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Jan 10, 2008

Titles handed out for Belama Phase Four

Story PictureThe transfer of resources continued this afternoon in Belize City’s Freetown division where instead of cash, it was land being delivered. News Five’s Kendra Griffith was on hand for the now familiar process.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
Minister of Natural Resources Florencio Marin and his staff had a whole lotta signing to do this afternoon as they gave out titles to over a hundred lots in Belama Phase Four. According to Freetown Area Representative, Francis Fonseca, today was a milestone for the project which began under former area rep., Jorge Espat.

Francis Fonseca, Area Rep., Freetown
“They are getting titles today and the hope is that as we move forward with the project we will be able to build houses, help people build houses. Of course, people will be able to, with their title, go to banks, credit unions and get their own financing to build their homes. So it’s been a real dream of mine, a commitment I made to the people when I became the area representative to pick up where the former representative had left off and to complete the project. So we are well underway to completing the project and I am very, very please that we are able to give out the titles today. … People applied based on a land application form that we agreed to with the Ministry of Natural Resources and then it was basically on a first come, first serve basis.”

The thirty-eight acre phase four area was reclaimed by contractor Bill Lindo. And although residents received their ownership paper today, not all lots are ready for building. Lindo says there is still some work left to be done and it still needs a couple more weeks for the water-logged fill to dry out.

Bill Lindo, Contractor
“Hopefully if God is on my side the weather, the dredging has about one couple more days to one week to finish, but the problem is not that, it’s the roads. We putting in these gravel roads, but the weather has not been cooperating with us, but hopefully if it stays like how it is today, within two to three weeks we will be finished. By the end of this month it should be finished, then I will be happy.”

Kendra Griffith
“When you say that it will be finished in the next couple of weeks, it’s all thirty-eight acres?”

Bill Lindo
“Yes, all thirty-eight acres including streets, drains and culverts, because we are digging drains and putting in culverts that people land when it rains doesn’t have any water and the street is not broken up. We are making sure that is done. And in February the utilities have said they will start putting in proper light and water.”

Tanya Vasquez, Received Land Title
“I am nineteen year old currently attending St. John’s sixth form and you know at a young age like this it’s pretty good to, it’s a very good opportunity.”

And while all the recipients are glad to have a piece of land, about twenty-one of them are especially happy because they had been squatting in the area before it had any amenities.

Osvaldo Zetina, Receive Land Title
“I have been living here for bout three years now.”

Kendra Griffith
“And you are getting your title today?”

Osvaldo Zetina
“Well, Early this morning they called me. They notified me to come because I will supposed to get my title today. But they haven’t called my name yet so I am just waiting.”

“Before when they just started was kinda rough because we had a lot of water and we had to build our little bridge to reach home, but now it’s a little better.”

Kendra Griffith
“You’re hoping it will get better?”

Osvaldo Zetina
“Well, I’m hoping it will get better, because up to now I can’t walk on dry land to reach at home; I still have to use my little bridge. So hopefully when they get through I will have my street passing right in front of my house.”

And now that their titles are in hand, all that’s left is for the landowners to pay for their purchase.

Francis Fonseca
“The total purchase price of the lot is twelve hundred dollars. People pay two hundred dollars within three months of getting title, they pay two hundred dollars and then they have three years in which to pay off the remaining one thousand dollars. It’s a very fair, very reasonable formula that the Ministry of Natural Resources has worked out.”

The lots measure one hundred by ninety feet. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

And as for those residents in Belama Phase Three who complain of flooding that they feel is caused by the project, Lindo maintains that their dilemma has nothing to do with the phase four initiative and that flooding will continue until their lands are properly raised. He says the phase four area was filled thirty inches above sea level and residents there will have no problem with high water.

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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