Yesterday Mario Ayala and his family were forced to relocate after their house was dismantled by authorities acting upon the request from RECONDEV, the Reconstruction and Development Corporation. Ayala built his home on a piece of land he had been developing in the Maya Mopan Area of Belmopan for more than twelve years. But unfortunately for him, the piece of land he had been occupying belongs to RECONDEV. So what is RECONDEV? In 2015 the Department of Environment granted RECONDEV clearance for the development of a residential subdivision and housing project of approximately 106 lots in Belmopan. Essentially, RECONDEV, a quasi-government entity, is responsible for the administration of all available lands in Belmopan. RECONDEV is controlled by nine board members which are appointed by the Ministry of Finance. When a Belmopan City Council was formed, a partnership for the allocation and distribution of lands in the Capital was formed between the Council and RECONDEV. Ayala and his family were not the only ones who have been forced to move, even though some of the families are willing to pay for the land. Yesterday Attorney Arthur Saldivar told Love News that the situation reeks of gross political maltreatment.
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney:“From what I was told the attempts were made through the recondev authorities and it was denied as recently as yesterday but in relation to their occupation there has always been this verbal commitment to say ‘stay there. Nobody will move you.’ ‘we will take care of it as soon as we can.’ and it’s a political ploy in many regards and I believe that as soon as it was known that the Ayalas no longer entertained the notion of supporting the present political directorate they displayed how brutal and cruel they can be.”
Reporter: Is there a plan B for this family in terms of a legal challenge today become proper owners?
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney: “Well the legal basis for adverse possession is actually being in possession, that possession has now been stripped. It’s sad that at the time I didn’t know exactly what their position were prior to now for this to have been engaged along those lines because Mr.Ayala actually has declarations from his neighbors all of whom came after him to get their land normalized, petitions signed that they knew he had been here for the length of time that he claims to be here. So it is sad because now he has been stripped of possession and we cannot go on that basis any longer since the entity with a superior claim has used authority of the state to enforce it’s position.”
Reporter: It was RECONDEV people who came and dismantled the house?
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney: “Well actually it was the police. The police came as you saw them come back again a while ago with guns and big guns at this three member family. Look at this, does this family look like a threat to require five full grown battle dressed police officers with M16S? I think it’s over kill.”
We will keep following this story.