BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016–Amandala has obtained shocking documents revealing that under Gaspar Vega’s watch the Government of Belize entered into an agreement to pay BZ$1 million for a parcel of land they had sold a businessman for $6,500 just three years earlier.
The Government of Belize sold the businessman a portion of mangrove supposedly measuring a little over two acres on the banks of a channel leading to the lagoon on the west side of Placencia, and then turned around three years later and re-acquired the same portion of mangrove for a whopping $1 million. The documents reveal that on February 15, 2012, Ron J Limited purchased block 36, parcel 3246, of Placencia North from the Government of Belize for $6,540.30.
However, our sources say that the proposed developments by Ron J Limited on that particular piece of land would have affected the access to the lagoon of a highly connected member of the United Democratic Party. The well-connected UDP reportedly complained and a decision was made for Government to repossess the said mangrove.
Whether what followed was a Cabinet decision, we can’t say. What we do know is that on July 14, 2015, an agreement was signed for Government to re-acquire the parcel of mangrove from Ron J Limited for $1 million, the same parcel government had sold the businessman for $6,500. That agreement was signed by Natural Resources CEO Sharon Ramclam on behalf of the Government.
According to the agreement we have been able to examine, an initial down-payment of $25,000 was made with monthly installments of $20,000 beginning August 2015. Our sources say there are many more of these highly suspect agreements that led to Government paying out millions upon millions of dollars at market value for land they had sold for a pittance — in this case, netting the businessman, an exponential rate of return.
According to CEO Ramclam, she set up a small team in the Ministry of Natural Resources in January of this year to scrutinize the Compensation files, but apparently, that work is still incomplete.
The salient fact is that these huge sums are being paid, not out of grants, or gifts from other countries or entities, but from hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars.