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Dec 21, 2011

Nandini’s hands on the Roundabout

The Marine Parade monument was inaugurated this morning by the Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya; the councilors mostly stayed away even though the event is one of her last as sitting mayor. The monument stands about twelve feet tall and is a replica of a Mayan site but it is surrounded by canons. Smack in the centre of Marine Parade, one of the prized City areas facing the sea, many agree it is out of place and out of touch and that the roundabout was more appealing when it was surrounded by flowering plants.  The monument aside, part of the Marine Parade will also now bear the name of its financier, and that’s another reason why city folks are piping mad. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The construction of a pair of monuments in the vicinity of Marine Parade, along Craig Street, has been the subject of disdain for several residents of the Old Capital.  The statuaries are part of a municipal project undertaken by the Belize City Council with financial assistance from businessman Hans Bhojwani.

Hans Bhojwani

Bhojwani, through his foundation, is responsible for the erection of five roundabouts, as well as two bandstands across the city.

Hans Bhojwani, Businessman

“This has been a four-month experience.  It started from the fourteenth of September and now to the twentieth of December, these both projects are finished.  I was surprised when I saw [that] there was no monument [that] had been built to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of independence.  This was my dream for this country, to see an independent country.”

While his vision has long since become a reality, the idea of building a Maya temple, as well as an assonant West African-inspired symbol representing education, environment, energy and employment has been met with chagrin, particularly from mayoral hopeful Stephen Okeke.

Stephen Okeke

Stephen Okeke [File: October 11th, 2011]

“I’m not just in disagreement if at all, I’m representing the sentiments of a lot of Belizeans. As soon as they became aware of this construction here people have been voicing their opinions and sentiments against it. They just don’t want it here, it does not fit here, and it does not reflect the culture of Belize City.”

Okeke’s case has been bolstered by others who have been vocal in arguing that the depiction of an ancient pyramid in the Old Capital is as out of place as fish on dry land.  Conversely, the Maya Civilization spanned Mesoamerica which includes the entire coast of Belize.  Ironically, the temple is surrounded by cannons, the very arsenal used to overthrow the empire.

Zenaida Moya, Belize City Mayor

Zenaida Moya

“I think the builders did a good job and I think that people will appreciate it.  Already yesterday as I stood out, as we watched the completion of setting up everything, persons were already driving by and admiring it and informing me how well they liked it so I think that says it all.”

The paradox, says Okeke, is utter disregard to both aspects of Belizean history.

Stephen Okeke

“I also say the original people should be respected, at least acknowledge the original culture here than the Mayan culture, we already have so many reflections of the Mayan people everywhere, here we should give respect to the original people. But anyway what I’m saying is that was here is such contradiction. You had a beautiful layout here with the canons reflecting so much that Belizeans are very much passionate about and now you’re putting a terrible structure with canons there is such a contradiction.”

This morning Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya, along with Hans Bhojwani, cut ribbons for both monuments despite mixed reactions from the public.  Equally misconstrued is the naming of the sidewalk stretching from the end of Sand Lighters Promenade to the traffic circle on Marine Parade.  In honor of the benefactor it is now known as Bhojwani Promenade.

Zenaida Moya

“It’s the little section, the actual sidewalk right from the Maya-inspired temple to the fish market where Sand Lighter begins.  It’s the little area that is called Bhojwani Promenade.”

Isani Cayetano

“And this is…”

Zenaida Moya

“The street’s name has not been changed so please that clarification needs to be noted.”

Isani Cayetano

“Can you speak however on the decision that was taken to name that portion of [the] strip?”

Zenaida Moya

“Yes.  That was a request by the Hans Nandini [Bhojwani] Foundation and it was supported at a council meeting.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

According to Mayor Moya, Bhojwani is willing to continue funding similar beautification projects elsewhere in the city.

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5 Responses for “Nandini’s hands on the Roundabout”

  1. busha says:

    Such a shameful, poorly designed and built item to have on display. It doesnt not even look like a mayan temple.

  2. ProudBzean says:

    This is such a joke….

  3. RudiBird says:

    This is a very sad state of affairs when the City’s elected government condones and aggressively encourages disrespect of the nation’s dignity as a people. There is a word which defines the acceptance of money for the purpose of lowering our ethics and moral standards. That is what we have become. Perhaps someone should donate a framed image of the present Guatemalan President to decorate our Most Honorable Mayor’s Office, after all it is his country’s Maya Structure we are celebrating in a very prominent Belize City public place.

  4. Eye in the Sky says:

    This is an Ugly Monument ! ! ! ! !

  5. artist says:

    This is laughable.

    Initiatives like this should start with an advertised design competition. The people or a panel of judges should decide from amongst the best designs.

    This adds to the many ridiculous things happening in Belize.

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