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Goff’s Caye Lease Cancelled Print E-mail
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Written by Melanio   
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00

Under the last administration of the People’s United Party almost every single transaction at the Lands Department was suspect. This was so because that department was the go-to place if a racket needed to be run.

We are not certain how that kind of operation played out in the issuing of a lease to the northern portion of Goff’s Caye, but we do know that it was under a PUP administration that in 2001 a parcel of land was carved out of the caye for a private individual. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources that portion of land was surveyed in September 2001. Thereafter a lease approval under reference BZ-R-516/2001 was granted in May 2002 for a term of fifty (50) years to Mr. Ramon Cervantes. The Ministry adds that while the lease was granted with no option to purchase there were no provisions preventing the lessee from constructing permanent structures on the Caye. It also stated that while there was objection by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute to the issuing of the lease (they are responsible for Goff’s Caye) it still went ahead.

Moving forward 12 years later, it appears that the lease holders tried to make a move on Goff’s caye and survey pegs were placed on the islet. That raised the attention of concerned individuals who took pictures and brought it to the attention of the media who unraveled the entire fiasco.

Following the discovery of the lease, the Ministry of Natural Resources has  now cancelled the lease to a portion of Goff’s Caye. According to the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, the lease was cancelled since the lessee did not meet the conditions of the lease.

It is noteworthy that Goff’s caye is a popular recreation area for many Belizeans and tourists who have unimpeded access to it since it has always been crown land that has been designated for use and enjoyment by all. It is only the PUP who have attempted to do otherwise.