On Monday, Minister Hugo Patt officially became the fourth minister in under three years to take over the Ministry of Natural Resources. Prime Minister Dean Barrow had said that the reshuffle was in an effort to improve the performance in the Ministry. Minister Patt is not entirely new to the ministry as he served there under former Minister Gaspar Vega who stepped down in 2016. With only a few days at the lead, Minister Patt says the work has begun and there is much in the pipeline to improve the service at the Ministry.
Minister Hugo Patt, Minister of Natural Resources: As you would know the Lands Department is a department that really needs a lot of processing in order for us to provide the necessary kinds of services that our Belizeans deserve so I go with that mentally that: one there are processes in place that are really working. My take on this is that look we need to sit down the staff, we need to sit down with everybody and we need to work together as a team in order to make sure we produce. From the very first meetings that we had one of the issues that came up is that we have a lot of Q’s, we have a lot of desks that which applications need to go and so I understand there was system installed back in 2007 where a section of the department was instituted with technology (IT) and so this was done back in 2007 as far as I can understand the flow of traffic was around 7000-8000 applications per year. When we look at the statics we have now it has doubled and so we a see a need for us to improve the system which eventually allow us to streamline the processes and have a process where I for see a person going in to the department to apply and within a prescribed number of days that person should be able to go back to the department and get a response on his or her application.
Minister Patt was placed at the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources after former Minister Dr. Carla Barnett requested to be reassigned.