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lands_fb2Last week we reported on the allegations of mismanagement of proceeds from land sale within the village of San Jose Nuevo Palmar in the Orange Walk District. Tonight we can tell you that after a meeting with the Solicitor General on Saturday, a solution to the problem was met. Reporter Victor Castillo was present at the meeting between the Sol Gen and villagers and filed the following report.


Victor Castillo – Reporting


The assistance of the Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke and the Commissioner of lands, Wilbert Vallejos was requested by the present Chairman of the Village and villagers of San Jose Nuevo Palmar in finding an agreeable solution to the ongoing land committee issue within the village. The community center was the arena where officials met with villagers as the process of setting up a lands committee commenced. CTV3 news spoke with Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands who told us more.


Wilbert Vallejos Commissioner of Lands


“I can say we had a very successful meeting, prior to this meeting we had two groups who had concerns about the way the lands committee has been functioning or not to that effect but the meeting was primarily to go over the rules and regulations that constitute the Lands Committee and the process of elections, we pretty much ha some point of agreement and at the end of the day we set up a temporary committee that is going to look at voters list or generate a voters’ list for the elections that is going to happen very soon.”


Nigel Hawke - Solicitor General Office


“Well, the meeting here was just to set the framework or give the villagers an idea of the framework as in place of the election of the members of the Lands Committee and I believe we’ve said that out now, we now formulated a committee to look at a list that has to be created to proceed the elections.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“So, when the elections are taking place?”


Nigel Hawke - Solicitor General Office


“Well, I can’t speak exactly as to the date but what we know once the committee that we’ve just elected here to address that issue of the voters list has compiled that list shortly thereafter there be elections, we are hoping that they are going to be able to do that as early as possible.”


And as it pertains to the allegation of mismanagement of public funds, Vallejos claims that it is due to lack of communication among the trustees.


Wilbert Vallejos - Commissioner of Lands


“I strongly believe that the situation led to be the way it was because there wasn’t really a proper advice given to the people in Palmar, they haven’t been appraised of the situation in terms of how it is that they are established, how it is that they are govern, what are their responsibilities, what are their rights, what is the relationship with the government of Belize, am pretty certain that not everybody understood and that is why the meeting was very important and at the very beginning of the meeting people wanted to exclude certain people from the meeting but then they agreed that everybody must understand how this community exist and function, this is a very, very unique community in the entire country of Belize and if you are able to understand how it came about, how it is regulated, how the different committee are regulated are set, what is the relation between the government of Belize then things are going to flow smoother, in past that didn’t happen, successive governments had been unable to have that close relationship as agents of San Jose Palmar with San Jose Palmar villagers.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“From today forward, a solution to this misunderstanding and within the Lands Committee should come to a halt?”

 

Wilbert Vallejos - Commissioner of Lands


“Definitely, definitely we were able to clarify to them the composition of the Lands Committee and everybody agreed pretty much that; it is four elders, four elders, two representatives of the first generation or the descendants and then a member of the village council.  That is clear to them and that comes straight out of the regulations or the agreement that government had signed with them.”


Chairman of the village, Orlando Balam, claims to be satisfied with the decision and the way the matter will be handled.


Orlando Balam – Chairman San Jose Nuevo Palmar


“Well very happy and satisfied that the truth of what we were fighting came out to the right decision, there will be elections as the commissioner and the deputy solicitor general said there will be elections, there live and exist those four elders, they will still represent, but there will be elections for two posts; first generation descendants and the seat for the village council is already set up so am very happy because the truth and the right decision was made by the representative of the trustee, the government of Belize.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“You as the Chairman of Palmar, what are the people saying, are the people satisfied with the outcome today?”

 

Orlando Balam – Chairman San Jose Nuevo Palmar


“Sure they are, i can see their faces they are happy, we had some problems, we had some issues but at the end of the day we settled up and we are to work in unity as it is intended to do in this village.”

 

This temporary committee will be putting together a vetting list which will be sent to the office of both the Lands Commissioner and the Solicitor General for the proper process of election to be carried out.

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