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Feb 1, 2019

A Political Battle in Belama Phase Four

Tonight we have more from Belama Phase Four where several families were officially notified that they need to vacate from land sold to a Chinese businessman.  They were told that they need to dismantle their house and move out in one month. So the residents were taken aback when they found someone attempting to destroy their properties. The residents are pointing the finger at Alex Chang, who reportedly owns the land. Chang, according to U.D.P. standard bearer Orson Elrington, has denied the accusations. On Thursday, Elrington and Area Representative Francis Fonseca met with the affected residents, though not simultaneously, to figure out the way forward. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports. 

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

P.U.P. Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca and U.D.P. Standard Bearer for the division Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington say they want to help the estimated thirty families who are facing eviction in Belama Phase Four.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Area Representative, Freetown

“Why am I here today? It is because we want to find a solution for these individuals, for these people.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Freetown

“I am here b because I am the U.D.P. stranded bearer for the constituency. I was called by several residents and asked to intervene.”

 

On January twenty-eight the residents were given the notice to vacate. They were told that Alex Chang owns the property. They were told that they have one month to dismantle their houses and move out.  But the two politicians can’t agree on a very important issue. Is Alex Chang of Fen Land Development the owner of the property in question?

 

Francis Fonseca

“This is the first time that we are hearing about any Alex Chang owning this property and I am the Area Representative here since 2003. It is the first time I am hearing about that. We need to see that in fact, that is the case. We have no proof of that.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“I had made a request for the title for the property but I made the query at the Lands Department in Belmopan and they have verified that Mr. Chang that this area is owned by Fen Land. So it is just the matter in seeing the size but it has been verified.”

 

In the notice to vacate Chang, through the Williams Law Firm, ask the residents to provide copies of their Belizean passports and or nationality papers in two weeks.  Chang will review the documents and determine if he shall allow the residents to enter into a lease agreement.

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“This is ultimately Mr. Chang’s Land. I have not seen the letter from the attorney. I can only tell you what was my conversation and proposal with Mr. Chang. And again he did make it absolutely clear that moving forward any persons who want to obtain property, that want to get a lease here they need to be Belizeans. Now whether or not there was something missing in the translation for that, I don’t know. Again, but as I know that is what exactly is the proposal.” 

 

Francis Fonseca

“Well, first of all, he has no right to ask anybody to produce their nationality document or any other type of identification. He has no right to do that. He still has not as I said produced to the people or sent along with any of the letters, he has not sent a copy of this land title to this property. He may produce that fine. But there is a legal process that I may follow and it does not involve making demands of the people to present nationality documents.”

 

And while these two politicians say they want to assist the people, they say they see no need for them to work together.

 

Francis Fonseca

“I have no problem with anyone wanting to help if you are acting in good faith and in fact you want to help the resident of Belama. And not that your interest is to help the owner of the property. I have a problem with that. If you want to find a solution that will benefit the residents of Belama then I will work with you.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“I will sit with anybody so long, but that is the message that I have received. I have received that his camp is making mischief, telling these people total and complete lies, misrepresenting the fact, lying to them. That is what I understand that his camp, if not he himself is doing.” 

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Allegedly…”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Allegedly, again because everything here is alleged.”

 

Francis Fonseca

“Why do we have to come together? I just outline for you, if he wants to be helpful what I think he should do.  I’m not really interested in what the U.D.P. has to say about Belama. They have completely destroyed this community.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Will you approach him?”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Why would I need to approach him?”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“You’ll wait for him to approach you?”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“He can approach me.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“He said he will not.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Well, that is fine for him. I have no problem with that.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“It is better for you to work together for the benefit of the people.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Again why should I approach him? For what reason?”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Someone must take the first step. Someone must extend the olive branch.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Nobody has given authority to act on their behalf.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“He is the area representative of Freetown.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Okay. And that means what?  He is a totally abandoned. I don’t think he has never been behind here before. He is as foreign as a Yankee to this area. I don’t think if he ever came behind here before this would be a new thing to him.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“He has been meeting with the people two weeks ago and he says the people called him today.”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“And do you believe him? Do you believe him?”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you sir?”

 

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

“Absolutely not.”

 

Francis Fonseca

“If you are acting in good faith and you want to be helpful, sit-down with your government and let them understand that they should acquire these properties. This man is prepared to rent land to people for fifty dollars a month, let the government buy the land for him. Let him sell the land to the government and then we can develop the land properly for the benefit of the people who live here.”

 

Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

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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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