Private Investigator

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 1            January 8, 2009

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The area in question is located in San Pablo.

Q: There is a parcel of land which, as locals, we have generally accepted as a park in the San Pablo Area of our town. Driving home I saw a for sale sign on it. This issue has caused concern and has come under public scrutiny by the San Pedro residents, that I have spoken to since the plot of land has Mayan mounds on it. What I want to know is how come the land is being sold? Who owns the land? Is it legal to sell the land? If this land is possibly part of archaeology, why then is it being sold, and who owns it, and how did that person come to own it in the first place? Does the person have the right to sell this land? Can anything be done to preserve this area?
/s/ Via Email

A: Our “private investigator” has found out that the land is owned and being sold by one Ronald Thompson of Belize City, who claimed to have no knowledge that the land was ever a park. The land measures 150 by 60 feet and is being sold for $160, 000.00 Bze ($80,000USD). In speaking with former Area Representative Patty Arceo, she confirmed that it was during her term that palapas and picnic tables were constructed on the land. Our “private investigator” was able to confirm that an application to acquire the land under the San Pedro Town Council was made sometime between 1999 and 2000 but no follow up was made by either of the Town Councils since then.

    Since the land in question has Mayan Mounds, and Mayan artifacts have been discovered in the area, the Archeology Department was contacted and it was found that they had no knowledge of the land sale. The Archeology Department warned that if the land owner has a legitimate land title, the sale of land is legal. The Archeology Department also stated, however, that even if the land is being sold, no development can take place on the land if the Archeology Department is not involved. Because there was an application made to acquired land title back in 1999 and 2000 by the San Pedro Town Council, the Archeology Department also stated that the Department can appropriate the parcel should the land be considered of national importance.

    Area Representative Manuel Heredia told our investigator that he will take the matter to Cabinet. Honorable Heredia said that he will do anything within his power to have the land designated legally as a park, including sitting down with the owner and reaching an agreement.

    Our investigator also found out that because of the nature of the change of ownership of lands in the San Pablo Area over the years, there was just a verbal and mutual agreement that the area would be respected as a green area and future park, making the area a Town Heritage site.
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