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#417433 - 09/30/11 09:04 AM Gangs Pave The Way To Better Streets
Marty Offline
It passed under the radar - as it was intended to - but a year or so ago, gang leaders in Belize City formed what could be considered, sort of their own employment agency, dedicated to finding gainful employment for their wider membership.

It became known as the United Belize Initiative. Since its formation, the UBI has received most of its support from Francis Woods at Cisco and a few major business establishments.

Their funding has allowed dozens of 'out of work' gang affiliates to find employment primarily in the construction of homes for underprivileged families.

But most recently, the organization has embarked on a pilot project which involves the rehabilitation and paving of that section of Bishop street connecting Regent and Albert Streets.

It's one of those prominent arteries in downtown Belize city, that is in such a terrible state of disrepair, most motorists seem to avoid it.

But with a little help from the PM, BTL and Scotia Bank, a States-style concrete street, is being built using six inches of concrete and minimal steel, designed to weather the elements.

Jim McFadzean was at the construction site this afternoon and spoke with Kevin Kelly, Chairman of the UBI.

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"Unite Belize try to find jobs that these street people can do because most people know that most of them have never work before."

Jim McFadzean
"How do you seek out sponsors for project such as this one?"

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"Well, we got to be thankful because whenever we go to Dean Barrow and we give him our plan and proposals he always put in a hand and you have different individual businesses like the Belize Bank before who has given us a hand and we also have individual people like Mr. Cisco, Mr. John Woods, the Kolbe Foundation - we borrow the equipment's, we go to Habet and they give us stuff as a donation which will benefit a poor family and the these people that we build houses for before haven't given us a dollar because the initiative is to sensitize these communities with the same people that society has put a side."

Jim McFadzean
"How do you go about choosing the workers for these projects?"

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"Whenever a project comes up it only have to be the area. Once we identify the area that we are going to work in, we go to the gang leaders in this area and we ask them.... for me I know in my area I know that for these guys nothing is happening for them so I can easily identify them. I have work with some of them before. I have work with all the major gangs and if we go in an area like George Street or Ghost Town or Back-a -town we have these leaders in there who identify these people who really needs these jobs."

Jim McFadzean
"Who chooses the street that is going to be work on?"

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"In each area the gang leaders have identify streets that needs to be fix. Once they identify these streets and the funding is available then they can designate their people. Like I say thanks to Cisco Construction because we don't own any equipment, we don't own any tools and he plays a major part and people knows that Cisco Construction is very reliable when it comes to road, so with the technicalities of him and with the work force from us these people from the designated area design and pick out a street and then get the people to work the street."

Jim McFadzean
"This is temporary work. But how meaningful is it for this group of men that's here today?"

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"Well it is very meaningful and this street had been neglected for a long time now. A street like this - a lot of people pass here and will see this street and people will not believe these are the guys that are doing this street if they don't see them but a street like this is a major street because it plays a very important role for people to see this street and try to give us contract and try to give Unite Belize more contract so we can get more of these street people to have jobs."

Jim McFadzean
"Who are involved in sponsoring this particular project?"

Kevin Kelly, Chairman - United Bze Initiative
"I got to say thanks to Dean Barrow our Prime Minister, Nova Scotia management and the BTL people, they have sponsored this and the Prime Minister has sponsored half of the money and BTL and Scotia have come up with the rest. I have to say I am very thankful for them."

The project which got underway Tuesday of this week, has the blessings of the City Council, and is expected to be completed sometime at the end of next week. Kelly says his organization has already identified 10 more streets that they believe with the proper funding can benefit both the city and unemployed gang members.

Channel 7

#417502 - 09/30/11 10:32 PM Re: Gangs Pave The Way To Better Streets [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
Good news - and thanks for posting.

#417548 - 10/01/11 11:50 AM Re: Gangs Pave The Way To Better Streets [Re: Diane Campbell]
SnoopysMom Offline
Am I missing something? First, they issue a Press Release (with is picked up by the media outlets as if they are a credible organization), the PM interrupts his trip to fly back and negotiate directly with them, and now they are spearheading city revitalization. One can only ask "what next"?

#417608 - 10/02/11 11:03 AM Re: Gangs Pave The Way To Better Streets [Re: SnoopysMom]
ron Offline
You could try asking John Woods and the Kolbe Foundation as he has been working with gang leaders for awhile. He started with prisoners at Ladyville and I guess he's going from there, since its his construction company thats working with the gangs.

#417775 - 10/04/11 08:11 PM Re: Gangs Pave The Way To Better Streets [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
Wow, great PR...great idea


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