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Allegations of land scams by government minister

Former three-time Chairman of Buena Vista Village, Cayo District, Eddie de la Rosa has gone public to reveal the behind the scenes activities that allegedly occurred inside the Rene Montero’s camp in Cayo Central.  Among those allegations brought on by de la Rosa are acts of corruption and land scams.  He gave an exclusive interview to our colleagues at Plus TV saying that he was Montero’s close assistant but was paid through the Ministry of Agriculture as a driver.  According to de la Rosa he had full access to government vehicle and fuel to run the personal errands for the Minister.

Eddie de la Rosa:When I started working for him I was an errand guy. I used to be the one that ran the errands you know just go there and there, drive this one to the hospital and Pastor Wade but let me put on record, let must just put on record when I started, when I got introduced by Elvin Penner Montero was one of the greatest guys I ever met. His sons they were like a family to me and you know I got hired in 2008 when the government won I got hired and I used to be the run man just go there here and there but as the time went by they saw the potential in me and the friends and go there here and then Eddy stopped being the errand man and Eddy started to run a lot of land deals. You know go to lands do this but I was not aware. Pastor Wade you need to understand that a guy coming from a remote village in the Cayo district I was not exposed to Cayo and to Belmopan I mean I came from bush, I come from bush so I was not familiar but as the time went by they saw that Eddy had a lot of friends and had the potential to do different things. At the time he was the Minister of Agriculture so I became more than a run man, I became his right hand man and you know I start helping a lot of people direct you know. I used to have my own assignments from him but that was when he was the Minister of Agriculture.

Reporter: What did you do even though you were under the pay of Ministry of Agriculture ?

Eddie de la Rosa: “Not that I could recall that I ever did anything for the Ministry is because you know Ministry vehicle have a log book for the people that drive you know they have a log book and that was on the main issues at the time. My CEO used to want to question, my AO used to want to question why I’m not writing my log book but that you know Montero used to deal with that part that was not my deal to deal. I kept the government vehicle. Eddy had a government vehicle 24/7, Eddy was on call 24/7. I mean people in Cayo Central know who Eddy was I mean I used to drive the best government vehicles that Ministry of Works had you know and Pastor Wade this man would have never allowed me to drive a brand new vehicle if he didn’t know what I was doing for him, what I was capable of doing. Now and then when my vehicle – my government vehicle was not working- you know that was one of the main issues because he will want me to go and get one of the engineers whatever vehicle just take it for the day and bring it back tomorrow. When it comes to fuel I used to have a government fuel card.”

As part of that camp de la Rosa says there was a land scheme in place that on the surface would show a wide distribution of land to residents in the Cayo Central area, but in reality they were rarely ever aware since the lands would later be sold.

Eddie de la Rosa:  “There are a lot of people in Cayo Central that have land but these people that have land don’t know that they have land. Don’t know that they own a piece of land because – and I want to see if you could recall they had a point in time when the government of Belize was assisting I think it was a hundred dollar grocery bag I kind of forgot what it was but at the time I used to go around and ask people for their social security which I have proof of it Pastor Wade I wouldn’t be so brave to be saying, I have the proof. At the time we used to go around and ask single mothers for their social security number because they were gonna get assistance from the government of Belize. Well let me tell you something that assistance never got to them because those Social Security were not used to give the hundred dollars. They were not used for that. So they were used to put land in their name because the government came up with a strategy that you could only have twenty five acres if I could recall or fifty acres and then it got complicated on all these people- “Well you know I couldn’t put a hundred acres in my name because the commissioner won’t approve it.” or blah blah blah. So at the time I was Monday through Friday at the lands department, from Monday nine o’clock until like four o’clock at lands department getting transactions done, getting this done, taking surveyors, taking inspectors but it is really sad that the people that I have contact I have a case right now and I talked to the person yesterday and he allowed me to go on record to you his name. This guy was hired by the Ministry of Works, they give him a lee job like us Belizeans would say. This man didn’t know that he had so much land at Pine Ridge, so much land behind Buena Vista, and you know at the time I was blind to it, to the fact that I said “Well this Minister here is helping the people man.” I didn’t know that he wasn’t going to give them the land. So I went with my heart and I told him “Boy you know you have land?” He said “No.” I told him “Well you know”- they call him by the name Segundo –  I told him “Segundo you have land man.” He said “Me don’t know anything about if I have land.” It was so amazing for me to find out that he did not know so that is one of the cases.

Reporter: So the names of the people that would be used for this scheme would be people that are not necessarily smart, not well educated, they are not —

Eddie de la Rosa: “No no no Pastor Wade. A very good example his secretary ___________ at his constituency office this lady never knew that she had land. Her daughter, well educated used to be a teacher for years for years so it’s not like they were using people that were not educated.”

 

We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.