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Jan 2, 2014

Land dispute continues despite court order

Controversy surrounding the issuance of a piece of prime land in the Belama area persists, despite an injunction from the Supreme Court on Monday to halt construction on the property.  Earlier today, the Ministry of Natural Resources, via the Lands Department, issued a release on the forfeiture of a lease granted to Bernadette Pickwoad for parcel number twenty-one twenty-seven (2127) in Caribbean Shores.  The statement seeks to clarify what the Lands and Surveys Department says was a misrepresentation of facts concerning the lot in question.  According to the department, land rent records indicate that no payment was made for the land since it was issued in 1993.  That piece of information, among others, is being disputed by the Pickwoad family.  They contend that there are records of payment made for the land.  This afternoon, custodian Bernard Pickwoad, along with attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, held a brief press conference to refute the facts presented by government.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Bernadette Pickwoad

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“We don’t dispute that my client was given a forfeiture notice in 1995.  She complied with it, there was no problem.  But we do dispute where it says that land records show that rent was owed and that she never paid it.  That is not true and we will give you all copies of the receipt that I have here that my client indeed initially did not pay any rent.  She had a misunderstanding as to if she’s paying city council tax, she felt that that is all she had to pay but then they had to explain to her that no, city council tax is different than land tax because like you’re paying a rent for a lease.  But she paid it and here is the receipt.  We will prove that it was paid and yes it was paid after all of this blew up; nonetheless, the Lands Department did take the money and Mr. Pickwoad would be able to speak to this [some] more…  Then the other thing it says is that permission to mortgage was issued in 1995 in favor of the Belize Bank and that is true.  Belize Bank has a charge on that land and because the Belize Bank has a charge on that land they have an interest which interestingly Mr. Vallejos says that on October first of last year they sent a letter to both my client and the Belize Bank, saying to them that they are being notified that this matter, they will forfeit it.  We dispute that terribly.  Mr. Pickwoad lives at that address.  We have proof that before this year, once, at least, they sent a letter to that address and it was received.  My clients have no reason to lie as to whether they received any notice or not.  But we are saying that the same way they could have found an address and issued a notice then, they could have issued a notice now.  They never got it.  But more importantly, if they even want to think that they’re lying for their own ulterior motives we can give you the letter from the Belize Bank, which the Belize Bank also is disputing with the Lands Department what they’ve done and in it the Belize Bank clearly tells them that up today, they have not found, they have not been this notice issued.”
The property, following forfeiture of the lease, has been issued to Maude Williams and Marvin Castillo Jr., the mother and son of former C.E.O. in the Ministry of Natural Resources Beverly Castillo.

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3 Responses for “Land dispute continues despite court order”

  1. Marie says:

    Despicable by former CEO-this is how she used to run the Ministry? I am a disappointed UDP and now she is running? fire her from the party like they did with Zenaida-it is the appearance that should not even arise-she should know better more than any of us. And she plays all sanctimonious all over the place but in end-just a common swindler.

  2. Rod says:

    Nothing but thieves thieves thieves am telling you this pm and gov. Is doing it openly now they don’t care weather you know or not. Get out you gun get out unu guns and show this no good thieving pm and gov. We will tolerate it no more

  3. peacemaker says:


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