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Jan 25, 2010

Govt. threatens landowner with imprisonment despite injunction

land - samuel bruceA land dispute in Cayo is causing an uproar among residents.  On one side is Samuel Bruce, a activist who has been involved in the community policing program and on the other side is the government of Belize.  In fact, Bruce is a Zone-4 Captain, and Police Special Constable.  In 2008, the Cayo resident began development on a parcel of land he owns.  He intended to build a community park with swimming pools, and other activities for our youth and families; all in order to curb the crime situation.  He was shocked when he read a government gazette in which that same parcel of land was being appropriated by the government to give to a privately owned institution, Mount Carmel School. Bruce took the case to the court since he felt his rights were being violated and got an injunction in the Supreme Court which prevented the government from taking over the land.  Bruce told News Five via phone today that he was in the process of clearing the land for the proposed park, when he and his workers were threatened with arrest if he didn’t leave his own property.  That happened today and the case goes back to court on Tuesday. Appearing on behalf of Bruce is the former Prime Minister, Said Musa who is now back in private practice.

Via Phone: Samuel Bruce, Fighting to Keep Land

“On Friday twenty-second, we noticed that inspector Mai was driving around the property and then he was driving past the minister’s house, Minister Erwin Contreras. Then later he shows up at the work site asking me why am I developing the land? Why are we working on the land? I explained that it’s my land and we’re working on it to prepare for the park. Then we noticed right behind Inspector Mai on his motorcycle, we noticed Minster Erwin Contreras’ vehicle, a white Mitsubishi and then right behind that we noticed a pickup for the Ministry of Natural Resources along with the people from the transport Benque Area. Then the people from the Ministry of Natural Resources, his name is Gustavo Bautista, a land inspector, he hands me some documents, one being a letter with no reference number dated April twenty-seventh 2009 and a signature at the bottom that says administrator but no name. This letter I was told when I was showed a copy of it in April 09 that the letter was questionable and it wasn’t legal. Anyway, I explained to the lands officer and to Inspector Mai that we have the order from the Supreme Court that did not restrict me from being on my land. I told him that on the tenth of December there was a copy that was delivered and received by the Benque Police so why is he harassing me? And then he ordered us to stop or he was going to arrest us. Then we were totally stunned with this because an order from the Supreme Court was not being respected.”

Bruce says that the value of the property is one point two million dollars.

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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9 Responses for “Govt. threatens landowner with imprisonment despite injunction”

  1. Albert says:

    This type of continual abuse needs to be stopped one way or another.

  2. Isiah says:

    You should build your your park on the reef; I bet they wouldn’t mess with you.

  3. cindy says:

    This is what politicians do. its not a strange case i mean look at us now. btl and smart something that is beneficiary too us but not the government. why are we all depending on colors? there have been many cases where lands of people are being taken away but they cant go to court to fight there case. they are scared of fighting the government. it is so sad that we the people elect these people and they are the same one to fight us back. Belizean when are we all going to stand up? when we are all owned by foreign countries?//

  4. Alice says:

    I would first like to know how this gentleman obtained this land in the first place. Besides, if it is for educational purposes, why doesn’t he contribute even more for the development of our youths.

  5. CEO says:

    This one smells like political crap! Let me quess: he a supporter of the PUP and the current government is UDP. Or is it that he was granted the land by the previous government and this government thinks it was not done correctly. Am I wrong?

    I had confidence that this current government would have broken this long standing tradision…Do they realize they were swept into power because of all the previous mess?

    We are all Belizeans red or blue and should be treated this way.

  6. Sofia says:

    Both ideas are excellent. Having a park for the youth is great. Building a school for the youth is great. Let us see beyond the politics and make sure that the youth get what is most important or beneficiary of both.

  7. ian says:

    Many of us Belizeans says we are a free country but the truth is that we are living in a communist country. This is a simple example along with many other. Let me just mention a few things that we did not have any words in saying. The Challio dam did we have a chance to vote for it, the selling of our Electrical and water were we involved in it, taking away our lands and selling it to foreigners is still going on. Police brutality, the government do what they want and forget about the peple who put them there. We are not free we are being abused every single day by our government. We have right to own a piece of land but if you are PUP and UDP wins you will loose your land or vise versa.

  8. maya says:

    The issue here is:

    This kind of corrupt abuse of power must be stopped, These Minister’s and police need to remember they work for the people! They are not above the Rule of Law, the ones that break or disrespect the law of the land need to be put in jail, just like anyone else.

    We Belizean need to open our eyes, protest, take them to court, and hold the violator’s accountable, we are paying them to abuse us.


  9. maya says:

    This issue here is:

    This kind of abuse of power must be stopped.
    These Minister’s and police need to remember they work for the people!
    They are not above the law, the ones that break or disrespect the law of the land must be held accountable just like anyone else.We Belizeans need to open our eyes, we are paying them to abuse us?


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