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Land for all – soldiers, coast guard, police latest to benefit

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022. 1:22 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Mobile land clinics where services related to the obtaining and settlement of land issues have been active countrywide, and beginning on Thursday and continuing today, the home of the Belize Defense Force (BDF), Price Barracks in Ladyville, played host to a special visit to soldiers, Coast Guard and members of the Police Department in conjunction of the Ministries of Natural Resources and of National Defense and Border Security.

Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde told reporters that members of the Force “came out in droves” to a clinic in Sandhill a few months ago, leading to a promise that the clinic would come to them to resolve their issues. And they would be given “special treatment” as he explained: “…we are issuing purchase price approvals for them and then they are going to pay because they’ve said they had the money to pay so they’re going to pay immediately and apply for the title immediately and so we are hoping that by tomorrow to issue the titles to these folks.”

Some 200 soldiers and civilian staff of the Force are set to benefit, as well as 150 police officers and members of the Coast Guard.

Florencio Marin, Minister of National Defense & Border Security, recorded his gratitude to his colleague: “…if you notice, he moves around the whole country. He hasn’t just moved necessarily to the divisions, but he also came to the Belize Defense Force. We are working with him as well in the [near] future to get him to the Coast Guard. So, I can tell you this will be [a] huge relief for a lot of soldiers between today and tomorrow as he is here for two days.”

And where is the land, always a finite resource, coming from? Hyde detailed that: “[The] BDF knows about land, this is one organization that knows about land for many decades, they’re good at it and so in one case, we have approved a subdivision for them and got the survey done so we are making good on that. In other cases, it’s about getting land in Sandhill and surrounding areas…whenever we come upon land, we do our best to ensure that we prioritize these persons who have given tremendous service to the country over years. I don’t think they’ve really been prioritized before in this kind of way…” In some cases, he added, it comes from repossession of land with expired leases.

Hyde said the Ministry intends to honour its commitments to other professional services – nurses, medical and dental practitioners, workers from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), stevedores and teachers as well as public officers generally. But is he encouraging continued fealty from voters and potential supporters of the ruling party? Hyde argues that it is all about getting the job they voted for him to do, done: “George Price taught us many years ago, assume it’s not done, assume when you want something done and you issue a directive, it doesn’t get done. You have to be hands-on to make sure that it gets done and I think that there’s no better way for me to know what’s happening in the country than for me to travel with our people and have a hand on what’s going on so that we can be responsive in a timely fashion.”


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