And while Minister Hyde is stressed over the compensation issue at the Lands Department, Land Activist Nigel Petillo wants the government to get a loan that will allow them to buy private lands to distribute to the public.
Nigel Petillo, Land Activist: “We have many ways how we can make this thing work you know ? Alright ? While we see and we know that squatting has been working for people who come into this country for many years now both government have been facilitating that process there. Those people come and they get their land. Belizeans need to understand how that works if there is no other option. Now here’s another option, there’s a lot of land all over this country. A lot of land that is just sitting about all over this country for decades. Make the government go and get a loan and buy back land just for the poor people then. Or for the have nots, the people that never get land before, first time land owners we’re talking about. Let us get a $100 million dollar loan or a $200 million dollar loan and we buy back land about this country here and we facilitate the people that don’t have land and let us pay back that loan for the people. Many loans we have gotten and we haven’t seen anything come out of it for the people directly. Let us do something tangible for the poor people if we’re serious about it. So again we don’t have to squat if you don’t want to squat but let us find ways to make it work because we have to find ways. There are ways to get it done. While we have land sitting down about this country a two or three miles off of the highway there’s another option again, develop a community back there or like I said let us buy back people’s land if that is the case but we have to really serious about doing something for the people. We have to serious about want to do something about the people. Just like how we can do a whole delegation trip out of world and spend so much money on that because you think that is good I think this is good for the Belizean people and I believe a lot of people believe this is a route. So let us try to come up with solutions and a way to get it done and stop finding excuses.”
Sticking to the squatting issue, Petillo, in his rant on social media this week says that Minister Hyde was singing a different song when he spoke to our newsroom on the issue of squatting. Minister Hyde told Love News that he has said it time and time again that there is no need for people to squat on private or national lands. Petillo says he completely disagree with the Minister.
Nigel Petillo, Land Activist: “The minister spoke about no need to squat. What do you mean no need to squat ? People are squatting because that is the only option they have. If land was being made available to people they wouldn’t be squatting. This is the same minister who said and came out last year and agreed with us that yes we have to squat and squat is the only way for some of us to get out of poverty. I will post that video later. So all I’m saying here is nothing is wrong in all of us speaking up. Nothing is wrong in sending up that we need this or we need that or you’re not doing this or you’re not doing that; nothing is wrong in doing that. For some reason we’re afraid to do that. Right now people down south, people up north, people in Cayo area are having issues with land people have to squat right now because that’s the only way they can get land. Now what we’re to do now is when we find out that situation taking place go in and find out what is going on GOB. Don’t send your ratta tata guns, go and find out what is going on. Go to those same people who came out and voted for you and find out how you can make it easier and make it work. Squatting is one of the only ways for some people. Some people don’t have any money to buy land, bottom line. So when I listened to the comment yesterday being passed that there is no need for nobody to squat just come to Ministry of Natural Resources and apply’ you know that is not so. That is not so. When you go to Lands Department it’s hard to get in that place first of all. Secondly when you go to lay your complaint or register for a piece of land it’s like your file just disappears. A lot of us go through that. A lot of us know the truth. That department hasn’t changed. It’s still the same situation. Only certain people’s issues are getting addressed, only certain people are getting the attention they want. This is the government that promised land for everybody. Right now there is no more serious of a time to ensure that those things come true. People can’t even eat right now, people don’t have no job, people don’t know how they’ll provide for their children and we as a government are still wondering how we will get it done.”