And while that subject seemed to give the PM a headache, in contrast, he was happy to talk about funding road works in the city. As all city residents know, the streets are in an atrocious state after the rains – even after the mayor paved 100 streets. The Prime Minister says Government will now provide at least one million dollars in funding to provide urgent assistance to the streets. That begins with the entrance to the city at the western highway, which will be restored for a third of a million dollars. The PM said relief is also on the way in other areas:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"For the residents of Belize City in particularly, you will be comforted to know that immediate help is on the way. We will fund the works needed at the flag monument on Princess Margaret Drive to the tune of 148,229.80. We will fund the works needed at the stop light intersection with Mahogany Street in the amount of 188,243.84 and we will of course fund the works needed near to the Marion Jones sports complex, on that area to Landivar Street, which I have to pass every morning taking my daughter to school, so believe me I know why people are howling bloody murder. We will fund the remedial works needed for that area to the tune of $377,400, all to a total amount of 990,190.16."
The Prime Minister also explained that the government will have toi step in on two major roads where the Council has run into contractor difficulties:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"We’re talking about Baymen Avenue and the portion on Princess Margaret Drive from the Princess down to the intersection that leads off to Hummingbird Elementary. So, the mayor will enter into new contracts for the for immediate completion for those two streets; the government will pay for the works."
Government will also help the city with funding for 21 streets that require drainage which will cost 2.5 million dollars.
Today we also had a chance to speak to the mayor about the state of the city streets. He had just come off the KREM WUB morning show where he took a public pounding for the state of the streets as caller after caller lambasted him for the condition of the streets. But the mayor took it in stride, and still had some fight left in him when we challenged the work the city council has done and left undone:
"100+ streets paved, 400+ unpaved, you can't win."
Darrell Bradley - Belize City Mayor
"No, but this is one of the things that I really want to urge residents of Belize City. I would say that nobody has to do anything in relation, but I would say just be fair in in terms of the Criticism. I mentioned that Dean Samuels is going to do infrastructure sub-project with bringing 17 streets to just above paved status. All of those are in the Southside of Belize City, streets around the Cemetery, streets around Port Loyola, in the Collet and Lake Independence areas. We are anxious about that starting the drainage project. So, that to say that there are 400 streets that are battered is not news. What is news is that we have a plan and a solution in dealing with those things, and we intend to deal with them effectively. I think that in fairness, also, that the situation would have been much worse had we not done the 100 concreted streets. You would have taken a beating on Freetown Road and Orange Street. We are moving in a certain direction. We realize that residents are taking a beating, but we are remaining focused. We have a plan; we know what needs to get done, and all people want is that you just do the work. They want to hear complaints or excuses. They just want to do the work."