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Jan 5, 2023

Port Loyola Resident, Apolinaria Choc Receives Her Starter Home, Finally

Violence and bloodshed have dominated the news in recent days, so tonight; we begin on a positive note. A single mother who has waited for the completion of her newly-built starter home has received the keys. On December twenty-first, Apolinaria Choc was expecting to move into her new home, but the event never happened because representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing didn’t show up. It turned out that a date for the ceremony was never approved because there were glaring defects with some of the installations and connections at the home. Area Representative Gilroy Usher Senior, took the opportunity to lash out at the ministry, suggesting they were dragging their feet and not handing out the homes in an equitable fashion. Fast-forward to today, when the keys were finally handed over to the Port Loyola resident after the ministry’s own personnel corrected the faulty plumbing connections, other installations and finishing touches. Apolinaria Choc, beaming with joy, said it was worth the wait. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Three, two one, welcome to your new home. Ribbon-cutting. Applause


Marion Ali, Reporting

The smiles that Apolinaria Choc displayed today as she cut the ribbon in front of her new house were smiles of gratitude. The single mother’s old house in the Jane Usher Boulevard area leaks when it rains, so the recent weather significantly dampened her holidays.


Apolinaria Choc

Apolinaria Choc, New Homeowner, Port Loyola

“I pass it under rain, Everything inside is so wet. Soh I can’t do nothing, I just have to live it. But now that I have a new house I feel really good that I wa sleep eena wa dry place now.”


Choc said she understood why there was a need for the delay when the ministry’s Public Relations Manager, Marisa Alamilla explained it to her. Choc told us she is glad that she waited because everything inside is working well.


Apolinaria Choc

“She have to actually gimme the house completed, finished and the way how she feel that ih have to hand over – everything good. And I really glad to see the job weh fi she team do.”


That part of the issue out of the way, Choc says that on the grander scale, she is grateful to the government because she would not have been able to improve her living conditions on her own.


Apolinaria Choc

“I can’t help myself to have a new concrete building because I nuh work. Da only my children them provide something eena the house. But now that they provide the house fi me I feel like my dream come through.”


But there are many more people in Port and other constituencies who have similar dreams as Choc. In Port alone, the second largest in Belize City, the need is great. And in another few weeks’ time, a few more of those residents will also receive the keys to their new starter homes. Alamilla explained that because of the swampy areas that make up much of Belize City, it takes time.


Marisa Alamilla

Marisa Alamilla, PR Manager, M.I.D.H.

“We go and we see a land. I have to wait until my engineers – the persons that have building experience at the ministry tell us yes, it’s ready, the ground is settled and we can commence construction. If not, we’re going to have a house that sinks. We are waiting for settlement. In fact, two of his properties have been cleared for settlement so far. We will be adding sand to blind the clay and then we can commence construction on those two. The other one I need to put more filling.”


It’s tedious and costly work – and Alamilla says that the distribution has not been as fast as people expect them to produce the homes because the ministry prefers opts for quality over quantity.


Marisa Alamilla

“I rather deliver a hundred high-standard, high-quality homes than give you one thousand homes that are of no quality or limited quality. We’ve delivered up to two – almost two hundred homes in the last fiscal year. We’re looking to deliver another fifty homes in Burrell Boom come February. And we will continue to do the homes. We are looking to start new homes right here in January, so there’s going to be countrywide, homes starting again.”


And while Usher bashed the ministry last time for delivering slowly on the starter homes, he attested today that the homes are indeed high quality structures.


Gilroy Usher, Sr.

Gilroy Usher, Sr., Area Representative, Port Loyola

“This and other starter homes of this administration are structures that families can be proud of. They are properly-built concrete houses that include partitions, ceilings, bathroom facilities, electrical wiring, a stove, and other amenities. And most importantly, the starter homes of this administration are being built in ways that make it easy for families to add one or more rooms to their structure. And at only twenty-five dollars per week, or a hundred dollars monthly, ambitious families can meet the payment for a concrete home that that they will fully own and still be able to save a few dollars regularly to expand the structure.”


Recipients of the starter homes pay a hundred dollars a month for ten years, at which point they become full owners of the homes. Marion Ali 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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