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Mar 28, 2011

Disharmony in Harmonyville

All is not quiet at Harmonyville since last week’s meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega, and Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Movement representatives. Major decisions were announced at that meeting but on Sunday, the issue of a promised subsidy for surveys came under question while new settlers were encouraged to develop because the Hispanic settlers were taking over more property. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Hot on the heels of the verbal support they received only last week from Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega, the Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, held is monthly public meeting with members on Sunday at Harmonyville.  But again, there was not one, but two separate meetings at two different locations.

The squatters gathered about a quarter mile further up off the Western Highway, and unlike the last time when they allowed us to pose questions to them, this time, they were not welcoming to us, as they turned away our camera.

Back at the location where BGYEA’s meeting was underway, Executive members were clearly disappointed by the low turnout of members and urged them to attend the meetings in order to have one strong voice.

Nigel Petillo, President, BGYEA

“Sometimes I disappointed. I mean some people just say, “bwai I can’t make it dah none ah the meeting yet mien because I just can’t reach deh cause I busy.” But then, me now, I noh hold back. I disappointed eena yoh mien. So yoh di use the movement mien. Dah just wah piece ah land yoh want. So I wah talk to some ah unu so because then I can and I will because dah so I feel. Rigth now lives are at stake here mien. Me and other members of the board find ourselves eena threatening situations.”

Dianne Finnegan

Dianne Finnegan, Executive Member, BGYEA

“If this is yours, you have to come out and support. You have to stand in solidarity and show that you truly want this. If not, the barrel system, the control over what is rightfully Belizeans will take control, will take first preference. But we have to see your faces, we have to know that you are serious about this.”

What was a serious concern was the fifty percent subsidy that Minister Vega promised to finance for the surveys that most BGYEA members have already paid fully for.

Kurt Garnett, Executive Member, BGYEA

Kurt Garnett

“We pay we four hundred to BYGEA.  BGYEA contracted out the surveying to a company. That four hundred that each one ah unu already paid, unu see unu four pillars already—I identified unu lot already? That money already get paid to the surveyor. Now what the government di ask is that we lobby with the contracting surveying company and ask dehn fi actually finish this project with credit. Credit meaning that government di seh they will put half the money fi di people dehn down deh because I noh believe dah fi unu because unu doen sacrifice and put unu four. So government di seh, dehn wah put two hundred now fid eh people down deh and the survey company suppose to compelte the job down deh too and later on government the claim that they wah pay this survey company; not BGYEA. So this dah weh unu have to clear with. The government—I don’t know why they do this.  I see this like mischief.”

BGYEA Member

“We invest weh we want invest. Whatever they wah throw in afterwards—if they throw it in—become wah bonus, but we noh wah depend pan that none at all.”

Nigel Petillo

BGYEA President Petillo said that because of recent conflicts with the squatters and their representative, ex-police sergeant Erwin Munoz, he is facing challenging times ahead.

Nigel Petillo

“They have over twenty charges over at the police station waiting for me right now about damage to property and our things is if you come with a damage to property charge tell me ‘bout I chop your fence or tree, show me di land paper weh tell me that I damage your land or tree. Because wah lot a people di come outta nowhere now and di point pan bush di say that this dah fi me, this dah fi he. So anyway now, just fi find out now that Munoz head the organization over that side, Valle Nuevo, Nuevo Valle and as we are speaking, they’re holding a meeting right now.  And that dah fi show that after the decision has been passed down by the cabinet, buy the government, they are still resisting, they are still creating a resistance—they still want trouble. So I am hoping that the officials will get to Mister Munoz and his peers and give ah wah spanking.”

News Five has tried to reach Munoz since the meeting with Minister Vega last week but our attempts have been futile.   Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

BGYEA urges its members who have already been allocated lots to start developing the land.

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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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20 Responses for “Disharmony in Harmonyville”

  1. Bulba Martinez says:

    Nigel, Nigel, Nigel how soon can you forget my friend?. If you live in a Glass House, don’t throw no stones. You might have the right idea my friend but you da like Mi-jew blind horse, him well but him noh look good. How does it feel now that you’re on the other end of the table after squatting on another person’s lease land at Rivera my brother?. You mentioned piece a paper to prove ownership from these squatters at Harmonyville, but can you provide same to the person that you took advantage of for his land?. If you wa do something for anybody, meck sure you blood cloth hands clean noh mein?. Your own members are probably tired of you and your egotistical ways or afraid to die for something that G.O.B is not willing to fully support you and your members my friend. My advice to you is to be careful and I hope that you’re not bragging about how many charges is awaiting you, because at the end of the day my friend, you will be the loser. If G.O.B and our Law Enforcement Department are not supporting you to the fullest to assure you and your members safety, you need to understand that you’re riding a losing horse. Take a time out my friend and think about what you could have done differently. I’m asking you to sit back and do some real soul searching and consider the fact that you have also caused harm to another human being for his own property. What goes around comes around my friend. Think and think again, it’s never too late to make things right as long as we are alive. People will respect you more and will be willing to accomodate you when necessary.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Nigel, in addition to the worthless minister, seek legal advice from a real estate attorney if an honest one is available because until an injunction is filed against these squatters & they are forced to cooperate or leave, this will go on for years. Having traveled this road with land I actually own, I can tell you that these thieves will play the system & do whatever they can to frustrate you. The Belizeans who want their piece of land need to strand up & show up. These squatters have everything to gain because if they can make you back off, they win.

  3. ReVoLuTiOn says:

    Ah tek wah pass ova deh wen Ah mi dung da Belize and majority ah dem sqautters are Illegal Aliens. Try talking to some of them, they dont even know what yuh di seh. Nuh one word ah English. This madness have to stop Belizean people. Which country can any of us go and just chop out a piece of land and start to build. We allow these things to happen and it has to stop. And we too lazy as well. Support BGYEA nu just fi the land. Belizean people nuh united. WHen we wah laan????

  4. islander says:

    Free grazers being greedy..hah tell me something new

  5. Disgusted! says:

    I honestly and sincerely hope this !@$#%ng #@$#ard and all his chancy accomplices goes missing! THERE, I SAID IT!!!!

  6. james says:

    As long as a tread man is leading. Things will not become good at mile 45. its just another mahogany heights. What does a thread man know about developing the land? They are just a bunch of weed head follows

  7. shabba says:

    Nigel, “When yu break the law to go after the devil, who will yu turn to when the devil attacks? The law? hahhahahah good luck Nigel. Your movement would have made alot more sense if you assembled your people and then demanded piece of land from the government. But you guys went all lawless and strong piece then want to legitimize it.

  8. D other side says:

    I am sure everybody is familiar with the saying “there are many sides to a story”. This case is no different. Here is one of the another sides!

    There are born black belizeans who has been working thier land at harmonyville loooong before BGYEA dreamed of coming out here. When the land was just bush! We have invested our time, money and resources, basically everything in our land. Now here comes along Johnny come lately insisting that we just give up our investment and accept one acre of land.

    Let it be clear I am not agianst BGYEA. I am FOR MY LAND and my sweat and tears.

    I trust that my government will look at all sides and do not forget us Belizeans who have poured many years of hardwork into our land.

  9. Disgusted! says:

    Diand Finnegan is a W- – - E. Tell the people the REAL REASON why your services as a counselor at Hattieville Department of Corruptions was terminated, or should I do you the honors on these blogs??? Remember the name (A. Ponce)??? and that’s just one of them!!!

  10. Bengal says:

    Well the government needs to step in with law enforcement and quell this situation.
    Most of the time that what politicians do they play both sides and make them believe that the other side is wrong.
    Old and wise people say they are 2 edged swords , 2 headed snakes, and they throw rocks and hide their hands.
    That is why 2 separate meetings were held at 2 different venues.
    BGYEA held theirs with their followers and the so called squatters held theirs with their supporters.
    The minister should have held 1 meetings with BGYEA and the so called squatters present so that this situation doesn’t spiral out of control.
    This is one way how land disputes and family feuds starts and can go on for generations.
    2 factions believing that 1 piece of land belongs to them and not the other.
    When in reality both are right until actual land certificates are given out with name of owner, location, parcel and lot number.

    We have and ineffective leaders in Belize.
    Leaders supposed to prevent civil unrest not be the cause of it.
    So my advice to BGYEA and the other group is to wise up.
    Piece a land noh word goh dah jail or end up dead fah.

    My advice to the minister is to step up to the plate.
    Stop tek people fi fool.
    You already got yours the average Belizean is entitled to a piece of the pie also.

  11. Storm says:

    To “Bulba Martinez”

    Firstly, you have not presented any amount of evidence to justify the accusation you have made against Mr. Petillo in regard to this land situation in Rivera, so, I would have to disregard what you said. Also, whatever happened with this individuals in regard to that place is irrelevant to this situation because it does not address the fact that he was not the person that created this; it was the government that did by giving this parcel of land to both this man and this organisation for developmental purposes. So, I would suggest that you refrain from making such accusations in the future and, if something like that happens again, like the last time that you said that this supposedly happened, then, do the right thing and tell it to the authorities as they know what to do with something like that; do not put it on this commenting section.

    And secondly, how can he “brag” about these charges? The charges that both he and his oragnisation are serious. And, just so you know, these charges are being made by people who are squatting on that parcel of land, which deprives them of being in the position to make such accusations because they are not legitimate land owners and therefore have no such right to make them. Now, if this was a case wherein this situation was indeed provoked by both Mr. Petillo and his organisation, then, I could understand the outrage that are coming from those who are on the side of those individuals that are supposedly threatened by these people. But, this is not the case and both you and those who are standing with these squatters need to stop thinking that it is.

    To “Disgusted!”

    You’ve crossed the line if, by “this !@$#%ng #@$#ard and all his chancy accomplices”, you mean Mr. Petillo and his organisation. I have two reasons for saying this. The first reason that I have for saying this is because your comments do not recognise the fact that the government was the entity that created this situation by allotting that parcel of land to Mr. Petillo and his organisation to develop. I mean, would this situation even be in existence if the government did not do this? I would think that it would be very unlikely otherwise. And the second reason that I have for saying this is because you’re implying that violent measures must be taken against a group of individuals that are doing something that they were legally enabled to do by the government and that is only going to add to the already tense atmosphere that this situation has created and any right-thinking person that is concerned about this would look at your comment as something that should be taken seriously by those involved and it might be so that, if you were to express this opinion in real life and express it loudly enough, the authorities might end up looking at you for you might be saying. So, please, express yourself in such a way that it doesn’t contribute to a further escalation of this, because, in the end, if this goes beyond the point at which it is currently at, then, no one is going to win from this because it probably will get out of hand.

  12. spanglish says:

    I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND THIS NIGEL PETILLO, MOST OF HIS FOLLOWERS ALREADY OWN LAND AND LOTS OF LAND, SAY FOR EXAMPLE WHY THE HECK THIS WOMAN DIANNE FINNEGAN WANT WITH MORE LAND, SHE HAS A LOT OF OF LAND IN HER NAME IN BELIZE CITY, THEY LIVE IN A MANSION, WHY THE HECK SHE WANTS MORE LAND???
    THEY ARE JUST CHANCEY PEOPLE, AND GUESS WHAT FOR THAT SAME REASON UDP WILL LOSE THE NEXT ELECTION, BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE DIANNE FINNEGAN AND HER FAMOUS ……… HUSBAND HON FINNEGAN ALREADY HAVE AND WANTS MORE.
    COMMON NIGEL PETILLO YOU HAVE AN AGENDA BEHIND WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BUT GUESS WHAT WHEN YOU DO EVIL TO OTHERS EVIL FOLLOW YOU, BECAUSE YOU KNOW DAMM WELL THAT MOST OF YOUR FOLLOWERS ALREADY HAVE LAND OK, THIS IS A INJUSTICE BEING DONE TO THE LESS FORTUNATE PEOPLE.

  13. Grant says:

    The term ‘squatters’ says it all, they have no right to the land, and if they are illegaly in the country, then why does the police or immigration not move them out of the way, and back over the border if necessary ?

    Belize land should be for Belizeans first and foremost, not foreign law breakers.

    I write this as a legally naturalised citizen.

  14. leah says:

    honestly , I want to see one of you stand up and claim land for others. hah bet noone can’t. .. ever wonder want would happen to all that land.. good job Nigel.. you will not be defeated… noone has the guts to do what you did ..hah.. noone even those who claim to be working for the people .. hah .Good job Nigel..keep it up .. we are all humans and we all do mistaken.. But brother onone has that courage .. ignore the negative comments and stay with the positive ones. Good luck and be strong.. pray to God and he will protect , guide and direct.. I keep putting GOd Nigel because he is the only one that can protect and keep you..

  15. Beliceno says:

    who came up with the idea that if you don’t speak english you are not a Belizean, what about all the mestizo from Orange Walk and Corozal who have laboured all these years and the farmers and chicle cutters from El Cayo. These people have worked these soils and have practically subsidized these so call Rastas, who claim to be the only true Belizean. What have these rastas produced, Dianne Finnegan and her crew, nothing but shame and disgrace .

  16. blvnjah says:

    THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA BUT UNTIL THE POWERS TO BE MAKE THE HARD CHOICES AND STOP TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYBODY, THERE WONT BE ANY WINNERS IN THIS SITUATION.

    IT DOESNT MATTER HOW LONG YOU’VE BEEN SQUATTING ON A PIECE OF LAND IF IT ISNT YOURS LEGALLY, THEN IT CAN BE DEVELOPED AT ANYTIME FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE PEOPLE.

  17. Storm says:

    To “Beliceno”

    The problem in this case is not really a problem of ethnicity, even though there are many who seem quite intent on making it such, either by way of direct confrontation or of implication, for the purpose of causing a conflict that could eventually threaten the national security of Belize at some point in the future. Rather, the problem is that there is an issue in regard to the parcel of land that was allotted to Mr. Petillo and his organisation for developing into a planned agricultural community by the government and a bunch of squatters that happen to be on that parcel of land. Now, when I use the term “a bunch of squatters”, I do not mean to be insulting; I mean to only describe what some of the people who are involved in this are, and, as I have said many times before, it is my belief that the only way this can come to a peaceful conclusion is if:

    1.) the government does an investigation into the background of those that are squatting on that parcel of land;
    2.) the government remove those squatters that are discovered to be individuals that are not naturalised or native-born Belizeans;
    3.) the government must find an amicable solution for those that are either naturalised or native-born Belizeans.

    To “blvnjah”

    I agree with both of the sentiments that you have expressed.

  18. supporter says:

    I read all the negative comment that these ppl wrote against Mr. Petillo. Let me start off by saying to Mr. Petillo, U ARE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB!!! i wonder how many of these ppl have actually been to one of these meetings. if u have u wud see y i am such a strong supporter of Mr. Petillo and his movement. all u who criticize him i want to see u stand up and try to accomplish wat he has dun. he stands up and support and fight for the rights of the poor bzean ppl and i know dis cuz i am one of dem. who are u to sit and judge him, and anyone who knows mr petillo knows he is a down to earth person who works hard for wat the has. he is not and has never been a rich man. wat u ppl need to do is stop criticizing our ppl and bring dem down and start supporting dem. only den will we be able to move forward. Mr. Petillo i will continue to pray for u and God will give u guidance and protection. Trust in him always and u cant go wrong.

  19. To Bulba Martinez says:

    U ppl own a lot of prime land in d rivera area! Give other ppl a chance to own sumthing. unlike fighting for a piece of land out of the many that u own mr. petillo is fighting for the ppl u cant compare the 2 situations…

  20. nigel pets says:

    I didnt do this for fame or recognition it had to be done.

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