In November 2013 Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosted a special press briefing to announce a countrywide infrastructure bonanza, what he called a plan on steroids. G.O.B. proposes to spend approximately seventy-six million dollars on major projects all over the country and that money will be sourced from Petro Caribe funds. When that announcement was made, incessant rains were still falling, but now the dry is here, perfect weather for infrastructure works. Belizeans are nothing if not impatient, and in truth, the badly deteriorated road network has been a source of great frustration and anger. So today when we got the chance, News Five spoke to Ministry of Works C.E.O., Errol Gentle, for an update. He reminded us that it is a three year plan, but there are works ongoing, including, finally, the cementing of Central American Boulevard.
Errol Gentle, C.E.O., Ministry of Works
“This will be rolled out over a three-year program so you are not seeing that as yet. The works we have been doing is monies that were provided to address those areas that were damaged by the constant rains; we call them the hotspots. So we had emergency funds. We have done a lot of work in Cayo, we have done work in Orange Walk and Corozal District. Luckily for us, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts were not that much affected so minimal works were done in there. But even as we speak right now, works are still going on in the Cayo district and some of the works being done in Orange Walk for example on the Sarteneja Road; that is the emergency works. The Crooked Tree Causeway, water has been receding; we are doing works there as well. So those are works that are being done by the funds provided for emergency. But this seventy-eight to eight million dollars that the Prime Minister promised, this is being rolled out over a three year program. What we are doing right now, we are doing some feasibility study because we have seen that most of the areas where we had some problems is because of drainage. So we are looking at studies to see where we will be putting drains to drain off the water…so that whenever we have these rains, we can’t say that there won’t be flooding but at least the water will drain off much quicker.”
“Sir I noticed there has been some work started on the Central American Boulevard. It is only digging by BWS at this point, but the prime minister had said that last week…the contract had been awarded and last week works will start to pave that road from end to end. Could you tell us about that project?”
“That project is under the Poverty Alleviation Project; it is being funded by OFID, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the contract was won by Cisco Construction Company. But before they can start doing any kind of paving, they had to do the lines for the water company and there should be some lines for the phone company. Paving, it will actually be cementing, not paving. The cementing of that entire road should start very shortly.”