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Thousands of Jobs with Millions in Infrastructure Development Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:00

Bus TerminalFresh off the success of the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project, which employed thousands of Belize City residents and resulted in crime falling to its lowest point in a decade, the Government of Belize is being even more aggressive in its effort to keep Belizeans employed and continue growing the economy. In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Barrow announced investments of more than $100 million in infrastructural development across the country.

Prime Minister Barrow said, “As a driver of economic development [investment in infrastructure] has now become the principal implement in this Administration’s toolbox.” Projects Prime Minister Barrow announced include the construction of Lake Independence Boulevard, a new Civic Center in Belize City and new sporting facilities in every district town countrywide.

Work is already underway in the Lake Independence Area for the construction of the Lake Independence Boulevard and a new bridge that will stretch over the Haulover Creek to connect the George Price Highway on the Southside of Belize City with Chetumal Boulevard on the North side. The project also includes construction of the National Bank Limited’s Belize City Headquarters, a sporting and community development facility funded by the Caribbean Development Bank as well as a national and international bus terminal. The estimated cost of this project is in the neighbourhood of $25 million.

Work has also commenced on the Civic Center site where the Government of Belize is investing $30 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art multi-purpose complex. The Government of Mexico had previously committed to rebuild or refurbish the Civic Center but has since decided to assist Belize on other projects. After the national basketball team performed extraordinarily in the COCABA Championships in 2009, Prime Minister Barrow promised to build a first class facility for basketball in Belize. After Mexico redirected its commitment, Prime Minister Barrow remained determined to deliver on that promise. Therefore, Belize will finance its own national basketball arena- one that will be a source of national pride for decades.

Belize City is not the only municipality that will benefit from a new sporting facility. In fact, new sporting and community development facilities will be constructed in every district town across the country. The Belize Infrastructure Limited will oversee the spending of $40 million for the construction of a new facility in each district town. Jobs from those projects will go to residents of the area.

Prime Minister Barrow also announced that a bridge will be built to link the 8 Mile community near the George Price Highway to Lords Bank (behind Gentrac). Also, “starting around the middle of next year central Government will be pumping money into District Towns for work on streets and drains so that the Belize City miracle of Mayor Darrell Bradley might to some extent be replicated across the nation.” Most of the funding to cover these projects will be made available as a result of the Petro-Caribe Initiative and issuance of additional Treasury Notes. The Petro-Caribe Initiative allows Government to purchase fuel from Venezuela at concessionary rates and only a portion of the actual value of the fuel is paid up front. The difference is a deferred payment which is converted into a loan of 1% interest. Government will also make more Treasury Notes available to investors as part of its domestic borrowing program.
All these projects mean more jobs for Belizeans.