Ministry of Natural Resources undermining Dangriga Town Council

By News5 Belize

There’s another land controversy brewing and the Dangriga Town Council says it is a deliberate attempt by the Ministry of Natural Resources to undermine and frustrate the Council and the people of Dangriga. In a nutshell, what we found out today is that parcel nine-nine-one near the main bridge in downtown Dangriga was sold to Anthony Adderly by government sometime around 2008. According to the Town Council, it was then decided that the land should be reserved for public use and the land was re-acquired from Adderly for four thousand dollars, the purchase price he had paid for it. Since then, however, Adderly managed to re-purchase the land from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Even though he didn’t get title, he collects rent from vendors who sell from that location. Dangriga’s Mayor, Gilbert Swazo, is upset since the parcel of land features into a Municipal Development Plan, and the Council has made every effort to resolve this issue, with no success. And now, says Swazo, he received a letter on March twelfth 2013, signed by C.E.O. of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Beverly Castillo, which serves to destroy all plans the Council has for that parcel.

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor, Dangriga Town
“Mr. Adderly has been given permission to survey effective the twenty-ninth of January 2013, for the said portion of land which is parcel number nine-ninety-one. And it will be conditionally transferred to him once he has completed with that same survey. Mr. Adderly somehow got to reacquire that property. I am not certain of the exact date when he reacquired that property, but he paid a total of five thousand seventy-six dollars and sixty-six cents for the same property which he was compensated four thousand plus dollars for. We intend to reconstruct that same area for it to be a park and it was a location where we also identified to put a tourist center. There isn’t any such center in Dangriga where any person who are looking for tourist information can come to in a centralized location. So we would have rebuilt that same park, place a tourist information center there and again add to bring the area to its natural glory. And again for the Garifuna reenactment to take place there in a safe manner because as it is right now, it is not safe, it is not prepared. So again it is the aim of the town council to ensure that that area was developed.”

In the letter signed by Castillo, there is mention of a court case against government by Adderly which forced G.O.B. to settle the claim by signing over the land and completing the sale. We were unable to contact the C.E.O. before news time, but we’ll have more on this story in Thursday’s newscast.

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