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Toledo family being evicted due to national security concerns

GeneralToledo family being evicted due to national security concerns

Photo: John Bejerano’s property on the banks of the Sarstoon

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 10, 2024

On Friday, April 5, a family residing in the Toledo District received a letter issued by Talbert Bracket, the Commissioner of Lands, which informed them that they must vacate their home, which is located along the banks of the Sarstoon River, within 30 days, due to national security concerns arising from narco-trafficking that is believed to be taking place near their property, which adjoins Graham Creek. The letter was delivered by members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF).

One member of the family, John Bejerano, told AMANDALA, “They deliva wahn letta to wi fu eena one month we hafto lef di place; if not, they wahn come wit more forces, according to them, fu mek we move. Wi di think now, sayka wi got lotta investment, and wi just cahn lef di place like dat, because wi di lose.” Bejerano went on to mention, “Till I see pan news dat dey di accuse me bout things weh I nuh know, but dey nuh tell me nothing. If I neva gone pan PGTV and talk, we neva mi wahn know why dey waahn move we from deh.”

Bejerano is claiming that they have been living there on a 50-acre plot of land since the 1960s, and he has paid off all the taxes on the land.

“My pa di deh from di 60s; from George Price days my pa geh da land. Last year, we pay all ah di taxes we owe sayka we mi mek ih pile up; soh we pay bout one thousand nine hundred eena lone taxes; and my pa transfer di land to my breda, and he tell me I cud tek a piece. Now, dey tell we dat we have to move, and dat shock we. BDF deh up and down every week, and dey pass and dey nuh tell we nothing; till now when dey see dat we done build up,” he mentioned

He further explained, “… dem tell wi dat we cahn pay again, because wi deh unda communal land, so wi have to come out. Wi tell dem dat wi wahn stay sayka, if wi deh unda communal land, wi nuh wahn land fu sell; we wahn fu work; but wi have all ah di receipt weh wi pay all ah di taxes.”

He told Amandala that he wouldn’t move from his land, as the family had begun to construct concrete structures on the property.

Amandala reached out to personnel from the BDF, who noted that they are just following orders given by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and they referred us to the ministry. Amandala requested a comment from Lands Commissioner Bracket, but so far we have not received a reply to our request.

Bejerano said that he will be seeking legal action against the ministry for the attempts to relocate him, and will also sue the government for defamation due to the Ministry’s allusions to his possible involvement in narco-trafficking.

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