The much needed upgrading of the Corozal/Sarteneja Road, as well as the construction of the Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca bridges, will be done using a loan of fifty million U.S. dollars from Taiwan. While the rehabilitation of that forty-seven mile stretch of road is long awaited, there is some controversy surrounding the monies that Belize is borrowing from the Taiwanese government. We begin with the tabling of the loan motion which details the quantum as well as the payment schedule to service the debt.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Madam Speaker, this is the government of the Republic of China Taiwan upgrading of the Corozal Sarteneja Road and the upgrading of the Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca bridges. Fifty Million US Dollar loan motion 2019. Madam Speaker I move where as the government will receive financial support from the government of the Republic of China Taiwan, whereas the offer of financial support is in the form of a long term low interest loan in the principal amount of fifty million from the Export Import Bank in the Republic of China. And whereas the purpose of the loan is to finance the project to upgrade the Corozal Sarteneja Road and to construct the Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca bridges in the Corozal district. And whereas the terms and the conditions of the loan are as follows; lender, Export Import Bank of the Republic of China, loan principal amount: fifty million, purpose: project implementation for the upgrade of the Corozal Sarteneja road, loan term: twenty years inclusive of the grace period. Grace period: five years. Disbursement schedule: to be disbursed over five calendar years commencing from the date of signing with each disbursement being in accordance with project milestones and consisting of an aggregate amount not exceeding fifty million. Repayment in thirty consecutive equal or nearly equal as possible semi-annual principal instalments commencing sixty-six months after date of the first advance made under the agreement. Rate of interest: six month plus one percent annum.”
The road from Corozal to Sarteneja and the two bridges are long overdue. Sarteneja, for so long, has been one of the most distant and forgotten villages in northern Belize. Our Government's announcement today shows a bit of hope that this project may finally happen. We hold on to our hopes. This project will certainly attract much needed investment and business to this area. The coastline between Corozal Town and Sarteneja is about 27 miles and the majority of it is still in its natural state. However, the rule of thumb I have heard in the past, and this may have changed a bit over the years, was that the cost to build and pave a road was Bz$1 million dollars per mile. The distance between Corozal Town and Sarteneja Village is approximately 27.5 miles. How much can two bridges with a span of 200 feet each cost, say $5 million each? So BZ$100 million loan to build a road and two bridges seems a bit excessive, if the intention of the loan is just for the road and two bridges. Of course, there will be other cost variables and factors to consider, but at this point, we don't have those specifics, but my basic numbers are still much less than the total amount of the loan, unless there will be other projects tied into the loan that we are not aware of. What are the costs of the other line items, if any, involved? I am not against the project. I just want to ensure that there is proper accountability and transparency. BZ$100 million is a lot of money to pay back to Taiwan. What will be the interest rate?
by Lincoln Eiley
Re: Corozal/Sarteneja Road to be Resurfaced
#538179 09/09/1904:24 PM09/09/1904:24 PM
GOB and the EXIM Bank of Taiwan Sign a Loan Agreement for the Financing of the Corozal-Sarteneja Road Project
This morning in Belize City, the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, signed a loan agreement between the Government of Belize and the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (EXIM Bank) in the sum of US$50M for the upgrading of the Corozal-Sarteneja Road and the construction of the Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca bridges.
Witnessing the signing was His Excellency Remus Li-Kou Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize and the Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works of the Government of Belize.
In signing the loan agreement, Prime Minister Barrow expressed the Government’s sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and People of Taiwan for this extremely important project which will go a long way in improving the transportation network in the north of the country and which will also contribute significantly to the overall development and prosperity of Belize. Prime Minister Barrow also took the opportunity to reaffirm Belize’s commitment to the maintaining and increasing the very strong ties existing between the two countries over the past 30 years.
Ambassador Chen stated that “in her state visit to Belize in August 2018, H.E. President Tsai Ing-wen had the preliminary but very productive discussion about this project with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and she fully supported this project. Through their leadership and the mutual efforts by our relevant government agencies, we are extremely pleased to witness today the signing of this loan agreement roughly just a year since its inception.”
Ambassador Chen extended his best wishes to the project as not only a great success, but also bringing real and tangible benefits to the people in Corozal District, serving as a leading successful model for any future important and needed projects for all Belizean people.
Ground is expected to be broken on the project in mid-October with actual physical work to commence early in the new year.
Re: Corozal/Sarteneja Road to be Resurfaced
#538841 10/22/1905:59 AM10/22/1905:59 AM
It was take 5 years and 50 million US dollars to pave the 27 miles of road between Corozal and Sarteneja. The Government today officially signed the contract with the Taiwanese firm named Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Limited.
We were at the contract signing in Belmopan today and the minister told us more:
The upgraded road will include two bridges to replace old ferries at Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca.
The road will be upgraded to paved standard with a doubled chip and seal and with proper drainage. It will include line marking, cat's eyes, vertical and horizontal signage and construction of bus stops.
GOB Signs Contract with Taiwanese Firm for the Upgrading of the Corozal/Sarteneja Road
The Government of Belize (GOB) today signed a contract with Taiwanese firm, Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Limited S.A. (OECC), for the upgrade of the Corozal/Sarteneja Road.
The contract signing follows the signing of a loan agreement between the Government of Belize and the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (EXIM Bank) for a sum of US$50M on September 9th, 2019 for the road project. OECC has extensive road construction experience in the Caribbean and Central American regions.
Signing on behalf of the Government of Belize were Minister of Works Hon. Rene Montero and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works Mr. Errol Gentle. Legal Representative of OECC Mr. Yun-Yeh Hsiao signed on the firm’s behalf.
The contract is for the design and upgrading of 43.2 km (27 miles) of road, including the construction of two bridges to replace old ferries at Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca. Upon completion, the new road will provide a direct and all-weather link between Corozal Town on the Northern Highway and many of the communities to the east of the Progresso Lagoon-John Piles Creek–Laguna Seca Waterway System, including the village of Sarteneja.
The contract also provides for the design, construction supervision, and updating of the Feasibility and Environmental and Social Impact Study that was completed in 2000. This includes conducting topographical surveys, conducting hydrological modelling to design adequate drainage structures for the road, and preparing preliminary designs and final designs for the 43.2 km of road upgrade.
The road will be upgraded to pave standard with a doubled chip and seal and with proper drainage considerations to ensure its resilience against climate change impacts. Additionally, it will provide enhanced road furniture and safety measures such as line marking, cat’s eyes, vertical and horizontal signage and construction of bus stops with laybys.
The upgraded Corozal/Sarteneja Road will accommodate heavier vehicles, strengthen its resilience against climate change impacts, and provide more convenience to the travelling public. Extensive consultations will be held with stakeholders to ensure a design which is appropriate for the area.
The road is expected to be completed within 54 months latest after contract signing.
Re: Corozal/Sarteneja Road to be Resurfaced
#539213 11/15/1906:12 AM11/15/1906:12 AM
3 Weeks ago we showed you the signing of a contract between GOB and Taiwanese firm, Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Limited S.A., for the upgrade of the Corozal/Sarteneja Road.
It will cost 50 million US dollars to pave the 27 miles of road between Corozal and Sarteneja. And today a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the junction of the Corozal and Sarteneja roads.
Minister of Works Rene Montero called it a historic event:
Hon. Rene Montero - Minister of Works and Transport "Today marks the official start of the upgrading of the Corozal Sarteneja Road to paved standards. It is indeed a happy occasion, as it marks a new level in another important milestone of the road infrastructure development in Belize."
Remus Li-Ko Chen - Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize "This very important infrastructure project, I must emphasis is truly brought here out of the goodwill of Taiwan for the people, communities and businesses of Corozal. According to the OECC feasibility study, this project will contribute substantially to reduce travel time, enhance road safety, increasing investment opportunities and prosperity and uplifting for both communities within this project area and all Belizean people alike."
Hon. Hugo Patt - Minister of Natural Resources "For those of us who live in Sarteneja, who live in Xunux, who live in Copper Bank, Progresso, I don't think I have to go any further than saying that traversing these 27 miles of road is always a challenge. I could well recall my very days in high school, I had a very good friend from Sarteneja, a very beautiful village in this stretch of Belize and what caught my attention was that back in the days, coming to high school, you would take your bicycle and ride to high school, I went to Corozal Community College. And I saw my friend coming with his luggage and I asked him, why is that you have to bring your luggage every Sunday afternoon and Friday as soon as classes are over, you have to practically rush the last session of classes and hit a bus. He was telling, look it is the road, we don't have buses, we don't have much transportation at the mere fact that the road is in bad condition don't allow for us to be able to traverse. When we fast track that to present day, we can now tell all the people of that stretch of road, all the communities that those challenges will be left behind. Those are things of the past, after the completion of this project in 54 months' time, you will feel the benefit of reaping not only social benefits but also the economic impact of having an upgraded road."
Hon. Rene Montero "This project is 27 miles. It will involve the replacing of 2 ferries, we will replace it with 2 bridges and that will assist the people living in that area because you can bring economic benefits. It will reduce the time moving from Corozal to Sarteneja, this project will take 54 months and a Taiwanese company got the contract to construct this road because they have experience in Central America and the region and this project will take 54 months to complete."
Upon completion, the new road will provide a direct and all-weather link between Corozal Town on the Northern Highway and many of the communities to the east of the Progresso Lagoon. The major upgrades include the construction of two bridges to replace old ferries at Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca.