Last night we carried a few stories surrounding the ever controversial matter of land. Tonight, we have a bit more to add on one of those stories and it concerns the one where Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega accused the PUP of providing easy access to land to its supporters, specifically politicians facilitating their relatives with land. We go back to the accusations of how Doctor Carl Meggs was granted the land on George Street. After airing the story last night, Doctor Meggs contacted CTV-3 News to clarify the matter and hopefully put it to rest. According to Dr.Meggs, he became interested in that parcel of land at a time when the then government put a number of government owned properties up for sale.
Dr. Carl Meggs
“2000, 2001, the government proceed into a liquidation of properties that was a burden to their government, now in Orange Walk we know Little England that was part of that deal, Corozal it was those government homes around the hospital area, also somewhere at the seafront where there is an agriculture, I don’t even know where the place is, somewhere agriculture station or something they have there, there were some houses in that area that were also on that list to be liquidated. At the time that place where Mr. Vega said the public health inspectors were living in is totally untrue, I came to Belize in 1998, I was the head of Environmental Public Health and vector control at 2000. When these homes in Little England and these one being one of those homes under the same umbrella was being sold off, the ministry of finance through a thing called vehicle care unit which was headed by Stanley Leslie at the time was the department in charge of those things and what is the common practise to do is to offer those people in the department who those homes come under like for example and the reason why we are here today is because this become a local fight or a quarrel or whatever term you want to call it. Those people got first dibs to buy those homes which some of them did. The so called house that is in question was under the public health, true, Vega is correct at that point but what it was and I have a letter here from Mr. Stanley Leslie who was the head of the department it is describes as a dilapidated house on an empty lot and this was in 2002 and I have the picture to proof what was there. My department came up with this and ask me why don’t you take that and buy the house because if you don’t get it somebody from Belize City is going to come and buy it and that is not fair and that is where I took interest and try to up in the house, I wrote to ministry and I explained that to them.”
On November 7th, 2002 he received a letter where GOB gave him a quotation for the house. Dr.Meggs says obtaining the house was not easy and much less fast.
Dr. Carl Meggs
“2005, I wrote to the Honourable John Briceno who was the Deputy Prime Minister, 2005 still trying to sort out this house. John Briceno did not respond nor answer me, I wrote to Minister Coye 2005 explaining the whole process of what is going on and the delay, finally in 2006 I got another evaluation of the house from the ministry of finance, the bank then send me a letter which I sent to the finance department telling them it is unfair and unreasonable to ask to pay the amount of money they want for a house that is in a dilapidated condition by their own words and the pictures were there, finally, 2007 all right, two, three, four, five, six, seven, six years later I was told that I can just write the ministry of finance and forget lands, budget management and just go straight to ministry of finance, just I sent copies of all these correspondence to finance and that is how I manage to get a respond from the ministry of finance who then send me the documents to buy the property which I did.”
Dr.Meggs paid a total of thirty five thousand dollars for the parcel of land and has the receipt to prove this. He explains that contrary to what has been alleged by Vega, John Briceno, then Minister of Natural Resources, did not assist him in obtaining that parcel of land and has the documents to prove that.
Dr. Carl Meggs
“Mister Vega made a comment that something about being ashamed to come for title from him, we’ll all of us in Orange Walk know how petty he is. I have my receipts, I have all my documentation, went to the attorneys’ general office and the auditor general office so all of these are on files, if he had done his homework, the only reason I haven’t approach the man because I don’t have time to entertain the mediocracey by which they operate, I really don’t, but as lawyers, he said something about lawyers, we don’t have to make this a fight, he wants to make any move on anything that belongs to me, I have about five, ten lawyers he can go to first before coming to me. I don’t need suck to go to him to have him behave petty over something that I don’t need I’ll have to get done, that title is only a piece of paper, my money went and is in government, receipts, I have the receipts right here from treasury, sub-treasury number, centre number, item number, programme, activity, where it went to so the deal is done.”
And finally, according to Dr.Meggs, this is not the first time that Minister Vega has called his name out in allegations of land grabbing. He says that just like the last time, he invites Minister Vega to present his proof of wrongdoing.
Dr. Carl Meggs
“He, Mr. Vega got on television and said they are not normal people, him and his family, John Briceno is just opposite because John Briceno make his family less than normal, it took me seven years to get a piece of paper and he John is the Deputy Prime Minister, my very close friend, and he didn’t lift a hand to help me. Thus I don’t have time to waste with this kind of back and forth thing and my offer still stand to him, if he has anything that he think that was in the down low call me, I have no problem, I don’t need a mansion to be somebody, class, character, status culture cannot be bought, it doesn’t matter how much money you have those things cannot be bought, my good friend Finnegan use to tell me when I was a kid growing up , don’t throw your pearls to swine, he should ask Finnegan the meaning of that and that’s where we stand.”
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