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Aug 15, 2013

The long winding and bumpy road to Sarteneja

On Wednesday’s newscast we showed you one of the biggest problems affecting the thirty-five hundred residents of the seaside community of Sarteneja. The water system is broken, and there has been no potable water in the village for the past six months. That is admittedly a huge concern, but there is another – and this one has existed for many years. The road from Sarteneja to Orange Walk Town is literally riddled with holes, and villagers feel like their concerns have gone unheard. Mike Rudon travelled on that long and winding road.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The forty miles from Orange Walk Town felt more like one hundred. What should have been a relatively short trip turned into a bone-jarring, uncomfortable nightmare which lasted two hours. At least some portions of the road, from the Progresso cutoff through Little Belize to Chunox, were rehabilitated in 2011 through funding by the EU. But there was no maintenance by the Ministry of Works.

 

Baldemar Perez has been in the bus business for twenty-nine years. He and his sons own the only bus line operating out of Sarteneja. He says that because of the road, the business is a losing proposition.

 

Baldemar Perez – Perez Bros. Bus Line

Baldemar Perez

“Everyday brother…every day! Every day as those buses get it it’s right straight to the garage. See…one of them just came in, can’t make Belize. And the only thing that keeps us going right now is that we are the mechanics, we are the welders…we are the tire-man. Otherwise, we can’t afford that.”

 

Perez doesn’t know how much longer they can continue to operate. He believes that it is time to throw in the towel.

 

Baldemar Perez

“We charge twelve dollars and the people are complaining. And right now I’ll tell you something. We aren’t making any profit. I have told my sons already to forget about buses. If anybody else wants to take the business they can take it, because we can’t continue with this.”

 

On Monday we could see the tracks where buses tried to maneuver to dodge the worst parts of the road…but it’s practically impossible. From small potholes to jagged ruts to gaping craters…the road to Sarteneja has got it all.

 

Baldemar Perez

“We would have a lot of opportunities. We have a lot of people that want to come to Sarteneja to invest, but when they see the road they get discouraged….discouraged. With my pickup I take three hours from Orange Walk to Sarteneja…with my pickup. Imagine a bus. And you can’t run those vehicles too hard because it will cost you more. You will break down and stay on the road.”

 

Buses start leaving Sarteneja from three-thirty in the morning so that residents who work in Belize City can arrive on time. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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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