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Jan 3, 2020

B.N.T.U. and M.O.E. Meet Over Disputed Land in Corozal

Elena Smith

Members of B.N.T.U.’s Corozal Brach and National President Senator Elena Smith met with the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Education this afternoon in Belize City. The meeting revolved around a disputed property in Corozal Town. The property in question is known as ‘teachers’ site’ and the Ministry of Education was scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new pre-school. But when word got out, the Corozal branch reacted, stating that the land is owned by teachers of the Northern Housing Co-op for many years. In response, M.O.E. said it had acquired a portion of that land after it determined that it was crown land and that the B.N.T.U. does not have a lease or a title for the land even though it has been paying taxes. According to Senator Smith, while the lease expired in 2005, the teachers’ co-op still holds the property since the co-op was never liquidated.  Smith says that C.E.O. Deborah Domingo will not take the information to the Minister for determination on the ministry’s next step. 


Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“What the branch has done today is to meet with the C.E.O. to present to her documents that they have, lease documents and other documents that they have to show that they have been maintaining the property and they have been paying taxes on the property and to see what will be the position of the ministry now that they have received these documents. The Co-op is still alive and active. It has not been liquidated so in essence the land, as we understand, still belongs to the co-op.”


Hipolito Novelo

“When I first spoke to a B.N.T.U. official I was told that the B.N.T.U. or the co-op does not have a lease or title for that particular piece of land.”


Senator Elena Smith

“Well, the lease indeed had expired but as we are aware there is process that has to happen to liquidate the co-op so then when that process happens it will be after that process that the land will then revert to government and become crown land. That has not been done. The co-op is still active and still registered. Based on that we were informed that the land even though the lease has expired is still really under the co-op because of the process it has to take and that process has not been carried through.”


Hipolito Novelo

“When did the lease expire?”


Senator Elena Smith

“In 2005 I believe but up to 2017 the branch was still paying taxes on those properties.”


Hipolito Novelo

“How is that possible in terms of paying taxes to the Corozal Town Council?”


Senator Elena Smith

“Well, the taxes were being paid to the government and not to the Corozal Town Council. That’s a question that we also posed to the C.E.O. as well. How is it that if the lease was not valid or not recognize that they were able to accept monies from the co-op to say that they were paying taxes for the property.”

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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