Back in the month of November the Prime Minister of Belize announced that some major spending will take place across the country to improve road infrastructure. The project saw the allocation of 76.72 million dollars funded primarily through the Petro Caribe agreement with Venezuela. The P.M announced that out of the $76.72 million, $2.92 million was earmarked for the Orange Walk District.
This would see the rehabilitation of the Philip Goldson Highway which passes through Orange Walk Town. Forming part of the highway is the Belize Corozal Road which is currently in deplorable condition. While some works have been done on the road by the Ministry of Works, we can safely say it is still not up to driving standards and with the hot season upon us the dust has become unbearably for those who live or run a business along the stretch of road. Today, our newsroom was flooded with calls from residents and business owners who did not hesitate to voice their concerns over the dust road.
Maria Novelo – Reporting
The Belize Corozal Road, a main artery road network for Orange Walk Town is experiencing relatively high volumes of dust which is being compounded by the windy weather we have been experiencing lately. Residents and vendors who operate their business on the stretch of road are voicing out their concerns on the health risks and annoyance the dust is creating.
Elmer – Vendor
“El primer punto afecta en los ojos porque los carros pasan muy rápido y levanta bastante polvo y pues cuando uno no anda lentes pues todo el polvo calle en los ojos y se ponen rojos los ojos y otro pues la garganta también afecta porque el polvo reseca la garganta y te hace toser mucho.”
Diana Constanza – Businessperson
“I get sick with flu and my boss gets sick almost a week and she had to go to the doctor. I would like the authorities to have this street fix or at least to do something and to repair the street or because it really just difficult to take a walk and I guess that is why business is very slow because customer don’t even want to take a walk because the dust is too much.”
Meanwhile, vegetable stands and other merchandise are littered with dust. As it relates to business, many owners claim they are losing clientele and have been seeing a steady decline in sales with the increase in dust.
Sunil – Business Owner
“It’s affecting a lot because when people walking every second we have to wipe the things and everything so it is not looking so neat at the shop and then I sale Indian food also.”
Maria Novelo – Reporter
“Have you seen a decline in your sale or less people coming in to your store?”
Sunil – Business Owner
“Just because of dust people don’t want to come and get themselves dust and stuff and so it is kind of really waiting or them going somewhere else. Every hour I am throwing two to three buckets of water just to cool off the area.”
The most resolute solution to the problem many say is the constant watering of streets to keep the dust levels at a minimum throughout the day.