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#394997 - 12/17/10 09:22 AM Boots Bristles At Suggestions Of Mis-Spending
Marty Offline
And while the southside project is full of promise for the battered city and those workers - are those public loan funds being used to prop up a politically expedient social safety net?

That's what we asked works Minister Boots Martinez today:..

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"It's not any cosmetics in terms of creating jobs, as a matter of fact even from the second component of the Southside project - the component that they will be working is where they are capable of doing, it's not a situation where the people are giving away their money, it's not a social network. We will take out the portion for the people that have the capability from what the project can do so its partnering with the private sector and the citizens. I other words you can't ask the people from the rejuvenation to go and drive piles, they don't have the expertise, they don't have the capacity for that. You can ask them to build the cement slab for the drainage."

Jules Vasquez
"So then how many people from the rejuvenation project will be carry over into this next project?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"All from rejuvenation and CYDP. Remember you have the housing component also." Martinez also discussed the scope of works for the Project. IT includes that long promised hot mix paving of Central American Boulevard. Now hot mix is what they used on Albert and Regent Streets so we know that's the good stuff - but is it for real this time. Martinez said, "no doubt!".

Jules Vasquez
"You said that you will hot mix from the BelCan roundabout right up to Port I believe. You been saying that, two Christmas I am hearing that - that you will hot mix Albert Street. What is to ensure that it will happen this time?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Well, the signing of the agreement. First and foremost government had to put up what they will do, put up a proposal, proper drawings, proper plans, that is what you sign on to, in others words the scope of work that is in the book - that is the gospel."

Jules Vasquez
"So it will happen for real now."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Man that is the gospel, so if you see Mayor, I gave the Mayor a copy of the document. All the streets, the drainage, the canals, everything, that is the gospel. in others words you don't just go and sign for money because those people are lending money, you have to prepare a plan and send it up to OPEC. The board met and approve it and everything. This is the final product after approval."

The Southside project also has a housing component - and it needs to because the two million dollars allocated for post hurricane construction is finished. We asked Martinez, two million finished? On what? Here's what he had to say and show.

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"We have 173 projects onboard, they tell you what is completed and majority of the ones that are not completed are 80% almost done and what we have is a system, we have a warehouse, we have housing inspectors that go and check every single project. My understanding that you ran a story last week in regards to a contractor who [Jules Vasquez - Mr. Lino] but you have the check and balance."

Jules Vasquez
"He was accused of taking a certain amount of supplies and when they went to check the house only a portion of that about half or less than half was used. Now I don't want to be accusing anybody, I know it's not you but at least two contractors I know personally who say that they can't show us the paper but they cannot work for the Ministry of Works unless the supervisor get a percentage and I get a percentage."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"No, no, don't bring don't kind of hearsay here at all!"

Jules Vasquez
"But there is documentary proof. They won't show you because they will lose their turn on."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"How you will bring those hear say things here? Bring the facts and we will with what is the facts. Don't come with those supervisory things. The process is simple; you get a contract from the ministry, you get a bill of quantities where you go to the compound to pick up the material, you must account or the material so I don't know about that, no supervisor can't save you - if when they check and see that material is short so that is not here nor there. There is a system in place and you must follow the system."

Jules Vasquez
"The compound where all these materials are stock-piled, is that your compound? Is that housing for the poor? Who owns that compound and is it legitimate to store the supplies bought by the government on that compound?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Maybe you need to go and check. It is legitimate to store the supplies."

Jules Vasquez
"Who owns it?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Port Loyola housing for the Poor. I lend that to the government for FREE."

Jules Vasquez
"You don't charge any rent?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Just like the building where the office sits, that belongs to me and that too is FREE."

Jules Vasquez
"Well you must be a saint because I don't know anybody who does anything for the government for free."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Man at the end of the day the people are benefitting. What do you mean? I am a politician."

Jules Vasquez
"Now all these stuff that has been stockpiled at mile 3, were those put out to bid, I know it was a hurricane response thing but I am saying are they representative of the best prices available on the market or is it just that you are dealing with one provider and perhaps didn't ask all the providers what's the best price?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"We deal with many providers for the best price."

Jules Vasquez
"So it's solely from one provider?"

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"No it's from many providers. "

Jules Vasquez
"Are you prepared for this hurricane relief funds, this 2 million to undergo an audit, some sort of review? I know it's difficult and people have needs and you just have to run the money."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"What do you mean undergo an audit?"

Jules Vasquez
"In terms of undergo some sort critical review. Two million seems a lot to spend if you look on the ground it's like anybody have cement house."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"Man, at the end of the day you can go look on the ground yourself sir. I have a copy of the list. You as a journalist can get a copy of the list, we are open and transparent. every single home; the costing of it; every single name, the home owner and everything so maybe when you left here, I will give a copy of the list and you may want go and do the ground work yourself."

Tomorrow - we'll have the explanation from the Ministry of Works manager of that project on how the project was managed…

Channel 7

#395073 - 12/18/10 09:14 AM Re: Boots Bristles At Suggestions Of Mis-Spending [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Musa to Martinez: “Too Big For Your Boots”

Today's house meeting was the last one for the year - and while we can't say that members on both sides were full of good cheer - we did note that there wasn't the same level of combativeness across the floor.

But don't get it wrong - there was still plenty to argue about - not the least of which came out when Member of Fort George Said Musa accused Works Minister Boots Martinez of the corrupt administration of the hurricane rehabilitation project. Here's that back and forth:…

Hon. said Musa, Area Rep. Fort George
"Not a single family in the Fort George division whose homes were affected by the hurricane has been assisted. Is it because they voted for me minister? The ministry put out a paper inviting applications for all those whose homes were affected to give details and to send in those applications. 25 applications were sent Mr. Speaker to the ministry of works. Not a single one has been assisted but its nit just the people of the Fort George, I could go on talking about them, I can go on talking about the Gladden/Thompson at #12 Frederic Street in particular whose homes was smash in by a big Fig tree as a result of the hurricane, the whole smash in by this Fig tree. Now we had to assist them to get that tree removed. The ministry of works sent all kinds of people around there; 'give us the particulars, don't worry, the house will be repaired' today one week before Christmas Mr. Minister those people still cannot live in their home, they have to be renting somewhere to survive right now. The same situation exists in the entire Belize City, in all the divisions as well on the Southside of Belize City including Port Loyola, Lake Independence, Collet, Albert, Queen Square all of them, people are complaining that they made their application for assistance and they have not been assisted. These are poor people we are talking about who have been affected by the hurricane. Instead Mr. Speaker when we examine a little more closely what has been going on with this hurricane relief housing program, what we find happening is that the minister of works under the guise of the so called housing for the poor has been accumulating large quantities of construction material and having them stored at his property at mile 3 on the Western highway. It is notice Mr. Speaker also that of all the many hardware stores in Belize CIty only one in particular has been getting all these bulk sales by the ministry of works for this program, I won't call the name but the minister know who that is. In fact the Belizean people know, the builders know, Ben the builder knows, they all know which is the contractor getting these contracts and we have heard it from the ministry of finance I believe it was that an announcement of nearly 2 million dollars has been spent on that program. We hear of a chief procurement officer who is not a public officer but who is the no other that the Senator Juliet Thimbriel and I am sure this senator who is fond of accusing people of corruption will at the next senate meeting explain what she is doing as chief procurement officer meddling in the business of housing for the poor and on Wednesday of this week as I was saying ago I watch channel 7 as I am sure all of you on the other side do and I saw this bloating propaganda report when the minister was fully in his element. well without needing to make a pond of it I would want to suggest minister that perhaps you are getting a little too big for your boots because you yes you handle that part about US$11 million that you went to sign in Vienna beautifully but somehow when even channel 7 could not avoid bringing scandal had to question you about this hurricane relief program and the housing for the poor, I notice all of a sudden you became very transfix with th questions that were being put to you. This hurricane relief program Mr. Minister has been so mismanage it is riddled with abuse and corruption; I am making that charge today. It is a scandal that will not go away unless some action is taken by this government to suspend that program as it is now presently manage and indeed to have a proper audit done of exactly what is going on."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez, Minister of Works
"The project is being run by engineer Mr. Erwin Thimbriel, the office is located at #112 Kut and Euphrates Avenue and is being donated to the government of Belize for FREE."

"And we buy supplies from across the board; Benny's, Wood Depot, contractors also procure their own, in other words, contractors buy from who they want. I will give you a copy of the list of all the people that presented themselves to the office, all the projects that is completed and ongoing and all the projects that needed to be move forward, so again you as the representative for Fort George as the former Prime Minister, you could get in your little vehicle or walk and inspect every single one and I hope that I will do that and I hope that when you come back to this honorable house, you could report to this honorable house that you were completely wrong and out of order."

As for the claim that Senator Juliet Thimbriel was the Procurement Officer she today told us that she did consult on procurement to make sure that expenditure was kept to budget. She stresses however that while she may have been referred to as the procurement officer - she was never paid to act as such and says she never made a cent off the project; she says she did it as public service…

Channel 7


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