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May 19, 2014

G.O.B. says no to agriculture in Harmonyville buffer zone

Wilbert Vallejos

Following our visit to Harmonyville to get a firsthand understanding of the lay of the land, News Five caught up with Commissioner of Lands and Surveys Wilbert Vallejos.  He explained government’s position on the development of the buffer zone, near the mile forty-one community.  On Friday, a release was issued announcing Cabinet’s rejection of a request by BGYEA to plant corn along the outer environs of Harmonyville.  The initiative, says the grassroots organization, would generate much needed returns for the infrastructure development of the area.  Vallejos, on the other hand, maintains that the buffer zone should remain in its natural state.


Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands & Survey

“There were provisions for parks and open spaces, streets and obviously a buffer zone at the very beginning and what was the purpose of the buffer zone and that it ought to be respected and left in its natural state. The buffer zone covers somewhat twenty-five to twenty-seven acres of land. The entire area of land that was acquired was one thousand three hundred acres of land. So when we look at what is put into the buffer zone as reserved is only twenty-seven acres of land. And then there were one thousand forty, to be exact, resulting one acre parcels that the government handed over to BGYEA to distribute. When the whole survey and handing over of the lots were done to Harmonyville, they recognized that there were some squatters—I like to call them unauthorized occupants of the buffer zone area. Recognizing that BGYEA was the manager of the Harmonyville community, we advised them to be the first ones in attempting to try to remove amicably the squatters in the area and Mister Petillo informed me that they subsequently found alternative lots within the subdivision to relocate or move the people, but for months, the negotiations or the intentions to move them have been unsuccessful. Until couple weeks ago, we were approached by BGYEA and they expressed to us their frustration in trying to remove the people from the buffer zone. So we joined them; we said, government at the end of the day is the owner of the buffer zone and since you have been unsuccessful, then we will try to do it. Usually that is the way to do it. If you have a lease for government land, we tell you, you be the one to try to deal with the trespasser. So in response to that, we issued an eviction notice to the occupiers of the buffer zone and explained to them the whole purpose of the buffer zone and why is it that we want it to remain in its natural state. In issuing the eviction notice, officers of the ministry recognized that there was some clearing going on on the rest of the buffer zone area. And when we further inquired, we found out that it was being done by BGYEA. And they had intentions to plant corn in the buffer zone. Now we advised them that we couldn’t do two things contradictory to each other. If you remove unauthorized occupants of the buffer because you want to leave the buffer in its natural state then you cannot allow agricultural activity to be happening.”


BGYEA has said that it will proceed with the cultivation of crops on the outskirts of the village.

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 “G.O.B. says no to agriculture in Harmonyville buffer zone”

  1. sickntired says:

    Petillo need to pause on the majic dragon and realise them will create tension between them and the squatters. If somethin happen police will take slow time to go out there. I woudda want to go live out there but looks like stress starting.

  2. CEO says:

    I have to agree with the GOB this time, even though they do not many times follow the rules that they make.

    Belizeans do not understand planned developments and this is why generally we have businesses in residential areas and vice versa. Anyone thinks they should have the right to do anything on any parcel of land and for the country to develop in and organized manner. Land dedicated for specific use should only be used for those purposes except if there is a very good reason for a variance. Turning that parcel in agricultural would not be an acceptable use.

    Now only if we can get the GOB to apply this rule without fear or favor.

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