BELIZE CITY, Sun. June 19, 2022
At this time, the government of Belize is considering the drafting of legislation that could protect its coffers from exploitative land compensation claims, which, according to Lands Minister, Hon. Cordel Hyde, are appearing almost on a daily basis at the Natural Resources Ministry. He told local journalists that a significant amount of time and energy is being expended by the ministry to address such claims—not to mention government funds to settle these claims, many of which have arisen due to decisions made by the previous UDP, administration, Hyde says.
Many of the claims stem from duplicated land sales, a costly oversight. Hyde said that they are making a diligent effort to ensure that the current administration does not make errors similar to what were made by previous governments.
“Every other day we get, my desk is filled with letters from lawyers, from attorneys representing people from all over the country. Where there were duplications, the past government gave away the land for someone that had a title. They didn’t search hard enough or didn’t care to search hard enough to verify that that person had the title, and those chickens are coming home to roost, and those are primarily from, entirely from, the previous government,” Hyde said.
One such case, Hyde said, involves a person claiming compensation for land in Stann Creek and currently suing the government for 17 million dollars.
“Cases keep coming, keep coming, keep coming–it’s scary, the amount of millions people are demanding from us, and in fact, right now the government is engaged in trying to look critically at the law to see how we can amend it to kind of protect the government from times when we make a simple mistake and not have to pay market value for that, so it’s lots of millions, man,” Hyde said.