A resident of Alta Mira Area of Corozal is complaining that his leased land was unjustifiably cancelled due to breach and or non-observance of the lease conditions. And while he claims that the move is partially politically motivated, tonight we bring you two sides to the story in order for you to be the judge. Maria Novelo has that report.


Screen_Shot_2013-11-27_at_8.29.02_PMMaria Novelo – Reporting


Lennox Garbutt, former lessee of a 20 acre lot at the Consejo Road South East of the Corozal District, is tonight crying foul over the cancellation of his leased land in that area. Garbutt says he was unaware that the land was re-distributed to another Corozal resident and in that time had been making his rent payments on time.


Lennox Garbutt– Former Lessee of 20 Acre Lot


“I acquired the land on November 30th 2011, and from then on up to 2013 I have been paying my tax and I made several trips to Belmopan to see the commissioner of lands Mr. Vallejos and I spoke to him about the situation that I heard that someone had a lease as mines to my land and he told that that is not true so I came back to Corozal and I found out that indeed the person has the lese so I make an appointment to see Mr. Vallejos again and I went back and he told me the same thing that wasn’t true and when I hand out the paper and showed him he said that maybe it could have been error.”


The reason for the cancellation of Garbutt’s lease, as stipulated in this letter, is based solely on Non-Development.

 

Lennox Garbutt– Former Lessee of 20 Acre Lot


“I found out that it was issued to Minister Pablo sister Miss Ada Luz Romero so I visit the minister in Corozal on Thursday and I told Minister I need to see you and he said yes and I told him that  he had cancelled my land and he had recommended for my land to be cancelled and issued to his sister and he said that is not true and when I pulled out the files and showed him he turned around and told me that he already done that and so that is when I decided to go back to Belmopan to see if I can make an appointment with the Deputy Prime Minister so that I can solve this land problem.”


The land has been re-distributed to Ada Luz Romero, coincidentally the sister of Minister of Health Pablo Marin, who in this case, recommended for the cancellation approval from Minister Hugo Patt. But Garbutt insists on entitlement of the land because he has invested in a road to access the land in question.


Lennox Garbutt– Former Lessee of 20 Acre Lot


“To have access to this land I put about two miles and change of road so that I can reach to the land and the land was in high and thick bush and no access to reach there.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“You said you are up to date with your lease, you paid your rent yearly and you have built a road to access the land in question, rightfully so you feel betrayed in a sense by the system.”


Lennox Garbutt– Former Lessee of 20 Acre Lot


“Well, yes because I don’t see how the Deputy Prime Minister going to allow Pablo Marin that he is in Bay division to request a cancelation in another division, I am in north he is in bay so how could the Deputy Prime Minister allow this understand he needs to check into this because this is not right.”


But under the terms of the lease agreement, if the lessee fails to occupy the leased property within 6 months of approval, the lease shall become void unless the Minister in his discretion extends the time for such occupation on reasonable cause being shown to him. And while Garbutt had intentions of using the land for farming purposes, unfortunately, the proverbial clause was thrown at him.


According to Minister Pablo Marin, who we spoke with over the phone, while he admits to the recommendation of the land for his sister, the land was defunct and was enough cause to pass it along to another lessee. Whether compensation for payments made up to this year is merited, Marin states that that is a matter to be raised with Commissioner of lands, Wilbert Vallejos.


Our calls to the Commissioner’s office have gone unanswered. Whether Garbutt will get compensated with another piece of land or his money for rent will be refunded, is yet to be seen. Garbutt says he will seek legal advice on the matter. 

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