Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde concluded his clinic in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District just before six o’clock this evening where he met with over one hundred residents. Minister Hyde, during his time in Cayo, issued land certificates to first time owners and heard the concerns of existing land owners. We join Cayo Correspondent Elaine Berry for the story.
Hon. Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources: “It was a long day. Lots and lots of people. Long lines of people you know that already but we’ve agreed to come back tomorrow and continue and try to get done everybody. The staff at the ministry was gracious enough to agree to come back tomorrow. It’s a Saturday it’s not a day they have to work but it’s a day they’ve agreed they have to work and so we really appreciate that. It was a long day because the issues are many in fact the vast majority maybe 98% of the people were really land problems and not even problems just exclusion from the department; ordinary people trying to get their lease for their land that they live on, trying to get their permission to survey, trying to get their land title that they’ve applied for for so long, instances where they have their land but there’s no documents in the department for them, the accounts are locked for a long time they just couldn’t access the department for whatever the reason whether because they’re PUPs or because they’re not friends with the government in power at that time or because they were just not considered important enough to have the access and so that’s what we provided today. We came here and brought the department to them, it was a long day for everybody but I think it was a very productive day. We got a lot done, we were able to help a lot of these people in the instant and so that was gratifying and we’ll do it again tomorrow.”
Correspondent Berry also spoke to the Area Representative for Cayo Central, Alex Balona who says today’s clinic was in the making for some weeks now.
Alex Balona, Area Representative, Cayo Central: “What I’ve been doing since the beginning of year or since I got elected I started visiting the different communities and on January 6th I started having weekly clinics at my office which is one of the benefits of being just an area representative I have more time for the constituents and 90% of the people who would come was related to land issues. Some people have applied for titles and have not received it, some people have applied for permission to survey and have not gotten the permission and some people come with one that hurts most is that the previous administration took their land and gave it to somebody else. So I spoke with Honorable Cordel Hyde who is the minister responsible for lands and that is how we organized. After I learned that he was in Dangriga I said I need you in Cayo Central and he gave me a time, a date and we organized and I believe today the people who are here will come out with a good answer which they will be satisfied with.”
Minister Hyde says he and his team will be returning to Cayo tomorrow to continue meeting with residents.