For the past week, two hundred and forty workers for the Southside Improvement Programme have been receiving instruction on how to do their job for a new project. Most of them already know how to clean the city; they learned that in the urban rejuvenation project.

But that was government money, this one is Kuwaiti funding, meaning tangible, concrete results are expected and, the project requires a higher level of technical work.

So they've been learning what's expected of them. But before the Easter break - they took a break from the lectures, when they got a pep talk from the Boss himself. 7news was there:

Jules Vasquez Reporting
About 200 workers for the Southside Improvement Programme gathered at the city center this morning.

They were the beneficiaries of what looked to be a political full court press. The prime minister and the minister of works were there - except hthey said it's not about politics:

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"Poor people, particularly the people of Southside of Belize City merely require a chance and they will be surpassingly productive, surpassingly good and useful citizens contributing to the well-being of their community and overall progress of this country, this society. So we are not doing this as a consequence of any political strategy, we are not doing this to try and win your vote. We kind of feel that because you all are fair minded that you will give us your vote but that has never been the objective and I am absolutely certain that while I repeat that is not the objective that partnership will reap great political dividends for the government of the United Democratic Party."

They've been receiving training for the past week for a 22 million dollar project which will see them trading in rakes for trowels:

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer - Ministry of Works
"In this current program what we want is to try to improve the drainage. The drainage has not been given much maintenance over the years. With this program we want to take a step further. The streets that we pave under the Belize City rejuvenation project; we want to start line the side drains of those pave streets, we want to concrete line it and in the process of concrete lining; the method that we want to use is to construct - mass produce concrete slabs and the end product will be the concrete line channels that will reduce the incidents of flooding that affect this city so often."

That means a level of precision and high standards:

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer - Ministry of Works
"Under this current program I would want to introduce a bit more organization and it's possible and why I am saying its possible it's because we go back to work ethics. If we try to address and practice good work ethics - that on its own will result in greater productivity. You can do it, just be open to us. Try to learn, try to be punctual to the worksite, respect yourself, and respect your work mates."

And there was plenty of motivational elements in today's speeches:

Supt. Edward Broaster, CYDP
"We have a lot of young people - young people like you who never held a job before. Who when I pass by Mosul Street 6:45 in the morning I see the tools man at his job site already with the shutters up and his colleagues waiting for some of his supervisors to come to work."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"A lot of people here are not no gang bangers and trouble makers, majority of you here are unemployed people of which the government create opportunity for."

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"He knows that you can't be talking about wanting to reduce and stop the violence if you don't provide opportunities to people. People always are talking how people from the south side are lazy - no way. I think that we got the will to do it and we can do it. We will do it. We will show Belize City. We will show the country that we are able and capable of producing."

Jules Vasquez
"Being that there is a political over tone in the program. How difficult is it to demand the accountability that management of public funds requires...."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"This is about - I you heard my thing is about quality of work and value for money. We are not throwing away anything and at the end of the day I was just saying to some people; employees where ever you work that if you don't do the right thing - they will fire you."

Jules Vasquez
"Even if you need a vote in Port Loyola and you have 8 people in the family."

Hon. Boots Martinez, Minister of Works
"They might be the first to go. I am saying that this is an opportunity that we are creating for you. The thing is not about who is your representative and being disrespectful and being rude and show up to work late and say that how 'I am a representative that..' no man, this is about opportunity and you must take advantage of the opportunity."

And that's because there is another tranche of this programme that will come on stream later in the year.

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
"By the end of the year we expect to hire at least 500 additional bodies on top of the 240 or so of you that now who are employed."

Phase two - which is the Southside Poverty Alleviation Programme is funded form the same 22 million dollars discussed in that story and it should come on stream by the end of year - which - if you're watching things politically - would be right in time for next March's municipal election.

Channel 7