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Jul 10, 2020

Georgeville Village Council Says Minister Montero Giving Out Their Land without Consultation

Around the country, land disputes are brewing in villages.  In the latest case, the Georgeville Village Council is up in arms that a green space reserved for a sporting complex has been parceled off and granted to persons who do not live in the village.  The village chairlady says this is contrary to the Village Council Act and the council is prepared to go all the way to court to save the land for residents of Georgeville in Cayo. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo with a report.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

This is Rene Montero’s 2015 manifesto and in it the U.D.P. Cayo Central Area Representative promised an indoor basketball and volleyball court in Georgeville Village. The plan was to build a sporting complex on a five acres parcel of community land situated adjacent to the football.


Joyce Hall, Chairlady, Georgeville Village

“He wanted to develop this area for sporting and that has not happened. He has been in there for twelve years and nothing has happened.”


Joyce Hall

But a lot has happened; movements in the shadows, surveyors spotted in the area and land documents being signed without the village council’s knowledge. Georgeville Chairlady Joyce Hall did some digging and what she found was upsetting. The community land designated for the sports complex has been surveyed, subdivided and reportedly issued under the directives of Montero.


Joyce Hall

“He surveyed the lands. Eighteen lots came out of it. Only four of the lots belong to villagers. The other fourteen went to somebody else outside of the community and that is where the problem is because we have young people in our community that can benefit from these lands. So why give to outsiders. He passes through here day in day out. Nothing has been done. I don’t know if he is afraid of me. I am not the big bad bull I am just fighting for my community.”


David McDougall

And the community is fighting back. Upset villagers earlier in the week gathered at the disputed land to send Montero a clear message.


David McDougall, Villager

“We want back our land for the people of Georgeville, for the sporting complex because are giving away this lot we don’t have anywhere else to go for our sporting facilities are. This is the only peace of lot that is left in the community.”


Jane McKoy

Jane McKoy, Villager

“We born and we grew here. As Creole people say, our navel string is here so it is here that we are supposed to get a piece of land that we continue, that our generation can continue but that is not happening in Georgeville not at all.   I just d wait to see who will build first. We have been here for years and year, generations died and generations come up and no piece of land. What is going on with this place.”


What’s happening in Georgeville is what has been happening and clearly continues to happen in villages across the country. Area Representatives continue to ignore the functions of the village council or the Land Committee. The Village Council Act is clear.


Joyce Hall

“Before dealing with any land in the village, the ministry responsible for lands shall consult the council and take its views into account and should the said ministry decide not to follow the advice of the council, it shall explain its reason in writing to the council before effecting that decision and provide the council further opportunities to present its case to the ministry.”


Esperanza Arriaza

Esperanza Arriaza, Secretary, Cayo DAVCO

“According to the Village Council Act as the village chairperson we are automatically are members of the land committee and I understand that she was not informed about this which they have been disrespectful to her as well as to the village council.”


The village council found out of the clandestine activities in early June. A letter was sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources, asking the minister to address the council’s concerns.


Joyce Hall

“If we don’t get a response we will go to the court. We will try and take it there. There must be something we can do to get the lands. If it is to be issued then it will be issued to people in the village. If we don’t move fast these lands will be purchased and transferred quickly. So we need the Prime Minister to real assist us with this.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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