Belama Phase Four in Belize City were given eviction notices for land that some of them have been living for years. The situation. Born and naturalized Belizeans as well as migrants from other Central American nations have moved to the area and carved out a home in the swamp, while filling it with any material they can muster. After 3:30 this afternoon, alleged workers for Fen Lan Company started demolishing homes while the residents were at work. When residents called the police and the media, the men ran away. There is a political element to the story as Fen Lan is being represented by Orson Elrington, UDP’s Standard Bearer for Freetown while the people are being represented by elected Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca. We spoke to some of the homeowners late this evening as they returned home to smashed buildings.
Voice 1: “The Chinese man came and said all of this was his but he didn’t bring any papers to show that he owned all of this so then he brought a paper and said that he would take all of us to court but he told us until the 4th of February and now I think it was last week that he brought that paper and he started to chop all of the yards and he did all of that. He dropped the house on the next side, this one, that one and then he was starting on the other one but all of us came and we were asking what happened but they didn’t answer us so until the Police came and the Police said how they can’t do that because they have carried you to court yet so they have to wait but they already dropped all of those houses.”
Voice 2: “Alex Chan accordingly he is the manager and now all of a sudden he is the owner of the lands back here. They are trying to take out the people out of their houses and well I think there is a procedure to follow before we reach to this. I think this is violence and as big people which they are I don’t think they are supposed to behave like this because they forget that everybody can behave like this and not only them but we are looking for a passive way or an easy way out. Some of us have been living here for 10, 12 years, 6 and it varies and actually what is happening we have been living in peace for 5 years now, no one bothered us nothing and all of a sudden OJ came around to try to get to us to sign a contract which to us didn’t seem legal.”
Voice 3: “We had a meeting with OJ which was unexpected and OJ was saying that he wants us to sign the contract and it is going to benefit us because he is going to put roads that everyone can have their own water and their own light but he said that if we sign the contract then we have to pay $50 every month in which I see that is wrong because how will we pay for a land that we don’t even know yet if he is the owner and if you notice if we sign the contract to pay the $50 every month that same money they will use to fix up the place and OJ will just look like he is fixing the area which we are the ones going to be spending the money.”
Jose Sanchez: “Has anyone signed the contract?”
Voice 3: “So far just one person but we talked to our lawyer and he told us not to pay Alex Chan so just one person signed the contract but last night we had a meeting and we were trying to let people know to not sign the contract because the letter that we got is saying that if we don’t move they are going to take this matter to the court so what we are going to do is we are going to take the matter to the court so nobody is going to sign any contract.”
Jose Sanchez: “This is Deli Martinez and her daughter Stephanie. She has been here is 2015 living in this area at Belama Phase 4. Their lives were interrupted in the night when an Asian businessman who claimed to own the property came and had his employees destroy and you can see the ruble on the floor of what would have been a part of the kitchen. This is the area where they would have made breakfast this morning, the wall is completely ripped out, complete signs of a life disrupted. You can simply just walk through the walls and you can see the different sides of the house: one of the bedrooms that you can see outside to the next home. Going to the back of the house again another part of life interrupted you can see a destroyed baby bicycle, you can see the mangrove that shows you where Belama Phase 4 is. This should not have happened, there is a court process, there is a procedure in the way things happen. These migrants have been here from Honduras for a few years now but they need help. Tonight she sleeps under the stars Jose Sanchez for Love News.
We will continue following the story on tomorrow’s newscast.