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Feb 1, 2018

Land Titles are Final CitCo Gift to Workers

One hundred and ninety-five City Council employees each received a free piece of land today. Mayor Darrell Bradley says he has been working on this “thank you” gift which will help to compensate and motivate employees to deliver quality service.  Bradley says it’s been in the works for two years and so it’s not an election incentive.  A fifty-seven acre plot of land along the George Price Highway near Tropical Park was cleared out and subdivided, after which a lottery system was used to distribute the lots. The new landowners formally received their titles today. Here’s what Mayor Bradley had to say about this initiative.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“Today we are issuing conveyances by way deed of gift to one hundred and ninety five of our staff members. Every person who has worked for the City Council prior to May seventeenth, 2013, will receive a parcel of land and that is one hundred and ninety-five persons. What I really underscored in my presentation is the idea of sustainable human development but part of that is to ensure that people who are the deliverers of government service are properly motivated. We talked about issues of training. We talked about the fact that over the course of the last six years we have had six salary increases. We’ve had our HR regulations. The staff has been unionized and so forth. And this land program is along that vein. It is not just as if we want to give away land. We are trying to encourage the creation of a public service of the municipality. It so that people who enter into local government service can see it as a career. They can benefit individually, so that they can recognize that they would be properly capacitated, remunerated and they would be motivated to really deliver the highest quality of service to residents within our community.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Which area is this land being given out, Mayor?”

 

Darrell Bradley]

“This is mile thirteen along the George Price Highway. So, it is right along the area of Tropical Park. It is off the road, inside. We did several tours there. When we did the lottery, we actually took every staff member who qualified so that they could see the land, the quality of the land and so forth. We have been working with our Works Department to ensure that there is proper road access and we have actually committed to maintain the road access. And what we are saying if staff members want to build on the property, then we will provide low interest smaller loans. And then we would also approach entities such as the National Bank and other institutions to make the idea of home ownership a reality for our City Council’s for hundred and thirty-two staff members. Today it is one hundred and ninety-five but it can be more. We are working with the utility companies to ensure that it is properly outfitted with the proper utility services. I also mentioned in my presentation that Ladyville and Hattieville are merging so that this area would become a developing area in the near future. I really impressed upon the staff to hold the land and to think not only today but long term that land ownership is an investment and the City Council is going to do things towards the close of my tenure and hopefully in the succeeding term to really make this a staff development and staff housing program.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“For those who may say, ‘Mayor Bradley di give out land at this time of the year, just before elections.’ Some may say that it is a little strategy on your behalf for the U.D.P.s?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“Well, so be it. I can’t control the timing of it. I can say that two years ago, we began this process. I want to emphasize that I wanted to push this before I demitted office. So, if that is a criticism so be it. Those people who are walking up, the 195 who are benefitting they will rejoice and they will say that they received something from the City Council. Many of them, as you have pointed out, never owned a piece of land before. And notwithstanding any criticism, there is some good in it.”

 

Jermaine Martinez

Jermaine Martinez, Land Owner

“I glad fi mi land and do the right thing. This wah go to mi old lady.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“First piece of land you di get?”

 

Jermaine Martinez

“Yes, ma’am.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, weh yuh wah do? Any plans fi di land?”

 

Jermaine Martinez

“I just wah do the right thing.”

 

Dillon Arnold

Dillon Arnold, Land Owner

“It is not the first land I have but then it is something that I appreciate because it is a deed of gift. It is something the Mayor says is a gift he wants to give to staff. I believe that employees should appreciate the hard work of the Council – that the councilors and Mayor have done for us.”

 

Ryan Griffith, Land Owner

“I feel ecstatic about it. It is not often, as you say, these things happen. But just to show you that a Mayor come in for six years and see what he accomplished. He could accomplish more if he stayed in, right. The same way the people of City Council love him. And we feel happy about the land.”

 

Ryan Griffith

Andrea Polanco

“What does this piece of land mean to you? I imagine you have kids; a family?”

 

Ryan Griffith

“Yes. Yes. It means a lot to me. I have two sons and this would come in good for them because it is not really for me. It is for them.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“You have any plans for this piece of land?”

 

Ryan Griffith

“Yes. I would like to develop it and build a house on it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This dah yuh first piece ah land weh yuh di own – weh dah fi you?”

 

Ryan Griffith

“Yes. Yes. Dis dah mi first piece ah land.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“I would imagine that for you it is tough to get a piece of land to develop and own it. It is tough – so this dah wah good gift?”

 

Ryan Griffith

“This dah wah big jump, yes. It is a big start for us and we really appreciate it.”

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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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1 Response for “Land Titles are Final CitCo Gift to Workers”

  1. Timber says:

    LOLOLOL, WITH ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS. I predicted this as recently as last month when I was talking with two current employees of Belize City Council. Their exact words were ” we’re tired of some of the bullshit there and we haven’t heard anything about our land that they promised to give us.” My response, “wait, elections are coming up.” Yet again, the “ignorant and illiterate” masses are being fooled by a promise of land and bribe money when elections roll around. I have penned a few paragraphs on this same practice before. While I commend the act and the gesture, let’s be realistic here; and there’s nothing that I say I’m going to be “politically correct” about. With not trying to sound condescending, look at the majority of the folks getting the land and those who are being interviewed; those in a lower educational bracket, needless to say, income bracket.(I’m trying to be modest). These people would accept a “rabbit” if you gave them. Let me explain my oped here, for those who aren’t understanding or maybe about to get all upset. The vast majority of these people ( and I dare say at least 90%) will do absolutely nothing with this land. They won’t have the financial resources nor wherewithal to build anything. The next five percent will get there and put up shanty plywood and attract, for the most part, attention where most won’t want to be. (Again, trying to be modest). The next five percent will be educated enough and earns a halfway decent salary to go get a loan and build something. That first ninety percent, I guarantee you that the majority of them will sell that property. Now, to my point about all this, this particular area has decent property value. There are a few decent homes already in that area , proposed home of the so-called “Belize-American Site.” Without sounding elitist, who, including myself, will want these type of houses and some of the issues coming with them? I’ve said it before, we have to have some form of zoning if we’re going to move Belize forward, when it comes to construction of any kind. Why didn’t you scatter them across the city and put a few in your neighborhood in Button Wood Bay and Belama Little Darrell? I bet you wouldn’t! Speaking to one of my cousins who has property in that area, and was about to return to Belize by summer of next year so construction on a $275,000 home was about to commence, you know what she stated, “I will sell my property.” Do you blame her? That’s her hard earned money she’s going to be investing and we all know that crime is rampant already in Belize and just the appearance of one being successful makes you a target. I digress.

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