Land dispute a matter for the court, says minister
Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing yesterday described the land ownership dispute at Fortune Hill, San Salvador, where treasure is reportedly buried, as a matter for the court.
Over the weekend the number of claimants of the property grew to three persons.
While Dennis Bethel and Ellamae Rolle are seeking to prove their ownership of the land, the government has confirmed that the third possible owner, Dorothy Black-Beal, is preparing to search for the purported treasure. It is suspected that treasure may lie in caves underneath the disputed property.
Bethel said the property in question belonged to his great-grandfather Nimrod Newton.
According to Bethel, Newton’s estate is in the process of being probated. Therefore, Bethel added, he does not yet hold clear title to the land.
Black-Beal has demonstrated to the government that she holds clear title to 22 acres of land in the area.
Laing toldThe Nassau Guardianyesterday that in order for Black-Beal to begin exploration for the purported treasure, the director of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation(AMMC)would have to give permission.
However, there currently is no AMMC director. The department falls under the portfolio of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard.
Maynard said yesterday that, to his knowledge, the AMMC has not issued anything to Black-Beal. However, he added, the Office of the Prime Minister gave her permission to perform scans of the ground in the area with surveillance equipment.
In 2007, Bethel and his family successfully stopped another group of treasure hunters from digging on the land.
Bethel said he and his family will seek a court injunction against the excavation of the land.
Rolle claimed over the weekend that she has clear title to the land handed over to her family by Black-Beal’s grandfather.
“At this point it’s a little overwhelming, because I think it’s time I step forward and tell my side of the story,”she said.”It’s such a sad situation.”
Rolle said she is prepared to fly down from her home in Florida to meet with Laing.
“We need to get together and corroborate,”she said.