Clear The Land Clarifies Land Issue
Thursday, 04 September 2008
In last night’s newscast we brought to you the story of the residents of the village of Rhaburn Ridge situated on the Northern Highway, near the Belize – Orange Walk border. Last night, residents spoke to us about the threat of losing their agricultural lands to Tilapia, so to speak.
Well, this morning, Area Representative Edmund Castro visited the residents to clear up what he referred to as a misunderstanding and miscommunication to the residents of the area. Our news team was out in the area today and was present for the short meeting Castro held with the residents.
Domingo Vasquez “Esta mapa supuestamente le he mostrado es la mapa original que conseguimos cuando los entregaron las tierras por el ministro Johnny Briceno. Eso es lo que estamos esperando que siga como tiene la mapa no.”
Yari Catzim “Todos los que tienen terreno lo pusieron a como dice la mapa?”
Domingo Vasquez “Se ubicaron a como la mapa, de un pie a dos pies de diferencia pero como la mapa los puso.”
And it was in accordance with that survey plan that these residents established their homes and crops in and around the village in the constituency of Hon. Edmund Castro. A few weeks ago, surveyors were in the area re-surveying and placing new markers on the lands which were already inhabited, allegedly without consulting the people. The residents also claimed that they were told that they would loose their lands as there were plans for a new project.
This morning, Area Representative Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro, held a meeting with the residents, who were by all means determined to hold on to their lands and at the end of the meeting, it was agreed to continue with the plans which were already set for the area.
Hon. Edmund Castro- Deputy Minister of Works “Basically we are here clearing the land so we can survey the land. Once we survey the land then majority of the people here in Rhaburn Ridge do not have lease or title for their land so the government has acquired some 200 acres so we can properly distribute the land to the people in this area in a planned community.”
Yari Catzim “Some of the people here were worried that they would loose their houses their crops”
Hon. Edmund Castro- Deputy Minister of Works “They need not to worry because I asked each of them to remain calm until we finish with the whole process of the survey.”
Yari Catzim “When that finishes will the people who are out of the survey and don’t have a land be relocated?”
Hon. Edmund Castro- Deputy Minister of Works “Yes those people who are out of the survey and wish to get the proper documentation for a piece of land then those people will be facilitated by giving them an opportunity to get a piece of land at the Rhaburn Ridge community.”
Hon. Castro has also agreed to work along with the residents who claim to have lease papers or any other kind of documentation, as long as the papers are verified by the Ministry of Lands.
Hon. Edmund Castro- Deputy Minister of Works “Whatever documents they have we need to take a look at it, and we will verify it at Belmopan and whatever documents they have we need to get a look at it and once it is a legal lease then I don’t think that will be a problem.”
“These communities now will be planned in a way that we make allocations for not just the farmers but also the area that does not have a school, a football field, and things that we need. I guess everybody will have electricity and water from the projects and will benefit residents of Rhaburn Ridge.”
And what will happen with the plans of transforming some of the land into a project for the CYDP? Well, it will still proceed as other land will be sought to carry out the project.
Hon. Edmund Castro- Deputy Minister of Works “Yes we also have an area that we will be running a pilot project to raise tilapia and do some agriculture and we will be awarding an acre of land or so to built a fish pond and raise tilapia.”
We will continue to follow the land issues affecting residents of the north and we will be bringing any new developments as they occur. http://www.ctv3belizenews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2560&Itemid=1