Vega’s case is reportedly in the case management stage
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018– While Gaspar Vega served as the UDP’s deputy party leader and the nation’s deputy prime minister, with responsibility for natural resources, his son, Andre Vega, and UDP crony, Sharon Pitts, both walked away $400,000 richer, courtesy taxpayers’ money, following a couple of shady transactions in which the two acquired plots of land that subsequently had to be returned because they had already been privately owned.
In compensation, the two individuals had been paid $400,000 each.
In November 2016, the Attorney General had written the two, demanding that they return those monies to the national treasury. But they did not do so.
From the beginning, many Belizeans were pessimistic that either Pitts or Vega would return those monies, and today there is even more doubt that they will do so.
Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke, told the press that instead of court action, the Government of Belize will engage in a mediation session. Hawke said that in agreements with both persons, there was a clause which allowed for conflict resolution via mediation.
He indicated that going to mediation will not let Pitts or Vega off the hook, but will instead allow for an amicable solution of this matter.
Hawke said the decision to mediate was proposed by Pitts’ attorney, Hubert Elrington, during a case management held yesterday before Justice Michelle Arana. He said that there is a timeline of 45 days before the mediation takes effect.
In the case of Vega, Hawke said that the matter is now at the case management stage before Justice Courtney Abel. It is expected that Vega will also choose mediation.
In 2016, Amandala had broken the story on the land transaction involving Pitts and Vega after we had received leaked documents from the Ministry of Natural Resources. The documents revealed that the duo had come into possession of privately-owned land at Mile 5 on the Philip Goldson Highway, near the Haulover Bridge. This transfer occurred even though the Ministry of Natural Resources was aware that the land was already owned.
The documents in our possession revealed that on at least two occasions, public officers pointed out to higher-ups in the Ministry that the said land was already privately owned, and in fact, the Lands Commissioner had given instructions to revoke Pitts’ permission to survey the land.
Still, Pitts went on to receive her title, and so did Gaspar Vega’s campaign manager, Hilmar Alamilla, who is now jailed on a charge of murder.
Alamilla later went on to sell his parcel to Vega’s son, Andre Vega, for $15,000. Noteworthy is that Alamilla had originally spent $2,500 for the 1.124 acres in question.
In both cases, the Government of Belize then had to re-acquire these privately-owned plots of land from the two individuals, at the hefty price of $400,000 each.
Following this revelation, more documents surfaced of shady transactions in which the Vega family acquired thousands of acres of prime land while Gaspar Vega was the Minister of Natural Resources.
On the land hustle by persons highly connected to the ruling party, PUP deputy leader, Hon. Cordel Hyde, commented, “All over this country you have people dying to get a piece of land. In Belize City, all our people want is a little 50 by 75 piece of swamp, while in other parts of the country, all some people want is a little farmland. And they can’t get it, no matter how hard they try.”