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Jun 16, 2022

Land Title Duplications are Costing Government

Cordel Hyde

Belizeans are visiting the Lands Department daily to file complaints over the duplication of land titles, according to Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde. Hyde says many of these complainants are taking the Government of Belize to court. The duplication of land titles occurs when two or more persons were issued titles to the same piece of land. Hyde says there are also cases at the Lands Department in which land owners are claiming that the Government of Belize acquired portions of their properties without compensating them. And, while Hyde contends that these are all the doings of past administrations, these settlements are costing the Briceño Administration significant sums of money. Hyde told us about a recent settlement in which G.O.B. paid out over five hundred thousand dollars to the grandchild of a deceased claimant.


Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources

“That is ongoing. That takes up a lot of our time at the ministry, a lot of our time to wrestle with these cases, because almost every day someone is coming out the woodwork. We just settled a case the other day that was fifty years old. Fifty years ago, like in 1972, the then government acquired a piece of land from a lady who is now deceased from the Ladyville area to push through a road. Her family has spent all those decades trying to get compensation. They never did. We finally settled with a grandchild a few weeks ago and that grandchild is probably sixty. So, cases keep coming and it is scary the amount of millions people are demanding from us an in fact right now the government is engaged in trying to look critically at the law to see how we can amended it to protect the government from times when we make a simple mistake and not have to pay market value for that. So, it is lots of millions.   I tell the story all the time from this case down south where someone got a hundred and seventy two acres. The government really didn’t have, like a hundred and thirty of that was not in government’s power to let. They gave them the land. They probably paid like fifty-six thousand for that, even though they valued it at a hundred thousand at the time. They paid fifty-six because they had done some work for the government. It turns out the land wasn’t for the government. They are suing the government for seventeen million dollars. So we have to be fighting that.”

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