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Jan 31, 2023

Are Immediate Relatives of Rodwell Ferguson Sr. Strong-arming Farmers’ Lands in Stann Creek West?

Tensions are brewing in the Stann Creek West constituency over a swath of land that covers a hundred and twenty-five acres. The tract is divided into equal parts among five farmers. Tonight, those farmers are alleging that immediate relatives of Rodwell Ferguson, the Area Representative for Stan Creek West, are attempting to force them off the lands. There are videos, as well as documentation, that have been presented to News Five of run-ins between the farmers and at least one of the two immediate relatives of Ferguson. In one instance, a farmer was arrested following reports of illegal logging. But, there is also a political perspective to consider, because one of the farmers is Aldon Tasher, a businessman vying to become the U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Stann Creek West. His son and his wife are also among the complainants. Tasher’s family makes up three of the five farmers. They called a press conference in Belmopan where they sought to ventilate their concerns. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Five Pomona Village residents are claiming that immediate relatives of their Area Representative, Rodwell Ferguson, are trying to strong arm their lands along the Old Mullings River Road in the Stann Creek District. These five individual says that they are farmers, each owning twenty five acres of land which they began developing two years ago. One of the complainants who showed up to Belmopan this morning along three of the other land owners, including his wife and son, is Aldon Tasher Senior. Tasher is also a business man who is vying to become the U.D.P. Standard Bearer of Stann Creek West.


Aldon Tasher Sr.

Aldon Tasher Sr., Stann Creek West Resident

“We got a permission to survey in the previous administration, however there was the pandemic that came in and everything was very slow in the country, but due to the pandemic I could not survey the land at that time. So, the permission to survey was expired. But in this new administration I renewed the permission to survey, we went ahead and we surveyed the land. So, I just want the public to understand that is what happened and that is the condition of this land. So, we surveyed the land. We authenticated the plan and everything else. We all applied for our lease and that is what we are waiting for presently our leases.”


While they wait for their leases to be approved, Tasher says that in May of 2021 he wrote to the Lennox Bradley the Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development requesting permission to build a road on the property. He showed documentation in which approval was granted for him to construct the road at his own cost. So, the road was built.


Caroline Logan

Caroline Logan, Stann Creek West Resident

“And, we were happy because we could get access to our place. So, I and the other one decided that we cannot give a lot of finance because things are hard, but we decided to help him whenever we get money and so to go through with the road. But, this entire problem started and now we are at a standstill.”


According to a police report dated November fifteenth 2021, Police Corporal Wayne Trapp and Corporal Aron Ferguson, the nephew of Rodwell Ferguson Senior received information of illegal logging operation that was occurring in the Old Mullings River Road. The report says that when they visited the area they observed a truck and trailer loaded with what appeared to be logs. The driver of that truck was Tasher’s son, Aldon Tasher Jr. This video provided to our new room shows Aldon Tasher Jr’s encounter with  PC Trapp and Corporal Ferguson on that day. Both men appeared to be in Civilian clothing, while Ferguson appeared to be carrying a shot gun.


Aldon Tasher Jr.

Aldon Tasher Jr., Stann Creek West Resident

“This black vehicle come and at the same time my brother come fih drop food fih me. I greet deh the time of the day and deh dah like yo just get F. I never like that so I jump outta the vehicle and ask what dah the problem. He said, yo sih the big boss yah. So, I ask him who dah the big boss? The man she Aron Ferguson, he dah the one who own the land.”


The police report says that Aldon Ferguson Junior and three other individuals, including two minors were detained. The two minors were released later that day. Two days later, escorted by three personnel from the Belize Forest Department, all four individuals were taken back to the Old Mullings River Road. According to the report, the men were asked if they had valid Forest Department license to harvest trees. Their response was no. But, Aldon Ferguson Sr. contends that the logs were never being trucked to sell.


Paul Lopez

“And so what were you doing with those logs that you were transporting?”


Aldon Tasher Sr.

“The logs that we were transporting are because it is in the same area, the same road. Our intention was to get the permit so we could sell the log so that we could pay for the expense on the road, which I think is normal. We could have done two things, destroy the logs, burn the logs, which didn’t make any sense to my knowledge. Once we found out the road last us months to build instead of weeks.”


Paul Lopez

“So what is the status of those logs right now If I can ask?”


Aldon Tasher Sr.

“The status of those logs they are in the possession of Rodwell Ferguson Jr. They pulled out all the logs from where they were.”


According to an official copy of a permission to remove or transport logs during closed season form from the Forest Department, Rodwell Ferguson Junior was granted permission to remove thirty assorted hardwood logs from the area on January twenty-fifth 2023. Tasher Sr. says the charges against his sons and the two other individuals were thrown out in court, but his truck is still being held. And when reporters approached Minister Ferguson on Monday to make queries about these reports, he had this to say.


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Area Representative, Stann Creek West

“Let me be very realistic. Aldon Tasher is also running for political office. He will do anything to try and destroy myself or my family, or my constituency. But, I have no fear. If you want to go and do your research you can go and do it yourself and see if there is any land grab any my children. As I am saying my son and my children are big people. They are over eighteen years old. So, whatever they do is at their own accord. But if you as the press want to go and do your research, go at the land department and do your research.”

Paul Lopez

“Why would Minister Ferguson, yesterday tell the press that this is a fully political matter, that it is motivated by politics and by those on his opposition.”


Aldon Tasher Sr.

“Sir, you are dealing with a person who is an experienced politician. This has nothing to do with politics. I am not here as a politician. I am here as a citizen of Belize, not a politician.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez


We reached out to Rodwell Ferguson senior for further comments and he told us via text, quote, “He is a big man, cannot talk for him”. We reached out to Rodwell Ferguson Jr. for comments but his phone went straight to voice mail. So, we sent him a text message requesting an interview. He has not responded, as of news time.

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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