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May 15, 2002

Min. of Natural Resources shows off new mgmt plan

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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting any government office concerning a piece of land, you might have realised that not only do you spend a lot of time there, but by the time you get what you need, you’ve spent a significant amount of money. With that in mind, today the Ministry of Natural Resources officially revealed their Land Management Program, funded by the Interamerican Development Bank. According to Minister of Natural Resources, John Briceño, land is a vital asset that should be accessible to everyone.

John Briceno, Min. of Natural Resources

“I believe people without land are disenfranchised people, without rights, without a chance to prosper. I believe people have a right to land ownership, yes, a right to land ownership. There are certainly variables, such as land availability and market value, but in the final analysis, people should be assured that they can acquire land fully and legitimately, and that they can expect to benefit from it’s economic appreciation. It is envisioned that through the adjudication, registration and surveying activities, some twenty thousand rural parcels and five thousand urban parcels will have been declared and registered with definitive rights determined and recorded. Furthermore, through the ortho-photo activities that is planned, an additional estimated twenty-one thousand urban parcels will be brought into the register. In additional to these very tangible outputs, land administration services should be significantly improved throughout the country of Belize.”

While Minister Briceño focussed on the intent of the program, his C.E.O. was more technical. Patricia Mendoza explained to News 5 that the new technology, which has been integrated into the Ministry, is designed to make the application process quicker, cheaper, and give landowners the documents they need to secure their titles.

Patricia Mendoza, CEO, Min. of Natural Resources

“You heard mention of twenty-one thousand parcels in the urban area, but that’s really being done by ortho-photography, and using that technology to pinpoint the boundaries of the parcels, then bringing those parcels.”

Janelle Chanona

“So those were existing parcels?”

Patricia Mendoza

“Those were existing parcels. But those existing parcels, a lot of them are not in the areas that have been registered, so they are handled through the land titles unit. So once those areas can be declared and those parcels recorded, those can be brought onto what we call the register index map. So it’s really moving us much further ahead towards having better access to land, towards having secure titles, as well toward having reliable information on the land cover any other natural resources, as we call it, aspect and even infrastructure aspect of the land.”

The implementation of this program comes after a pilot project conducted between 1998 and 2001 in specific areas of the country. According to ministry officials, the total cost of the four year program will be funded by the Interamerican Development Bank, who is contributing seven million U.S. dollars, while one point eight-six million dollars is being donated by the Government of Belize.

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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