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Oct 25, 2017

Senate Debates Haulover Bridge Motion; The Devil is in the Details

The upper chamber of the National Assembly met in regular session today to consider multiple motions and bills, most brought from the House of Representatives after it met last Friday. One motion and one bill in particular provoked extensive debate which took up most of the day’s proceedings.  The OFID Haulover Bridge Loan Motion was debated first. It seeks to confirm the borrowing of twenty-four million Belize dollars for a twenty-year period to facilitate construction of a new Haulover Bridge over the creek and joining Belize City and Ladyville. But money for the Bridge had already been approved in 2014, as revealed by Business Senator Mark Lizarraga. He said Government had failed to provide details of the monies spent since. The P.U.P.’s Eamon Courtenay, meanwhile, accused Government of not being truthful in its presentation, revealing that a lopsided idea for a three-lane bridge had been scrapped after professional complaints.

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“We are still, Honorable Leader of Government Business, severely lacking in the details we need to satisfy ourselves. When I made the request for details in 2014, I said it would be nice for us to at least able to see the details after the fact, so that we could come back to this honorable House and support any future such motions for the development of our infrastructure and the development of our country. And I look back, and I remember again in November of 2014, when we were presented with a package for some four hundred and twenty million dollars in loans – still all of them severely lacking in details. We have seen the issues that have come up with this Fabers Road; with the whole questioning of what it is that we should get and what it is we are supposed to get for Fabers Road. And it goes back to the same point that we’ve been trying to make for a long time – we don’t know how many miles; we don’t know how wide; we don’t know how thick, we don’t know nothing about how much is supposed to go into these projects. And a one or two-sentence explanation from anybody is not enough – increasingly so – not enough to convince us that we are getting value for money in this country.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“The truth of the matter is as we sit and stand here today, the Government have gone back to their engineers and said, we need to start all over again; we need to go back to the drawing board, because the design is too expensive. And I’m encouraging the Leader of Government Business to check with the engineers, the Ministry of Works right now, so that he can reply. They are consulting with M and M Engineering; they are consulting with others to see how they can redesign the bridge so that they can afford it. Which begs the question: why the rush? Why are we approving – how much, Senator Lizarraga? Thirty-five million U.S. dollars today, when you calculate it? And the design has not been settled. Yes, man, any fool could read it and understand it, but we want some honesty; some frankness from the Government.”

 

Courtenay later added that the road works so far had taken up about thirty-four million of the original sixty, leaving twenty-six million from the initial loan, although other concerns including climate change adjustment were factored.

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1 Response for “Senate Debates Haulover Bridge Motion; The Devil is in the Details”

  1. Alex Lo says:

    Mein, I agree with Mr Mark Lizarraga. “[are]We getting value for money in this country?” Take a look at Faber’s Road, that’s some shady business.

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