Letters — 20 May 2017
Urban Reyes writes PM Barrow

Dear Editor,
Please find attached an open letter to the Prime Minister. It shall be of great value to your readers, as there are other in the same predicament.

1st May 2017
Rt Honorable Prime Minister
Dean O. Barrow
Minister of: Finance, Public Service,
Energy and Public Utilities
and Natural Resources

Damages caused by Ministry of Natural Resources

Dear Prime Minister Barrow:
Now that you have assumed the helm of the Ministry of Natural Resources along with your Minister of State, Dr. Carla Barnett, I believe, you can aid in resolving my (titled) property situation within the Department of Lands.

• 20th December 1996, I was issued a lease, by the Ministry of Natural Resources, for land in the Manatee Bar area.
• 2nd of November 1997, I was given permission to purchase said property
• 29th August 2012, title was issued for said property, see Minister’s Fiat Grant No 669 of 2012

Between the issuance of the lease and the title being issued, the Ministry of Natural Resources sold the land to someone else; see Minister’s Fiat Grant No. 241 of 2003.

Regarding this matter, I have communicated twice in person with Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos and Mr. Castillo – Chief Valuer. I emailed the commissioner at least 15 times and communicated with anyone whom I thought could help. Ms. Joy Grant was very sympathetic; so was the Financial Secretary Mr. Joseph Weight.

Hon. Gaspar Vega never responded; neither did Minister Godwin Hulse. I even spoke directly with you on, 5th May 2015. You responded that you will look into the matter, but as of today’s date, there has been no resolution.

Honorable Minister, you are on the record saying, “I speak not just for my office; but for the entire Cabinet and Government of Belize.” Mr. Barrow, you use language clearly and fluently in the halls of the power structure. It is often stated in terms of the problems created by the People’s United Party, while communities like Mesop and Queen’s Square are filled with some of the worst problems that overcrowding brings; overcrowding caused by practices of the Lands Department. As you sing your swan song, kindly use your voice to help the less fortunate.

Duplicate documents for the same landholdings are being issued. The practice of issuing duplicate titles is dishonest and should be a clear sign of corruption within your Ministry. I believe you know or should have known long ago about these corrupt behaviors. My case is the best example of that situation. The corruption in regards to land has reached such a proportion that I am led to believe, the laissez-faire attitude of your administration may have encouraged the corrupt behavior, where more than one person holds leases, and in many instances, title documents for the same piece of land. The situation with Sharon Pitts and the young Vega are excellent examples.

Since no one in the department has been sanctioned or disciplined, I believe the administration is encouraging the corrupt practice. This level of corruption in the government service would not exist if it is not encouraged at the higher levels of government. Please put a stop to it. This is not the way you want your administration to be remembered!

Under your administration, the Ministry of Natural Resources has had many changes in gatekeepers, i.e., Ministers responsible: Gaspar Vega, Godwin Hulse, Vanessa Retreage, Dr. Carla Barnett and yourself. Commissioner Vallejos, however, has not been touched! Why?

Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities and Natural Resources, I am once again asking for your assistance to ensure that I am timely and properly compensated for the damages caused to me by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Sincerely,

Urban A. Reyes
6084 Urban Avenue
Buttonwood Bay
Belize City, Belize
Email: [email protected]

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