First phase of distribution of lots completed in Esperanza Village
Interestingly, as the MOU between the National Bank of Belize and JMCC Enterprises Limited was being signed, the first phase of distribution for 500 lots was being done in Esperanza Village, Cayo District. It is a project led by Cayo Northeast Area Representative, Orlando Habet. The first sixty five lots were issued last Friday with the majority of the recipients being first time land owners. The area where the lots are located has been dubbed, “The Hopeville Heights Development”. Our news team was in Esperanza for the first phase of distribution and spoke with Minister Habet on the project.
Orlando Habet, Area Representative, Cayo North East: “When we got into government there was no money so what we had to do was try to find the funding to put in some of the infrastructure, the streets, we’re trying to see how we can collaborate with the utility companies to put in light, water but one of the expense also is surveying of the roads, the streets and also the house lots. So what is happening here today is the people who have contributed to the total cost of all these infrastructure developments and the surveys are here to get the numbers fo their lots. In the near future we’re going to try to see how we can get a day that the minister can possibly come with us and then deliver to them their official lease documents but in this case it would be a title document because they’re going to be paying for it and it’s where the minister will give them a grant of a title for their house lot. Important also is when we were doing our campaign we found out that Esperanza Village proper had about two hundred and seventy five young people who did not have a house lot. Many of them were living three or four families in one yard because they didn’t have where to go so our government promised that we will through Plan Belize empower young people to have their own houselots so that they can build their own homes. Many times we don’t have all the monies to construct right away but if you start slowly and gradually you will be able to put your house together even if you start small you put a little addition but eventually it’s yours.”
The 65 recipients were able to select their own lot number through a lucky pick system. The Coordinator of the Hopeville Heights Development, Owen Codd, explained that the process is transparent from the application process to the distribution of lots. He added that their primary focus will be for persons with roots in Esperanza and first time land owners.
Owen Codd, Esperanza Housing Coordinator: “We have a raffle system. We want to make this thing open and direct and straightforward so we have a raffle system. If you notice we have a little box there they will come in, shake the box, put their luck on the box, open the box and whatever number they chose will be the number of their lot.”
Reporter: And so you’re doing this raffle system to avoid –
Owen Codd, Esperanza Housing Coordinator: “To avoid anybody complaining you know how we go right ? You won’t have anybody saying “Oh this one got that and another one go that.” What you take out of this box is what you get. This project is for Esperanza people. I’m very emotional when it comes to Esperanza and I insist that you have to have some kind of connection to Esperanza, you either have to live at Esperanza, have some family member from Esperanza, love Esperanza and want to be a part of the Esperanza family. So we try to go around that but we’re all Belizeans so you know we have to entertain other people that want to be part of the Esperanza community.”
Reporter: But the priority being for Esperanzans.
Owen Codd, Esperanza Housing Coordinator: “Esperanza and first time land owners, young family, single parents of Esperanza and we’re also entertaining families you know because as the minister said we’re all Belizeans so we also have to accept applicants from other areas but the core applicants are Esperanza people or some level of roots from Esperanza.”
The five hundred successful land applicants for the Esperanza project are required to pay an initial fee of seven hundred and fifty dollars.
Owen Codd, Esperanza Housing Coordinator: “The applicants are very very into it so they are the ones that are doing this. They contribute their money slow, ten dollars, fifty dollars, a hundred dollars every week, Ms.Laura keeps a very good accounting of everything and just that little money that we got for the community is what is doing this project and we have already opened up all the roads in phase one and phase two, we have already done the survey in phase one and phase two and now we’re moving into phase three all from funds contributed by the community because the community is really supportive of it. And you know surprisingly you see the people them this is just showing to you how the community can work along with government.”
The second set of lots to be distributed will be done at the Cayo Northeast Esperanza Office later this month.