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Apr 8, 2014

Squatters say Minister King promised them title to the land, but he says not so

Tonight, the fate of squatters along Lake Independence Boulevard remains somewhat uncertain. The contractor has done all necessary to work around homes in his way, and residents maintain that they have nowhere to go and nowhere to turn. But there is some clarity where Lake Independence Area Representative Mark King is concerned. Since last week those residents have maintained that King promised them title to the land, even commissioning a survey late last year to facilitate that process. They took that promise seriously and with their homes threatened, have turned to King for help. But there won’t be any help from that direction – that much is crystal clear. Since last week Mark King had been evading the media and squatters, but on Monday night he granted an interview. For context, we first air comments made by King late last year in a meeting with squatters.

 

Mark King

Mark King, Area Representative, Lake Independence [File: April 4th, 2014]

“People that have land in the Gungulung Area were worried because I think most of them were wondering if we were going to kick them off their land because of the government project. Well I’m happy to tell you that is not so. Right? What we will do…I think most of you have seen a guy Mr. Marin here in the back here. He is surveying the land, and when he is done surveying the land, for you people who are on the land all I will do is give you your papers. Right? That is what I promised you before elections. And if the government moves you then they will have to move me because all of us would protest my own government. Remember when I went to protest my own City Council? They called me crazy right? But I will keep my promise to you guys. So at the end of the day all of you who live just across the creek in Gungulung…you are going to get your land title very soon.”

 

Mark King

Mark King (Courtesy Channel 7)

“For years we’ve allowed squatters in this country to just come in, take a piece of land, and then goes on national TV and says you know what, Belizeans, I’m wrong, I took your land…Belizeans I’m sorry, I know I didn’t do it the correct way but at the same time please have some sympathy on me and then try to hold the state hostage. That will not be tolerated. I always say that this is not Cuba. You don’t come here, do your own thing and then after that tell the government this is what you have to do. That doesn’t work. You don’t come and threaten the government first and then later come around back to realize that I am the one to help you as the Area Rep and then throw it all on me and the government…that doesn’t work. And in this case these people have breached their conditions of squatting. Squatters’ rights da thirty years. These people haven’t been there for two years. Some of the houses that are there are shells…literally shells with a piece of plywood here and there. What gives them the right? Just because we want to have sympathy over them? That doesn’t give them the right.”

 

 

So what happened to the man whom government would have to move if they tried to move squatters? Residents along Lake Independence Boulevard have now learned that King’s promises aren’t going anywhere. On a slightly positive note, News Five has been able to confirm that for the time being, only six homes will need to be moved, and the contractor is willing to fill around and under those homes to buy time for the residents.

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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 “Squatters say Minister King promised them title to the land, but he says not so”

  1. Georgie says:

    Da Mark King Man…da Mark Ing

  2. Greeneyes says:

    why does the media even give these squatters a voice?? i so agree with Mrk King and proud that he stand up for people like me who wants a piece of land, but is doing it right!

  3. Elgin martinez says:

    @King: You sound like an idiot.

  4. Sean Jones says:

    I hope they vote him out, Mark King is a fool. Proud of this man?? he is arrogant, racist and doesn’t care for the people. He is the same one that told them to stay there that he will find them a piece of land

  5. punkgial says:

    Even with pieces of plywood or a shell like how Mr. King described the houses but it is a home for these people that cannot afford a big and expensive house like Mr. king.

  6. marie says:

    Its about time someone said the truth-squatters can’t do that back home. They don’t even pay taxes like me for their land. What about hard work to buy a piece of land-its government and my fault they did not strive?
    I am no UDP but go deh strong King. say it like it is.

  7. Pelican says:

    The squatters are NOT RIGHT. BUT Mark fumbled this one. He TOLD them he would stand firm even against his GOVT. Talk bout “Spit in the air and it will fall in your face!” As we are on the topic why don’t we put together a team to study where the city is going. See where streets will go and ENSURE that squatting does not happen and if it does that the “Area” where streets will go (or other Public places), is not taken up by them. NOT EVEN FOR POLITICAL REASONS! LIKE FUTURE VOTERS!! Don’t think this can cost too much money. Come Mark let’s do the right thing. You are not doing too bad otherwise in your ministry, so think bout it.

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