The Ministry of Natural Resources today held another of its land clinic. This one took place at the CIVIC in Belize City to resolve the land issues that residents of Freetown and Caribbean Shores divisions are facing. Providing more details is Lands Minister Cordel Hyde.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum & Mining: “Expectations are that the issues will be the same. People are checking on their purchase prices. Checking on their leases, checking on their titles, some stuff that’s been in the system for a long time. In fact, just now I spoke to a lady who has a problem dating back to 1982. She got a house through Buttonwood Bay, a special project at the time of independence and has not been able to get the title even though the family paid for it way back then. They’ve made numerous journeys, spoken to numerous Prime Ministers and Ministers of Finances and can’t get that done so I’m hoping that we can do some magic and make her life better because now the mother is 94 years old and still they do not have legal documentation to the property even though they’ve lived there for the last four decades. So that’s a unique situation. You don’t have a lot of those but it’s a usual thing for us. You can literally work for 7 days a week, 24 hours a day really with the amount of traffic that comes through those various offices particularly Belmopan. It’s just a tremendous backlog. What we’ve been able to do with these clinics is really bring down that backlog. Like when we got there there was a backlog of maybe 20,000 plus that because they had not done any inspection on these lots for many many years and so those were just sitting there through the process of these clinics and through really hard works in the district the offices and Belmopan, we’ve been able to cut that down to some 8000. We’re still not there yet. ultimately our dream, our hope is to really reach a point where we are current and then we can really reach a point where we can really accelerate and speed up and make sure people get their land papers in the shortest possible time. But the system is bogged down with that. We spent a lot of time trying to find land across the country because we have tremendous demand from teachers, from public officers, from nurses, from soldiers, from police officers and from residents who are not so employed and so we really spent a lot of time trying to find land, trying to survey lands, trying to ge lands to people and really just provide the services that people are paying for everyday.”
According to Caribbean Shores Area Representative, Kareem Musa, his constituents are extremely happy to have their land issues resolved in an expedited manner.
Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores: “What we’ve found is that a lot of the leases that have been issued maybe 20, 30, 40 years ago may have expired especially up in the Buttonwood Bay area of our constituency. These areas and these properties have homes on them but the individuals, the constituents have been having issues getting their leases renewed and so that is one of the prevalent issues that we’ve found. A lot of them, it’s just very old titles that we need to update, convert them to freehold title, first registration, getting the new land certificates for them so that’s part of the process today.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Have you gotten feedback in terms of okay you know how long I’ve been waiting for you all to fix this?
Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores: “Yes of course. That is what prompts a land clinic such as this because the constituents see that there are issues and there is relief coming to different areas of the county and they say wow we would want that opportunity to be able to get that matter sorted out in a matter of days. So we have the land clinic for today and tomorrow to make sure we can deal with all our issues for constituents both for Caribbean Shores and for Freetown and so it’s a huge opportunity, a huge relief and the constituents are extremely appreciative of this opportunity.”