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Jan 11, 2021

Former Lands Minister Responds to Land Scam Scandal

Hugo Patt

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde detailed a massive land scam that had been festering for several years. In his statement by minister’s address, Hyde named former Minister of Works Rene Montero and former Works C.E.O. Errol Gentle for allegedly gobbling up huge tracks of lands in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area.  Hyde also revealed that the then U.D.P. government had paid one, Barbara Harris, six million, sixty-seven thousand dollars for twenty-six acres of mangroves land in the Belama area. Instead of issuing the lands to deserving folks, the then U.D.P. government sold the parcel of land to Roosevelt Blades and a former U.D.P. senator for a paltry sum.  Hyde revealed details of the alleged scam while the former Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt, sat and listened.  He got the opportunity to respond during the adjournment. According to Patt, what was done was not corrupted. Here is how he explained it.

 

Hugo Patt, Area Rep., Corozal North

“In the case, the twenty six acres that we purchased, that the government purchases from Miss Barbara Harris it was a land that was indentified and it was offered to the constituency of Collet. A designed was made, a plan was presented of some one hundred and twenty, one hundred and thirty house lots and these were to be issued to single mothers. These were to be issued to youths. These were to be issued to couples who were either renting or living with a family member. When we started to identified these people, it was very close to the election and it was these same people that came to us and indicated to us that look. They have a genuine concerns, one is that election was so close and secondly they fear that if the election went away and the now government came in government that these lands would be taken away. So it was on the basis of that and realizing that it would take some time, a couple of days to process the applications that a majority of these people came to us and told us, look we don’t know if we will be able to pay for these lands within the land that is left. It was on the basis of that that actually an idea was explored as to how it is we can put these lands in trust for the people of Collet. It was never meant member for us to get six million from Belizean tax payers’ money and actually benefit somebody. It was never meant for us to take that six million dollars to somebody to Mister Blades for twenty six thousand and it is not twenty six thousand as far as I recall, it would have been fifty eight thousand.  And I want to bring it clear Madam Speaker because the way in which the narrative was presented it was presented in such a way that it seem that everything we did was a scheme, that it was corrupt. And that was never the case.”


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