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#507128 - 09/03/15 05:58 AM Major Housing Agreements Signed
Marty Offline
Today, the Ministry of Works, represented by the CEO Errol Gentle signed 7 contracts with local contractors from the Lake Independence Division and another 15 from the Port Loyola Division to get started on works to build between 100-200 houses for first-time home owners in those 2 division.

It’s part of the Southside Poverty Alleviation project being funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development, and this is the second phase of the project to provide housing and social assistance to needy residents of the city.

For Lake Independence, over $600,000 will be spent in this phase, and an additional $895,000 will be budgeted for housing in Port Loyola. Today, the Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation explained how the program will work:

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez

"I am very happy for the people in my constituency. This programme allows us in the initial stages to create over 100 employments among the contractors. For us in Port Loyola we have a different style of doing thing; like for example, our housing group has existed from 1993, an NGO group. Most of the contractors are people affiliated with that group, we basically have a wood house factory at 3 and 3 quarter miles which we do excellent production. And I think I am happy for the residence; I can talk for Port Loyola who has been waiting for a time now to be recipients of their new house and home repairs. This project has helped my constituency; this project has helped the government of Belize to bring the housing stack up in Belize City. I think the first phase was excellent; this phase is going fairly well. And to me again I have to thank Mr. Puga and his team who worked diligently with us to make sure that we get all the approval that is necessary and make sure that this project is off a valid start."

For the construction of these houses over 100 jobs will be created, and these contractors were specifically chosen from skilled residents in these two constituencies. We spoke with Works Ministry CEO Errol Gentle who told us that 3 more Belize City constituencies will benefit from this phase of the project as well.

Channel 7

#507151 - 09/04/15 06:15 AM Re: Major Housing Agreements Signed [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

A New Housing Community Off Fabers

Last night, we told you about the housing agreements signed between the Ministry of Works and the local contractors from Port Loyola and Lake Independence to build over 100 houses for needy first time home owners.

It's the second phase of the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project, and today, we got a chance to see how this agreement will actually work on the ground in these constituencies. Daniel Ortiz reports:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This area off Fabers Road is well on it's way to becoming a housing community in the Port Loyola Division.

A few months ago, however, it used to be all bush and tall trees, very much like what these men are working hard to clear away here.

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"It was literally Faber's Road, but it was that kind of road like what you see right over there - raw bush."

Laborers handpicked from the Port Loyola constituency have been toiling from cutting down the bushes, to trucking in landfill, and even getting a head start on making this area fit for human habitation.

Yesterday's contract has only stepped the activity by providing the funding needed take the project to completion.

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"This project is a new development in Port Loyola. We have been preparing this site for years, now it's come to fruition now. A lot of houses will be going here under the poverty alleviation project."

Though it's still a work in progress this neighborhood to be was not haphazardly put together. Careful thought was put into getting the road filled, the lots plotted, and the project managers even got BEL and BWS to install infrastructure for utilities to be put in as soon as the houses are finished

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"We lobbied both with the utility company, mainly BEL and BTL. If you notice lamp post and lights are going in. Water lines are going in and so I think it's a great day for people in Port Loyola."

We also found houses, in various levels of completion, masons working as fast as possible to get the homes completed.

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"We will be building 48 new houses and doing like 20-30 repairs to new homes."

Daniel Ortiz
"How was the persons chosen for these housing grants?"

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"The persons were chosen by me as representative. Also on a need basis."

So, 48 families will benefit by getting their new home, and they will become first-time owners. There is also the social aspect that there is in increase in job opportunities.

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"This project here employs over 100 people. Now that we will step up and contracts have been signed, I think we will move up to 150 people with contractors. Apart from that the infrastructure, the streets, the bushing of the streets and so that employs another 30-40 men. There were chosen from people living in the constituency for two reasons; they were qualified, they had a prequalification process; they were qualified under the first phase of Southside poverty alleviation project and also to they look at the contractors in the economical state of which they come from a neighborhood and they hire people from the same neighborhood. So the Southside project looks on opening opportunity for residents in the area."

Then, this oval roadway, that you see the Minister riding around on bike, will then be upgraded to almost paved standards.

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"Thanks to the Prime Minister who help us to develop this portion. The street we are doing now. All these streets will have proper drainage and will be upgraded almost to paving standards right between here from Pen Road to Faber's Road will be paved, to the corner of the police station, so I think it's a tremendous work."

The estimated cost of this housing community is 2.6 million dollars. As you heard, Martinez hopes to start moving in the families sometime in Mid-October.

And, that's just in time to bring a political boon for Martinez in Port Loyola. We asked him pointedly if the rolling out of this program is electioneering, and here's what he had to say

Daniel Ortiz
"There is always that suspicion that because the elections is right around the corner, that you are increasing this type of activity to improve your standards with the voters - trying to get a bit of last minute support. Is that what's happening here?"

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"To start with, you can't develop a program like a space like this in weeks. If you know about development, this is years of development. But just because it's coming to fruition now. At some point in time, before election, some project will come to fruition so, you could take a look and say oh, you are doing this because. But this won't be in time for election if election is soon."

Jules Vasquez
"There are great housing needs in Port Loyola. You know that far better than we do, but you have a thing that sometime it hurts you for who you don't give rather than who you give."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"It's a aspect that I think that I will live with and I have to live with and especially after people see the signing last night and see this interview today. Put it this way, it hadn't been a one off scenario in Port Loyola. We have built over 100 houses in Port Loyola already and so maybe if you never get in the truancy, maybe you had that same opinion. If you never got in that, or this - you would have that same opinion, but I will do the best that I could for the needy people."

Jules Vasquez
"44 households have to vote for Boots Martinez."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"Not only 44. 44 and more. 44 x 5 plus all the other employees that we hire; the truckers that run filing for us; the man that chop bush for us, because the people working are employees."

Jules Vasquez
"You certainly see it as an election boost - real talk. That can't hurt."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Area Rep., Port Loyola
"Anything that you can do leading up to an election is very important and this is an extra you would say election boost for the representative of Port Loyola."

The CEO in the Ministry of Works tells us that 3 other Belize City constituencies will benefit from this project.

Channel 7


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