BELMOPAN, Mon. Oct. 7, 2019– The Hilltop property in Belmopan that houses the Public Service Union (PSU) headquarters has been at the center of controversy ever since it was revealed that the Belmopan City Council, under the leadership of UDP Mayor Khalid Belisle, secretly brokered a sale of the property without even as much as a whisper to the PSU.
Last week the purchaser of the land, Simplex Design Company Ltd., through its attorney, Estevan Perera, issued a letter to the PSU, giving the union one month to vacate the property or face an eviction action in the court.
In a twist to the development of the story surrounding the PSU land in Belmopan, the union issued a press release today which informed its members that the union will be taking the matter to court.
The PSU release states: “The Public Service Union (PSU) of Belize wishes to inform its general membership that based on additional information provided to the union and based on sound undated legal advice from its legal team, the Council of Management of the PSU has unanimously decided that the matter pertaining to the retention of our property located on Hilltop in the capital city of Belmopan shall proceed to court.”
The release continued, “Win or lose, we march on.” The union informed its members that it is also seeking an additional property “to safeguard the stability and continuity of the PSU and the invaluable service it provides to its members and to the country of Belize, so that whatever the outcome we continue to stand firm.”
In a telephone interview with Amandala this afternoon, the PSU public relations officer, Dean Flowers, told us that the attorneys representing the PSU will be filing its court papers this week at the Supreme Court.
We asked Flowers what kind of claim the PSU will be filing.
“I am not at liberty to tell you, but I can tell you that we are satisfied with the legal advice that we have received so far. We are satisfied with the evidence that is now in our possession, and the court will rule on the matter of the ownership of the property,” Flowers said.
Flowers added, “The court will decide who had ownership of that property prior to it being sold.”
We asked Flowers to elaborate on the union’s legal course of action, considering that the property has already been sold, and if there is something that is wrong with the sale and it has not really been finalized, why are they now taking the matter to court.
“Clearly, the sale has been completed; Simplex has stated that it had given certain amount of money to the council, and the council has transferred what in their legal view is their title to Simplex. In our view, we are now going to court to challenge that very sale. We don’t believe the city council had the authority and the manner in which that sale was done.” Flowers explained.
Flowers went on to say that the PSU is confident of its case and had done their due diligence.
“It took us a long while, and we are now satisfied and have instructed our counsel to go ahead and lodge a claim in the Supreme Court,” Flowers said.
Flowers said that when they initially got legal advice to go to court to seek compensation, they were not firm in their position where the property is concerned.
“We are now firm in our position that we have a case. Based on that, we initiated action to identify a new home for the Public Service Union, and because we are already down the road with that, we believe that it would be wise for us to continue,” said Flowers.
“We may very well end up with two properties in Belmopan for the Public Service Union,” Flowers stated, “We have gone too far to identify a new property to stop now.”
Flowers told us that the PSU has retained the services of the law firm of Courtenay/Coye, LLP.