There is a land dispute brewing in the village of Lucky Strike in the Belize District. The issue is that villagers are clearing approximately 20 acres of land that is located at the center of the village without going through the proper procedures. According to the Chairman of the Village, Stanley Smith the villagers approached him with the idea and he is merely supporting the initiative. Smith made it a point to say that this initiative has nothing to do with politics.
Stanley Smith, Chairman, Lucky Strike Village: “We are here for over an amount of years. I live right next door over twenty five years this piece of block of land has been here not touched anything, not even a picado is in it. Right beside it about two weeks ago the tiger just took the dog. So everybody came out saying they want a piece of land so I am the chairman I will back them up. The pink party what is Mr.Pollard he figured that it’s Mr.Castro giving away this thing but this is not any political in this thing, I am behind the people and I will go down with the people, if we have to go down together we will go but we’re not moving and this will be for us until the owner comes and says “This is ours” then we will do what we have to do but this has been here for over twenty years, we’re already chopping this up, almost fifty of us are already here. We’re going forward right now and we won’t go backward. “
Reporter: How many acres are we talking ?
Stanley Smith, Chairman, Lucky Strike Village: “At least about twenty acres. I just signed a paper for Mr.Pollard over nearly forty acres that are for him alone, now this is only twenty acres for the people of Lucky Strike and he will bring bad progress for this not anybody from outside, him.”
Reporter: How long have you guys been working on it?
Stanley Smith, Chairman, Lucky Strike Village: “We have been here about five days now. The community comes to me, everybody and I will not turn them back and say no. Every piece of land that is in Lucky Strike here everybody lives on a piece of land that is not for us. For years all through Rockstone Pond they live on block of land about fifteen of them on a block of land that is not for them, the people need a piece of land.”
Reporter: Have you gotten contact with anyone from Ministry of Lands or that sort ?
Stanley Smith, Chairman, Lucky Strike Village: “Well right now we have a surveyor looking into it right now at this moment.”
Oscar Pollard who is a community activist says that he does not have a problem with the villagers taking the initiative to acquire land, but he does take issue with the way the entire situation is being handled.
Oscar Pollard, Community Activist: “Nothing is wrong for them to get the land but they must do the right thing. Instead they’re just measuring and different people are just measuring and getting their piece of land. I don’t have any problem with that but what I said, what I say is that the right thing must happen. I personally talked to the Chairman and told him I am willing to assist him to get the right thing so he can get the land. So with that I came this morning and I saw what was happening and I know that it is illegal what they are doing. The thing about it is that I have the community at heart in the sense that if somebody starts to do any development here and somebody shows up and say “Here me, I am the owner.” that person will lose everything. I know that this land is here for a long while and nobody has come to develop it. I think it was in 1995 or something like that when this place was sold to the Chinese. Who is the representative I know that it’s Mr.Kenneth Gillett. Mr.Kenneth Gillet is alive and in Belmopan. All I came here this morning and I said that this is stupidness, they shouldn’t be doing this and give people false promises because you can’t just be doing it like that. To do lots and thing you need to have streets, you need to have buffer zone and different things like that which I know right and it’s a demand that they have right now. So I know that the Chairman spoke to me as I said but he’s going through the wrong way.”
We spoke with the Area Representative for Belize Rural North, Edmond Castro who told us that he has nothing to do with the land distribution but he is in support of the villagers.