HomeEnvironmentB.T.B. Beautification Project Battles Theft and Vandalism

B.T.B. Beautification Project Battles Theft and Vandalism

B.T.B. Beautification Project Battles Theft and Vandalism

Since September 2022, the Belize Tourism Board has undertaken the task of making Belize City a beautiful municipality. The beautification project involves planting greenery throughout the city and creating spaces that are attractive for residents to socialize in. While it was estimated that the project would be nearing completion by now, there have been an overwhelming number of setbacks for the team; mainly, theft and vandalism.  News Five’s Britney Gordon spoke to Elena Usher, one of the lead consultants on the project for more details on the situation.


Britney Gordon, Reporting

The Belize Tourism Board’s City Beautification project is in dire need of an intervention. For nearly two years, a team has been diligently planting greenery across the city to cool the atmosphere and create a more pleasing aesthetic. However, the team has been discouraged and angered by people stealing and destroying the plants. Elena Usher, one of the two lead consultants on the project, aired her grievances with us.


Elena Usher

                                 Elena Usher

Elena Usher, Consultant, BTB Beautification Project

“When we started, everything was going very well. And then the hurricane came, which was the first hurdle. But that was nature, natural, so that was not a problem.  After that, we started to have people stealing the plants. Tremendous amounts of plants have been stolen.  And it has been frustrating because to have to replace all of these plants, we cannot see the progress that we need to make. That we should have been seeing at this time of the project. If it’s not the stealing of the plants, people just vandalize them people just root them out leave them there or people school children high school children just walk and just, tear out the plants from where they are. They just destroy them. That is one of the most frustrating thing is the theft of the plants. The job is not a problem it’s just the people that don’t appreciate what it is that BTB is trying to do for the city, besides the aesthetics  of it being very nice, it will cool down the city. It will create new environments, beautiful areas to sit, to walk. To be able to just move around the city and be in a very nice atmosphere”


Usher said that the team had plans to finish in about two and a half years, but due to the hurdles, they have been pushed extremely behind schedule. She explained that some of the smaller plants range between ten to fifteen dollars while large plants can cost five hundred dollars or above.


Elena Usher

“We wanted to do basically palms and big trees to make it really shady and cool in the city, but that could not happen. And then underneath all of this, we wanted to do ground covers that would  eliminate. The Belize City Council having to send their people out there to do cutting and weeding.And so we wanted to do beautiful ground covers and have the over big trees to cover the area to make it cool. The smaller plants are what people are just stealing. It’s easier for them to just pass and route it up or drive by in a car and just take amounts that they want.”


Usher explained that he team has been working on some areas since it was launched and although there have been setbacks, she anticipates that the BTB will expand it to other areas upon completion.


Elena Usher

We are still working on the Central American Boulevard. That’s the first area we started. We have redone Constitution Park, and we have also done the Mahogany Street project marketplace. We are now working on the Memorial Park, and then we have the other areas like the Albert and Regent Street, which is the next project we’re going to do. Princess Margaret Drive, the New Tongue Barrack area, Marine Parade, and um, Cemetery Road.”


She said there have been attempts to hinder acts of theft and vandalism, but it remains difficult to prevent them entirely.


Britney Gordon

“Have the BTB taken any precautions to prevent people from stealing or vandalizing?”


Elena Usher

“Yes. For example, in the Constitution Park  when that park was being redone, they stole the windows, the doors, the plants, they destroyed. What has happened is the cameras have been placed in these areas and burglar bars have been put on the building. The wire fence have also been put in because people were also using the park as a bathroom. So these are some of the things that have been done, other than that, It’s hard.”


Despite the challenges, Usher says she is determined to see this project completed and hopes that Belizeans can enjoy the benefits of the endeavor.


Elena Usher

“At the end of this project, I would like to see the city very green. I would like to see great green spaces parks that can be very healthy and soothing for all of us. That would be enjoyable for everybody to come and sit, to have a good time, to just relax. And the cooling of the city. To make it so green that When you’re walking or driving, it’s, there’s not that tremendous air of heat just surrounding you, with the greenery, it should make it feel a lot cooler. That’s my main goal.”


Britney Gordon for News Five.

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