Land squatting – it is an age-old issue that government officials and politicians have been faced with every term in office. In Belize City, the issue is seen primarily in the Lake Independence division which incidentally is managed by the Minister of Lands, Cordel Hyde. Earlier this month we featured three families who have are squatters and who have been struggling in make shift houses that take in water when it rains. According to Minister Hyde he has said it time and time again that there is no need for people to still be squatting on private or national lands.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources: “I’ve been saying to people constantly that you don’t need to squat you just need to go in and apply at the Lands Department. You don’t need a minister’s recommendation, you don’t need any recommendation you just need to be a Belizean and you’ll be prioritized if you don’t have any land and we busy constantly are trying to find land all over the country so that we can facilitate those people who don’t have land. I understand the challenges that people face. You know poverty is through the roof it’s damn near 60% of more now, it’s just consistently climbed over the last three decades and people are having a hard time paying rent. You know this COVID pandemic caught us at a time when we were really doing bad and it has only exacerbated the situation and so with tens of thousands of people having lost their jobs and tens of thousands of people working but doing less hours they really can’t keep up with the rent. A room is $75 a week, you know if you’re making $150, $175 a week how are you going to manage with paying rent and then paying your bills and then feeding your family and sending them to school and God forbid someone gets sick so it’s a real challenge. So I understand that but I tell people go in an apply and we will do our darndest to make sure that they get land.”
Tune in tomorrow for more from the Minister of Lands, including the issue of poverty and countrywide land clinics.