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Jun 8, 2022

Portion of Isidoro Beaton Stadium’s Compound Transferred to Private Company under Former Administration

Former Mayor Khalid Belisle is tonight defending a decision made by the Belmopan City Council to sell a portion of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium’s land to a private company owned by a well known U.D.P. supporter in Belmopan. On Tuesday, Area Representative for Belmopan, Oscar Mira,  published several documents to his Facebook page which verifies the size of land that was transferred, the date which it was done and the value of the transaction. Since the publication of those documents, many Belmopan residents have been up in arms on social media.  Well, today News Five’s Paul Lopez spoke with both the Area Representative and the former Mayor to learn more about this transaction. Here is that report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Belmopan City Council, under the leadership of former UDP Mayor Khalid Belisle, gave up a portion of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium’s compound to a construction company in Belmopan. The portion of land that was transferred to the company was designated for the construction of a parking lot at the stadium. Details of the transaction were recently made public by Belmopan Area Representative Oscar Mira.


Oscar Mira

Oscar Mira, Area Representative, City of Belmopan

“We had noticed that some work was being done on what we consider to be the parking lot for Isidoro Beaton Stadium. I reached out to the business man who I believe had interest in it. He said no, I hadn’t gotten anything yet, but yes indeed I was interested and it was offered to me. I had a very long conversation telling him that it was not right, that it was a part of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium and it should remain as a part of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. However a few months ago we noticed and um as soon as the first container went on the site, I got so many calls from concerned citizens saying Mr. Mira you know they sold a piece of the Isidoro because a container is going up. I made a call again and this time the person removed the container. So I thought it is going to be ok. So, I continued doing some investigation. However the last Friday, last Friday at the House meeting I got so many calls and messages saying something are happening at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, a house is going there, activity is happening and I believe that it has been sold.”

Through the Lands Department, Mira uncovered transfer papers dated February seventeenth, 2020, only weeks before the municipal elections. According to the documents, the council transferred just over half acre of the stadium’s property to Lem Construction Ltd., a company that is owned by a well-known affiliate of the UDP. Former Mayor Belisle confirmed the transaction with News Five via telephone, explaining that the transfer was made in lieu of cash for work the company did for the council.


On the phone: Khalid Belisle

On the phone: Khalid Belisle, Former Mayor, City of Belmopan

“You would need to go back a few years to when I first came to office at the Belmopan City Council. We had just completed the Ring Road rehabilitation project. What had transpired during that project was when the shoulders of the Ring Road was scraped away to make way for the pedestrian pass and a bicycle pass on opposite side. The material taken from there was actually dumped on that vacant space, east of the fenced in stadium. And, that is what I met when I got there. And it remained that way until some time. Of course during the course of our administration, we weren’t sitting around on our hands. We were very aggressive in terms of trying to have infrastructural development pushed in Belmopan which means we reached out to various contractors to do work on behalf of the city. One of those contractors had approached us in terms of looking at that land and expressed the interest in actually having the parking lot cleared off in terms of hauling off all that material that was there, and um having us start the process of installing a proper parking lot there. Which is basically the extent of the work that had been done up to now, as you can see, at that location this very day. Consequently having had that work done and COVID striking us in my final year, of course the funds weren’t there to cover a lot of the work that we had contracted to be done on behalf of the city and that very same contractor came back to the council and suggested a land in lieu of payment option, considering the Council’s then financial circumstances. And, after looking at it and hearing out the proposal, that’s what we deiced to go with.”


Mira expressed how deeply disturbed he is by the transaction, referring to it as unethical, while committing to recover the land.


Oscar Mira, Area Representative, City of Belmopan

“I find this to be disturbing. I find this to be very unethical. Perhaps legally he could have done it, but as part of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, as part of the stadium we call Belmopan stadium in Belmopan, I cannot see how a Mayor would sell that piece of property to an individual. I cannot see it. We find it very disturbing that a part of Isidoro Beaton Stadium, one of the two stadiums that are internationally accredited in the county, that something like this would happen. I join the rest of the community of Belmopan, and the rest of the City of Belmopan, and the football community in saying that we will not tolerate it. We will do all we can to recover it. I am sure it is going to cost us a lot of money to recover it. But, we are going to make sure we get back this piece of land to Belize on a whole and more to the Belmopan citizens.”


When we asked Belisle about the backlash he is receiving as a result of this transaction, he told us that he finds it hard to apologize for pushing development in the City of Belmopan during his tenure at the council.


Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.


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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