met with Mayor Alberto Nuñez to find out the Town Council's plans.
Mayor Nuñez mentioned that although there is great
concern about the area involving Coconut Drive by Ramon's Village, the process
of acquiring funds to fix this area is a long one. Already some attempts have
been made to get Central Government interested in this matter. Area
Representative Patty Arceo has personally presented this problem to Cabinet,
including pictures of this disastrous street. After the Hurricane Reconstruction
Facility Fund was installed, the San Pedro Town Council thought that finally the
situation was going to be remedied. Instead, the Ministry of Works took matters
into their own hands, found a contractor, analyzed the situation and made the
recommendations they thought suitable. This was reportedly done without proper
consultation from Town Council, the Mayor or Area Representative.
Earlier this week in Washington, DC, Minister Fonseca
signed a $13 million loan agreement with the World Bank for drainage and street
projects in all municipalities. Once again, San Pedro was not included in this
plan and no funds were allocated for this Coconut Drive area that is in dire
need of reconstruction. Mayor Nuñez mentioned that a temporary solution will be
put into effect. Mid South Investment Co. Ltd., from Dangriga, has signed a
$586,000 contract with the Ministry of Works to upgrade this area and three
other roads in the Boca del Rio and San Pedrito areas. The World Bank is
financing this program which calls for repairs only, thus no permanent drainage
will be installed at the moment. With the help of the business community in that
area, the Mayor hopes that an extension of the cobblestone street will be
included in the near future.
The main concern of many
residents was why the San Pedro Town Council opted to first install drainage on
three streets in town rather than Coconut Drive which, in the eyes of many, is
the area most affected. To put this question to rest, Mayor Nuñez said that this
was a plan that had been ongoing for over a year and a half before it was
approved by Ministry of Works. After the plans were approved, the funds which
had been set aside for that specific area could not be transferred because of
the many requirements from the Ministry of Works. A little over $100,000 was
spent in this area.
Another concern is why the business
community in the area of Coconut Drive is being asked for assistance to repair
the streets while the businesses in the areas in town were not. The Mayor stated
that at no time had they solicited funds from the businesses of Coconut Drive.
During the first repairs, involving the area from Tropic Air to TMM, it was the
business community that offered financial aid. Although these donations were
welcomed, he reiterated that San Pedro Town Council had not solicited funds from
these businesses for the project.
news, Mayor Nuñez mentioned that the renovation of the main pier has also been
approved. The San Pedro Town Council has been lobbying for the past two years
for this. Nevertheless, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has assured them
that by January the project will be ready to commence. Already a consultant has
been selected and will be submitted to CDB for approval. The consultant will
then solicit a contractor for the project to commence in January.