December 17, 2009

An inauguration ceremony was held this afternoon for an electrification project in Monkey River Village in the Toledo District. Monkey River is the second of seven villages in the banana belt to receive electrification as a part of a European Union project implemented by Belize Electricity Limited. Katharine Mendez is the Director of the National Authorizing Office within the Ministry of Economic Development.

Katharine Mendez; Director, National Authorizing Office, Ministry of Economic Development

"What it means is that the overall goal of the Government of Belize and the European Union, who is partnering with GOB to fund the project, is to alleviate poverty and provide opportunities, especially in the rural areas of the country. Monkey River is getting full time electricity because I understand that they only had electricity for short periods of time so now they have 24 hour electricity. It is an opportunity for the development of the village. The electrification project is being funded by the European Union under the Banana Support Program and it includes the electrification of seven villages. In total it is one thousand five households that will benefit all together. This included Monkey River and the six other villages."

According to Mendez the remaining five villages are expected to have electricity before Christmas Day.

Katharine Mendez; Director, National Authorizing Office, Ministry of Economic Development

"The other villages that will be electrified are Cow Pen, San Isidro, Bladden, Trio and San Pablo. The village of Santa Cruz has received electricity. The cost of the project is just below BZ$1.1 million and it includes thirteen miles high voltage lines, nine miles of low voltage line and eight transformers. It is the largest project being funded under this electrification program."

The total cost of the project is five million Belize dollars; 75 percent was provided by the European Commission and the other 25 percent was provided by the Government of Belize.