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Aug 30, 2018

Machikilha’s Plea to G.O.B. Goes Unanswered

On Wednesday, News Five featured a story on the ordeal of students from Machikilha, a Mayan village hidden deep in the jungles of southern Belize. These students have to trek five miles from their homes to catch a bus in Dolores Village before being transported to Corozan Creek Technical School ten miles away. The most difficult part of their early morning journey is the road between Machikilha and Dolores. The road is in a terrible condition. When it rains parts of the road become pools of thick mud which group of students have to cross in order to get to school. A video shows the students walking with their feet bare through the mud and asking the government for some relief. This issue has been ongoing for years and the students are not the only ones who have called on the government for assistance. On April fourth, 2018 village Chairlady Ofelia Pop Chiac and Village Alcalde Alfonso Putul wrote to Prime Minister Dean Barrow asking for the road to be upgraded.  That letter was followed by another plea sent on April eighteen by the Toledo Alcades Association. The TAA wrote to the PM Barrow, Minister of Education Patrick Faber and Minister of Works Rene Montero asking for an access road to be built to the village. The letters went unanswered. On Wednesday Toledo East Area Representative, Mike Espat criticized the government for ignoring the plea of the villagers of Machikilha.

 

Mike Espat

Mike Espat, Toledo East Area Representative

“We built the road actually to Dolores and we had enough time to gravel the road to Dolores. That was abandoned there for many, many years. We then started the road to Machakilha. We lost eh elections so we did not complete the road and it has been there like that for ten years under this present government. That is why the people are now complaining. They have school. Kids have to go to high school and it is a real terrible situation to get out of there.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“As the Area Representative Sir, what are you doing?”

 

Mike Espat

“I cannot do anything. I am not in government. I am just a member of the National Assembly and we do not have control over the budget of this country. People have to understand that because a lot of people don’t you know. They believe that you won the election so you suppose to be able to fix this.  You can’t.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Have you many calls to the Ministry of Works?”

 

Mike Espat

“They have not done anything. Ministry of Works has nothing. In the National Assembly if you have been there on several occasions, many times you hear former Minister Boots Martinez getting up; ‘you sold the equipment that we bought.’ We bought over then million dollars of equipment, road equipment, to work in the Toledo District for the people of the Toledo District. As they won’t the elections everything disappeared. There is only one truck working, one grater working and one roller working. What can they do in an area that has fifty three villages? You can’t.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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