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Feb 22, 2019

What we need is enforcement, says Works C.E.O.

The barriers along mile two on the Philip Goldson Highway in Belize City sparked a heated debate after pedestrians are constantly hopping over the barriers to get across. Earlier in the month, twenty-three-year-old teacher Marlena Mortis lost her life after she was hit by a car while hopping the barriers. Her death added fuel to the debate, prompting the public to urge the Ministry of Works to install crosswalks along that portion of the highway. The Belize City Council has written to the Ministry, proposing that pedestrian ramps be installed along the busy portion of the highway but C.E.O. Errol Gentle says that enforcement is needed so that pedestrians can think twice before attempting to hop over the barriers.

 

Errol Gentle, C.E.O., Ministry of Works

Errol Gentle

“What we need is enforcement. Like I said in my pervious interview there is two things that need to happen, continues education. We need a change of attitude. We have been doing this, we have been crossing the road when it was a one lane highway. Now we have three, four lane. That is the most busiest part of the highway. When I referred to it as a freeway, people took it as a joke. We don’t have a freeway in Belize. It was just a comparison to show the frequency of the traffic there. But there has to be enforcement. The traffic has to be one board. The police have to be on board and I am certain they will be on board.”

 

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“We continue to maintain that you do need pedestrian crossing, pedestrian ramp whichever way you take it. There is a need for that.  Listen those two corridors house many residents that are still walking, that still use public transportation and there is no way you could build a highway without consideration for those people, for those pedestrians, for those commuters for those two commuters. Again our letter was sent from early November identifying those problem and I hoping that the Ministry of Works will consider our proposal.”

 

 Errol Gentle

“You can put five speed bumps, I might be five meters away from the speed bump, I don’t want to walk up to the speed so I will take the chance and I will cross the road. The busses that are stopping in the speed lane and are having passenger alighting and putting their lives in danger, that has to be controlled. Once I am ticketed the first time, I might think twice about doing it. You can tickets civilians, pedestrians I am talking about. Bus drivers, pedestrians, anybody after getting a ticket one or two times, and your pocket starts feeling than you would stop. Yes it is an urban area.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“A residential area.”

 

Errol Gentle

“It is a residential area but we have seen other residential area where the same thing happens and you need to go around.”

 

Reporter

“The Mayor of Belize City said that he is still hoping that the Ministry would consider putting crosswalks on the Northern Highway.”

 

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

Edmond Castro

“I’m kind of confused like Simba and Pumbaa because how could not having a crosswalk across the highway, it’s now like a freeway – we got three, four, five, six, lanes. Putting a crosswalk there will save lives in terms of people crossing? He doesn’t remember and knows that there is a crosswalk right here by BelCan. How many people use that crosswalk? You could go at any given time and see women and children walking across the four lane, dragging their children across a barrier to go across and catch the bus. So it’s putting one more crosswalk, two, three, four. How will that save lives when we have an example of one right here that a lot of people stall doesn’t use.”

 

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