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Jan 5, 2004

Freedom Street residents get Mayor’s attention

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The complaints of disgruntled citizens are a staple of any local newscast, but tonight’s request for official action is noteworthy in that the problem received attention even before the story was aired. Patrick Jones reports.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

After months of wading through mud and water to get to their homes, residents of Freedom Street in the Port Loyola area have come together to say enough is enough.

Cynthia Anderson, Freedom Street Resident

“We would like them to look at the street and try fix it for us because we are in very bad shape back here. We need at least put some big stones that can take the water because whenever time it get wet the sand sink an then it have a lot of holes.”

Juan Canek, Freedom Street Resident

“Every time we have lot of difficult to pass this street. We need it repaired immediately.”

Ana Vellos, Freedom Street Resident

“When it rains it get floods and the lagoon back there gets flood too and the children they have to walk on the water and the mud when it rains and get full.”

Antonio Guevarra, Freedom Street Resident

“Weh I noh satisfied with, that sometimes when it rains you can’t go through, you have to find a dory or something and you have to be careful of step inna the water because alligator could be right there so and wait for your foot.”

But while adults find the conditions challenging, for children, the mud and water also pose health problems.

Ana Vellos

“They have to take off their shoes and walk barefooted…And then when they done reach by the boulevard they put back their shoes on. And sometime they get sick, they always catch cold and cough.”

Close to a hundred residents affixed their signatures to a petition addressed to Belize City Mayor David Fonseca, seeking assistance in fixing their street. The petition, hand delivered to the office of Mayor Fonseca on Friday morning has resulted in swift action by City Hall. By midday Monday, Fonseca had dispatched heavy machinery to the area to fix the problem.

David Fonseca, Mayor, Belize City

“What will be done one is to grade cut out the hole that area in there and to level off the street and to bring in some more material. Specifically the hardcore material so that we won’t have a clay top again, we will have a hard top with the hard core material.”

But while a few loads of fill and some grading will at least temporarily fix the street, Mayor Fonseca says it won’t necessarily be the end of the problems for this area.

David Fonseca

“That entire area where Freedom Street is located is as we would think we all know is pretty much at sea level or below sea level. So it’s more than just the road itself, it has to do with drainage also. Freedom Street will need some culverts and it will also need some drainage to go along with it which we are going to be doing.”

And as the City Council swings into action, area representative Anthony “Boots” Martinez says he remains a willing partner in whatever needs to be done to make life better for his constituents.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Area Rep., Port Loyola

“That is where, you know when you hold people hand to fire that that’s the way how it should be. And the thing about it is to coordinate the work, and at the end of the day it no matter who do it, the residents of the division should always benefit from infrastructural work. They are the people that pay tax, the people that live in this area.”

And the Mayor does not disagree.

David Fonseca

“I think the time for politics is out. Its now to get the work done and to do the governance and to improve the quality of life for Belizeans overall.”

Patrick Jones, for News 5.

Fonseca says the infrastructure work in the Freedom Street area is expected to carry a price tag in the vicinity of ten thousand dollars. The repairs should be complete by the end of the week, barring any unforeseen stoppage due to rain.

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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