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May 19, 2023

S.S.B. Donates Half a Million Dollars for Renovation of Supreme Court

Today, at the S.S.B. headquarters in Belmopan, a cheque of half a million dollars was handed over to the Government of Belize towards the renovation of the Supreme Court.  The donation comes from a disaster fund of the S.S.B. that provides relief for government and N.G.O.’s in need of aid following disasters. News Five’s Duane Moody reports on the handing over ceremony.  


Duane Moody, Reporting

The magistrate’s courts in Belize City have for some time now been relocated to Coney Drive. It comes on the heels of the impact of Hurricane Lisa last year. The roof of the building in downtown Belize City collapsed in the wake of the storm and today, the Social Security Board handed over five hundred thousand dollars to the Government of Belize to assist in the reconstruction of the building.


Vanessa Vellos

Vanessa Vellos, Communications & PR Manager, S.S.B.

“S.S.B. received a request from the Government of Belize for financial assistance towards the renovation of the Supreme Court building that was severely damaged because of Hurricane Lisa. According to a memorandum that was submitted to the Chief Justice from the Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court, Leona Duncan and the Deputy Registrar for Appeals, Melissa Rowley and I quote, almost the entire roof of the Supreme Court was blown off, ceiling tiles were missing, apparent water damage to the flooring furniture and equipment with the apparent stench of asbestos. There is also the urgent need to have professional removal and treatment of mould which is likely to worsen. In addition, the memorandum also stated, that there are four judges and several staff members who have been displaced consequent to the damage and loss of the roof and ceiling post Hurricane Lisa.”


The S.S.B. approved G.O.B.’s request to aid with the Supreme Court Renovation Project through its disaster fund. The disaster fund was created in 2007 to create a systematic process of accountability and transparency to disburse funds towards disaster relief.  It is not the first time that government has drawn down funding for disaster relief. Receiving the cheque on behalf of the G.O.B. was FinSec Joseph Waight.


Joseph Waight

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“The hurricane caused quite a bit of damage, not only to government infrastructure, but public/private, especially low-income people as well. The government needed funds to try to assist where it could and there is never enough money to carry it out, as you covered it – you saw what was going on. So the government thought that and the building was very badly damaged and we’re looking to see how we can put it back to some usable, occupiable condition and hopefully in a better state than it was because that building must be over a hundred years old or so. Right on the sea, got damaged by a number of hurricanes; Hurricane Hattie did a number on it at the time and others cause it is so close to the sea.  So the government was looking around for funding, looked at Social Security Board; it’s within their legal ambit to lend the money as the general manager explained just now. And this will help with the administration of justice.”


Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is included in the fund annually. Duane Moody for News Five.

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