Tropic Air and Construction Depot settle land dispute through mediation
Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
Tropic Air Limited and Construction Depot have reached amicable terms over a parcel of land that was under dispute near the municipal airstrip on Ambergris Caye. The dispute involved a portion of parcel # 5621 in the San Pedro Registration Area, measuring approximately 300 feet by 77 feet for which Tropic Air held a lease certificate since 2006. The Ministry of Natural Resources granted Construction Depot, a member of the Benny’s Group of Companies, property title to the same property in April of 2014. An injunction was served by Construction Depot on Tropic Air on June 19th to stop development of land in question since the ownership of the land was under dispute.
The Ministry of Natural Resources indicated that the issue was caused by human error, and so the matter was taken to the Supreme Court of Belize for settlement. The court ordered the three parties to settle the dispute through mediation, and on Monday July 28th, there was a breakthrough. President of Tropic Air Limited, John Greif said that they are moving forward with their construction as planned. “It was a three way agreement with all the parties, the Feinsteins(Construction Depot Limited), the Government of Belize and Tropic Air Limited. I am bound by the agreement and as such I cannot disclose the details. I will say however, that we are satisfied with the outcome,” said Greif.
Reaching an agreement was important not only for the airline company, but also for the tourism industry. Tropic Air is the pioneer of the local airline industry in Belize and in 2013 they transported over 300,000 thousand passengers. They have been expanding constantly to meet the tourism demands of the country and as such,Tropic Air Limited had embarked in a $10 million investment that has been in the pipeline since 2006. It includes a maintenance facility, training rooms and offices and when completed, Tropic Air will create over 50 new highly skilled jobs for Belizeans.
While construction on the remainder of the construction had not stopped, Greif said that since the agreement was reached, the company has proceeded into the area that was in question. He said that construction is continuing as was originally planned, but it is uncertain if it will be completed by the next tourism high season.