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Mar 18, 2011

No more brawls at Progresso School Construction site

On Tuesday we broke the story that pandemonium erupted at a Progresso school under construction. A family who is squatting on a piece of land where the Seventh Day School is being built got into a brawl with the workers over an access road. The badly needed building is being funded by US missionaries; who are now in the country. News Five’s Delahnie Bain headed north today and found out that cooler heads have prevailed among the warring parties.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The construction of new Progresso Seven Day Adventist school was at risk following a brawl on Monday between the workers and a family that lives behind the property. But the group of missionaries that arrived from California has decided to keep building since there have not been any further interference.

Lynden Kruse, Rep., Monterrey Bay Academy SDA High School

Lynden Kruse

“There have not, it’s been very good working conditions here.”

Delahnie Bain

“And so you’ve decided to stay on with this project.”

Lynden Kruse

“We have. We’re very thankful for the participation we’ve been having, the security and the peaceful environment. We have local contractors brining us materials, selling us the things that we need, we’re getting what we need sometimes at the last minute because everything’s in a rush but it’s going well.”

Today we met, Bernadette Westby, whose family is at the center of the dispute and she says she’s not looking for a fight, but wants to keep her access to the main road.

Bernadette Westby

“Building the school is not a problem, my issue right now is the problem because I need my alley way option to go out and that is the only way I have. I talked to them and the teacher came before they start to dig the alleyway and she talk to me and I tell her I can’t give her the alley way because we need it because without that how we will come out? We are in the middle of everybody. She insist and one day she bring the pastors and she came and bring Mr. Cawich and we tell them we can’t give them the alley way and Mr. Cawich bring three papers to me that were false because day before yesterday I went to Belmopan and I ker it to the Minister of Lands and the surveyor and he tell me he only send one because he send Mr. Cawich to check the place and he give him a bad estimation and I don’t know what is going on.”

Bernadette Westby

Westby also had her say on the throw down between her family and the workers on Monday. And to put it simply, she claims “they started it”.

Bernadette Westby

“That day my son had that pickup in the alleyway there and then two boys that they bring from Biscayne and some white people and so they start to dig in front of the pickup and the pickup was going down and when it was going down my daughter run from under that mango tree where we were sitting and she went and start to throw back the dirt under the pickup and when she start to throw back the dirt under the pickup one of the dark boys came and dash the dirt in her eyes and that is why the dispute start.  We are not finding problem, I don’t like the problem. But they are hollering things and things and the teacher said he will fix the Progresso people and the two boy that he bring said that they will kill we, they will burn down my house. They knock out three of my son in law’s teeth, they swell here for my daughter.”

As for the alternative access road, Westby says she doesn’t have a water connection at home and she would have a much longer walk to the seaside, carrying a canoe and her laundry. She also responded to claims that she built an outhouse to intentionally block the road.

Bernadette Westby

“When they bring the first letter, I didn’t have it there really but they tell we they are not coming to agreement until we come to agreement with the alleyway. So my bathroom was full; see where we burn out the rubbish and we cross the bathroom there. We did not do it for bad intention. I told up to the minister, try to do something about it because this is for years. I live here almost fifteen years or more. But I don’t put more I said mek they just give me my alleyway and that is not a problem. All these people they come here and sometimes they tell me things and throw phase and I’m not for that. Sometimes like today whole day I stay shut up in my house, I can’t even walk in my yard. And the minister said that if I don’t give them the alleyway then they will not give a title for my lot.”

Lionel Perez

Meanwhile, former chairman of Progresso Village, Lionel Perez, has joined the workgroup and he explained that the roadway was created when a member of the church acquired the land several years ago, but it was never registered.

Lionel Perez, Former Chairman, Progresso Village

“He said to me well, I have to open an alley way for me to come out. I said have you asked the pastor permission? He said I don’t have to ask the pastor any permission because I am the boss and I run things out here. So after a month’s time he came to me again at my house and I came around here and here were the surveyors doing this alley way. After I came in as the chairman of this village, I brought the person in charge of lands at Corozal, Mr. Gongora, and Mr. Gongora said that this alley way was just drawn on the map, it was not registered at Belmopan so automatically this had no effect.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The project is expected to be completed in two weeks.

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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2 Responses for “No more brawls at Progresso School Construction site”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    I read this story hoping I could feel sympathy for this family but nothing she said changed my views. Maybe it was a coincidence that her son’s pickup truck was parked in the disputed area but I doubt it. I have heard of washing your clothes in the river but who washes at the seaside? How far do they have to carry their canoe & water? Then she stated “And the minister said that if I don’t give them the alleyway then they will not give a title for my lot.”. Squatters do not dictate terms of ownership & as long as she has reasonable access & egress to her property that is all she is entitled to.

    Sell the pickup truck, buy a lot somewhere & get the hell out of the village, People ‘di trow phrase’ because you brought unwanted attention to the village & will make this group & every other think twice before they return to our country to do another good deed. No one wants you to stay in your bed; apologize, since they didn’t knock your son in law’s three teeth out, smile & go help in any way you can, just don’t show up with your machetes & tell us you volunteered to cut the grass.

  2. JahKid says:

    Why when people try to do good to others some people take opportunity to cause shame and distraction. If I read right I read that these people were given permission to stay in the land because they nowhere to live and now they behave so arrogant towards these Christian movement? Please tell these people to find their own land. Let them apply for a parcel of land and invite them to send thier children to the school. I know that most Adventist people are nice people, but I also know that there are some people trying to change from their old ways of life and will act in a manner that is not right to defend what is GOD’s mission. Just be nice and cool to these people and show them how God loves them even more. They are GOD’s creation but Satan also has a control on them. Forgive and forget and start anew!!! Peace and Love.

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