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Feb 12, 2019

Squatters on Sandbore are Given Notice to Relocate

A group of fishermen, squatting on a small landmass in Belize’s southern waters, has been given notice to remove equipment and other structures that have been erected on Coco Solo Island.  This follows an enforcement order from the Lands Department for the Belize Coast Guard to evict the illegally settled fishermen off the island.  Earlier today, Captain Elton Bennett provided an update the removal process.


Elton Bennett

Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“The area of interest is the southern waters.  The specific island that you are asking about is what we refer to as Coco Solo Island, that’s the operation that we know.  The squatters may refer to it as Sandbore because in nature that’s exactly what it is, a sandbore or a sandbar and nothing more than that.  Since mid last year we had approached those individuals on that island and asked them to leave.  You’re squatting and continuing to develop on a sandbar.  It started off with a traditional fishing camp of which we recognized the need for fishermen to be able to camp and conduct fishing operations.  But because that fishing camp has now become permanent in its design. We went to the island and told them, “Listen, you need to move or you need to get permission from the government to continue with this operation.”  They failed to do so.  We approached the Lands Department informing them of that situation.  We have received an official enforcement order from the Lands Department of which we have sent to the lawyers of those individuals for them to cease operation at that location and to refrain from any further development of the island.  So now we are in the phase of allowing them to remove whatever equipment or investment that they’ve had on the island.”



“How long had they been stationed or living there?”


Captain Elton Bennett

“From coastguard reports, it started five years ago, as I mentioned earlier, as a small scale operation and three years ago they started to really develop the island.  And we also have to look at the environmental impact of what they are doing because they are establishing permanent structures, it impacts the way the marine life is affected out at that location.  So between three to five years is that time period that we’ve really seen occupation of that specific island.”

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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