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Mediation process over buffer zone at Harmonyville ends

The grassroots organization, BYGEA has been in court with the Government over the right to plant within the buffer area of Harmonyville.  Both sides agreed to take the matter to mediation.  That process concluded today.  David Barnett an executive of BYGEA spoke with the media.

David Barnett – Executive member, BYEA

Certain agreement we’ve come upon and some didn’t really but it is final today we dealt with the cost in terms of who was going to pay and the next matter was bringing Ms. Audrey to court in terms of what she said after mediation.”


“This thing has been going on for a long time. In terms of Harmonyville what was the decision out of the mediation hearing mean for you guys on the ground now?

David Barnett – Executive member, BYEA

“Well we have yet to see that the government do what they said they were going to do. We have squatters out there still in the said buffer that they said they didn’t want us planting corn in, that is really the big thing here.  We wanted to plant corn and generate money for our community that has been taken away from us in terms of planting out the buffer, we got permission to plant out 60 acres of land which is more to the back. We are regular grassroots people I’m here to defend the poor, the oppressed, the people who never had that is what BGYEA did we formed Harmonyville we managed to give out 1040 plus acres of land. The government says that they will clean the buffer now and they will take that as their initiative that’s all we really wanted. Corn was never really a cash crop in my view I would have never told my community to plant an acre of corn each. If you would plant an acre of corn that could never take care of your family. So the whole idea of plating corn was to maintain the cleanliness of the buffer so if they will clean it we have no problem with that. I’m waiting to see that and I’m waiting to see the immigrants get moved. I’m waiting to see this, they talk about corn see I don’t know people in the community might be interested in that but like I’m telling you they have one acre to deal with corn is not a cash crop of mine, corn was something to keep the area clean.”

 Attorney for the group is Audrey Matura Shepherd who spoke of the proceedings.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, Attorney

Simply that they are now able to use part of the reserve at Harmonyville to be able to plant, the most important thing is that the trespass case was dropped from against Mr. Petillo and also they are supposed to get some kind of assistance to get seed to be able to plant and also they were promised that the immigrants who were squatting on the very land that they were saying that these guys trespassed on are to be removed so being that it is not the officially now the order of the court we have to see that that is now enforced. If it is not enforced then we have to come back to the court to have it enforced.”

Barnett was asked about developments within the community of Harmonyville.


David Barnett – Executive member, BYGEA

Everything that has been taking place is from the people of Harmonyville itself. We raise our own money to do whatever has been taking place out there nobody has ever come to say that they are sorry for us and that we would drop some money on us and have us move. Our thing has always been to get the crowd together and to make them try to raise some funding and they can clearly see it’s a slow process. Sometime I wonder about the Belize City people and what you really want because certain things get handed out to you and you just sit down and wait for people to come out all the time and defend your cause. I don’t know what else to say other than the truth , you are seeing the truth, we are the oppressed, we are the ones that can’t get anything and we are the ones that are the ones to keep crying.”