Plans for Infrastructure Designed For Tourism Boost in Belize
We have told you of the announcements made yesterday by the Prime Minister when it comes to health, salary increases for public officers as well as moves being made in the public utility companies. Another area touched on by Prime Minister Barrow was the plans for infrastructural developments around the country. Barrow first spoke of accomplishments made around the country.
“For truly, the nine months between January and this day, saw social and infrastructural advances in our country that took us to the summit of those heights we have been scaling since 2008. I want to point out that I had said earlier this year that we were going to roll out PetroCaribe to the rural areas and we have done so with a vengeance. Since March we have spent around $20 million in village constituencies and we are not done yet. We have reached every single constituency, if not every single village and this Government of Belize transformation phenomenon is now truly countrywide, truly national.”
The way forward in infrastructure, according to the Prime Minister, is being planned around the tourism industry which is one of the largest revenue earners for Belize. Among those plans is the establishment of an international airport.
“Tourism remains our single largest driver, I’ll and talk a little about our plans to continue encouraging its star turn. These include additional marketing and quality improvement efforts but they also include destination infrastructure improvement and there are three projects in that connection that I wish to highlight. First, there is the continuation of the North Ambergris Caye Road Project; we have just signed a contract for the construction of another 4 miles of the road providing land access to the premier resorts on North Ambergris, making for a total of 11 miles that we have already funded. When this next phase is completed we will sign for the last few miles to take us to the Basil Jones airstrip, which we will re-develop, re-design and expand into an international airport. I am also happy to announce that Basil Jones will be renamed the Efrain Guerrero International Airport in honor of the eponymous, recently deceased San Pedro patriot. With this, we expect a phenomenal new opening up, a veritable tourism explosion, in Ambergris Caye, which is of course already our market leader. We are also constructing a new road to Lamanai via Bermudan Landing and Lemonal. That contract has also been signed, and this will mean that Lamanai will now form part of the day trip circuit for cruise passengers and provide increased tourism opportunities to Orange Walk and to the Belize Rural North villages along the route. Finally, and this really will constitute a new jewel in the tourism crown, we are going to do a paved highway to Caracol, with two points of origin from Georgeville and Santa Elena. We are funding locally, and have already signed the contract for, road rehabilitation from Cristo Rey to San Antonio and thereafter to the junction with the Georgeville Road. Then the OPEC and Kuwaiti Funds will partner together to take us the 40 plus miles from the junction to Mountain Pine Ridge and then to Caracol. In addition to the huge tourism boost this will provide, it also carries tremendous implications for a quantum improvement in our security protection arrangements for the Caracol area.”
The Basil Jones Airstrip is located west of the Punta Azul (Latitude: 18°4’59.99″ Longitude: -87°52’59.99″) area and was the first airstrip on the island, with its terrain being three meters above sea level. No time line was given as to when the airport project will materialize.