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Feb 12, 2013

BGYEA demonstration for land titles

The issue of land was also at the center of a press conference this morning in Belize City. The grassroots organization, BGYEA, says it will head to Belmopan to protest the slow delivery of land titles to residents of the Harmonyville community. Nigel Petillo has been on the frontlines and says that he has had it with the run-around. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

There will be a national demonstration at Garden Square in Belmopan on Tuesday, February twenty-sixth; that was the message coming out of a press conference this morning at the Bishop Sylvester Hall in Belize City. It has been a long time coming says Nigel Petillo of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA).

 

Nigel Petillo, Organizer, Harmonyville

Nigel Petillo

“We will be putting together a national demonstration which is high time now. We know of several communities that have been going through the same problems that we here at BGYEA, Harmonyville, have been going through. This is not a BGYEA issue or a Harmonyville issue, this is a Belizean issue. This is a national Belizean issue that we are all faced with.”

 

Flanked by representatives and other activists, Petillo says that the demonstration was inevitable and is a result of the constant run-around by the Ministry of Natural Resources in delaying processing of  land documents for some eleven hundred plots at Harmonyville.

 

Nigel Petillo

“Waiting for some of our documents took over six months, over eight months, and we are still here waiting for some documents. They misplaced over two hundred to three hundred land documents that were processed where our members were asked to bring necessary documentation such as social security copies, fifteen dollars post office stamps and other recommendation letters from BGYEA that were all sent in as a file per individual. The ministry reported to us that they had misplaced those files.  Where did it break down at the Ministry of Lands? I thought about all that and it boil down to they win a next term.”

 

Since October 2010, BGYEA has invested over half a million dollars into Harmonyville. However, on Government’s end, to date, only five titles have been issued. There are still about four hundred land documents outstanding. Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega says that the Lands Department has been available to accommodate BGYEA members, but payment has not been forthcoming.

 

Gaspar Vega

Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources

“I usually sign all the files that come to my desk, I don’t check to see if it comes from P.G. or Orange Walk or Harmonyville or wherever it comes. As far as I know, once they pay for their land, everyone is getting their titles. In Harmonyville, we gave them special attention because they were a big group, but we even opened our offices on Saturdays for them. I am confused when you said title because I don’t know if there are so many people that have paid for their land and haven’t received title. I know that I had signed about two or three weeks ago a bunch of leases for them.”

 

Nigel Petillo

“Now that some of us did acquire our purchase price letters, we are finding it very hard and frustrating to make our payments at the land’s department. They are saying that our name is not in the system; they are saying they can’t make connections yet because the system is not working. Yet we hear of prominent individuals in this country who have the financial backative, they are getting their documents out on a timely basis.”

 

And so BGYEA along with other activists, including Samiyyah Andrewin of Belize Unboxed, called for public support for the demonstration.

 

Samiyyah Andrewin, Belize Unboxed

Samiyyah Andrewin

“I think the way we need to deal with this on a broader level is that every single land transaction, every single piece of title to be public knowledge. So there needs to be documented somewhere—not just somewhere behind the doors of the lands department—it needs to be public accessible; public knowledge every issue of land. How is it that they are selling land on our behalf—because it is our land, it is Belizean land—they are selling your land and they are not even telling you how much they are selling it for?”

 

The demonstration, Petillo says, will allow the participants to highlight their discontent with the slow process of a piece of the jewel. Duane Moody for News Five.

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7 Responses for “BGYEA demonstration for land titles”

  1. RedBwai says:

    The minister stated “..I usually sign all the files that come to my desk, I don’t check to see if it comes from P.G. or Orange Walk or Harmonyville or wherever it comes..” he confesses with his own mouth that he isnt doing the job that the Belizean people have out him there and are paying him to do!..I feel the pain of these people with their land concerns…i too have gone thru the policial red tape, the run around and insistent foot dragging at the lands department. Jus recently i saw an infomercial on local tv showing how up to date and state of the art the lands department in Belmopan has become..how fast land transactions are now belign processed, how many backlogged transactions where processed, how efficient the lands department has become, how technologially advance in such a way that all the maps are digitally computerized in the system instead of the old paper layout…but yet they still delay the process..they claim documents go missing..this and that…but its all political…they are spiting the people who want a piece of land to build. In 2008 i went through the entire procedure…i went to go see our area representative requesting a letter in order to apply for a piece of land…i was charged $300 to facilitate this letter…i was allotted a parcel of land and the accompanying letter to take to the lands department in Belize City…i got my $5 stamp..went to lands department, filled out the application for this piece of land which required sum personal information…they said they will forward my paper work to Belmopan and in 8 weeks time i should have get my lease in the mail..i waited and waited for months..nothing came..i went to check the lands department where i found out they lost my paper work and that they required me to repeat the entire procedure to reapply…i made them kno i wont go thru dat again…the person at the office said give he a couple days to try and find my paper work…within a week she called me and said she found it…only that i needed to have the parcel of land appraised first before my paper work can be processed..they scheduled a date an came to do the appraisal…now thinking my application has gone thru to belmopan..i waited and waited a few more months..nothing..only to hear the area representative is taking back the parcel of land i was to be issued and trying to shove a worthless in the middle of no where piece of land that no one wanted because of the area…2013 now and still havent hears squat from lands…i give up..i will jus purchase a private piece of land…too much hassle trying to get a piece of land from the government…im still out my $300 too…which isnt refundable…

  2. Bear says:

    The problem is not with Vega or the Lands Department, it’s with PM Barrow who put the most corrupt politician in charge of those things. Man for man, MNR is the most crooked ministry in the country, and that’s quite an accomplishment!

  3. Buju says:

    I applaud Nigel Petillo but people who know him knows if you try to help him or work with him in any way shape or form he will then start demanding you.

    And nothing worse than wen someone foolish is trying to put a wap on you and u know better lol

    I personally wouldn’t join petillo in a demonstration

  4. fureal says:

    Petillo is a waste of time. From the beginning I was not in support of his actions. Play with puppy eh turn round and lick you.

  5. New _Soul says:

    Buju & Fureal,

    Nigel Petillo and the members of BGYEA are fighting not just for land for themselves, but for the upliftment of grassroot youths through agriculture.

    Were you two engaged in fighting some even more noble cause before you sat down behind aliases and began casting aspersions on this man’s character?

    This man is of greater nobility than most crabs will likely ever understand.

    Please, for the sake of our beloved Belize, #evolve.

  6. Belize says:

    comes on guys are you seroius wat have you been tryn to do for anyone the man didint just go grab land fi himself he called on all a unu and this is the way u gonna talk bout him and degrade him Belizean like unu that some of the real problem you dnt have the ….. that petillo have and here you are talkn !@#$ bout him. how the can u seh he is a waste of time cnt believe unu u guys bare just haters dats all unu jealous of his strenght just say sometging dat u did dat help so much people like he did !@#$% haters.

  7. ProudBelizean says:

    fureal is an ass!!!!….. Bzeans fight down each other too much. What has petillo actually done wrong here? Lets see… he is fighting for the rights of poor Bzean ppl who are over the age of 18 and have never own a piece of land in the country in which they were born. He is demanding that the govt (who the people elected and are paying to serve their best interest and the best interest of Belize). He is demanding that they do their jobs and serve the lower class people of Belize to own a piece of the land in which they were born. i see him as a true Belizean patriot and hero. I personally admire his courage and determination.

    Is it ok for the Minister of lands to publicly state that he and his family are not normal Belizeans?… as a result, they can get huge parcels of land for $1.10 per acre? Is it okay for foreigners, including Guatemalans, to squat on huge parcels of land and eventually own it practically for free…..then they rent it or sell it back to Belizeans…..if were lucky. smh….sad but true. Wake up bzeans! Were all aware of these things yet some a lot of us sit back, do nothing and complain about and fight down the ones who are standing up…..

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