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May 2, 2013

Bridge over troubled water? Dangriga resident claims land

There is a battle brewing in the culture capital, and it’s all about land – parcel nine ninety-one, to be more specific, located right at the foot of the main bridge in Dangriga. It’s about two hundred and forty feet long and a little over twenty feet wide, and the dispute is over who has control of it. On one side is the Dangriga Town Council, which says the land is for public use. On the other is Dangriga resident Anthony ‘Garincha’ Adderly, the famed football player, who occupies the land even though he has no title. And somewhere in the middle is the Ministry of Natural Resources, which has just informed the Town Council that it will be providing title to Adderly. It’s a mess, and a complicated one at that. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon headed to Dangriga this morning to get the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The dispute over this piece of land, stretching about two hundred and forty feet, is complicated. It started back before 2000, when Anthony Adderly got permission to construct a restaurant on a small piece of parcel 991. This post is where the land for Adderly’s project started…from here to the bridge. But that project caused a public outcry, and then Mayor Cassian Nunez was forced to stop it.

 

Cassian Nunez

Cassian Nunez, Former Mayor, Dangriga Town

“There was an outcry; the public couldn’t stand dumping bolas into that area there. So the council stepped in and put an injunction on it because the people rose up and said that they don’t want that kind of stuff. So eventually I think there was an understanding and he was compensated, I believe he was. It didn’t come through the council, it came through the ministry. I am not sure how much he got, but he was compensated.”

 

But sometime after 2008, Adderly paid the Ministry of Natural Resources a little over five thousand dollars and took control of the land again. And this time it wasn’t only that small portion, but the entire parcel 991, where Nolberto Park once stood. Mayor Gilbert Swaso says that has caused no end of problems, and he puts the blame squarely on the Ministry of Natural Resources.

 

Gilbert Swaso

Gilbert Swaso, Mayor, Dangriga Town

“Since this dispute, the property has become unsightly and it is difficult now to give Mister Adderly any notice because he does not have any legal document indicating that he owns the property. Furthermore, it will certainly in our view retard us from any progress hence the reason it is looking the way it is looking because he cannot progress, we cannot progress. So the Ministry of Natural Resources essentially is creating problems within this community.”

 

Swaso says that if the matter is not resolved and Adderly retains control, it will affect the Municipal Development Project underway, as well as the plans they have to beautify and develop that area. And it is those plans, and the cultural implications, which today inspired some degree of passion and outrage.

 

Wellington Elijio, Community Activist

Wellington Elijio

“This area is a historical area. This area was dubbed as the university of people. There were only two areas in town that were dubbed as the university of the people; right here and back-a-town. It was there were the first tent is at where our elders, men—as quick as sunset—sat there to give us historic lessons; social lessons and everything else.”

 

Gilbert Swaso

“This property is where Jones’ Warf was located. Jones’ Warf was the pier that was used by several residents who would come to unload their products from farm or fishing product to utilize the market. It was also a location where visitors from the neighboring village would also some alongside to disembark again to conduct trade and commerce between the villages and Dangriga and again with the use of the market. So again giving it to him would certainly negate that. Furthermore, on a yearly basis; that same property over on that side is where the national Garifuna council and the Garifuna people utilize that on a yearly basis particularly the nineteenth to do the landing for the Urimei, the reenactment of the settlement of the Garifuna.”

 

Wellington Elijio

“In Dangriga we are demanding, we are not asking yo know—we are not begging—we are demanding the recourse because this is public domain, this is public property. And I want the politician, whoever had done this, I want them to understand that the people of Dangriga are sick and tired of the same old, same old. We will not take this lying down and we will not take it lightly.”

 

Swaso has received official word from the Ministry of Natural Resources that Adderly will be given title to the parcel of land. But he plans to take it much further than that.

 

Anthony Adderly

Gilbert Swaso

“We are expecting the government to respect the wishes of the council, to respect the residents of Dangriga because we believe that the historic factor is important, the cultural actor is important and also respect the document that they sign for and on behalf of the country which is the Belize Municipal Development Project. I believe all those issues, any in our view, any rational thinking individual who has the people at art would certainly see that this is not a P.U.P. issue, U.D.P. issue or anything political for that matter. This is an issue that is affecting the residents of Dangriga.”

 

Wellington Elijio

“The Minister of Natural Resources had eluded a statement once that he is not an ordinary person. Now I understand what that means now because if you were an ordinary person, then you would have understood that you could not sign—or his C.E.O. that you cannot sign over a document of public domain to an individual. You must be either insane or crazy to do something like that.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

News Five tried without success to contact Anthony Adderly. We were told that he was out of his office and there was no number for him. We also tried to speak to C.E.O. in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Beverly Castillo, but we were told that she was unavailable.

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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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7 Responses for “Bridge over troubled water? Dangriga resident claims land”

  1. Bear says:

    Try insane AND crazy. And corrupt.

    Adderly is acting like a pig, and should be treated like one by the people of Dangriga — social pressure can be pretty powerful if the people unite in shunning him and everything he tries to do, don’t buy from him or sell to him or work for him, cross the street when he comes near. The city doesn’t have to lie down and accept the harm he wants to do to it. He should be treated like the plague he is.

  2. Concerned Grigalizean says:

    This is so unfortunate, Dangriga needs development and with this type of undermining we will not see it. The Ministry is setting a very bad precedent by allowing a bad minded individual such as Anthony Adderly to acquire land belonging to the Town and the People of this community. The man has no love or common sense, how can someone want to be so malicious to the very town which is his birthplace?

    This man should NOT be tolerated and the Government needs to stop pacifying these hoodlums by granting them land which belong to the people. The town is already depressed and the need for development and beautification is desperately needed. Anyone coming into town can see that Mr. Adderly has turned the riverside into a Shanti Town, such a DISGRACE!!!!!

  3. Louisville,Ky says:

    About 15 years ago, I had plans and finances in place to put a gas station in the very same location on the riverside that is now in dispute.
    At the time it was the Min. of Home Affairs vs.the Dangriga Town Board. MOHA granted the permit to import the fuel but it was the Town board that had the autonomy and authority to permit the storage and dispersal.
    I don’t know if ‘Rincha’s situation is the same but I believe to this day, that refusal to grant me the permit by the DTB was very personal and vindictive and ethnic.
    Dangriga is a funny lee place. I can speak because I born an grow deh. Sometimes the differences are social and financial but more often than not it’s tribal,(garifuna/ Kriol) with a heavy dose of crab mentality. I am prepared to bet my bottom dollar, if that property was acquired by a foreigner, nothing would have been said, at least not in public. Dah soh we ress dah Griga.
    An who bex, bex. That’s all.

  4. Small Strides says:

    Louisville, KY your statements are that of a small minded person, it doesn’t matter who wants to acquire the land, it is land for PUBLIC USE so you and your gas station and “Rincha” and his greed have NO PLACE there. The land is reserved for a park, what part of that can’t you understand? Those are prime properties that any investor would want but it should not be for sale to any private individual or company. Get real and stop trying to play the “Race Card”

  5. ramosroad masssive seh. says:

    Please Garincha! no mek d powers dat be fool u. Do wats rite as a true Garinagu unless u tek offa d odda side.

  6. RamosRoad Massive Seh says:

    Come On Rincha,stop this madness. Do The Right Thing.

  7. Stann Creek Town says:

    RomasRoad Massive Seh and Adderly, you are cut from the same cloth…you believe that everything in town belong to you. Over the past 30 years, the town has never look so bad. In stead of progress, we are going backward. I can count the number of people who really care about the beautification of Stann Creek Town. Most people here just want to sit on their butts and talk about culture capital with nothing behind it. No pride in uplifting the town. This is why it’s so easy for this loser to take position of this public domain and turn it into a shanti town. Shame on the government and shame on Anthony Adderly. It’s time to rise up and take back what belongs to all of us here in Dangriga. It’s time to chase him out of town.

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