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May 30, 2000

City Council asks cooperation with demolitions

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This morning inmates from the Hattieville prison tore down two buildings on South Street. No, the prisoners were not on a rampage in the city; they were on a work programme to assist the Ministry of Housing. Since 1998, the ministry began notifying owners of old and abandoned buildings to either repair the structures or tear them down. If they do neither then government must take matters into its own hands. Although weekly notifications have been published in the Amandala newspaper, the work at times becomes difficult when some homeowners refuse to comply with the order, but at the same time try to hinder efforts at forced demolition. Today, the ministry is once again advising owners of abandoned buildings to cooperate and help cleanup the city.

Rhenae Nunez, Public Relations Officer, Min. of Housing

“We have quite a number of old houses, derelict houses and abandoned houses. These houses have caused havoc on neighbourhoods, where fires have started, they have become habitats for crack heads and fires have started threatening the properties of neighbours. What we have been doing periodically is demolishing these houses for crack heads.”

“We are pleading with city residents to try and maintain their houses. There are quite a number of beautiful colonial houses still standing in Belize City and if painted, if repair, from time to time these houses can stay around. Some of these houses have been there for 200 years or close to 200 years and they can be around for another long period of time. We want our city residents to take more pride in what their city houses look like. Paint them and repair them and once you see a house listed for demolishing do your job and contact the city engineer at the housing department and make it known what your intention is about that property. If not, after 30 days we can demolish that house.”

Since the demolition work started almost 2 years ago, a total of 150 buildings have been destroyed.

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