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Jun 3, 2014

Supreme Court grants leave for substantive hearing in land case of Jose Novelo

In April, we brought you the story of Orange Walk resident Jose Novelo. Novelo had been working on fifty-four acres of land in Indian Church for more than four decades, and had even gotten a valid lease to the parcel in 2000. But in April 2014, Novelo found out that the land had been taken away, and re-issued to his nephew. Not wanting to spark off a family dispute, Novelo came to the media for help, and also sought legal advice. Three weeks after, Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos told News Five that following inspections, the decision had been made to give the land back to Novelo. But nobody told Novelo, and with his attorney he sought leave for a judicial review of the actions by the Lands Department. On Monday, with the Ministry of Natural Resources a no-show, the Supreme Court granted leave for a substantive hearing.


Wilbert Vallejos

Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands

“The decision was made grossly due to development, and so that is why I said in the interview that whoever we discover is the actual developer of the land is the one with the best claim to the land so the Ministry will give it to whoever has the best claim to the land. And so him having shown proof of development at our Orange Walk office, and now we have a series of inspections and not only one, showing and pointing out to the same thing…yes Mr. Novelo will receive the land that was given to somebody else.”


Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Jose Novelo

“I am told, my client informs me that in fact the Lands Commission Mr. Vallejos was on the television news in Orange Walk about a week and a half ago and he in fact had conceded that they had erroneously and wrongly cancelled Mr. Novelo’s lease and they were in fact about to remedy that wrong that they did Mr. Novelo. But the fact of the matter is that they weren’t here today so I am not quite sure whether that statement by Mr. Vallejos was done in good faith or was done as a result of perhaps public pressure so was only said to try to appease people at the time. Nonetheless we’ve taken the necessary step to bring this matter to court. We won’t take anything for granted…we won’t just sit by the side and just be working on assurances being given by anyone, because this is Mr. Novelo’s livelihood. He has invested more than half his life in planting and farming this land, not to mention the thousands of dollars that he has invested. Mr. Novelo isn’t a rich man, he’s not a wealthy man and so each dollar, each penny is important…it is valuable. Therefore we are grateful that today the court saw that in fact we have an arguable case and granted us permission to move to the next stage.”


This evening, we attempted to reach Vallejos to see if he could shed some light, but we were unable to get a response before news time.

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 “Supreme Court grants leave for substantive hearing in land case of Jose Novelo”

  1. CEO says:

    Drama every dam day! This is sickening!

  2. Teddy Steinway says:

    These government people are like the Mob. They make up a story and they stick to it.
    Just give us protection and page the roads. We don’t want to know your names.

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