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Protesting for squatters? Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 June 2011 00:00

Alleged squatters showing off documents, most pictured here were not those evicted.Belize City, Mon. June 4, 2011
Belizeans for Justice (BFJ) and Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) continue to press the issue that the Government of Belize (GOB) acted illegally and without compassion in removing the squatters of Chetumal Street South. They maintain that 65 persons were displaced from their home, but The Department of Human Services has done its own assessment and has discovered that only 20 people have been legitimately taken out of their home. All the rest were from a second wave of squatters.


Today COLA and BFJ assembled in the Constitution Park along with the squatters to stage a parade which they had received a permit for.  Also present in solidarity were the Belize Bus Association (BBA) and its President, Thomas Shaw, the relatives of Mark and Gary Sewell, and the newly formed, “non-partisan”, Upliftment Committee from Orange Walk under Marcel Cardona. It was a protest of all forms, and a mere 90 people took part.

The media spoke to Moses Sulph, President of COLA, Yolanda Schakron, President of BFJ, and Thomas Shaw of the BBA. All of them maintained that they show support for the squatters.The Media also spoke to Ervin Sewell, father of Mark and Gary who have been remanded for several months now. He said that he is in no way happy with the fact that his sons have been incarcerated without bail for so long, when the law only allows for people charged with murder to be denied bail. He said that he is unhappy with the Judiciary and the legal system here in Belize.

The parade of about 90 participants started from the Constitution Park. They took a route of Wood Street, Vernon Street, Magazine Road, Dolphin Street, Fairweather Street, Queen Charlotte Street, Caesar Ridge Road, Central American Boulevard, Cemetery Road, and back to Constitution Park where it ended.

This was not the only demonstration the COLA and BFJ have orchestrated. They held a press conference last week Friday. It started with all the squatters, with children and adults alike, making a show and declaration that they are all Belizean citizens and not immigrants, as they have been labeled.   The conference started with them taking out Belizean passports, voter’s identification cards, social security cards, resident papers and other documents which show that they are legitimate Belizeans. The question however remains whether in fact all those people present at the press conference and who were displaying their Belizean documents were actually removed from the Chetumal street south area. Our information suggests that in fact the people who were making their show are actually occupants of other pieces of land in Belize City. Some of them have in fact squatted elsewhere in developing areas of Belize City and have been able to secure land through that form. That is what apparently they are attempting to do again.

The Department of Human Services, after conducting their own survey, concluded that 3 families have been legitimately displaced due to the removal. These 3 families consist of 12 children and 8 adults. The Human Services has since pledged that GOB will be providing temporary accommodations and assistance with other basic needs.

It is interesting that COLA and BFJ are pushing this issue so hard, when the Department of Human Services has fairly assessed the removal and found that only 20 persons were removed. This means that the other 40 from the “65” being quoted in the camp of the squatters, were opportunists who wanted to take advantage of the situation, and attempted to bully GOB into turning their wrong into a right by giving them crown land, when there are thousands of people who are currently trying to get a piece of land.

Should GOB neglect these thousands, who are following the law and trying to acquire land the legal way, and give special treatment to a group of people who squatted illegally?