Caye Caulker’s famous Lazy Lizard at the Split closed down
Monday, November 17th, 2014
The iconic Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill at the Split on Caye Caulker is closed and its ownership is in dispute. The issue escalated last week when the lease-holder was forcefully and apparently illegally evicted along with all his belongings off the premises. The establishment, operated by Immer Perez, sits on an area that is internationally known, a naturally made split on the island caused by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.
The business has been closed for almost two weeks since the Lazy Lizard owner has been in a battle with the actual landowner, American, Dan Nichols. The area is known as The Split or Lazy Lizard, but it’s under the name of Emerald Point at the Lands Department. “I recently got a contract of 5 years; last year June 1st. So it’s valid up until May 31, 2018. Three days before Lobster Fest this year 2014, he (the owner) told me and gave me the news saying that he sold the Split – 99% of the place,” explained Perez, who said that since then everything has been downhill. He told the media during an interview that the problem started in August when he got a 90-day notice that he must leave the premises on Emerald Point because it was sold. Perez explained that after doing his research, he realized that the land could not have been sold. “I got to know that the place is not sold. Emerald Point has a caution on it, so that caution means they cannot transfer-they cannot sell the property due to someone else that he had a previous deal with for obtaining the property. My contract that I have states carefully that the property must be sold for me to get 90 days’ notice,” he explained
Perez also claimed that because of the issue, he has been forced to close down, costing him thousands of dollars.
Perez also claims that he caught agents of the landowner breaking into the business place and removing $25,000 worth of his liquor and other goods. The entire entry into the business was caught on a surveillance camera and according to Perez, he is taking legal action against the agents.
According to Channel 7 News, Nichols’s Attorney is Naima Barrow, and she has indicated that Perez is “wholly mistaken about what he thinks are his rights,” and that the property has been sold. In regards to the allegation that her client or his agents burglarized Lazy Lizard to remove Perez’s property, Barrow said that her client sought and got permission from Perez who authorized the entry.
Perez has maintained that his attorney will be taking the issue to court to seek full compensation for damages caused as a result of loss of monies due to the closure of his business, breach of contract and for investment made on the property.
The Lazy Lizard at the Split in Caye Caulker has been an institution for the small tourism dependent island. In fact, the Split is the most popular area during both the slow and peak tourism season. The naturally created split has been well documented in several photo shots, television pieces and even newspapers and other media, both locally and internationally.
Until the issue is resolved, The Lazy Lizard remains closed. The San Pedro Sun will keep following any new development on this issue.
Please help support Local Journalism in Belize
For the first time in the history of the island's community newspaper, The San Pedro Sun is appealing to their thousands of readers to help support the paper during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1991 we have tirelessly provided vital local and national news. Now, more than ever, our community depends on us for trustworthy reporting, but our hard work comes with a cost. We need your support to keep delivering the news you rely on each and every day. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Please support us by making a contribution.Click to Donate