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May 16, 2014

Unitedville residents to meet with DPM on Monday

On Thursday, we broke the story of a land dispute in Unitedville in the Cayo District. The Lands Department gave title for five acres of land in the village to Bernadette Fischer. Nobody is sure exactly when. The thing is that the five acre plot, subdivided into twenty-six house-lots, has been occupied for many years – since the nineties. The residents only became aware that they were on somebody else’s titled land when they received eviction notices in 2011. Not surprisingly, that’s a big problem which has come to a head. News Five carried the story last night, and by today the residents had gotten some very positive news. Mike Rudon headed west this morning and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

There are twenty-six lots on this five acre plot. Some families have been here since the early nineties. There are homes, businesses, plants, trees, pets – it’s an established part of the community of Unitedville – long established and accepted, according to Village Council Chairman Mike Juan. Although it is his government which gave title to Bernadette Fischer, Juan is standing by the villagers.


Mike Juan, Chairman, Unitedville

Mike Juan

“I live da the village from 1985 and the former chairman, Kent Gabourel dah the one weh issue the land. And I win 2006 and I follow it and I know the people live there, everybody live there from 1993. And this young lady, Bernadette Fischer, came and tell me dehn people need to move. And I told her I can’t move them because I am the chairman.”


Joseph Caretela, Unitedville Resident

“This lady yaw eh di try claim then yah land ya, man this lady come from somewhere bout beucase when we get the land, she neva deh yah dah Belize yet. Ih dah Belizean, but ih mi deh dah foreign. And thne man, ih di come now and di try say well dehn own this land.”


Dave Flores

Dave Flores, Unitedville Resident

“We live ya fu twenty-two years. Fi we house dah mi di first house weh start this area. Then the lady, Bernadette, she had a sister weh have wah right house right yah in the neighbourhood. That was the first house that was there that we come and meet. But that was property, I believe, so we noh have no dealings with that. But our house was the first house that start this area.”


Tempers were flaring in Unitedville today, and Bernadette Fischer was the target. Residents feel that she is greedy. Her family donated two lots in Unitedville so the water reservoir could be built. She has been compensated with four lots and money, but apparently that is not enough.


Mike Juan

“She get two lots right in the area—she got two lots that they gave her for the completion of the water reservoir. So she got that and information is that she had gotten some money too. I met with her sister, Brenda, and Brenda is supporting this crowd here beucase it is a family dispute. So Brenda is with these twenty-six families supporting them; she is not with her sister.”


Mike Rudon

“So she had gotten land and money in compensation?”


Joseph Caretela

Mike Juan

“Yap, she got two land right by the pump house; she have a house right there. Four lots she has there so at this point, I can’t support her. I have to support my twenty-six families in the village.”


Dave Flores

“We received a eviction notice in 2011 when I had a pregnant sister. My sister baby come down instant, born before time. This lady have no sense weh she di do.”


Mike Rudon

“But you noh di move and your family noh di move?”


Dave Flores

“I noh di move, she wah move me in a coffin. Ina wah coffin she wah move me. I noh di move, my family noh di move; my sister, nobody noh di move.”


And apparently they won’t have to. According to Chairman Mike Juan the story caught the attention of the Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega and Commissioner of Lands Wilbert Vallejos.


Mike Juan

“Ten minutes ago, I talked to Mister Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister, and he told me to bring the twenty-six families on Monday to deal with the issue and the commissioner of land just called me and her said they will assist to work out that the people will not move from there.”


Juan says that after the meeting on Monday he will be working on titles for the families living on the twenty-six lots in Unitedville. Mike Rudon for News Five.


Of course…the question remains. Why was title to this five acre plot granted to Bernadette Fischer when it was obviously already legally occupied? And why did Commissioner of Lands Wilbert Vallejos sign off on the deal?

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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4 Responses for “Unitedville residents to meet with DPM on Monday”

  1. Timber says:

    Good question. The response to that; nobody in Lands, except for a couple people, do any checks and balances. The process and system of getting something as simple as a lease are so convoluted and redundant that no one knows what goes on there. I was there as recently as last month and there was one lady there who’s actually in a supervisory role but was holding over downstairs at the front desk for two staff who were absent and she advised people so thoroughly and efficiently and guided them step by step as what they should do next after rectifying their problems. I stood there and overheard several people state loudly thanking her and applauding her for her treatment, knowledge and help and also declared that they’d had been going back and forth to Lands and every time it was a different story from a different employee and tons of misinformation. I don’t know what her name is but I think I heard someone call her Ms Delvo. As for the inefficiency of Lands, the Commissioner has his own issues, besides him acting as he brings his personal problems to work , as I’ve so heard. He’s bombarded every day by ministers to do favors for them and their political flunkies and all he does is abide by their bidding so as to save his own behind. What I found funny was that while I was there quite a few employees gave their personal cell numbers to the public telling them to call if they needed help. We all know the insinuation behind this, they’re trying to get their hustle on.

  2. Mike says:

    It is a shame that those people have allegedly been living there from the 1990′s and couldn’t seek to get their appropriate papers or title for their individual lots. What were the former chairman and now present chairman doing? Did these people ever paid tax to the gob for squatting there? It seems to me that the system is broken in more ways than one. Why were these people allowed to live there for 22years without paying their fair share of tax to the gob? Do they think they can live forever leeching off other tax payers? They need to do the right thing and either pay for their lots if the now new owner is offering them the opportunity or get off the free ride wagon! Nothing comes free in life. Why didn’t they do like all the rest of the hard working belizeans and visit the lands department and get the royal turnaround? No! They can’t be bother it’s too much time and money to waste. If their chairman wanted to assist them he would not have waited until now. He would have had things sorted out from the news broke in 2011. Seems like he is embarrassed that a woman can accomplish what he couldn’t do. Shame on him for slandering ms Fischer and shame on his so call people that are sponging on the system all these years. The lady seeks compensation and am sure the commissioner saw that it was time to pay up. After all it was gob property, not the so call didn’t register subdivision squatters property. Did they seek to get it registered in 22years? And channel 5, did you hear the other side of the story? You did say that the commissioner of land was contacted but what about ms fischer? There is always two sides to a story!!

  3. aij says:

    they need a ms. delvo at immigration. it is always a different story there.

  4. Dave Flores says:

    I just had time to say my piece that my mom was the first one to live there in the area when I was a child we lived there even before the pump house was built so why did Bernadette waited 22 years after to claim land why didn’t she claim it 22 years before her mom miss Dorothy Bell wasn’t worrying because they had already given her back land which is the lot with the pink house. but any ways glad nobody will move anywhere.

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