council. The council did have this asset and we did agree to the sale of that land; I believe it’s roughly just over an acre in size, and the sale price was as confirmed, fifty thousand dollars.”

 

Khalid Belisle

Reporter

“Will you make a decision at some point to cancel the transfer if there is enough opposition?”

 

Khalid Belisle

“That is something that we would have to look at very closely. The transfer is complete as far as we are concerned; whether or not we can approach the purchaser at this point in time to see if they would be willing to revisit that transaction is something that we would have to look at; but at this point in time it is a completed transfer.”

 

The Committee additionally requests that two other parcels of land in the community be formally titled and declared recreational areas. Incumbent councilor and resident Angel Pastrana is reportedly threatening to withdraw from the slate and the Council due to his frustration with Belisle and Saldivar ignoring residents.

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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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