Hi:
Thank you both for your well thought out messages.

The problem is not in the selling of land to foreigners. There are private lands available on the island for sale that anyone can purchase. Call any real estate agency and they will give you listings of property for sale on Caye Caulker.

The problem lies in the sale of PUBLIC lands (or to us - the village inheritance / village lands) to foreigners (meaning anyone not a resident of Caye Caulker).

Traditionally, these village lands are subdivided and leased out to up and coming families as part of the village inheritance. They are leased to the locals for an equitable sum of money, and when the lands have been built on, the locals can apply to purchase them. This works great in that it encourages the locals to build and it gives them an opportunity to build first instead of spending all their money on land purchases first.

However, what Ms. Arceo is wanting to do is to take the village lands and now sell them at a price that is way out of the reach of the local people, instead of leasing them to the local people. Local people with our level of revenues cannot afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars to purchase land here (as they cannot either in any part of the country I don't think). So, the leased land program works wonderfully to keep our young people at home and gives them a break to become something on the island.

The reason we believe Ms. Arceo is advertising our village lands for sale to the highest bidder, we believe (in the name of getting "investment" for the island) is because Ms. Arceo needs campaign funds for the next election. Because selling out the village lands is certainly not in the best-interest of the islanders or the villagers.

Thing is, she took this decision herself without consultation with the village people.

As a child growing up on CC, I can remember vividly CC being a poor fishing village at best. My mother was the principal at the elementary school here. She was the first native island woman to be sent away (read: leave her warm family behind and suffer incredible homesickness) to learn how to read and write and be able to impart that to the other local village children.

Slowly but surely, the island has continued to sacrifice its family life and its children sending the children away so that they can come back a little smarter and make Caye Caulker a little better with each succesive wave of graduates.

I believe that the island has prospered because of the collective sacrifices of the villagers on the island, and take offence that Ms. Arceo now wants to line her pocket with the collective sacrifice of the island people, at NO benefit to the island folks. In other words, after all the sacrifice, she will now yank our inheritance out from under us (to fill her pocket only, no less).

Wouldn't you be incensed if it were you town?

There are private lands for sale. People can feel free to go and purchase those. Leave the public lands to the villagers, please. You know not what we have sacrificed as a village to now be able to get here where we can inherit those.

Cheers,
Wendy