More than seventy residents lined up in front of the Lands Office in Belize City this morning at around seven o’clock, awaiting an audience with Minister of Lands, Cordel Hyde. Love News understands that the men and women who were not adhering to social distancing were forced to disperse by the Police. Minister Hyde was present to address the crowd and to assure them that their issues would be addressed. In speaking with a reporter on site, the Minister of Lands says he understands that the men and women are eager to become land owners.
Hon. Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources: “It seems like everybody decided to come apply today, first time landowners. This is a result of many many years of people trying to get land and being unsuccessful and so everybody is trying to get their name in because they know that is our focus, trying to make lands available to first time people, people who don’t have land. The problem is – and also we made the process a little bit easier because you don’t need a minister’s letter to come, you can just show up once you have a Social Security card and apply. The pandemic everybody applied now and this is a bad thing to do because of the pandemic and all of that right but people don’t want to be left out that is the problem. So we’re gonna have to try to figure out a different system because this office to begin with is too small. It can only accommodate a few people at a time so I’m trying to convince people that listen you don’t have to apply now. Because the problem we have in Belize City is that we don’t have national land so we are busy trying to find government lands as close to Belize City as possible whether it is Hattieville, Ladyville or wherever. Once we find those government land then we will survey those and make those available to all those people who are applying. So I’m trying to say to people you don’t have to apply today, you can come and apply any other day but of course people are here from five o’clock, six o’clock so they want to take advantage of this opportunity. Some people have taken off the day to come here so that’s the challenge we have.
Reporter: So what are you trying to implement ?
Hon. Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources: “What we’re trying to do is try to reduce the crowd , tell people they can come home and come back another day. We’ll have to sit with the staff and figure out how best to allow people to apply without having this congregation every day. Because I think maybe people got the impression that you can only come one day which is today and that’s why everybody came because if you can come everyday then the process is supposed to be easier and simpler.”
Prior to dispersing, the residents were asked to put their names on a list and that they would be contacted. The last few weeks have seen crowds gather at the Lands Office in Belize City following announcements by the government that land ownership for Belizeans is a priority.