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Jun 4, 2021

Senator Courtenay Says Leases Create “Interest in Land”

Eamon Courtenay

And to wrap up the matter, Senator Eamon Courtenay maintained that former Minister Castro didn’t have power to push that lease through.  Courtenay also responded to the concerns of employment and litigation risk that other senators raised.


Eamon Courtenay, Senator for Government Business

“Minister Castro, as he was, didn’t have power under the national lands act to enter into this transaction. But I want to say to colleagues in this senate and let me be brief on this point because everybody says it is going to court and I am sure there are going to be a lot of legal arguments. But Senator Peyrefitte, who I believe passed land law, I think he passed it. One of the things you learn in the first or second month, and Senator Pitts will help him on this, on land law, is that a lease is called an estate on land and it creates an interest in land. It creates an interest in land – calm yourself down; relax yourself. Just relax. Take wah lee chill pill. Patience. It creates an interest in land. It gives exclusive possession to the tenant. It transfers an interest from the land owner for the period of the lease to exclusively to the tenant. Don’t say yes because that is a disposal. I will tell you this Madam President. Be quiet man, be quiet. I listen to you in blissful silence. I say this and I am serious about this, Minister Castro, after the National Assembly had been dissolved, entered into this lease two days before the General Elections.   And most importantly to Senator Bishop and Smith, how much Belizeans will be employed? Where is that?  The Caribbean Court of Justice in a different context has spoken to the power of governments after Parliament has been dissolved; it is called a “caretaker government.” You continue the day-to-day ordinary affairs of the government; you do not in a smoke filled room, you do not without public disclosure – as I said on the last occasion – if this was so good for the Belizean people, two days before the election why didn’t they have it all over the place and boast to the people of Stann Creek that this is what we got for you? So great and so good. No! It was done in secret. It was done in the quiet of night. It was done without public knowledge. It was done by a minister who didn’t have the power to do it. It was done after the National Assembly had been dissolved and it was done two days before the United Democratic Party well knew they would be voted out of the party and so they hurry signed this hoping to bind the incoming administration.”

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