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Oct 4, 2022

Mahogany Street Makeover Promises Economic Boost for Small Businesses

If you’ve noticed the construction of new food stalls on Mahogany Street and the digging up of that stretch of road between Lake-I Baptist Church and the nearby police precinct, that’s because works are underway to transform that main artery into a commercial hub for food vendors.  The idea, according to everyone involved, is to attract visitors to the community, boosting economic activities that are already taking place in the Saint Martin‘s de Porres area. Our second story for tonight’s Kulcha Tuesday comes from News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Easily the most recognizable face among the many vendors on Mahogany Street, Ainsley Castro eagerly anticipates a much needed makeover for his place of business.  Naked Chicken has been in existence since the well-known, professional cook took a leap of faith and ventured off on his own a few years ago.  The idea is to transform this busy thoroughfare into an organized center of activity for small businesses, particularly for food handlers like Chef Ainsley.


Ainsley Castro

Ainsley Castro, Proprietor, Naked Chicken

“Da wahn nice project, cause first of all dehn mi done mention this to we soh now we look forward to it and the promise is looking like it’s going to be fulfilled cause, yoh know, da mi wahn thing weh everybody mi expect and also weh we like about it da wahn free of cost to, right. Soh, you know, we benefit a lot from it.  Soh I noh think nobody should complain and everybody di look forward fi it.  I’m excited about it, I cyant wait.”


It’s part of an initiative being led by Minister of Tourism and Pickstock Area Representative Anthony Mahler, together with the Belize City Council and Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde.


Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism

“We’re going to change all the booths on Mahogany Street and improve them.  We’re also going to give all the vendors some monies so that they can buy new equipment and we’ll provide some training and marketing for them.  We believe that that gives us a flavor, the heartbeat of Belize City right there, and if we improve the entire area it will create some level of energy and combustion in that area whereby people can make a decent living for themselves.”


Mahogany Street traverses the Pickstock and Lake Independence constituencies.  For years, it has been the driving force for economic activity in the area. The facelift will enhance business, it will also improve the aesthetic of the community.


Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“As you know, Mahogany Street has created its own organic type of local, economic development in that area.  Many of our residents who live in that area, who reside in that area do their day-to-day business; they are their own bosses.  And whenever we can collaborate, in this case, with the Ministry of Tourism, Anthony Mahler, the Minister of Tourism, in really enhancing the area, I would say, enhancing it, put some level of order, some level of structure in it, really retrofitting most of the booths.”


New, wooden kiosks of various sizes are being built along the stretch to replace existing structures that are the worse for wear.


Anthony Mahler

“All the booths will be redone. Most of them don’t have access to water, we will ensure that they have water. There’s going to be parking spaces and public bathroom facilities to be used.”


The Belize City Council, in fulfilling its commitment to the municipality, is taking care of road repairs, as well as the use of the adjacent buffers.  Belize Water Services Limited is presently doing preparatory work ahead of the refurbishing of the carriageway.


Bernard Wagner

“We will be concreting that street, along with the Ministry of Tourism.  We have to say it’s a collaboration, it’s a partnership with the objective of really having that area serve not only for the Belize City residents but for visiting tourists.”


…and that is what many, including Chef Ainsley, are banking on, the influx of tourists into an area of Belize City that is rich with culture.  Citizen security and public safety are paramount to the success of this project.


Ainsley Castro

“I bring ah different level ah food because ih got wah lot fi do with tourists also too, right, and I sell a variety ah food.  Soh yoh know my spot wahn di lick shot when that open, yoh know, soh I wah bring it on and ih wah be lotta love cause I get fi undastand bathroom wah deh bout and also we wah got bus stop, you know, we wah got tourist police.  Ah di give it just like how dehn mention and ih look like ih gonna be like that also.”


Isani Cayetano for News Five.

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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