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Aug 17, 2012

Lands Department failing system; BGYEA granted extension

On another part of the Highway, Mile forty-one on the Western is the place called Harmonyville. In May of this year we told you how Harmonyville applicants were pressing forward to secure the titles to their land. The applicants were given three months to make their payments for their land but that never happened. Nigel Petillo, the president of the grassroots organization, BGYEA, told News Five that the central system at the Lands Department was wiped out and so far the records haven’t been fully restored. As a result, Harmonyville members who wanted to make payments for their land before the end of this month were worrying they would lose their property. But Petillo says, the department has allowed them an extension since the fault lies at Lands.


Nigel Petillo, President, BGYEA

Nigel Petillo

“As we all know the members of Harmonyville had been issued their land documents dated May twenty-fifth of this year, 2012.  That document encourages you to go in and make your payment towards yuh thousand dollars or yuh pay yuh thousand dollars up front. Either way, the document also states that there is a three month deadline so three months from May twenty-fifth will lead us to August twenty-fifth that is like next week. But it was said that if yuh nuh mek yuh payment within that date deh then that document becomes invalid and then  yuh dah have to start dah process deh all over again. However, I was able to meet with the Commissioner yesterday and he explained to us what really happened. There was a problem with the system; first of all there was a situation where the file wasn’t open yet and take about a month fi that open and after that people start go dah Lands only to find out their names not in the system and there was a deleting of the files or a corrupt in the system where some of the files were deleted away. So we had a back lash where about two to three hundred people visited this office and calling wanting to know what’s going on. However, the Commissioner assured us that between now and September they supposed to get that system up back and running. What I want to do now is to formally mention to our members of Harmonyville, if you have yuh hard copy; yuh lease or yuh purchase price letter or yuh receipt weh say yuh document is in process at Lands Department, we encourage you to visit the Lands Department with either of those documents there and ensure that yuh names get back inna the system. The commissioner also said that they will give us back that three months extension because of the fact that we neva been able to really process any of deh documents deh, suh yuh have yuh three months again fi guh back to Lands Department and get yuh payments on. It means that yuh have to pay down yuh first hundred and sixty seven dollars and then yuh have bout three years fi complete the balance of the thousand dollars.”


Andrea Polanco

“So now Nigel you said that you guys were given a three month extension; when is the deadline for that extension?”


Nigel Petillo

“Well, we nuh get anything official yet from the Government; this morning on WAVE Radio, the Commissioner and the C.E.O. responded to us by saying that we have a three months extension. I will be meeting with the government sometime today to get something in writing to say that okay, due to their error or flaws we at Harmonyville have been issued another three months.”

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4 Responses for “Lands Department failing system; BGYEA granted extension”

  1. Storm says:

    GOB has NO BACK-UP of its official records? They can be deleted from a single server?

    For $200 or less they can buy a separate harddrive to store the records in another location, and for about $10 monthly they can also store complete back-up instantly on the Internet itself.

    It seems to me that we need multiple back-ups.

    1. They are cheaper than paying people to re-enter data.

    2. They are 100% accurate.

    3. They will prevent Lands Dept. employees from being bribed to delete records or change them.

    EVERY GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD BACKS UP ITS ELECTRONIC DATA, WHY NOT OUR LANDS DEPARTMENT? I’m afraid we all know the answer. It’s more lucrative to keep it open to corruption, both human and digital. I’ll ask the DPM about it.

  2. Bear says:

    Problems like land title records that can disappear and depend on manual, human re-entry are things that will discourage investment in land until they are eliminated.

  3. Vuk says:

    One of the issues that’s standing in the way of Belize becoming an economically-developed country is the improper administration of it’s most valuable resource: land. If this situation continues, then eventually people from other, more financially-endowed countries will be hostile to the idea of investing in Belize as there will not be a way to ensure that what ever they invest in would be physically secure enough for them to get a return, and this is something that Belizeans at home or abroad should not accept.

  4. Seletar says:

    Vuk is right. We need foreigners to invest here, but who can risk their money when their investment can never be secure with phantom land titles? All around us foreigners are investing in Central America, but even though we are “English speaking” [on paper], and have plenty of land to develop, they skip over us. So Belizeans will struggle to scrape by until this,among other problems, is addressed wisely and decisively.

    Of course, shady titles make corruption easy, so there is no motivation for our leaders to fix the problem and kill their golden goose. Our leaders aren’t normal, and they need to be able to use the land title system as a pinata for themselves, their friends, and family.

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