If you are a person that uses public transportation to commute on a daily basis, you’ll know that Belize’s transportation system needs a major tune up. Well, that major upgrade is being prepared following a meeting between a South Korean delegation and the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, MESTPU, along with other relevant ministries. The meeting comes after MESTPU signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of the Republic of South Korea through its Ministry of Strategy and Finance last year in January. This morning, the two bodies met at the Biltmore Hotel where the forging of a transportation master plan for Belize began. The Korean representatives who are from the Korean Development Institute; one of the most highly regarded think-tanks of that country, will go one to meet with heads of the relevant ministries. According to the Chief Executive Officer in MESTPU, Doctor Colin Young, on Wednesday the delegation will be visiting the various transportation facilities in order to get a firsthand look at the necessity of infrastructural development that will be included in the master plan.
DR. COLIN YOUNG
“From the presentation, what the team was saying is that they are here to have the consultations with the relevant ministries; Ministries of Works and Transport, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, as well as the private sector to get a sense of what are our priorities into the future for transportation. It’s quite clear based on their experiences, they believe that development really cannot progress at the rate we want without the kind of infrastructure: port, highways, roadways, as well as the movement of goods and services and so, they want to get a sense of what are our challenges, what are our priorities and so, they are here to help us work through this and complete a very comprehensive and forward looking master plan for Belize. The first step here is that they are now here to do the consultations; once they collect the first set of data, a Belize delegation will visit the Republic of South Korea where we will discuss the findings of the plan. The third step is for them to return to socialize the findings with the Government of Belize and all the stakeholders that we mentioned; the fourth step is to finalize the document. The Koreans offer very concessional financing, very low interest rates and so, the idea here is that once this is done and the business case is proven then Belize would then qualify for this very concessional financing to now do the actual investment in the infrastructure that was identified in the plan. One of the projects we are looking at and has been identified as a priority is the paving of the Coastal Road to create that kind of link between this part of the country and the south and so, that itself is a multimillion dollar project but those are the kinds of scale and size projects we hope will come out of this.”
According to Young, the Transportation Master Plan should be completed by next year April. It is estimated that the realization of the master plan should take a couple of years with a cost of tens of millions of dollars.