Land Dispute: John Bejerano Claims Ownership, BDF Evicts

Land Dispute: John Bejerano Claims Ownership, BDF Evicts

John Bejerano has gone on public record indicating that he is being evicted from land in the south that belongs to him.  He noted in his report that it is the Belize Defence Force that has served him the notice of eviction and that he has the land documents to prove ownership.  That is his side of the story told to PG TV.  In another version of the story, Love News has learnt that Bejerano has no valid land documents to prove ownership.  He claims that the notice from the Commissioner of Lands came as a surprise because he had never had any issues before. For context, here’s Bejerano’s version of what took place. 

John Bejerano, Toledo Resident: “The BDF went there and they told us to draw away from there, to move in one month’s time if not they will burn down the thatch house that you can see in the picture and they said we had to go. So I am complaining about it because we’ve been there long time, my father from George Price’s time. Before Belize became independent we were there. I was born there and grew up there. So I don’t know why we have to move from there so we are trying – if that will be the case if we have to get two lawyers we will get it because we can find the money to fight for our right. We spoke to the Alcalde from Graham Creek and Machakil Ha and they said they don’t have any problem, they welcome to the village and we are under Graham Creek Village and they said BDF cannot come and draw us away from our land.”

Reporter: But you were there from before Graham Creek existed.

John Bejerano, Toledo Resident “Before they existed yes.”

Reporter: And before Machakil Ha existed.

John Bejerano, Toledo Resident “Same thing.”

Reporter: Your father had farm up there and now you are on the farm. What do you have on the farm today ? 

John Bejerano, Toledo Resident “We have a big thatched house, about two buildings and we have plantation we have corn, we have about fifty acres with corn right now and plantain, banana, all kinds of plants.”

And as the adage goes, there are always two sides to a story. Today, our newsroom spoke to the BDF’s General, Azariel Loria, about the ordeal. Loria informed our newsroom that Bejerano does not live on the property but has several workers occupying thatched structures built on the land. Loria says Bejerano is not being truthful and explained that apart from a coca plantation found in the area, Bejerano is lacking the proper paperwork.   

Brigadier General Azariel Loria, Commander, Belize Defence Force: “About two to three years ago one gentleman known as Mr.Bejerano started doing farm work at the Sarstoon River bank going towards Gracia a Dios monument halfway through the Sarstoon. He was told that he was illegally conducting farming in that area, that that area is Crown land but he didn’t desist. He said that he was going to continue building anyway because he has land papers. And he provided some of the land papers that he had at the time so that we gave it to the police and to the Lands Department to cross check. When they cross checked that lease that he showed belongs somewhere else along I think it’s the Temash river thereabout I’m not too sure but the paper that he provided for that land itself that area that he was clearing was not where it was meant to be and plus the lease paper was already expired for the area that he had at the Temash. I believe it is somewhere in the Temash. In that area not too far from that area about two or three kilometers going in towards Graham Creek that is the area where we discovered the coca plantation and we were simply telling him please desist. We consulted with the Ministry of Natural resources and the police, they found out that he did not have any such documentation to claim that piece of land.”

Loria added that it was the police that provided Bejerano with the eviction notice to vacate the premises within thirty days.

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