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PSU accuses Lands of “dragging feet” on property title, demands new administration investigate Lands Department

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020. 5:00 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: On the eve of the general election, the Public Service Union (PSU) has added more kindling to its fire of resentment with the Government, this time on an issue near and dear to its heart – its title for relocated property on the Governor General’s Field adjacent to Belize House in central Belmopan.

The Union had reached a settlement in July with the Belmopan City Council for new property to replace its long-time home on the Hilltop overlooking the Ring Road, which was surreptiously sold to long-time-based company Simplex Designs in 2018. Five months later, with the Council having completed its end of the bargain, the Ministry has yet to complete the transfer, prompting the Union to suggest that “the purported efficiency of which the Minister (Hugo Patt) and the Ministry of Natural Resources spoke about, and were quick to offer to Simplex Design, seems to have been equally affixed and transferred along with the thousands of titles of those lands that were fire sold and transferred to Government Ministers and Government-friendly land speculators that we hear of so often in the news.”

The PSU refers to past statements by the Minister and Prime Minister Dean Barrow that new-found efficiency at the once-hotbed of corruption reduced to five days the time it took for registration and recording of transferred titles to occur; Simplex needed seven. The Union insists it didn’t believe it then and doesn’t believe it now; even more that it could have been done under the noses of the Minister, his CEO, and the Commissioner of Lands and Surveys.

In addition to its title, the PSU demands of any incoming administration that a complete overhaul of management of the Ministry be done, and that it be audited in respect to the sale and transfer of government lands and compensation paid out for acquired land; the implementation of criminalization and asset recovery of those guilty of exploiting these resources; and for the Supreme Audit Institution to release its long-awaited report on the Ministry.


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