Was Attempted Murder Over Land?

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Updated: January 27, 2016

Investigators suspect that a land dispute is the reason Bradley Paumen allegedly plotted the murders of Michael Modiri, two of his workers and his attorney. Paumen wants control of a piece of land that Modiri owns in order for him to get easy access to caves which are essential to his Dark Knight Cave Adventures touring company. The Government of Belize acquired the parcel of land while Modiri was out the country in 2013 a road that been forged leading Paumen to the caves. Modiri took the matter to the courts and it was heard last year in the courtroom of Justice Sonya Young. Justice Young ruled that government acquisition of the land was not in accordance with the law and so she squashed the Minister’s directive to do so. The only witness in the case was Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos who told the courts that it was the minister who gave the directive but the then minister of Natural Resources, Gasper Vega, denied doing so. Today the current Minister of Natural Resources, Godwin Hulse, told us that the matter went all the way to Cabinet.

GODWIN HULSE

“I cannot comment on that because I don’t know who gave that directive as such. There is a whole process in the Ministry by the time it reaches the Minister that sort of acquisition also goes to Cabinet because it has a financial cost to it. At this time I cannot say where that had gone. My understanding is that first of all the gentleman did come to see me, one of the earlier visitors together with his people to explain the situation and my understanding from the officers in the department is that yes the Ministry of Natural Resources attempted to acquire the land where the road is and that was quashed in the courts because the court ruled that the Ministry of Natural Resources cannot acquire roads, that is for the Ministry of Works and consequently the file was sent to the Ministry of Works to try to attempt to declare the road a public road which then would have given access to Mr.Paumen to reach his caves, that is where that is and so it is still at the Ministry of Works to declare the road as such. It was wrong for the Ministry of Natural Resources to acquire, that was a technical glitch. The Ministry of Natural Resources, as I understand it would acquire property and land and so especially where government is going to build roads the Natural Resources Ministry would acquire the land. In this case the road is a matter of being declared a public road by the Ministry of Public Works.”