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Village leaders meet to discuss issues facing their communities.

Harry Arzu reporting…
“Village leaders from across the Stann Creek district convened at Independence High School in Independence Village where they held their first annual general meeting as part of the District Associations of Village Councils agenda. Village leaders made presentations on issues and concerns related to their communities. Love News was at the event and spoke with the president of the National Association of Village Councils, Justo Augustine and the President of the Stann Creek District Association of Village Councils, Oscar Guitterez.

Justo Augustine – President, NAVCO
“Most of the things that are discussed are similar to other parts of the country. These are land issues, mining, forestry, liquor license premises etc. We have been in consultation with the department of Lands and Survey, in the Ministry of Natural Resources and in particular with the Lands commissioner.

Harry Arzu
“When you say issues with land what exactly do you mean?”

Justo Augustine – President, NAVCO
“We’re talking about squatting, illegal acquisition of land, illegal surveys, you’d find people come to your community and all of a sudden you see them just living somewhere without even consultation with the local authorities.”

Harry Arzu
“So what is the association doing about that?”

Justo Augustine – President, NAVCO
“We are in dialogue with the lands commissioner to see how we could address these situations and so far we have been promised and hope that we’d be able to address the issue in the near future.”

Harry Arzu
“So tell us Mr. Guitterez, as the President or Chairman of DAVCO, when is it that we are talking about here.

Oscar Guitterez – Presidernt SC DAVCO
“The central issue that came up is Land issue, mining, liquor license, the issuance of liquor license, we have illegal surveys squatting in communities and so forth. So what we want to do is to see how we could address those issues across in the Stann Creek district so that at least by the end of the day we can empower our community chairpersons so they can have some semblance of control in what development or what transpires in their community.”

At the end of the event, leaders were given some funds to jumpstart activities in their communities. The next District Association of Village Councils AGM will be held for the village leaders of the Orange Walk District scheduled for the 15th of this month.