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Cordel Hyde on Lands Department: “It is not that the land-rich should have less, it’s just that the land-poor should have more”

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2023. 9:08 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: On its way back from being the “hotbed of corruption” as it was infamously described by former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde said the focus at the Department of Lands and Surveys has been turned from the rich to the poor.

As he borrowed the late Right Honourable George Price’s statement about rich and poor, he commended the staff of the Lands Department for setting records in producing documents in internal and public “clinics” up and down the country, reducing the backlog of instruments and making service faster, more responsive and more respectful to customers.

In its first two years of government, it has increased the percentage of first-time land owners by three percent with plans for 11 thousand new lots – the first step, as Hyde said, to getting money for house construction, starting businesses, and most importantly, “changing lives, one house lot at a time” – creating generational wealth and lifting more people to the middle class.

Where there is land, inevitably, there is housing, and houses are “blessings” for those fortunate to move into one as more than 250 have in the past two years, Hyde said, recounting his own experience as a boy of 12 and exhibiting pride in being able to do that now for many others.

Hyde also touched on the subject of Maya communal land rights, advising that in the African tradition: “We talk until we agree…We talk to each other and not at each other…The Maya have to understand that we have an unconvinced wider public. They can’t let their right become wrong. The Government has to understand that we must be the honest broker, the wise sage; we cannot give in to the public back-and-forth. The wider public has to understand that there is a court ruling at stake from the highest court in all the land. There is a historical perspective to the ruling. Jump high, jump low, we are one Belize – one country, one people. We must never give in to the isms and schisms that got us here in the first place.” He cited that the philosophy has been used with the trade unions and in his opinion, should be used with the sugar industry.

And addressing his constituents in Lake Independence, Hyde thanked them for “suffering with him” in thick and thin; even when he left, “you took me back.” Now, the constituency is being rebuilt one street at a time, one family at a time, and the Lake will be taken care of by all of the associated Ministries – health, education and agriculture, bringing the magic of growing food from the ground to the concrete jungle, as well as “buff” grocery bags from the Ministry of Human Development and a food court through the Ministry of Tourism on the main thoroughfare of Mahogany Street.

 

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