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Mar 3, 2011

Cayo South Area Rep. talks about harmony in Harmonyville

The surveys at Harmonyville Phase six at miles forty and forty one on the Western Highway are just about to begin.  Of the eight hundred plots of land made available for Belizeans, over six hundred have been surveyed and recommended to the Ministry of Natural Resources for distribution.  But over the past few months, the organization that is spearheading the effort, the Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, is alleging that some of the squatters, most who are from Central American countries, have laid claims to tens of acres of land.  To make matters worse, the organization has charged that Cayo South Area Representative, Ramon Witz, is encouraging the people to stay on the land, even though government has given the go-ahead for the land to be parceled off into one-acre plots.  But today when News Five caught up with Witz, he denied the allegation and said that there is a process that must take place and sometimes it moves slower than anticipated.

Ramon Witz, Area Rep., Cayo South

Ramon Witz

“Whenever people’s rights are trampled on, whenever injustice is done to anyone, it doesn’t matter who they are, I have the right as the Area Representative to listen to them.  I have always asked that whatever takes place that it be done in the best interest of all stakeholders.  So his allegations, wherever they came from, wherever he got his information is wrong. The majority of these people are Belizeans.”

Marion Ali

“And some of them aren’t.”

Ramon Witz

“It is a small percentage are not, but the majority are Belizeans and I think I need to refer to them as Belizeans as anyone of us.  They are the ones who were there from the beginning and documentations have been coming up showing that they had the blessings from the past administration, from previous local authorities at the village level, to have used that piece of land.  Now that a decision has been made by my government, it’s just right to ensure that if there is any displacement it be done in a way that you do not affect whatever they have developed.”

Marion Ali

“But some of them have developed twenty, thirty, forty acres of land.”

Ramon Witz

“For those who have a big development, it’s just right to give them the appropriate time to do what they need to do.  For those who have fifty head of cattle, you can’t put it in one acre piece of land.  So you need to give them enough time to do what is necessary.”

Marion Ali

“What might that be? They need to apply for more land elsewhere?”

Ramon Witz

“Well they need to apply somewhere else that is correct.  If they need to do big development they won’t be able to do it there, on a one acre piece of parcel.  We have to look at all avenues to ensure that we accommodate.  Remember these are the people who are the breadbasket of our country.  When you go to the market at Queen’s Square, when you go to the market in Belmopan or San Ignacio these are the people who are growing our produce that we take home.  And if they are to suffice the local market, then we need to make sure that we give them enough available space for them to use.”

Marion Ali

“What can you do as the area rep. to ensure that there is no conflict, that there is unity at Harmonyville?”

Ramon Witz

“In fact, I think that Mister Petillo and his group need to be thankful to the Area Representative for having spoken to the people and asked them to maintain the calm and not venture into any kind of conflict or violence.  Basically what has happened is that they had resisted, but not resisted with the decision of the government but the high-handedness of Mister Petillo and his group – the way they approached them.  They are here, according to them, to respect the decision of government, to respect the rule of law.  All they want is for them not to be trampled over. They will have to abide by the rule of law.  Whatever the government decides, whatever decision is made has to be respected.  It doesn’t matter who you are.”

Marion Ali

“So they can’t hold onto more than one acre each?”

Ramon Witz

“At Harmonyville, if that is the decision of government that’s what it will be.”

Marion Ali

“What’s the name? Harmonyville or Valle Nuevo?”

Ramon Witz

“If we are to go by what Lands has it’s Harmonyville.”

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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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5 Responses for “Cayo South Area Rep. talks about harmony in Harmonyville”

  1. lucas says:

    Mr. Witz; your food most likely comes from Harmonyville but ours comes from another place for example, Spanish Lookout. It makes me laugh to hear that a few squatters whom you want to accomodate are feeding the Belizean population. Why do you not better say that it is for your political interest for them to stay. That may not be acceptable but would be more honest.

  2. claude talbert says:

    as belizean living abroad would we be egible to gain any of this land and how do we go about it

  3. Belize says:

    Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA wants to grow weed on the land. Left the original people on the land. Those guys from Belmopan all hustlers.

  4. spanglish says:

    lucas: I think you have it wrong, these farmers come to belize to sell, my wife personally have brought from them, they mention to us that they go as far as PG to sell.I applaud these farmers for being productive citizens in our country, at least they are not robbing and killing people

  5. MyLegacyB4myPeople says:

    Politics as usual, who is to blame for these farmers not having proper documentation for this land the government of course 30, 40 , 50 acres of land who are you fooling this is no small farmer activity that type of acreage takes lots of money to develop, who are these farmers slaving for, who is the big man that is collecting the revenue from these farmers farming that size acreage and since when is GOB so concerned about doing the right thing for land owners, many Belizeans have been deprived of their land including my mother for land that she is still paying taxes for and all the government ever do is to play politics, is it possible that Ramon Witz is the land lord here and is benefitting from all the farming activities in this area. Remember, My Legacy B 4 My people.

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