P rior to any construction in Ambergris Caye, plans must be drafted and approved by the Ambergris Caye Housing and Planning Committee, who denies or approves any construction based on established building codes. For months Mayor Elsa Paz has commented that the department should fall under the jurisdiction of the San Pedro Town Council which to date has not happened. Presently Honorable Cordel Hyde has appointed the members of the board with Miss Paz being an ex-oficio member.
However, Mayor Paz and her councilor took the matter to the highest court, the Supreme Court. On December 21st, 2006, represented by Dean Barrow, the San Pedro Town Council came back to San Pedro Town with a win. As of January 2nd, 2007, Honorable Cordel Hyde was instructed to appoint a board of directors that are the recommendation of the local authority, as stated in the amendment of Act No. 2 of 2005.
The decision stated, the persons recommended by the claimant council to the first defendant, are entitled to be appointed by the first defendant to constitute the local building authority for the town of San Pedro under the Belize Building Act No. 7 of 2003 as amended by Act No. 2 of 2005.
Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh further stated that if the current board of directors continues to act as the local building authority [
] it is [
] acting outside the parameters of the law.
Another point declared by the judge is that if Minister Hyde does not make an appointment then the claimant as the local authority for the area is entitled to act as the local building authority for the town of San Pedro.
Judge Conteh continued It is clear from the affidavit of Ms. Elsa Paz [
] that the second respondent, the Ambergris Caye Planning Committee has been in receipt of fees and charges relating to building permissions, accordingly I order that an account be taken of such fees and cheques and the amount found due to be paid over to the Ambergris Town Council.
Government was also ordered to pay the cost of the court application which totaled to $3,000 to the San Pedro Town Council.
Minister Cordel Hyde was unavailable for comment. As of press time, former Chairperson for the Ambergris Caye Housing and Planning Committee Murlene Mel Spain commented that Government would appeal.