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Jan 23, 2020

Lands Minister on Turneffe Land Trust Agreement

As we reported on Wednesday, the Turneffe Atoll Trust has acquired the remaining seventeen thousand acres of land within the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. This is in the form of an agreement signed with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration for which the land will be set aside for conservation under the ‘Turneffe Land Trust.’  Today, Minister of Lands Hugo Patt told News Five, via telephone, that what has been done is similar to what happened with Programme for Belize. While he says that money was given to the government for the property, he maintains that the land will now be in a trust and protected for conservation purposes.


On the Phone: Hugo Patt, Minister of Natural Resources

“Nothing was given to anybody. This is a similar setting as what happen with Programme for Belize where the people would buy the land. This would then be turned into a trust for the people and country of Belize. This then becomes part of the national protected areas system of the country of Belize. We are not giving out anything to anybody.”


Duane Moody

“You said that the land was sold to them? For what amount?”


On the Phone: Hugo Patt

“That, I don’t have the specifications. The land was not sold to them. If you understand how the setting of the Programme for Belize works and the northern biological corridor, they paid for this land, but this goes into a trust for the people of Belize. So really we are not giving out any piece of land to any particular private entity. This comes back to the people of Belize. The only difference is there is legal documentation to say that this seventeen thousand acres of land will be there for conservation purposes.  As far as we know, we weren’t informed that we needed any approval from them. As I am indicating this is not a private sale; this is not as if the Government of Belize is selling a piece of land to John or to Jake or to Jacob; this is going into a trust for the people of Belize.  I don’t think that we have done anything in secret. There was consultation done with the Ministry of Fisheries so both C.E.O.s were liaising in terms of coming up with this agreement so I don’t think there was any secrecy about this.”

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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