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May 24, 2023

The “Pint” in Placencia: Will G.O.B. Reclaim for Public Purpose?

Cordel Hyde

The southernmost tip of Placencia has been privately owned for decades, but residents, as well as visitors, have been enjoying the beach as it is a favourite spot to recreate. But the new owners are now building a fence and locking off the area from the public.  It doesn’t sit well with residents of the peninsula and their village council who had applied for prescription years ago. That would have allowed the council the ability to get a title for the area which is used by almost everyone to access the beach, since there was no development by the owners. But the application was rejected by the previous administration and it is now in the hands of the new administration. Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde says that while they have met with the village council on several occasions, it is an issue that could have been resolved years ago. The question now is how much will this cost taxpayers if G.O.B. chooses to reclaim this land? Here’s what Minister Hyde had to say:


Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources

“If they had approved that and the village council had gotten that prescriptive application approved, then we would have gotten that thing free of cost because the truth of the matter is the village council, the residents, visitors, everybody has been using that point for a very, very long time, even though the area, the land has been private property for even longer. You are talking about mussi a hundred years or thereabouts; so it is private property for that long, but the village council and the residents have been using that for a long time, for over twelve years. And if you are occupying private property for ten years, uninterrupted, no one comes to you and says this is my property, no one issued a letter, no one said anything, then you can apply for that. You can apply by prescription and you can get the title for that. So that could have cost us not a dollar – six, seven years ago. Unfortunately, the old owners sold the land to some new owners and the new owners are establishing their ownership, their occupation. And [so], now the problem. So we’ve met with them, we’ve committed to help. In fact, our legal counsel has actually been in touch with the new owners’ legal counsel to see how we can amicably settle it. How we can work out some kind of arrangement where that particular piece of the Jewel, that particular crown Jewel will be restored to the residents and visitors alike because that’s an absolutely beautiful piece, an absolutely needed piece of property.”



“At what cost though?”


Cordel Hyde

“That’s the challenge; that is the challenge and that’s why we moving very slowly on it and not moving too fast and getting ahead of ourselves. That’s why we have our legal people speaking to their legal people and try to figure exactly what the cost of that will be because if you take someone’s private property, then you have to compensate them. And you have to promptly compensate them and justly compensate them. And so, we have to make sure that we are moving smartly. I think those folks bought that land, the entirety of it, for a little over a million dollars. We have to go through a process; we have to see first of all if these persons are willing to sell. If they are willing to sell, at what price they will sell. And then the chief evaluator for the government and for the people of Belize will then have to put a value on that so that we can negotiate a price. But we have to be reasonable, we have to be realistic because the truth of the matter is, we are not overflowing with money like that. But it is a valuable piece of the Jewel.”



“And if they are not willing to sell, what then?”


Cordel Hyde

“Let’s hope that they are willing to sell. If they are not willing to sell, then as I said we can still look at it because it is for a public purpose. Government can acquire property for a public purpose.”

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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