Cordel to host super-spreader event

Cordel Hyde

Following up on a statement by Henry Charles Usher, Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional & Political Reform, during an appearance on a morning talk show, Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining, advised the public, that through the Department of Lands and Surveys, the Ministry’s Mobile Land Outreach will be at the Dangriga Town Council’s chamber on Thursday, January 14, 2021. It is geared at providing land administrative assistance to residents of Dangriga Town and surrounding areas from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The notice went on to advise the members of the public that attendance at the event would require the adherence of the COVID-19 protocols set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. However, our newsroom is of the opinion that with the high demand for land ownership, hosting such an event could lead to a mass gathering, i.e. a COVID-19 super-spreader event. Our newsroom would like to implore the Ministry of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining, to reconsider the hosting of such an event at this time. It may be instructive on the part of the government to find a safer way of deal with such an issue during these COVID-19 times.
Our newsroom contacted the Dangriga Town Council, the proprietors of the venue where the event is to be hosted, and we asked what would be their role in the hosting of the event and how they would ensure full compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. Their response was that a request was made for the use of the Town Hall or more specifically, the upper flat of the municipal building for employees of the Lands Department to set up their equipment. Permission was granted with a clear reminder about the current regulations pertaining to social distancing and limits to the size of gatherings. The waiting area for the public is under a tent inside Princess Royal Park opposite the municipal building. Again, the organizers were reminded about their responsibility to ensure that there is a police presence at the park to enforce all COVID 19 regulations.
While we understand the need to assist Belizeans with land issues, it is our honest opinion that if the Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum and Mining were truly interested in assisting Belizeans with matters and more so the thousands of FIRST TIME landowners in settling their land matters, then he should start by reversing that asinine Statutory Instrument he signed into law, which prevents them from making online payments for their land and effectively forcing them in an unsafe situation, where they could contract COVID-19 from person or persons who may or may not be aware that they are COVID-19 positive. We implore the government to find a safer way of deal with such an issue during these Covid times.