A land expansion project in Santa Cruz Village, Stann Creek District saw more than eighty villagers receive their land leases with the goal to eventually purchase the parcels. Village Chairman Vincent Scott explained to Love News that the uncertainty and desire to acquire the lots have been ongoing for over three years. Scott says today’s event came through the collaboration with the Area Representative Rodwell Ferguson and Minister of Lands Cordel Hyde.
Vincent Scott, Chairman: “The project actually started from the previous council with Mr.Budna and people were already squatting and that was what started the project so that we just tried to acquire the land to alleviate the problem.”
Reporter: How many pieces of lots out there ?
Vincent Scott, Chairman: “In the project we have 663 lots but we’re doing it in three phases. The first phase is 245 so that first phase we already have pegged down, we already have surveyed so these are the people who are getting their lease right now. It’s a good day for the people of Santa Cruz to get some relief and help the government you know from the Prime Minister and his government and with the Deputy Prime Minister and the area rep Mr.Rodwell Ferguson helping us out you know we are very thankful to them for the day today that I can assist my people in my village.”
Reporter: So where do you go from here ?
Vincent Scott, Chairman: “From here we try to deal with the second phase of the project as son as we’re finished with the rest of the leases we still have about eighty more pending to finish the first phase and then we move to the second phase.”
Handing out the leases were Minister Ferguson. He told Love News that the leases follow a commitment to the villagers prior to the elections.
Rodwell Ferguson, Area Representative, Stann Creek West: “This has been a long awaited moment. For the last four years the community of Santa Cruz has been trying to get some lots, what we call village expansion but there have been many hurdles along the way and just before election it was a commitment that these lots were going to be finalized and issued. After the election myself and Mr.Ed came to Santa Cruz and we committed to them that we are going to follow suit and make sure they get their lots and today is a living reality that we are issuing almost a hundred lots today and as we go along we’re going to issue at least 600 lots for Santa Cruz within the next two or three months. This is a developing area so people from all over the country to live in Santa Cruz so today I feel very good and honored.”
Reporter: So we’re saying we get people from different locations getting land here today?
Rodwell Ferguson, Area Representative, Stann Creek West: “Yes. Santa Cruz is like a melting pot. People come here from all over the country and what we do the chairman and the village council facilitate and make sure they make the land available for the people.”
Correspondent Harry Arzu was present at the handing over and spoke with two of the recipients Alex Cruz and Sherry Santino.
Villager: “I have three kids so it benefits me and them so this is for my future, it’s for them, my kids. So I’m happy.”
Villager: “Not only the people of Santa Cruz received lease so we have people from thirteen other communities, we even had people from Belize City obtaining the lease here in Santa Cruz so that simply is telling you that we have the place we have the land and we will grow this community not only as Santa Cruz people but as Belizeans. So extremely happy.”