BELIZE INFRASTRUCTURE LIMITED (BIL) – What it is? How it works? Who it serves? Print E-mail
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Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

In 2012 The Government of Belize (GOB) decided to form a public company to act as an agent of the GOB to undertake the design, construction and management of capital projects in Belize. At that time particular emphasis was placed on sporting and other multipurpose facilities in order to find an efficient conduit to undertake the largest of sporting projects, the rebuilding of the Belize City Center. A key driving force behind the GOB’s action was to also ensure that each municipality received at least one proper, functioning sporting or multipurpose facility to serve the needs of the community for sport and recreational activities. The company established was Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL). Its mandate would be to act as the executing agency with the overall responsibility to bring each project to fruition, from start to finish.

The company officially got underway in late 2013 where the process began with engaging each municipality in the assessment of their needs and guiding them in the repurposing process for their current sport facilities or assisting them in envisioning new facilities to fill certain gaps within their sporting services. BIL would then create the Terms of Reference for the project envisioned in order to procure the design team. Once the design was complete, BIL would continue to procure the construction team and follow through with the assisted supervision and necessary project management.
The decision of the GOB to employ this execution model came from the realization that creating an independent company with international procurement operational standards would allow the process to function outside the immediate realm of government interventions and bureaucracy. It would function with the full transparency, efficiency, quality and competitiveness of any private sector company and most importantly would function with expediency.

Sporting was chosen as the first set of infrastructure investments for several reasons. At its most basic level of community intervention, it aims to keep the youth engaged in activities they enjoy with the hope of diminishing street presence and eventual crime reduction. The collateral benefit of this however, is the realization that the country has an extremely talented pool of athletes, primarily in both football and basketball, with no venue or platform to practice, display and perfect their craft. Not only does this investment create venues for engaging community activities, providing centers for events and bringing the public together for meaningful interaction, but it allows Belize to start to realize its talent on the global scale should we invest in our young athletes and for the first time allow them access to facilities of international standards to heighten their competition play. It becomes an investment in far more than pieces of beautiful infrastructure. With the right coaching, management and maintenance these investments can become training grounds for competitive futures as well as community centers for social interaction, promoting the socialization we need in our public spaces.

Several projects have since been started with the procurement of designs for six different projects in four different municipalities to date, and both Dangriga and Punta Gorda soon to follow. Falcon Field in San Ignacio is already under construction and several shortly behind, with no less than six projects targeted for construction start before the end of the year.

With the GOB actively focusing on capital investments not only as service infrastructure, but now seeking to fill certain gaps with revenue generating infrastructure facilities, BIL will also assist as the agent to undertake both planning and infrastructure works in new areas of development for the GOB. With the most recent decision to bring the development of the Chetumal Street extension under the BIL portfolio, the goal is to start to provide a link between public development and private opportunities in sustainable partnerships for investment. It is breaking ground into the realm of public-private partnerships, a model new to Belize and still emerging timidly in many developing countries, but the only way to know if we can succeed is if we start to try.