Since the UDP took office in 2008, there have been constant reports of corruption and victimization from within each and every Ministry; most particularly, the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Our newsroom has been buzzing on a constant basis with allegations and reports by Belizeans across the country saying that their lands have been cancelled and/or given to known UDP associates.  Reports have also poured into our newsroom alleging that hundreds of acres of land have been taken away from Belizeans who have either been working the land or have been waiting for land documents to be released to them, and sold at rock bottom prices to party cronies.

Well tonight, more allegations have been coming into our newsroom, this time from the Orange Walk South constituency.  Area Representative Jose Mai visited our studio today and told us what the people of his constituency are facing.  Some strong allegations were brought forth on behave of the people of San Felipe and surrounding area in which they allege that family members of the National State Officer Darleni Padron have been the ones benefiting from the latest slew of cancelled leases.  Reports are that these cancelled leases are placed in the names of family members who in turn sell the lands at lucrative prices to Mennonite farmers.  Area Representative Jose Mai told us more on the land cancellation and land selling situation facing the people of his constituency.

Jose Abelardo Mai- Area Representative Orange Walk South

“We understand Mr Julian Padron cancelled and facilitated the process along with his cousin and subsequent sold it to a Mennonite for a hundred thousand dollars and again it is report coming out from San Felipe. We know that the land is being cancelled from the Gonzales family and sold to farmers for huge sums of money.  We also know that the land of one Martin Ramos and Sarah Cecilia Ramos was cancelled of which 50 acres were given to one Victor Ramos, brother-in-law of Darlene Padron and the other portion was given to Ruben Campos of about 500 acres and he is seeking a buyer for it at Shipyard but again all these lands have owner both PUP’s and extent UDP’s.”

Another allegation brought forth to our newsroom centres around cane farmer Prudencio Vasquez.  Vasquez says that the land that he has been working and growing cane on for the past twelve years has been taken away from him.  Vasquez says he is not the only one, as several cane farmers in that same area arrived earlier this week to inspect their fields, only to find bulldozers clearing the land.  Vasquez claims that he had already applied to receive his land lease from the Land’s Department which had already been approved, but when he went to pick it up, he was informed that the lease was denied and granted to someone else.

The five farmers from the village of Trinidad are: Prudencio Vasquez, Filodonio Medina, Carlos Cassanova and Jorge Cawich.  We do understand that Jorge Cawich does not have the high risk of losing his land as the other three. The Area Rep of the Orange Walk South Constituency is not happy about these occurrences and sends out a message in this regard.

Jose Abelardo Mai- Area Representative Orange Walk South

“They’re dozens of people that have been affected by what Darlene Padron and her immediate family are doing.  I have great respect for the Mennonites of this country because they are hard workers and very discipline workers and they want to continue producing.  My advice to them is to not to encourage the Padron family to continue this type of activity.  I want to belief that this is obtaining something or like buying something that is stolen.  At some point the people would say enough is enough and the one who sell and the one who buys will be in problems.”

In 2008 the UDP was dubbed the “quitar” group and it appears that they have been true to the nickname and have adopted it in full.  We will attempt to get an interview with the Ministry of Lands Department or National States Officer for next week’s newscast.