Belize Government Sues Former Minister and UDP Stalwart for $6 Million Misfeasance
Six million dollars – that’s how much the Government of Belize is suing former Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt and UDP stalwart, Roosevelt Blades for. The lawsuit for misfeasance comes after several parcels of land were acquired by the former administration for public purposes, but later sold to a private company for a pittance of the price. The government believes there was some form of impropriety in the transactions that involved Patt and Blades, who was a principal in the company. Attorney General, Anthony Sylvestre, explained that the former AG, Magali Marin Young, has been retained and is working on the legal challenge.
Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General: “Huge tracts of land which there was a company, the principals Mr. Blades who had acquired these lands. These lands were sold to them. At the time they were acquired by, yes they were crown lands but here’s the thing before they became crown lands they were compulsory acquired at exorbitant sums like I mean the compensation was in excess of millions of dollars and these lands having been acquired by public purpose it was said they were later sold -“
Reporter: To private developers.
Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General: “To private developers for sums less than $100,000 so consequence of that the government has been reviewing the matter for some time and claim in misfeasance has been brought as against -“
Reporter: Against Hugo Patt ?
Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General: “Against former Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt, as well as the company because the company interestingly sued government because government said listen man you got this but really and truly the way in which it was gotten there are circumstances which are – it’s a shroud of you know to put it mildly impropriety. They brought a claim and the government in response said, okay well then we will countersue we’ll bring a claim for damages for what the Belizean people and the government would have lost when the land which was compulsory acquired for millions of dollars was in turn sold to this third party for pittance.”
Sylvestre further explained that the government paid millions after acquiring the land that was later sold weeks before the 2020 general elections.
Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General: “As you will appreciate that’s the nature of compulsory acquisition. So a person’s private land the constitution allows the government for you to acquire somebody’s private land. So I could acquire private land, I know Jules has only farm property so it appears as though the protagonist in this, they also had private land, and so when the government acquired it the valuation suggested that it was in the millions and so government paid, which they’re still paying because they haven’t completed making payment. So they’ve made some substantial payment towards the acquisition cost and in November of 2020, this company, October, November of 2020 this company was created and they applied for the land and the land was sold to them.”
Our newsroom reached out to Pott for comment, but our calls went unanswered.