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Apr 19, 2018

Briceño Says PM’s Land Attacks Are Bogus

John Briceño

During the budget debate at the end of March, Prime Minister Dean Barrow called out Opposition Leader John Briceño accusing him of dubiously amassing huge acreages of land in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts during the P.U.P. era of government.  PM Barrow went on to list the acquisition of properties in areas, including Progresso, where tracts of land were purchased at rock-bottom prices.  Today, the P.U.P. Party Leader responded to those allegations, firstly discounting the prime minister’s attack as a cheap comeback after his anemic budget was exposed during the debate.

 

John Briceño, Party Leader, P.U.P.

“I was not in any way surprised that he’s going to come with these allegations.  But very quickly, the lands that he was talking about that my father and my uncles they were getting a thousand acres and five hundred [acres], these are lands that they bought from B.S.I. cane lands.  My uncle Leopoldo Briceño who was the former representative, minister and town councilor, Mayor of Orange Walk Town, died in 1995, so how can I give him land in 2002?  What the prime minister did not say is that when we got in, we were trying to amalgamate, there were, I think, three different land titling systems and people used that to cheat others from their land.  And so, we have one titling system which is under the land registry and as a government we were resurveying every parcel of land in Orange Walk, Corozal and most of the district of Belize.  And so, new titles had to be issued to these people and that is why these titles were issued.  It wasn’t issued by me; it was issued by the land registry.  So, again, he is just desperately trying to make a case where there is no such case.  He made some cases that we bought land in Progresso and I am going to answer before you ask me about it.  It’s simple; these are lands that we bought from individuals in Progresso, from the Lino family way back around 1991, long before I got into politics.  What the prime minister cannot say is that I have gotten in there to enrich myself, like what has happened with former Minister Gapi Vega and what has happened with his same Minister Montero and several of the other ministers that we have shown the evidence.”

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