Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2018. 9:25 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Belmopan area representative, John Saldivar today issued a statement sharing his version of events regarding the sale of the Hilltop- Public Service Union (PSU) headquarters.
Saldivar begins by recounting the way how the PSU obtained the land, “ I was not in agreement when the beleaguered Musa Administration decided to try to gift our beloved Hilltop to the Public Service Union (PSU) back in 1998. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Union and am a former National Treasurer for the PSU, but Hilltop has many, many of my fondest childhood memories. I am sure many Belmopanese feel the same way about Hilltop.”
Saldivar explained that Hilltop was leased to the PSU under a signed agreement which required a monthly payment from the Union.
“This lease agreement in my view vitiated any promise or agreement made by the Musa Administration to the PSU in 1998. Subsequent to signing this agreement the records at the Belmopan City Council show only a handful of payments by the PSU and for sure not even the Union can produce any record of payment since 2008,” Saldivar explained.
According to Saldivar, the council has no documentation nor could the PSU provide any proof that between 2008 and 2010, the then council began refusing to accept their payments.
Saldivar says that as far as the current Council is concerned, the PSU has NOT made any payment on its lease since 2008 and are therefore in breach of the Lease Agreement.
“Under any such binding agreement in the private sector, the lessor would be entitled to terminate the Lease Agreement. However, the Council did not terminate the lease but instead, fifteen months ago, began negotiations with the PSU do away with the lease (which they were not paying) and have them do an outright purchase of the property. An evaluation of the property was done and the Council gave a purchase price for the PSU to consider,” Saldivar further asserted.
The PSU countered with an offer that the council did not accept. Since then neither parties have come to some mutual agreement.
Saldivar then stated that the council is under no obligation to fulfill on a promise made by central government.
He then confirmed that the council found a buyer willing to pay the price.
But Saldivar also publicly said that his position is that the property should not have been given to the PSU nor sold off now, “There is therefore now an opportunity to recover Hilltop for the people of Belmopan. Return the monies to the current purchaser, give the PSU a parcel of land in Belmopan perhaps comparable to the amount they had offered to pay for the property, and immediately acquire funding to properly restore Hilltop as a Public Recreational Center and Swimming Pool.”
Saldivar said that he is prepared to work with the PSU and the council to find a solution.
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