Mobile Land Clinic Assists Hundreds of Residents in Belize City’s Southside
Hundreds of residents from the Southside of Belize City were assisted today with land matters through a mobile land clinic held in the Port Loyola Constituency. The two-day event was held by Port Loyola Area Representative, Gilroy Usher, in partnership with the Minister of Natural Resources, Cordel Hyde. The nationwide initiative is aimed at bringing the services of the Land’s Department to residents in order to better serve them. Usher spoke to Love News about the importance of the initiative and how his constituents were aided in hashing out their land issues.
Gilroy Usher Sr., Area Representative, Port Loyola: “This is a very important undertaking because people have land matters that they have been unable to settle for months and years and some of those issues include lease for their land, title for their land, permission to survey, correction, transfers and different issues like that so at this land clinic every effort is being made to make sure that those matters are settled once and for all so that the persons who attend the land clinic as many of them as possible walk away with the documents that they have been waiting for for so long in their hands. I have the experience of dealing with land issues myself. It’s a costly undertaking to visit the lands department in Belize city repeatedly without making any headway and it’s even more costly to visit the lands department in Belmopan and not make any headway. And in many cases it’s not because the public officers are not doing their work it’s just the volume of land applications that they have that is difficult for them to reach everybody at the same time but the mobile land clinic enables the ministry to focus on the particular needs of a constituency just for one or two days and therefore they are able to get much more done for the residents of the area and so that underscores the importance of the land clinic.”
Reporter: How many residents were you hoping to target and assist?
Gilroy Usher Sr., Area Representative, Port Loyola: “Well port Loyola has at least 4,700 voters and out of that amount I would say scores and scores of persons have issues with their land. In some cases persons were squatting on land and when the government needed the land like for example for the Jane Usher Boulevard then they asked the people to move from there and go to relocate but then there wasn’t the necessary follow up for them to get the lease for the land on which they are living and so many persons who are at the land clinic today are trying to get those issues clarified. They are trying to get the lease for the land on which they have been living for as I said five or six years or more.”
Minister of Natural Resources, Cordel Hyde, explained that through today’s initiative, several residents were able to resolve land standing land issues and receive the documentation for their parcel of land.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining: “This is the first time on the South Side of Belize city, we’ve kind of saved the best for last if I can put it that way. It’s long overdue, long-awaited, in high demand and so we are here to try to attend to our constituents, attend to our people who really need help to solve their land problems. In lots of cases some of these problems date way way back. In one case a family lives on their land from 1980 something but the land is not surveyed, this is on Penn Road you know the popular Penn Road the land is not surveyed so they don’t really have any papers for it so we have an opportunity here for them to apply for survey, get the land survey for them so that they can eventually get purchase price and get their title and legitimize the situation for them I mean it’s been over 35 years so we’re happy to provide that kind of service to people.”
Reporter: And how difficult is it to reach all these persons? I can imagine there are thousands of persons that want to come to these events and long to meet with representatives from the lands apartment to hash out these issues.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining: “Yeah I know that’s why we have to go to the people. That’s why we take Belmopan to the people that’s why we sometimes have to double back to a constituency with more than one time, we have to traverse the entirety of the country because some of these problems long standing and people don’t really have the wherewithal to up and down to Belmopan or up and down to a district office every time. The truth of the matter is that there are thousands and thousands of files that people apply for over a period of time there’s only so many hands in these offices, there is only so many files they can humanly take care of on a day-to-day basis and so when we come out to the people we are able to expedite the process, able to address the issues in a very prompt and efficient kind of way. When we come on these mobiles our public officers work until very late into the night sometimes in very inhospitable conditions because it’s very hot and conditions may not be the best but it’s about trying to provide that service to people as best as we can.”