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Feb 10, 2014

Deputy SolGen supports San Jose Nuevo Palmar villagers

A meeting was held between the Solicitor General and a group of residents of the village of San Jose Nueva Palmar in Orange Walk. The visit came after a story we covered that close to a million dollars are unaccounted for from the sale of lands in the village by the Lands Advisory Committee.  The residents also claim that contrary to the rules and regulations governing the statutory body, elections have not been held since 1996.  The ad-hoc group, headed by village chairman, Orlando Balam, staged a press conference last Friday in which it presented some six hundred plus signatures requesting that the committee be removed and another formed. Well, it appears that their concerns have been heard and the Deputy Solicitor General, Nigel Clarke, met with them on Saturday. Balam gave News Five an update today and said that the Deputy SolGen supported the motion that the 1996 committee is not an official one.

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Orlando Balam, Chairman, San Jose Nuevo Palmar Village

Orlando Balam

“I believe what we were fighting for; I believe what we were asking the government; that is the trustee, is what was done this Saturday. We were on the right side. We were fighting for elections and the Deputy Solicitor General came and confirmed that it is the right way and right procedure; that it should have been done a long time ago. They acted, but they acted illegal in many ways, in many forms. But we always believe in everything because our villager as it is known is a unique village. So we left them the persons that were there but we never got deep into what we were supposed to do. As chairman of the village council, I am really happy—as a descendant as well—that things will come clear this time.  He explained to us in details what the document says. The document says that a vetting has to take place every two years to know if there are other descendants that could vote. So this is what we will do first. The commissioner and the solicitor general chose two village council members—myself and a village council member—two first generation descendants and two elders—the elders that are strongest to attend those meetings—to recognize if they are really descendants from the village.  We also got an explanation from the solicitor general because he heard of the monies that the villagers are asking where those monies went—we don’t have no accountability of that. He explained to the village that any inquiry after the group that will be elected; the three elders, the three elected and myself as the village—the village council has one seat—we will have to do the investigation. He will send an auditor to investigate the former lands committee from the years, 1996. Ever since the Lands Committee existed, they will investigate it and persons that had been in that time will be dealt with if there is anything found.”

 

With concurrence of the elders of the San Jose Viejo Palmar village, an election will be held to nominate persons to three spots on the Lands Advisory Committee. That election, according to Balam, will be held in about a month. 

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