Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#458083 - 02/15/13 02:02 PM The Anger In Arenal
Marty Offline
Yesterday, 7News told you about the situation in Arenal Village in which a woman's home was destroyed to make way for a football field. It sparks from an issue in which the village's only football field, which is well-known, sits on both Belizean and Guatemalan territory.

The village chairman told us that whenever they've tried to organize sporting events on the field, Guatemalans living near the area cause big problems for the village.

So, they've resorted to building another football field in which the entire length and breadth in Belizean territory. They had plans for years to create that field, but when they started to bring those plans to reality, they realized that one female resident of the village was squatting on public land.

And when they started working on the field, they destroyed her entire development on the land, which included trees and plants, and her house which was burnt down. That's right, they burnt it down!

7News caught up with her today, and found that she is now without any home along with her 4 children

Here's how she explains the horror of finding the home burnt down:

Sarita Lara - Her Home Was Destroyed
"We were promised help to get the land, proper title, and a house to occupy the land, and start a settlement. The UDP won't allow us to have the land because it was promised by the PUP. So, now they are prejudiced against us, and they are trying to get us off the land. So, we settled here, and tried to make a contract with the Minister and with the Alcalde to notarize the contract, and have it signed by a Justice of Peace. It was so that everybody would know what was happening, but the contract was never signed. And now, they've come and bulldozed the land, destroying everything that was there, house and all. And I want justice because it's not normal. We are poor. They came and saw, and they know that they can persecute us because we're poor. But, we are the same as them, poor or not."

"Here on this land, we're four in my family, 5 with me, and my mother who also has her own land here. She depends on me, and so do my 4 children."

And in every story, there is another side, and the chairman of the village, told us today that they tried to reason with her, but she wouldn't budge. He did admit that they did it unjustly.

Here's an excerpt of how that conversation went:

Lucio Sanchez - Chairman, Arenal Village Council
"It was not our intention to move them unjustly. So, we made a pact with them to give them a piece of lot in Benque, so that they would vacate these lots, and leave them for the community. It's not for me; it's not for any of my neighbors. It's for the community."

"It's is a public area. We want to see papers for leased land. There are no papers for leased land, so this is a public area; that's why we did it."

"This situation has been going for more than a year, and now she's building a house. Why doesn't she build a house on the lot that the Minister is providing for her in Benque."

Lara claims that she's been living at that location for more than 10 years.

The story is more complex than we've excerpted due to time constraints, and tomorrow, we will explore it more fully.

Channel 7


Top
#458335 - 02/19/13 02:08 PM Re: The Anger In Arenal [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Dispute In Arenal Village

On Thursday, we told you about the dispute in Arenal Village where the construction of a football field led to the destruction of a woman's home. Tonight, we've put together a more in-depth story to examine the broad outline and the finer points of this village dispute.

Daniel Ortiz has that report:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
The smoldering remains on this patch of earth are the only things which can attest to the fact that there was a house sitting here.

That house used to belong to Sarita Lara, and it was destroyed because she was squatting, but she claims that she was living there off and on for over 10 years.

The rest of Lara's belongings - spared from the blaze - were unceremoniously dumped in a heap. And in the distance, the excavator works on the hilly sections of the terrain to level it out for a new football field, which is in Belizean territory.

No one can deny that it is an important development, but Lara says that the Arenal Village Council destroyed her home to make way for that field.

Sarita Lara - Her Home Was Destroyed
"We were promised help to get the land, proper title, and a house to occupy the land, and start a settlement. The UDP won't allow us to have the land because it was promised by the PUP. So, now they are prejudiced against us, and they are trying to get us off the land. So, we settled here, and tried to make a contract with the Minister and with the Alcalde to notarize the contract, and have it signed by a Justice of Peace. It was so that everybody would know what was happening, but the contract was never signed. And now, they've come and bulldozed the land, destroying everything that was there, house and all. And I want justice because it's not normal. We are poor. They came and saw, and they know that they can persecute us because we're poor. But, we are the same as them, poor or not."

"Here on this land, we're four in my family, 5 with me, and my mother who also has her own land here. She depends on me, and so do my 4 children."

She explained to us the circumstances of what led for her to be living there illegally:

Sarita Lara
"From 1992, they gave us the land, and I have people who can vouch that I sent workers to build the house when there were mountains here. The person who always clears the land for me can say that I never abandoned the land. And when I don't have money to pay rent, I come and stay at this house. Now that this has happened, I don't know where to go. So from 1992, it's like 15 years now. I came to live here from since my daughter was 1 years old. I always come and go because I don't have anybody to maintain me."

It was on one of those occasions when she was away that the Village Council destroyed her property. And while the scorched earth approach lacked finesse, the Chairman says that they had a bigger problem to solve:

Lucio Sanchez - Chairman, Arenal Village Council
"We have a plan for a football field for ARENAL BELIZE. You guys are more than welcomed to clear up the public opinion. the story of Arenal is more than 120 years since it's been founded. Arenal didn't have a football field. The only football field that Arenal had was the one down there. Half is in Belize, and Half is in Guatemala."

And that is an issue because the Guatemalan neighbors make problems for the village whenever they try to organize events:

Lucio Sanchez
"That field has been a constant problem for the players. Here on the Belize side, we have 3 teams and various kids. One of the favorite sports of the area is football, and it is a major pastime for the community, and recently, we won the Christmas Championships. We had a game on the 24th, where they cut the football. They beat up a young man. They cut up the net for the goal. They threw some of the posts into the river. It was very bad, and because of this, we decided that we wouldn't play the championships any. But the Belizeans here in the village don't have a field of their own."

And it brings us to the issue where this new field became a problem for Sarita Lara.

Lucio Sanchez
"The lots that you saw there, those people are squatting on is public land, and it is designated for the football field. The area below is being allowed for space to build a community center because we don't have any center."

But other residents claim that her house should not have been destroyed, and she should not have been forced to move because the field in is original planning did not include the piece of land her house was on.

Enzo Hulse - Concerned Resident
"This field is on planning for years; for 13 years now this field is on plan. This field was supposed to build in a certain way but then he wants to do his own thing in another way. That why he came in and wants to destroy the old girl property because he wants to use the land that the house is on to make the field longer."

Whatever the case may have been, Lara's property was destroyed, and they are upset about it.

The Chairman says, she had to be moved, and they moved her:

Lucio Sanchez - Chairman, Arenal Village Council
"It was not our intention to move them unjustly. So, we made a pact with them to give them a piece of lot in Benque, so that they would vacate these lots, and leave them for the community. It's not for me; it's not for any of my neighbors. It's for the community."

It is a legitimate case that Lara should have been moved, but it is arguable that the chairman did it in a legal manner. He wouldn't tell us clearly if he had a court order to do so, as we tried to ask him in Spanish:

Lucio Sanchez - Chairman, Arenal Village Council
"It's is a public area. We want to see papers for leased land. There are no papers for leased land, so this is a public area; that's why we did it."

The family is now upset, and they want to be compensated.

Sarita Lara
"We want them to pay for all the damages that they have done to us."

Lucio Sanchez - Chairman, Arenal Village Council
"This situation has been going for more than a year, and now she's building a house. Why doesn't she build a house on the lot that the Minister is providing for her in Benque."

Indeed, we have seen the documents to show that in compensation - two lots were given to her in Benque Vejo - but she refused to sign and accept it.

Sarita Lara and her family told us that they will be seeking legal advice to see if she is due any compensation for the damages to her property.

Channel 7


Top

Links
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


Things to do

News
Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
BelizeNews.com
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Amandala
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker
Chronicles

PLUS TV
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
SanPedroScoop
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

Blogs
San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
Tacogirl
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lilí Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
December
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
3 registered (JaHo, joekerland, 1 invisible), 46 Guests and 7 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,672 Registered Members
44 Forums
64,026 Topics
462,221 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 07:16 PM




AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.