Belmopan Area Rep says squatters will not be tolerated Print E-mail
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Friday, 08 March 2019 00:00

Nicolasa Cus’s story has taken the media by storm: the place she has called home for the past 12 years was broken down by the Reconstruction and Development Cooperation (RECONDEV) on Thursday February 28. But while some can offer sympathy to Cus and her family, the fact is that she has been living on land that is not her property. The land is property of RECONDEV and Cus squatted on and developed the land and seems to now be claiming legal property to the land.

According to press releases issued by RECONDEV, the half-acre property is a commercial parcel and not for residential use. It continues to say that Cus never purchased the parcel of land and has been occupying the land illegally. RECONDEV says that as far back as 2015, they have been instructing Cus to vacate the premises, but she refused on every occasion and that they have even gone as far as inviting Cus to their office to discuss this issue but to no avail. They say that they had no choice but to remove her from the land. Their release ends by saying “squatting is illegal and it will not be tolerated. Presently, over 500 applications are in a queue at the Corporation awaiting approval and Ms. Cus cannot be allowed to jump the queue.”

Holding those same sentiments is Hon. John Saldivar, area representative for Belmopan. Politicians are often accused of promising voters legal title to lands they squat on but Minister Saldivar says he does not fall under that category. Simply put: he does not support squatters. He says that while it is hard to ignore the fact that children are often affected by these evictions, his position remains that he does not condone or tolerate squatting. “I support RECONDEV fully in trying to keep control of the situation with respect to lands that they administrate.” He continues by saying that there is a process that is to be followed and, sharing RECONDEV’s sentiments, that process cannot be bypassed. He also says that Cus’s structure did not appear on Google Maps before 2014 or 2015, against Cus’s claims. Minister Saldivar also says that he believes Cus is being misled by political operatives to seek legal action.