Lands Department Hosts Pickstock Residents at Belize Civic Center
Residents of Pickstock were hosted, for the first time, at the Belize Civic Center by the Lands Department to attend to their needs. Minister of Natural Resources, Cordel Hyde, says there are two types of clinics across the country; one is to see members of the public to take in their requests, and the other is referred to as internal clinics where they distribute paper works. Hyde says the department has been in Belize City last August to cater to Caribbean Shores and Freetown, and had also conducted a clinic earlier this year to Port Loyola. In the case of Pickstock, Minister Hyde noted that the demand in today’s session with the residents had more to do with wanting land.
Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister: “Well this was kind of smooth running. These folks just want lots. They want a lot and they want a lot anywhere. They’re gonna take it anywhere they just want a piece of the jewel because they’ve been deprived, they have not gotten any land, some of them are older, some of them are young. I just dealt with a young lady who is eighteen and that’s a beautiful thing because most people at the age of eighteen aren’t even concerned with a land they’re concerned with other things so it’s really exciting and inspirational but that’s what it’s been about really. A lot less land problems here and mostly just about getting a piece of land somewhere. I think they gave out a little bit over a hundred numbers but then we have an extra fifty that showed up so in the comfortable confines of the Civic Center we will attempt to see everybody today. Tomorrow it will probably be more than this because usually the second day is kind of crazy but we’ll get it done. We’ll be here for three days. We see the public today and tomorrow and then we work pretty late in the night of course and then on Friday we try to wrap up so it’s a three day exercise.”
With making first time landowners a priority for this administration, the question of the availability of land in the country was brought up.
Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister: “We grind. We try to be enterprising for the right things. We try to find land the best way we can. We are digging everyday for land. In some cases we’ve had to buy land in other cases we discover national land that’s just lying there and people have expired leases or they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing with it and we can make better use of it. Some people have huge tracts of land in areas that are supposed to be, that are better suited for village expansion or for community expansion and so we try to take advantage of those opportunities but it’s our goal to do this up until we can do it no more.”
The land clinic for Pickstock continues tomorrow.