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Dec 9, 2009

Min. of Works gives update on south side rejuvenation project

26071There is not much hope that streets on the south side of Belize City will be repaired before the Christmas holiday. That was one of the resounding messages coming out of the Ministry of Works press conference which was held today at the Princess Hotel. According to Minister of Works, Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, there are several ongoing projects, including the Southside and the Urban Rejuvenation projects that take priority. Boots says that the five million dollars budget for the one year old rejuvenation project is almost exhausted and will end by March 2010. He gave a status update on the project which includes street maintenance and the employment of hundreds of less fortunate persons in the city.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Works
“The project has about until March to complete this initial phase, but also too that the project has money to take it through. I don’t have the proper estimate but moving forward, I think we have about one point five million dollars remaining or between two million and one point five million dollars. But that will stretch us at least until March. The prime minister has committed to a next million dollars moving forward, but also too the Ministry of Works is looking at projects—for example, government gives away contracts to wash down buildings, paint buildings. We are looking on projects that this same group that the Ministry of Works can undertake so the revenue derived from dehn thing deh can make the official spin over until government can find any external funding to continue on, on a sustainable basis. In my view, I think there will be fair enough projects locally in the budget that the ministry can undertake. We are looking at these projects on a countrywide basis, not only a citywide basis, but on a countrywide basis so we can create enough opportunities for the ordinary men and women of this country and also deliver a quality service for the people of this country. This is a project to enhance its budget, five million dollars. The Ministry of Works basically is responsible for highway and farm road. This is a special project. I can’t stand here and tell you that any clear definition of we will be able to do x amount of streets. Whatsoever it warrants in terms of the remaining of the budget, we will continue to do but also for the south side of Belize City, there’s also the south side project of which next year there will be major infrastructure work done including Mex Avenue, Neal’s Pen Road, Racoon Street Extiension, Jane Usher Boulevard. So that’s another component of the south side project that definitely will enhance that portion next year.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“These people that are here are testament to the fact that at least where they are concerned, we have made tremendous progress. The fact is that there are so many other individuals whose lives we have not been able to touch. We are pursuing every avenue in terms of the international community to see if we can unlock additional funds. That is the challenge; the challenge requires a vigorous respond on our part. I can’t make promises because I’m not going to raise expectations and then dash them. So I limit myself to saying that I’m pretty sure that I can find another million when this program expires and thereafter, with a will, we will go after additional funds.”

At the end of the conference three organizations received donations from the Works ministry. Dorothy Menzies Childcare Centre received five thousand five hundred dollars, while Helpage Belize and the Salvation Army received three thousand and two thousand dollars respectively. The P.M. also provided the Salvation Army with an additional five thousand dollars.

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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