Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2023. 12:59 pm CST.
By Horace Palacio: The Government of Belize (GOB) has taken legal action against Hugo Patt, the former Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy Prime Minister, for alleged misfeasance while in office. The lawsuit is in relation to a controversial land transaction carried out in the Belama Phase Five area, which the government claims Patt executed improperly.
As reported in the House of Representatives by current Lands Minister, Cordel Hyde, twenty-six acres of land in Belama were acquired at a price tag of six and a half million dollars in September 2020 under the UDP administration. The acquisition was made in order to facilitate a subdivision to obtain lots for the Collet residents. However, in a surprising move, two months later and right on the cusp of the 2020 general elections, these public lands were reportedly sold to Roosevelt Blades for a mere twenty-six thousand dollars.
While the discrepancy in the sales figure has raised eyebrows, Patt has contested the allegations. The former lands minister challenges the stated figure, insisting that the transaction was sealed at fifty-eight thousand dollars. He further mentioned that considerations were being made to place these lands in a trust meant for the residents of Collet.
The issue has been a contentious one since early 2021. Cordel Hyde, the current Minister of Natural Resources, addressed the National Assembly in January 2021, shedding light on this murky transaction.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the nation awaits more clarity on the circumstances surrounding the land deal, and whether Patt’s actions were indeed a breach of his ministerial duties.
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