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Sep 30, 2020

G.O.B. Sells Nat’l Fire Service HQ, but Construction for New HQ Yet to Commence

The government has sold the National Fire Services headquarters in Belize City to Atlantic Bank.  The sale was approved by cabinet in February of this year and the prime piece of property was sold for two point eight million dollars.  But the Ministry of Transport and Minister Edmond Castro will need to relocate the National Fire Service by December which is when the bank expects to take complete control of the property.  Minister Castro says that a property along the Lake Independence Boulevard has been identified.  The government fired off a release late this evening saying, “Through a very beneficial deal with Atlantic Bank Limited, the government now has the resources to construct a new state-of-the-art Fire Department on a one point five-acre parcel of land at the Lake Independence Development Area. The proceeds from the sale of the present site has now allowed government to develop this three point three million dollars project with a water storage and tanking system on-site for less than half the price paid twenty-eight years ago.” The problem is that construction has not started and realistically a new facility is not expected to be properly completed in three months.  Financial Secretary Joseph Waight confirmed the price tag and the P.U.P.’s Julius Espat called out the government for lack of planning.


On the Phone: Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“I looked up in our files and this was approved by Cabinet sometime in February of this year and I think the sale agreement with Atlantic bank was executed shortly thereafter. Atlantic Bank being a neighbour and looking to expand we concluded the sale of the department.”


Julius Espat, Area Rep., Cayo South

“It is not the value of the sale. It is that you are selling something and you don’t have a replacement immediately when it is an emergency use.”



“The FinSec said yesterday that it is a chicken and egg situation because they needed the money.”


Julius Espat

Julius Espat

“What comes first the chicken or the egg? So I am not sure what he is talking about. That is rhetoric. I want to know what happens if a fire happens right now where will they come out from? Where will they rent.”



“They will not find any where yet.”


Julius Espat

“Exactly so how can you make a decision without having plans laid out to what is phase one, phase two, phase three.   I have a problem with the time which is being done because again it opens your eyes. Why are you selling something right now when you are two, three weeks before elections. It makes my hairs rise. So the timing and that you are not planning. You are saying that you are selling this thing to get the little cheese so that you can eventually build the building. The elections is coming. We don’t k now when it is coming. So what will happen…to build a building of that type you are talking about eighteen months before you start, a year before you design. So you are talking about two and half years before the building even functions. What happens in the meantime? So the two point eight million dollars is not only to build a new building. What happens to the two and half years of rental? So where will they go? A parking lot to park the poor fire station?”

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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