Crowds have been seen daily in front of the Lands Department in Belize City. It's a cause for concern since the space in front of the department is limited and visitors are not able to properly social distance.

But according to the Minister of Natural Resources, Cordel Hyde, the crowd is because of all the first-time landowners that have been registered. He noted that the sheer number of persons who are seeking to own land is proof of the grim situation that the country faces.

"It speaks to how much deprivation and how much inequity exists in this country where a handful of people have a lot land and ordinary people don't and we welcome the fact that people want to sign up for land, we welcome the fact that so many of our people are coming forward to make us know that they don't have land and they need land and we ask them for patience and for time as we try to find where exactly where these lands are available. Our people in the ministry have been tasked with finding that out, I'm hoping to get a report over the next few days as to where exactly in the Belize district the closed we can find to Belize City and we'll make that available freely and fairly to all those people who don't have land. We've not been asking for any minister's letters, we stop that, so people can't freely apply but we beg of people to not congregate so much as the offices in such massive crowds because it's just not healthy, over 300 people have died from COVID, none of us are exempted, hopefully by next week we'll have an online opportunity where people can apply and don't have to go to the office and we're also going to establish a drop box system where you can pick up an application, fill it out and drop it back without having to stay in those long lines, we ask people please to be patient, we're working overtime on that, that's the mandate of this government to make sure that we make lands available to first time land owners, that's our absolute priority and that's what we're going to deliver."

Hyde mentioned that Cayo is next on his list for his mobile land outreach program. While he initially wanted to travel there tomorrow, he can't because of the ongoing budget consultations.

Channel 7