The New Horizons Belize 2014 project is launched
Four schools in the Belize District will be getting spanking new classrooms as part of a project by New Horizons Belize. The U.S. Southern Command is teaming up with three government agencies to build the classrooms and provide free medical services across the country. The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Margaret Hawthorne says that the annual initiative is a sign of the good relations with Belize. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
New Horizons Belize is a military exercise that brings together personnel from the U.S. Southern Command, the Belize Defense Force, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health to conduct training while building and improving facilities and offering medical services. The opening ceremonies to jumpstart the initiative for 2014 was held today at the Edward P. Yorke High School, which is already in the process of seeing a classroom built on its compound.
Margaret Hawthorne, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy
“The U.S. in Belize enjoy a strong bilateral relationship on many fronts. This exercise signifies yet another area in which the U.S. Government the Belize Ministry of Education, the Belize Ministry of Health and the Belize Defense Force have come together to accomplish great work. As it has done last year and in previous years, the New Horizons exercise will have an immediate positive impact on the people of Belize and on the Americans working on these projects in different communities across the country. U.S. airmen, soldiers and marines from active duty and National Guard units will work together with elements from the B.D.F. to build four new classrooms in the Belize District and to improve facilities at the Belmopan Hospital. And we can see one of the new classrooms is already well on its way after ten days of construction. This combined team led by members of the twelfth U.S. air force will work closely with our peace corps volunteers to also provide medical services to thousands of Belizeans around the country.”
New Horizons will build a total of four new classrooms in the Belize District; at E.P. Yorke, Sadie Vernon High School, Hattieville Government School and Stella Maris School. According to Principal of E.P. Yorke, Rodrick Cardinez, the additional classroom will be used to host fourth form students.
Rodrick Cardinez, Principal, EP Yorke High School
“About five or so years ago, there was that demand for classroom space and in order to deal with that situation, we had a temporary building—in fact, more than one temporary building. And we always wanted a permanent structure to host the students. Right now we have five programs in fourth form and the classrooms are all spread out on the compound. And it is through the Ministry of Education that we got this opportunity and we are grateful for it because now all fourth formers will now be able to be housed in one general area.”
“This institution of Edward P. Yorke—it is not to take anything away from the other institutions—but it has really blossomed as an institution of excellence and it is one of the institution that don’t get infrastructural development as much as I think they deserve. And so the Ministry of Education was very pleased to make a recommendation in the New Horizons 2014 Project.”
Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, expressed that the project strengthens the relations between both countries in many areas.
“When you partner with Belize in the areas of health and education and that it is a gift that you give, it is a sign of your friendship that of course once you give it you can’t take it back. And it is a proper investment in the people of that country to which you are giving. So I’d ask the Belizeans who are here to join me to give a round of applause to the Government of the United States for truly making this kind of investment that is perfectly in line with the developmental goals of our country; that is perfectly in line with the way we operate in the government of Belize and particularly the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports where we have as our mantra that education is everybody’s business. For us that includes all our stakeholders.”
Improvements will also be made to the infrastructure at the Belmopan Hospital. Free medical services in areas of general and family care, dental care, ophthalmology, urology surgery, gynecology services, as well as public health education around the country. Duane Moody for News Five.