The Government of Belize has received US$7,248,000 in loan financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Belize Road Safety Project. This project is timely since, according to data available from the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009), Belize recorded 68 road deaths in 2006, equivalent to approximately 31.1 traffic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants - the highest fatality rate amongst the Bank’s member countries. An analysis of the data also showed that between 2004 and 2006, 70% of all collisions occurred in the Belize District, followed by the Orange Walk District with approximately 14%. Furthermore, statistics from the Ministry of Health’s National Health Information Surveillance Unit identified road traffic injuries as the fourth leading cause of death in the country, regardless of age and sex.
This project is the first phase of what is expected to be a long-term initiative of the Government to improve road safety in Belize and aims to reduce the incidence of death and serious injuries associated with road traffic accidents through: (1) safety improvements at problem spots along the Western Highway to its junction with the Hummingbird Highway and around the Belmopan Ring Road; (2) changed road user behaviour as a result of road safety education and awareness campaigns; (3) support to the Police and Transport Departments in traffic law enforcement; (4) support to BERT and the Western Regional Hospital to enhance post-crash response; and (5) capacity building for personnel from institutions involved in road safety management.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is the executing agency and will be supported by a Project Management/ Road Safety Unit, and Task Leaders in the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports; Health; and Works and Transport in implementing the project. The Project Manager and other implementation and oversight personnel have been identified and work continues to fulfil the conditions precedent to first disbursement.
The official launch of the Belize Road Safety Project is scheduled for March 14, 2013 at 9:00 am, at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development, City of Belmopan, Belize.