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#488910 - 04/02/14 05:44 AM Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market
Marty Offline
The Dangriga Market, it's one of the most famous and flagrant misadventures in public spending that we've ever reported on - and now the long delayed market project is getting a second start.

A new contract was signed on March 24th, and the good news for Dangriga resident tonight is that the contractor CB Construction from Cayo has pledged to complete it within 6 months.

The contract is for 1.22 million Belize dollars and it was signed after SIF got the green light from the World Bank and the Contractor General.

As has been widely reported, the previous contractor Kennard Smart said he could not complete the project because he was being squeezed by SIF employees. That led to a major shake-up and mass firings from the institution - and a stalling in the half completed project.

Ground was first broken in May of 2012 for a 1.4 million dollar project which should have finished in March of 2013. WE just finished March of 2014, and it's far from completion.

Channel 7

#488959 - 04/03/14 05:41 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

SIF: Starting All Over Again At Griga Market

By now, even the casual news watcher will know all about the fiasco at the Dangriga Town Market.  The project is 9 months behind schedule and about halfway to completion.  It's been stalled for the last 7 months – and has become an eyesore in the town.  And that's where the Social Investment Fund comes in.  The corruption allegations over the last project saw the forced resignation of their executive director and three senior staffers.  But, still SIF has got to carry the project forward – it's a major part of a much larger municipal development project all across the country.  So today, it was back to Dangriga where a new contractor has been named, and a new budget assigned. But is this new deal going to see the job through? 7News was there to ask the tough questions:

Jules Vasquez Reporting

In Dangriga, the word SIF is like a curse word, the reputation of the institution perhaps indelibly linked to corruption and for evidence of that its critics need only point to the market - it should have been opened 9 months ago - and here it is still an unoccupied half completed shell.  But now, SIF is hoping to put this embarrassment behind it with the appointment of a new contractor CB Construction, as in Cesar Bedran construction who arrived at the market today and gave a commitment to finish it in 6 months.

Cesar Bedran - CB Construction
"It's a project that we will complete within 6 months, and hopefully, it's before the 6 months. I'm also looking forward to hiring people from the area, from Dangriga."

Ernest Raymond - Project Coordinator
"The Completion of the work on the Dangriga Market beings now."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you feel about embarking on this new stage of a project to try and redeem SIF's name?"

William Lamb Jr. - Executive Director, SIF
"I believe I am excited."

Jules Vasquez
"What stringencies or safeguards will be in place to make sure that we don't end up with a contractor who goes off the rails, or who loses control of the project as did the last one?"

William Lamb Jr.
"That would be with tight monitoring, and close supervision."

Jules Vasquez
"Will there be lessons learnt from that? Is there the acceptance that, 'Guys, we messed up, and we can't afford to mess up again.' Is there that recognition? I ask because I have this sense that SIF still has this sense of institutional pride - which obviously, you've seen the sign - it's not shared by this community."

William Lamb Jr.
"The sign says and speaks to what has been done before, and with what we are going into, and the result at the end of the project, we definitely will hope to see a different sign."

And that will take what the diplomats might call confidence building. Nowhere is that more needed than in the current temporary market where rancorous sentiments are common:

Eliott Antonio - "Okro Man"
"It's just like a skeleton on a dead person. For years and years, we're waiting for the market to finish, and nothing is done. Everything is propaganda."

Elias Vasquez - Vendor
"We lose a lot of customers because it's too far, you know. The project, the new market is not done yet. I don't know what happened."

Cordelia Kweli - Shopper
"When it rains, the vendors can't sell all of their stuff. It gets wet, so it's like, to me, it's really inconvenient for them."

Jules Vasquez
"Being over here in this temporary market, do you all lose money?"

Eliott Antonio
"We're getting poorer and poorer, no investment because all the vendors are on the main, and then everybody go and buy on the main. Here, we're in the red, that's the word. We're in the red; we're not making money."

Gilbert Swaso - Mayor, Dangriga Town
"We have seen in our financials, even from collecting from the vendors, that here is at least a minimum of 25% that is lost from our collection."

Jules Vasquez
"SIF will oversee it and make sure that it doesn't go wrong this time. Do you believe SIF, Social Investment Fund?"

Eliott Antonio
"I don't believe until when I see the bird flying. I don't believe what they're saying until I see the bird flying. That means that the roof is on."

And to get the roof on and everything else finished will take 1.2 million dollars.  That means the price of the project has ballooned: the previous contractor Kennard Smart was paid 800 thousand dollars for his abortive attempt at what was then a 1.4 million dollar project, leaving 600 thousand available for completion.  That now has to be topped up to 1.2 million to finish it all, meaning that the market which was supposed to cost 1.4 million dollars will now cost two million dollars - which will be taken out of the second tranche of Dangriga Community development Project.

Ernest Raymond - Project Coordinator
"As it relates to the Dangriga allocation, yes, there will be an issue there, in the sense that we would have spent $400,000 of the Dangriga allocation to complete this market."

Jules Vasquez
"Will that be taken out of the second tranche, set aside for municipal development in Dangriga?"

Ernest Raymond
"At the face of it, and as it relates to Dangriga, it would appear so."

Jules Vasquez
"But there is a fair chance, no certainty, but a fair chance that the Dangriga residents are the ones who may end up being shortchanged for the misadventure with Mr. Smart."

Ernest Raymond
"That is yet to be seen."

Gilbert Swazo - Mayor, Dangriga Town
"So, we've lost out on our market, still has not been completed, now, we'll also lose some street in the first instance."

Jules Vasquez
"It is always said that corruption is a tax on the poor."

Ernest Raymond
"No, no, on this case, the failure of the contractor to complete the works, and the monies we have spent has nothing to do with corruption. As a matter of fact, this a statement I would like to correct. There is the view that there was corruption in SIF. There is no corruption as it relates to this Dangriga Market, the monies that were allocated to it, and the monies that were spent. There was no corruption"

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, but Mr. Smart so alleged, and the Contractor General - Mr. Smart alleged that he had to pay inducements to senior members of SIF Staff."

Ernest Raymond
"That is separate from his contract, the performance on his contract, our monitoring, that is a separate issue."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, my problem continues to be that SIF continues to think so much of itself, but you guy have been publicly shamed. They've cleaned out your executive director. 4 people were sent home. SIF is an institution that has been publicly compromised."

Ernest Raymond
"No, no, no, we need to separate the issues.

Jules Vasquez
"The Director was forced to resign. Go ahead."

Ernest Raymond
"I won't comment on that."

Jules Vasquez
"But, I'm saying sir, that you all continue to hold yourself to a high standard - and I am glad that you do - but SIF, in the public eye, is not a blue chip institution anymore. It's not, and you all continue to say, 'Well SIF is overseeing it, so that's enough.' It is not enough because people don't think SIF institutionally capable of reining in a rogue contractor."

Ernest Raymond
"We have to separate the issue of the contractor's performance, okay, vis-à-vis, SIF's supervision of that contract, and in that regard, we remain confident that that contractor was supervised in the appropriate manner. In the end, we saw that he was unable to complete the contract, and it was terminated."

Of course, that tidy executive summary belies the tumult that has played out in this town:

Gilbert Swazo
"207 days that this project has remained on a stand still. Those are 207 days that our community was, in my view, demoralized and punished because the heart and soul - the market is the heart and soul of any community - we do not have our market. So, we were expecting that a project which started May of 2012, should have been finished by July of 2013."

Now, all the mayor can do is express cautious optimism that this time around they'll get it right:

Gilbert Swazo
"We have to be cautiously optimistic as it relates to this project."

Ernest Raymond
"And it's for us, as the project implementation unit, to monitor that first and foremost, quality work is provided, and secondly, that he meets it within the timeframe." 

The refurbished market will provide over 40 stalls. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects under the Government's $30 million Belize Municipal Development Project.

Channel 7

#490988 - 05/17/14 06:21 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Delays with Dangriga Market, Costly to Council and Vendors

The Dangriga market was delayed due to alleged corruption at SIF, but all that is behind us now and a new contract was signed with new builders.

However, due to the occurrences with SIF, the Dangriga market remains the only municipality where a  Belize Infrastructure Development project is still at phase one and the delays clearly have an effect on the vendors since they are out of their actual location longer than was anticipated, and vendors say they have been losing money.

Mayor of Dangriga, Gilbert Swazo was guest on Rise and Shine today and addressed this issue.

“You may recall that when the project started in May in 2012, we from the council have to have made an arrangement to temporary relocate those vendors and we had then relocated them.  As a consequence, the vendors then claimed that where they were and as a result of the termination of the project, that they are losing revenue at a minimum of 25% of the income that they were used to earn in from the market. As a consequence to that, representatives from SIF went to Dangriga with a view to make an assessment.  They ascertained through the assessment that they made with the vendors and also looking at those revenues that we normally collect as well and it was in fact ascertained that there was some revenue loss.  There is some clause within the agreement (Between Central Government and the World Bank), that there ought to be some income restoration because there is what is called Project Affected People.  If there is a social impact that is negatively affecting, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that there is some restoration to elevate the suffering of those Project Affected People.  The project also states then that that would be the direct responsibility of the municipality who is the beneficiary of that project”.

The problem the mayor says he  has been having is that SIF wants the town board to pick up the tab, as agreed.

However, even though there was an agreement, town council says they don’t have the money and they want Government to pick up the tab.

Mayor of Dangriga: “From the council’s perspective, w have done everything possible to ensure that we were in compliance with every term of the contract on the agreement that we signed on behalf of the municipality, and it wasn’t as a consequence of that, that the project was terminated in any way or form.  So, we don’t believe that that is our responsibility because if the project was perhaps not terminated and if we continued to fulfill our mandate, then, I believe that it is the responsibility, perhaps, of SIF or the Government of Belize.  Furthermore, we have also requested financial assistance from the Government.  So, if we are to take on that 25%, then where do we get that money from to be able to take care of our recurrent expenditures and to be able to offer better service to the people of Dangriga?  That income restoration, while you have offered three options, all those options are indicating that it has to be the invoice verto that will board that cost; that when the transition occurred to the temporary facility, the Dangriga Town Council assumed the responsibility for utilities because remember that it was about twenty people that we had relocated.  PArt of what they were recommending was, “let us look at  foregoing taxes, that when they return into the new market when it is completed for us to forego up on Trade License or rental, to that effect.  So, essentially, continue to losing revenue; we did not agree to that in anyway or form, because essentially, we were not responsible for those delays or for the termination of that project”.

The town councils says they will continue to lobby to raise the funds.

If you wondered where the money came from to complete the market, he says it is from Phase II, so they may be losing some paved streets that they were expected to receive


#495040 - 08/27/14 06:08 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Dangriga market set for September finish

Residents of the Culture Capital and produce vendors are expected to finally get their reconstructed Dangriga Town Market by the end of September, according to latest projections.

Started last year but halted in September after investigations by the Office of the Contractor General unearthed illegal payments by contractor Kennard Smart to several employees of the Social Investment Fund (SIF), the $1.3 million project was restarted under a new contractor, setting aside a pair of financiers who had stepped in to rescue Smart’s project.

Dangriga Mayor Gilbert Swazo says residents are “cautiously optimistic” that things will continue to go smoothly and the market will be completed and open on time, but says they will continue to be watchful as building progresses.

The town’s “healing” from having its proud name dragged through the mud of the scandal surrounding the earlier stages of the project will only begin, he said, when the structure is completed and vendors can take possession of their stalls and begin to sell.

The project is part of the Belize Municipal Development Program, managed by SIF with counterpart financing from the Dangriga Town Council and World Bank. It is now expected to cost about $1.228 million. SIF lost executive director Daniel Cano and three other key employees at the height of the scandal last September.

And in related news, incumbent Mayor of Dangriga Gilbert Swazo did not offer himself for a second term, a decision that has surprised fellow Dangrigans.

The PUP are defending a swath of seats in the deep South which they won unexpectedly in the general and municipal elections of 2012, just two years ago.

But according to Swazo, after a lifetime of public service including as a member of the Belize Defence Force, he has opted to retire from politics and focus his efforts on community organization and redevelopment.

He told us that it is important to him that the community come together without political involvement as that has proven to be more divisive than uniting.

Patrick Jones

#497033 - 10/19/14 03:25 PM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Dangriga Market SUFFERS Another Delay

The Dangriga Municipal Market is dealt yet another blow. In a meeting with the new contractor, CB Contractor, of Cayo, the Belize Social Investment Fund and the Dangriga Town Council held in April 2014, the Dangriga Town Council was assured that the market would have been completed and handed over by Tuesday, 30 September, 2014. The month of October has started and the market has not been completed or handed over to SIF who would then hand it over to the Dangriga Town Council.

The Dangriga Town Council is indeed mindful of the contractor’s commitment to complete the project and to hand it over to SIF to, according the council, ‘stop the bleeding and punishment of the people of Dangriga’. The council is also mindful of the substantial work the contractor has done in the quest to completing the market. The underlying factor however, is the prolonged agony that continues to be inflicted upon the residents of Dangriga. The Dangriga municipal market is the life blood of Dangriga. In addition, it is an important economic hub for Dangriga. It is a cultural institution where there is much oral history and information that impacts positively on the market “goers”. The continued non-completion of the market reflects negatively on the landscape of Dangriga, where in almost every corner of the streets there are stalls, some of which are unsightly and risky for good health.

It is more than 2 years that the residents of Dangriga handed over a market that was in full use to SIF. It was in May 2012 that the beginning of the project was celebrated with a ceremony of great fanfare and pomp and circumstance and photo ops with the Minister of Economic Development, Hon. Santiago Castillo in attendance. He deputized the Prime Minister. This project was poorly thought out and badly managed. The Dangriga Town Council was forced to provide a temporary market area for the re-located vendors to avoid any injuries to the vendors who were supposed to continue operating from the market while the project was going on. Also the previous original contractor, Kenard Smart, also assured SIF and the residents of Dangriga that the market would be completed on the due date – July 2013. Instead, the project suffered numerous delays and the workmen also suffered undue long waits for wages and materials. Not surprising to the council and the residents of Dangriga, and those intimately involved, the project was terminated in early September 2013, when SIF took over the market site. This action and the bureaucracy set by the World Bank brought about horrible inconvenience to the residents of Dangriga. The process of selecting another contractor started again.

Meanwhile there was an effort to complete the market by another company led by Mr. and Mrs. Ramirez (Gush and Emy) and a Mr. Bailey, who were also financiers for the project. SIF had asked them to abandon the sight in late September, which they did.

The project took more than 200 days to restart. SIF nor the Government of Belize has apologized to the people of Dangriga, who suffered inconvenience and loss of income. Instead they behaved in a manner of don’t ask, don’t say attitude.

The Dangriga Town Council was able, however, to see through SIF’s attitude and braced for the worst which was already written on the wall. This is also notable in their attitude toward the non-implementation of the Phase 2 project. The council knew of SIF’s serious concern for the Phase 2 project which entails the asphalting of the Gadbsy Ramos and Trucking Boulevard streets in Dangriga. Without an explicit expression they are concerned that those streets are prone to flooding and that due to the infrequent inundation the project might not be worthwhile. SIF will have to prove otherwise. The idea of an environmental impact assessment was also quietly mentioned. This is certainly a red light since EIAs are very expensive undertaking.

According to SIF, this Phase 2 project is delayed. Of course there will be delays when there were serious concerns before the preliminary works started. They are saying that for reasons beyond their control, the project will start in January of 2015. Is this not politics being played by SIF? SIF will need to be brutally honest to the people of Dangriga on the status of Phase 2 Project and the Dangriga Town Market.

The Guardian

#497119 - 10/22/14 05:11 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Controversial Dangriga Market Soon Done; Town Mayor Says He Won’t Accept

13 months ago, Dangriga Town was up in arms when the biggest scandal at the Social Investment Fund emerged.

The Dangriga Market place fell 9 months behind schedule, allegedly because of corruption and poor public spending. The former contractor alleged that he was "hustled" by senior staffers at SIF. That scandal led to 4 staffers being dismissed, the executive director being forced to resign, and a change in contractor.

The market construction started all over in April, and at the beginning of this week, SIF reported that they had finally completed the construction of the market.

Well, the Mayor of Dangriga Town is not satisfied with the product, complaining that it cost 1.8 million dollars to renovate and extend, but there are no signs of value for money.

He spoke to us via phone this evening in which he explained that the project had to be pushed 3 weeks beyond the agreed completion time. Here's how he puts it:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga Town Council
"There was some delay and they were expected that it would take at least 2 weeks and I am telling you that isn't good enough for us. I believe that it was incumbent on SIF, the project implementary unit to contact the mayor and to say that they are having some delays and that the project would be delayed for whatever period of time. I believe that was proper procedure and protocols to be done on behalf of SIF. So there is no apology, then when the project was terminated in 2013 and still no apology from SIF at this time, then the further delay exorbitated the problem in our view, so they continue to behave in a manner that is disregarded and disrespecting the people of Dangriga."

Daniel Ortiz
"What is your impression of the finished market right now, is it up to standard?"

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga Town Council
"Today I had the privilege of touring the market with representatives from SIF which also included the consultant engineer Mr. Polanco and I expressed to them that the money that has been spent which is 1.8 million dollars and what I am seeing on the ground in my humble opinion there were some issues that I saw which needed to be addressed and if those issues are not addressed or there isn't a promise or a contract to stipulated that those issues that we pointed out on the ground are not addressed then I will not be prepared to take on or sign for that market on Thursday. So they assured me today that those issues which were pointed out to them will be rectified even after the official handing over and that will be part of the signing or the handing over document on Thursday. But I need to see that before the start of the official ceremony for us to proceed."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, how would you answer to those who say that you are simply finding things to criticized and complain about?"

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga Town Council
"I would say to everyone for them to come on the ground to view the market and they make an estimate for themselves - they can see. I am of the view that 1.8 million dollars which has been spent comparing to the frustration, the disrespect, the loss of economy that this town has suffered - let them compare all that to what is on the ground then they be the judge of it."

The official handing over takes place on Thursday, which is when we'll know if the Mayor agrees to accept the Market or not.

Channel 7

#497224 - 10/24/14 04:56 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Mayor Swazo Blazes SIF At Griga Market's Ceremonial Opening

Our next story shouldn't be about politics, but, it kinda is. The story should be about how Dangriga Town finally got its market back - completely refurbished with 44 new stalls, and all the bells and whistles. But, as it turns out, the story is about how the Dangriga Mayor just dropped bombs on the Social Investment Fund and its minister at the handing over today. 7News was at the ceremony, and here's how it went..

William Lamb, Executive Director - SIF
"So with pride and thanks to God I can say to the Dangriga residents; enjoy the new market."

Jules Vasquez reporting
But there wasn't much for SIF or their minister to enjoy today when the Dangriga Mayor - backed up by the PUP political bosses of the south - blazed them:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"Today is a special, a momentous, but a bitter sweet day."

Bitterness because SIF delivered a market 400 thousand dollars over budget and 15 months late:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"We handed over our market to SIF and the government of Belize in May of 2012 and we were expecting that it be handed over back to us in July of 2013. Nearing the expected end of July 2013, we notice that the market was less than about 30% completed and we said SIF had failed us. Ladies and gentlemen, July 2013 came and past. We all the troubles no apology. Our council like the rest of the world learned that the contract for the then contractor Mr. Kennard Smart was terminated. We now know the story very well, don't we? - Corruption. Corruption caused the contract to be terminated. SIF whose mission is well articulated had failed in Dangriga. In April, the people of Dangriga was deal another serious and devastating blow. This overt frontal assault, took the form of a reallocation of funds. The funds of a minimum of about $400,000 was reallocated. $400,000 was taken from our phase two project to rehabilitate our street. We have been made poorer as a result of 30 months of waiting. Mr. Government of Belize, you may expect forgiveness, however your actions towards the people of Dangriga speaks volumes. You have not uttered a word of apology, so your silence us also communicating a message."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"So let me take this opportunity to offer my profound apology to the people of Dangriga for the inconvenience caused by the unfortunate delay in the completion of the market due to problems with the original contractor. I respectfully thank you for your patience."

And after a touch of grace, Castillo threw in a political jab - one someone else's turf!

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"I am always amazed by people that cry wolf and I'll give you an example of what I mean; in the house of representatives at our last sitting, there was a lot of outcry and the members on that side were jumping up and down about the Guatemalan company BINARQ which was hired by the US Corps of Engineers for the Coast Guard base at Hunting Caye. Low and behold we have now found out that this was a contract signed by their then Prime Minister Said Musa in 2007, so the same people crying wolf were the actual wolves in this case. So when the mayor cry wolf - I don't panic at all."

Crowd shouting
"Don't come back here...move on."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr., Minister Of State
"Dangrigana, moving on positively, what I will tell you..."

And after that what he had to tell the mostly PUP crowd didn't matter much. SIF signed over the market to the care and management of the town council and with a surprisingly amicable handshake handed over the key - accepted with grave reservations:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"There is nothing state of the art; no air conditioning; no refrigeration unit; no tiled floor; no rack for the vendors to weigh their product. SIF said that it is what it is. Mr. SIF, since you are so confident and considering the principles of transparency, accountability then come clean, show us everything. Show us what you spend our pennies - please show us."

After that it was unto the ribbon. And while Castillo tried to put a good face on it - the mayor portends that the cuts run deep:

Gilbert Swazo, Mayor - Dangriga
"We are grateful for all the pain. We are grateful for the improved market that we are seeing. Our people deserves just that and more."

And so what does the social Investment Fund have to say about all the allegations by the Dangriga Mayor? Later on - we'll have the reaction to that form project manager Ernest Raymond.

Griga Market Project Supervisor Responds; Says Mayor Swazo Is Factually Wrong

In our last segment, you saw how the mayor of Dangriga dropped bombs on the Social Investment Fund accusing them of impoverishing his town residents. But, you didn't hear SIF's side of the story. They say that the mayor has it all wrong - and project supervisor Ernest Raymond discussed it with Jules Vasquez:..

Jules Vasquez
"You took some blows today; SIF the organization took some blows. The mayor accused you all of keeping the people of Dangriga poor, when you all should be a poverty alleviation fund. He says that in fact you all are impoverishing people. How do you respond to that?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"That's not the case. For one, when we started the renovation of the market we had allowed for the relocation of the vendors to a site that they can continue business. As you can see they were all relocated over there in a facility that was provided by the council. It's part of what we called a re-settlement re-allocation agreement. It's one of the major points of the safeguards that we ensure that persons affected by the project in any way do not suffer economically as well as inconvenience physically. Yes there were some discomfort over the last 2 years operating in a facility - a mere shed, a couple of boards to stand on, but business continued as usual and of course there were some..."

Jules Vasquez
"You are saying that because it's not your business."

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"No, we were here. We got the facts from them. In addition to that too, there were some wavers granted to the vendors, in terms of waver of fees and in some respect where the council had charged those vendors who they should not have charged we reimbursed those vendors for whatever charges they had to comply with. We reimburse them, so in some respect apart from the physical inconvenience in our opinion we do not feel that they have loss economically and as such today is the day."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you respond to the mayor's criticism that in fact the extra time has cost extra money and that money had to be taken from another project $400,000, so it is basically a case of impoverishing one area of the town to fix up the bad work in another?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"That is not the case. It is not a situation where $400,000 was removed from one project to complete another project. We operate on the basis of an allocation for each town council and there is an overall budget for the project. In that regard, as we see it presently there is still the likelihood of the Dangriga municipality getting their two streets; Gaspar Ramos and Trucking Boulevard. Right now they are being designed, the cost estimates are being developed and once those costs estimates are within the overall budget for the project; it's some 10 million dollars we are looking at for 7 municipalities - once its within that budget then very likely would be able address the two streets."

"Are you forgetting that you've lost at least 4 colleagues within SIF as a result partly because corruption that occurred within this project."

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"I think we need to separate out the issue of those SIF officers who were engaged in inappropriate activities okay to the contract and the works that were being done here and may I say unequivocally that as it relates to the money spent on this project, the contract that was awarded there is no corruption associated with it. You can check our books, the auditors did two sets of audit on our books and there was no money lost, no money stolen."

"All this going to be made public?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"Of course they are public documents. You can go on our website and see them."

Jules Vasquez
"Do you think the mayor showed poor graces when he lashed out, blazed out on you all today?"

Ernest Raymond, Project Supervisor - SIF
"Not really. It's how he feels. Its free speech in this country you know. You say how you feel. It is his feelings, I can't tell him he is either wrong or right, but in the matter of facts yes I can correct information that is either factual or not factual and if you want to raise any of them I can. There are some things that he is factually incorrect."

The market will be open on November first and the rental fee will not change. BUT the 22 vendors will have to pay a trade license fee of a three hundred dollars per year.

Tomorrow, you'll hear the part of the interview where we ask Raymond about whether the streets in Dangriga will still be paved.

Channel 7

#498214 - 11/22/14 04:32 AM Re: Getting It Right At The Dangriga Market [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Leaks and Fire Scare Reported at Recently Renovated Dangriga Market

The Dangriga market was recently officially inaugurated and today Mayor Gilbert Swazo spoke to Love News to say Dangrigans did not get value for money since the new structure is showing several faulty areas.


“We were called by the vendors to observe what they are going through and we noted that there are several food stalls and mainly food stalls numbers 2, 4, 5 and 9. There are some leaks that are coming from the roofs of the stalls and it is not one that we had expected since we had spent a lot of money to retrofit and extend the market. Similarly when we visited the new portion that is the extension we also noted that stalls number 3, 7, and 21 are also leaking from the roof. We also noted that there is an excessive amount of water that is coming from under the doors. We saw these leaks and the excessive amounts of water coming in from beneath the doors of the market from the entrance and from the back. I am also sad to report that at approximately 11:15am one of the vendors in the area, stall number 21 they reported that there was some smoke that was emanating from one of the electrical outlets and a short small fire was also visible. We called the members of the fire department but at that point there was no other damage to any clothing and no one was injured in any way. However it seems as if the fire is an electrical fire and may have been cause as a result of water in the wall that mixed with the electrical outlet. Essentially we are of the view that a new market should not be experiencing heavy leaks from the roof and we should not be noticing this kind of effect. So essentially we believe that what we got was a market which has a high price the value seems not be in the market so essentially there is so much defects but I must say that we have contacted SIF and they will be coming down next week to see what we are talking about with a view of the site but our contention is that a new market that we spent $1.8 million for should not be having this kind of effect.”



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