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Jun 27, 2017

City Mayor weighs entertainment and residents’ concerns along ‘party strip’

Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley has found himself in quite a pickle, following a leaked memo last Thursday in which he single-handedly served notice to bar owners operating in the vicinity of B.T.L. Park.  Entertainment activities in that area of Newtown Barracks have ground to a screeching halt since Friday, as several establishments, including the Pickwick Club, are not in compliance with existing regulations.  That abrupt move, however, comes on the heels of a recent public consultation during which residents voiced concerns about late night activity in the area that have been a constant nuisance.  This morning, Mayor Bradley addressed his decision to begin enforcing those laws.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

Darrell Bradley

“I want to make the point very, very clear that we encourage promote and we’ve actually taken deliberate steps to stimulate business activity along the area of Newtown Barracks.  One of the reasons why we created B.T.L. Park and did the renovation project there and spent a hefty sum of money is because we wanted that area to be transformed into an economic cluster.  We’re very excited about the new business interest in the area.  Many of those places that are along that area I, myself, attend.  We’ve had city council diplomatic functions there.  We recently have had three additional applications for additional restaurants, bars/open-air venues along that area.  We’re very excited to accommodate these premises, but the idea is that if we want that area to be sustainable you have to plan it.  So the genesis of all of this discussion in relation to working with the business and the residents is not as a result of wanting to clamp down or shut down anyone.  There is no such action taken. This is not something that is reactive or something that has just come up.  So that when we had the public consultation last week Wednesday a lot of things were raised in relation to a discussion and I want to make the point that that was attended by residents.  It was attended by a lot of businesses in the area, it was attended by a few of the regulatory agencies, members of the police.  It was attended by all of our licensing areas, so that the trade licensing board attended, the liquor licensing board attended, the local building authority board attended and it was a discussion with all the stakeholders in relation to how can we think about better managing this area and better operating the area from a logistical point of view so that we ensure that it’s sustainable. One of the things that I had difficulty with, both as was raised at the public consultation and in the council meeting and in my inquiries, is that we ought not to be giving out extensions with the level of regularity that we are.  So that it cannot be that every single weekend somebody gets an extension as of right, because that means that when the law says that your license expires at twelve midnight, if you get an extension automatically it means that automatically you’re extending the closure time which was never the intention of the law.”

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