Solar Panels Stolen From Highway Speed Monitor

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Updated: March 31, 2016

As part of the Road Safety Project, a portion of the George Price Highway was dubbed the Demonstration Corridor with millions of dollars invested in the infrastructural works including cat eyes, speed bumps, reflectors and signage.  Part of the project also included the installation of two speed radars which are powered by solar panels.  According to CEO in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle, the speed monitors are placed along the portion of the road with is a no-overtaking zone.

ERROL GENTLE

“What that does is just to tell you how fast you are going because if you remember that area is a no overtaking zone and also has a specific speed limit, that is a 25 mph zone and most people don’t know it or don’t adhere’s to it. So what that equipment does is to show you how fast you are going and if you are in a 25mph zone and you realize that you’re going 55 mph you know something is wrong.”

Over the Easter weekend, however, the solar panels were stolen, leaving the speed monitors powerless.  CEO Gentle says that while the authorities are investigating the matter, he is making an appeal to the public to come forward with any information they may have on the stolen panels.

ERROL GENTLE

“We were informed over the Easter that the two solar panels had been stolen. We are looking into it, I think the persons on the ground are making their report to the police and we hope that the police will be able to do a proper investigation and not only recover them but take some kind of corrective action because this is completely unacceptable. This is what we call the demonstration corridor and we have invested significant funds in that are. We are seeing the improvements in that area for example when you are driving at night, we have seen the accident rate on that highway because of the measures that we have taken decrease and this is what we want to replicate on other highways in other projects we are doing and having somebody going out there and stealing the panel it is unacceptable and I want to use this medium as a plea to Belizeans that this speaks very poorly of us as a people and if anybody sees or know about anything I want them to call the police because we can’t continue like this. We are trying to save lives and what they are doing is hindering our efforts and in fact contributing to the loss of life.”

According to CEO Gentle, the monitors were functioning up to Good Friday when he had traveled that portion of the road.

ERROL GENTLE

“They would have to climb the pole. Somebody had to see something and maybe some passerby saw them and thought that they were working for the government or doing some repairs.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Up to what point were the solar panels there?”

ERROL GENTLE

“I am certain that they were there on Friday because I traveled that road on Friday. When I went out there I saw they weren’t working but I did not realize that the solar panels were missing.”

The panels valued at nine hundred dollars each.