Area representative for Cayo South, Julius Espat spoke of the land issue in his division. Espat said last year they had worked out a settlement with the Santander Group and farmers in Cotton Tree however they have been unable to get Government to live up to their side of the agreement.
“The land situation in Cayo South has not been resolved. Government seems to be happy with spending millions of dollars of people’s money but when it comes to the services for the poor people of the rural communities there seems to be no interest. So Mr. Speaker I’m bringing it out publicly because these farmers that I represent are the same farmers that send the product to the Belize City market where you buy your vegetables. It also affects all the other markets in San Ignacio, Belmopan and the surrounding communities and if these farmers can’t have access to their land to be able to produce the products that they need then we are having a serious problem when it pertains to being self sufficient in this country. Apart from that we are having a serious crime issue in the western region of this country and the farmers and law abiding citizens don’t have means of income or don’t have means of producing for their families then the crime rates will just escalate so there is a serious problem happening here in the Western Region of this country and I am appealing to the government and the junior minister is here please make sure that these farmers get what is theirs and it’s not government land that you are giving, it’s a simple signature that you are giving based on the fact that the Santander group is giving these lands to the people. It’s not that government has to acquire land or government has to take away land or that government even has to do anything it is a matter of simple bureaucracy where the Minister has to sign the land documents for these needy farmers.
Prime Minister Barrow assured Espat that he would address the matter with the new Minister of Lands.