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May 30, 2001

Area rep defends action in Betson land case

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After having his lease cancelled, George Betson has been fighting for months to keep a piece of land on the Northern Highway that he claims is rightfully his. The Lands Department subsequently issued a new lease to Rupert Marin, the operator of a sanitation business. Caribbean Shores representative Joe Coye, says that the misuse of undeveloped land in Belize City has been an issue ever since the PUP won the last elections.

Jose Coye, Area Rep, Caribbean Shores

“When we came to office in August of 1998, a lots committee was appointed. One of the first tasks of the committee was to take a look at the position of lots in the Caribbean Shores. We knew for a fact…from a glimpse there were so many underdeveloped lots, lots that were not being utilized for many years, and were overgrown with bushes. So the task was for us to go out and do a survey of the area to determine how many lots were out there and utilize. It came out to about over three hundred lots.”

“They also found, from the research that there were many, many lots in this division that were lying there for many, many years. They were leased lots. And of course, there were those too that were being used for speculation, that was quite obvious. Many of the lots were being sold in this division, through that same L.O.P. programme. What the Lots Committee did, to the best of my knowledge, was to make recommendations to the government, to the Minister of Lands in particular, to ask that those lots that were lying there idle, be canceled and have them reassigned to people who have need for them to build homes.”

“That was what the Lots Committee did. The government, the Ministry of Lands, certainly looked at the recommendations, and I think did cancel some of the lots. Among them was the one in question, I think the controversial one now as I understand. But what added to some of these lots, why I think the Ministry of Lands was inclined strongly to support the recommendations, because what was happening, it was in the newspapers almost every weekend where these lots were up for sale.”

Jose Sanchez

“Those were the lots that we under the lease f Mr. Betson?”

Jose Coye

“Those and others. Yes, Mr. Betson had advertised in the papers, about six lost for sale, which in the case of the one that is now in controversy that was cancelled. I understand that was a lot that was up for sale although it was not even purchased, it was a leased lot, lying there idle for about twenty years.”

George Betson has prevented construction on the land by parking his van at the entrance, but today his vehicle has been successfully towed away from the lot.

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