The Public Service Union (PSU) will file a lawsuit against the Belmopan City Council this week challenging the sale of its Hilltop property to Simplex Design Company Limited. The union decided to take legal action in light of an eviction notice issued to them by the new owners. According to the Belmopan City Council, the union was in arrears with its lease. President of the Public Service Union, Gerald Henry, contradicted that statement saying that the property was gifted to them by the former Belmopan Mayor, Simeon Lopez.
Gerald Henry Jr., Public Service Union President: “In terms of us oweing the City Council rent what had happened is in the past under Mayor Lopez, under the previous president Sister Willoughby she had attempted to make a payment I think it was in November of whatever year and Mayor Lopez hinted to her basically said to her that he didn’t see it that the union was supposed to be paying any rent and they’re supposed to gifting the property to the union because of the fact the social entity that the union is and the services that it provides to not only public officers but the country on a whole and he didn’t see that the union should be paying towards the property hence the reason she stopped making the payments. We didn’t follow up with regards to getting the title for the property based on that discussion she had with Mayor Lopez. We didn’t have absolutely any notification from the mayor, from Khalid, so we had absolutely no ideas of what was coming at us and when we found about it it was pretty much after the fact especially considering the speed at which the property was sold. We were in negotiations with the City Council at the time and I think that made it even worse that we felt we were completely blindsided by what they did because it’s in bad faith that you would be in a negotiation process and then before that negotiations process has ended where you would tell us ‘okay we don’t think that the offer we accept it and so we need to close this because we want more and we are going to offer it to someone else.’ that didn’t happen.”
Mayor Simeon Lopez served as Belmopan’s Mayor from 2006 to 2015. Our Cayo Correspondent Fem Cruz spoke to Lopez to see if indeed he had gifted the hilltop property to the PSU.
Simeon Lopez, Former Mayor of Belmopan City: “That has never been so. I don’t know where the PSU got that piece of information from. It’s not in black and white, if it’s in black and white then you could dispute what I am saying but I have never gifted any property to the PSU, not the Hilltop property and that is all I will have to say at this time because if they can prove that it is so, that it is in black and white that we have signed agreements between myself or the city council and the PSU that I have gifted them the property then I am prepared to retract my denial but as far as I know that is not true.”
Love News understands that the union has retained the services of Courtney Coye and Associates. The eviction notice gives the union until the end of the month to vacate the premises.