Belize City: Infrastructure and Employment Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 July 2012 00:00

Work well underway on Queen Street, Belize CityOver the past couple of weeks, it has been quite the task to get around Belize City with the number of streets that have been closed and traffic being re-directed to others. But the streets are not just being closed down to cause an inconvenience. As a matter of fact, the streets are being closed down in order to accommodate the volume of work that the Belize City Council is doing to fix them.

No one would have thought it possible that so much work could have been done in such a short space of time, but under Mayor Darrell Bradley and the new Belize City Council, impossible is just a word. And as the work is being demanded ,CISCO Construction and M&M Engineering have been able to meet the challenge.

So far there are six streets that have been completed and these include the following: Cemetery Road, Glenn Street, Ferrell Lane, South Street, Belize Bank Street, Daly Street and Calle al Mar. Nearing completion is Thomas Vincent Ramos Street in the Belama Phase 3 area. On Monday, July 16th, work commenced on two of the main streets in downtown Belize City. These are namely: Queen Street and Treasury Lane, which is immediately in front of the Supreme Court Building.

Notably in the street works, the contractors are ensuring that the work is being done in a labor-intensive fashion and as much as possible, manual labor is being employed. According to the Belize City Council, M&M Engineering has hired over 60 workers while CISCO construction has employed another 65 workers. Most of those employed are young men that are considered 'at risk'. Speaking to them, they expressed their appreciation for the opportunity that has been given to them. One of the young men on Treasury Lane commented, "Deh can't say we di commit crime out deh, caz we di work." And the sentiment is similar on all the worksites across the city. The infrastructure boom is proving to be a double-benefit as the streets are receiving a much needed face lift, and the young men, who would ordinarily not be employed, have a job that they are proud to be doing.

Chairman of the Belize Water Services, Alberto August, recently commented that BWS has had to dig into reserve funds to do work, which was not budgeted for in order to accommodate the massive amount of infrastructural work being done. He added that they will keep up with the Belize City Council's efforts since it is a worthwhile one. August stated that Mayor Bradley has gone as far as to offer BWS a loan to finance the additional work that it has undertaken. BWS has been asked to upgrade the water infrastructure on all the streets being paved with concrete so that these streets don't have to be ripped up for this kind of work to be done later on.

Even Prime Minister Dean Barrow has commended the efforts of the council and Mayor Bradley. According to the PM, the council has refinanced an existing loan with Heritage Bank, which was being serviced by Central Government. During the refinancing, the council secured additional funds, which are being used to do the infrastructural work and in so doing, the terms of the loan has been significantly reduced, thereby transferring the benefits of lower payments to government.