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Apr 25, 2013

Removing unsightly bandstands for city’s major renovation

City Hall has lost a major battle to the undertakers. But Mayor Darrell Bradley is still facing other challenges. He has been praised for his municipal projects every bit as much as he has been criticized for the endless congestion, blocked streets and what seems at times to be chaotic development. And now the Mayor is taking some heat for the city’s master plan, or at least the part of the plan which includes destroying two concrete bandstands which were donated and constructed during the administration of his predecessor, Zenaida Moya. During an interview session in his office, the Mayor was bluntly told – if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Freelance reporter Mike Rudon was on hand for the testy exchange and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The concrete bandstand at the Battlefield Park which was so proudly inaugurated by then Mayor Zenaida Moya in late 2010 is now just a pile of rubble and debris piled in what will be the new and improved Battlefield Park, constructed to the specifications of a master plan for the city. But one reporter at a recent media conference wasn’t happy that the bandstand was so unceremoniously destroyed, and took great pains to tell the Mayor exactly that.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

Darrell Bradley

“The designs for Belize City fit by way of a master plan, we’re going with the master plan. One of the…”

 

Reporter

“But why is the master plan taking down something that is working?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“One second…you asked a question, let me answer it. I didn’t think that it was working because Battlefield Park as it looked two weeks ago was a very ugly park. Nobody goes into Battlefield Park. I am a lawyer, and I use the Court area and I have never walked in Battlefield Park except I think around election time because there were people in there. When I walk in Battlefield Park I walk around the park. This is the center of our downtown area. It is right in front of our courts. So don’t ask me about any concrete structure or anything like that. If people are honest people will tell me that they don’t go into that park. So what we have is a master plan project that was developed through the IDB. They spent about a million dollars to develop a plan for certain critical areas of the city and those things had designs in there, and the designs were shown to certain members of the consultation group at that point, because I attended some of those consultations and we are putting in place the master plan. The master plan didn’t talk about concrete structures. Actually one of the things that they had asked if we could use more wood because it is softer. It tends to be warm and inviting. All of those things are in the master plan.”

 

Reporter

“It requires more maintenance…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“Well, I mean of course…”

 

Reporter

“And if the maintenance isn’t there as we’ve seen with Marion Jones…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“That doesn’t come under the city…”

 

Reporter

“Once there is a change of government there will be neglect…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“Well I don’t know that…I don’t know that…”

 

And from bandstand to the homeless persons and vagrants who have made the Battlefield Park their home. The Mayor says they will be moved, just as expeditiously as the bandstand was removed.

 

Reporter

“What was unattractive about the park wasn’t the structures in the park. It was the fact that all the indigent persons were sleeping in the park and on the bandstand itself…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“And all of that we’re going to address…”

 

Reporter

“Are you going to change that? Because that requires a change of mindset of the people who have been sleeping there…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“Yes…”

 

Reporter

“Are you going to chase them out? Arrest them? Put them in prison? Put them in an old folks home?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“We are going to move them from the park, yes…”

 

Reporter

“All right, you’re going to relocate them…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“We’re going to move them from the park…”

 

Reporter

“So you’re going to convince them to relocate?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“We don’t have to convince anybody. You can’t sleep in a park. There are laws about that…”

 

Reporter

“So they’re going to be forcibly relocated cause they won’t move by themselves…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“We are going to move them from the park…”

 

Reporter

“Forcibly relocated…”

 

Darrell Bradley

“The issue with the Battlefield Park, the issue with B.T.L. Park, the issue with Chetumal Street, the issue with the Northern Highway Project, including Central American Boulevard…all of these areas, the market zone, all of these areas are mentioned in the master plan…”

 

This is not the first time that proposals to remove the loiterers from the Battlefield Park have been circulated, with little or no success. Time will tell if Mayor Darrell Bradley’s plans go the way of all the other. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The project at the Battlefield Park is scheduled for completion in three months. As for the bandstand at the B.T.L. Park, Bradley says that concept was ludicrous, since the concrete structure is placed at the center of the park which means that occupants on only half of the grounds would be able to appreciate any concert or presentation being done there.

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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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5 Responses for “Removing unsightly bandstands for city’s major renovation”

  1. Bear says:

    Real governments don’t make decisions what to tear down and what to build based on the personal experience or preferences of one mayor — so what if he doesn’t go to Battlefield? Who cares? Why should that justify his spending massive public money to satisfy his ego? I would love some qualified psychotherapist to diagnose the mayor’s apparent mental issues based on his behavior and statements.

    At the end of the day, when there are new eyes looking at the public books after Bradley’s tenure, I expect some shocking evidence about him profiting personally from his slap-dash, seat-of-the-pants cement obsession. If my suspicions are proved correct, I hope he will be held to account, like all leaders must be where there is rule of law.

  2. mad@gob says:

    The evening news is fast becoming the Mayor Bradley news

  3. markthis says:

    READING Santino’s body language:

    Yesterday, in response to a reference to Darrell Bradley’s impending challenge in Caribbean Shores, Santino says, “with the municipal bond, street paving, park renovations…… I find it hard to believe that the mayor would have the spare time to even think about running for another office.”

    Santino=obviously having a blonde moment (or didn’t prepare a proper retort beforehand). The mayor does not intend to hold the office of Mayor AND the office of Area Rep at the same time. While holding the office of Mayor, the Bradley can ‘make’ spare time to think about anything, including having apple pie after dinner, playing with his baby before bed, and becoming Prime Minister at some point.

    Santino again: “[w]ith new garbage fees and various disputes with waste management companies, market vendors and taxi drivers…not to mention the fried chicken man, I find it hard to believe that the mayor would have the spare time to even think about running for another office.”

    Santino=realizing the kind of threat that Darrell represents, Santi will now start to drag his adversary’s name through the mire, eliciting the help of the fried chicken man, the taxi drivers, the waste management companies, and the market vendors. Low-down, Santi.

    Santi goes on: “I won my seat convincingly….”

    Santi=looking for validation. Well you won’t get it because you ran against two walkovers (no offense). how about trying some real competition.

    Santi goes on further: “….and as the leadership of the Party has suggested, we could both win our seats if he took the other division being suggested, which is one we lost.”

    Santi=Okay, everybody, The Shores are mine for eternity, OKAY?

    Santi ends by saying, “However, Jules I have never backed down from a challenge and will defend my seat with all my vigor from any challenger.“

    NOW you’re talking, Santi. You should have said that from the start and ‘done.’

  4. Storm says:

    Darrell the Great sounds pretty uncaring when he simply wants to close the park to people whose appearance he doesn’t approve.

    All this building for the greater glory of the mayor doesn’t improve the lives of any Belizeans, except his friends who get the contracts to be paid with public money.

    Why not spend some time to figure out why we have so many homeless and jobless who loiter where the mayor doesn’t want, and then figure how to create jobs for them? That would be a significant, substantial accomplishment, something worthy of anyone’s massive self-image.

  5. belizeanheat says:

    I was there the day that Zenaida proudly opened the Bandstand in BTL park. There was some foreigner protesting her and handing out flyers. One of the comments on the flyer reffered to traversing Battlefield park runnning the gauntlet of crackheads and homeless beggars.
    At the time, I found it to be insulting that this Foreinger was disrespecting the Mayor, and the park but he turned out to be 100% correct. I do not go into the park as well, because of the crackheads and homeless. The old shelter gave them a nice dry place to sleep at night.
    I am glad it is gone but I feel for Mr. Bjowani for paying for these only to have them destroyed a year later.

    I am glad that the park is going to be cleaned up and the homeless removed. Forced relocation is not applicable here because the park is not a legal residence.

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