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Aug 6, 2019

Three Families Expected to be Evicted From Belmopan Lands

Squatting is a perennial problem in urban cities. In Belmopan we have been following the story of a group of families who have cleared land and have made it their homes in the Maya Mopan area. One of the families has been there for more than ten years and they feel they have a right to the piece of land on which they are also farming. But the City Council says the land is designated for a road and intends to move them. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo reporting

A group of families in Belmopan are on the edge of their seat after learning that the Belmopan City Council intends to issue notices of eviction. Three families have erected houses in the Maya Mopan Area but the problem here is that their houses have been built on what is supposed to be a road. Thirty-nine-year-old Luis Catalan has been living in the area for the past three years.

 

Luis Catalan, Resident  [Translated]

Luis Catalan

“These lands were here abandoned, we came and we constructed, thinking that one day the Government would give us so that we can continue living. I didn’t think of any road because I thought they would find another way for the people to get out, like small alleys. This was bush. It was not clean like how we have it right now. It was not clean. It was very ugly, huge bushes, huge trees. It was not as beautiful as it is right now, well kept and maintained.”

 

Catalan is joined by forty-three-year-old Juventino Linares. He says he has been maintaining the area for more than a decade.

 

Juventino Linares

Juventino Linares, Resident

“Big big forest here. We plant corn all here with other friends and then we tried to make a little room. We clean, not only this but the whole thing. This was a jungle.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“So you cleared the entire area?”

 

Juventino Linares

“Yes.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you live by yourself?”

Juventino Linares

“No with my wife and daughter, they are Belizeans.”

 

But Ruben Vasquez says that the three families need to relocate and is calling on the Belmopan City Council to take decisive action. His concern is that if left, the number of families who are settling in the area will only grow.

 

Ruben Vasquez

Ruben Vasquez, Resident

“She had a lot and we do not have access to the road because people are doing house on the road. So right now she is working to try building her house. How will the trucks come in with material if we do not have any road because it is blocked up.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that f they are not removed as soon as possible that more will appear and set up houses?”

 

Ruben Vasquez

“That is what will happen. The people are just building more and more. I don’t know what the city council will do but what I know that is a road. That is the problem we have right now.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that it will get worse?”

Ruben Vasquez

“If you don’t stop them yes because from the years I have been working, when I started to clean this lot no houses were here. They just came slowly.”

 

The Belmopan City Council has not issued the notices but affected residents such as Linares are extremely worried and rightfully so.

 

Juventino Linares

“If they will move us out and since we are Belizeans, they are people here who do not have papers and they are near the creek area. They have to check that too because we are Belizeans. We have the right to own a piece of land. Yes or no? Well I will go and talk to the office too. If it has to be far, make them give me land and I can pay piece-piece of the money because I am not rich. I work hard for my money. I can pay it because every week if you put a little effort you can get what you want. My little I going to school here. She is in kinder school. It is rough. It is not easy.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you have any other place to go?”

 

Juventino Linares

 “No really.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle will issue a response on Wednesday.


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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