This morning, dozens of people once again gathered at the Lands Department in Belize City. The line of people snaked around the building on Cemetery Road. Those in line failed to adhere to safety protocols, and police officers had to be called to keep order and ensure that the law is being followed. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde also made an appearance. Minister Hyde greeted Belizeans hoping to own a piece of land, so they had formed lines at the Lands Department. The Minister explains that many believe that it is only on Mondays that applications are accepted. He attempted to convince people to apply another day to reduce the crowd size. Hyde says that the ministry will need to create a new system to make the application process more efficient and safe.
Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources
“It seems like everybody decided to come apply today first time land owner. This is a result of many, many years of people trying to get land and being unsuccessful. So everybody is trying to get their name in because they know that is our focus, trying to make land available to first time people, people who don’t have land. Also we make the process a little bit easier because you don’t need a minister letter to come. You can just show up once you have a social security card to apply. If you notice, everybody applied. This is a bad thing because of the pandemic and all of that but people don’t want t be left out. That is problem. So we will have to try to figure out a different system. This office, the building is too small. It can only accommodate a few people at a time. So I am trying to convince people that you don’t have to apply now because the problem we have in Belize City is that we don’t have national lands. So we are busy trying to find government lands as close to Belize City as possible whether it is Hattieville, Ladyville or wherever. Once we find those government lands then we will survey those and make those available to all those people who are applying. So I am trying to say to people, you don’t need to apply today. You can come apply any other day. But of course people are from five o’clock, six o’clock so they want to take advantage of this opportunity. Some people have take off teh day to come here.”
“What are you trying to implement?”
“What we are trying to do is one, try to reduce the crowd, tell they can home and come back another day. We will have to sit with the staff and figure what is the best way to work and try to figure out how best to allow people to apply without having this congregation every day.”