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Jan 25, 2005

SIF receives funds from debt initiative

Story PictureThe Social Investment Fund today received over a million dollars for use in community projects in different parts of the country. During brief ceremonies at the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute training room, CEO in the Ministry of National Development, Hugh O’Brien, handed over the cheque to SIF’s Executive Director Oscar Alonzo. Alonzo told News 5 that the money will benefit thousands of people, especially in the rural communities.

Oscar Alonzo, Executive Director, S.I.F.
?This money is coming from the Commonwealth Development Initiative, which is the debt that is pardoned by the U.K. Government in return for the Government of Belize investing the debt payment in pro-poor projects. And these are the projects that really do make substantial investments in these areas. The villages are identified. There is quite a degree of poverty in those areas that require the sort investment to improve the quality of life and the living conditions.?

?We?re currently finishing the Buena Vista water system in Corozal, we are constructing also the San Jose Palmar water system in Orange Walk. We are about to begin the Rockstone Pond/Lucky Strike water system and also we about to begin the Armenia water system in the Cayo District. We will also shortly be starting the San Jose water system in Toledo and as soon as we could get some clearance from the Ministry of Rural Development on the quality of water for the Gales Point and Mullins River areas we should begin construction. So all these systems should be completed this year. We are also building the Salvation Army school, an extension to the Guinea Grass Pentecostal School in Orange Walk. And we are doing a completion work on the Ibrahim Abdullah or previously known as the More Tomorrow Road in the Cayo District.?

George Smith, Vice Chairman, Rockstone Pond
?Presently the village of Rockstone Pond do not have potable water supply. Most of the villagers have to go excessive distances to the stand pipe to get water for their family. In the dry season when the water supply is very low from the wells and some of the wells go dry, the people who have animals and stuff like that have to get buckets or drums and fill them and try to stock up the water to feed the animals and it?s very tedious. So this will eliminate all this. So they will benefit immensely from the water supply system.?

According to O’Brien, last year a total of five point three million dollars was disbursed under the Commonwealth Debt Initiative with the bulk of the money being spent on rural water systems, education and road access.

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