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Lands Minister Comments on San Jose Palmar Land Issue

And then there is the issue regarding a one-acre piece of land in San Jose Palmar Village in the Orange Walk District. The owner of the land, Anel Novelo, had purchased it as lease from the Belize Bank and later as title which was approved by Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde during a land clinic that his ministry held in the Orange Walk East constituency. Novelo later received a letter from Marine Parade Chamber LLP on March 29, 2022. In the letter, attorney Hector Guerra informs Novelo that his client is the community of San Jose Palmar and they are making an offer to purchase the land. Guerra tells Novelo that (quote) “we ask that you indicate your acceptance or refusal of this offer on or before the 15th April, 2022 failing which this offer shall lapse and out client shall consider legal options which are at its disposal considering that the Belize Bank Limited did not have the legal authority to sell you the captioned land.” End of quote. The letter does not list the persons who are considered the community of San Jose Palmar but from our understanding, the village’s lots committee believe that it should have been the entity to approve the issuance of the title and not the ministry but Minister Cordel Hyde disagrees. 

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining: “The law doesn’t say that we have to get the village committee or village lots to make the approval. They say we should consult with them but they don’t say that we have to get them to approve. That approval rests with the ministry. We try our best to be as thorough as possible. We’re human so we may make mistakes because when we go on these clinics, in one day we’ll deal with like 150 persons and some of these people have multiple instruments to deal with so you’re talking about hundreds of instruments over the course of a three day clinic. But, ultimately, we try to get it right mien and we pride ourselves on the fact that we’ve not had any duplication over the term of our administration. Absolutely none and we have I don’t know, maybe 70 / 80 cases in the court right now because of those litigations.”