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Over 70 Million dollars to transform the Coastal Road

Going south usually means taking the George Price Highway to the Capital, Belmopan and then onto the scenic Hummingbird Highway. In addition to a pleasant drive, the view and clean air are added extras to soak in on the way south. This is in stark contrast with the Coastal Road which sits about mile thirty on the George Price Highway as it is s perhaps one of the most dusty highways that drivers have been pleased to avoid in favor of the Hummingbird. But today as part of the road rehabilitation project, a $36,576,000 loan was tabled to rehabilitate from La Democracia village to the Hummingbird Highway at Mile 9. It’s a lot of cash for a lot of road and while it had full Government support, the Opposition was not too pleased with the cost.

Leader of the Opposition: Madam Speaker nobody is question whether the paving of the Coastal Road is not a good project and it something that in principle we would support. I certainly question the amount being spent to pave the Coastal Road Madam Speaker. I mean we are getting a $33.4 million Grant from the UK and we are grateful for that and then we are borrowing another $36,576,000.00 US for a total of in Belize dollars $139,952,000.00  to pave 59 kilometers or 36.6 miles of road. If you were to take some kind of comparison of when we were in Government Madam Speaker we spent approximately $100,000,000.00 Belize to pave 5 miles of the Southern Highway and here we are now spending $139,952,000.00 to pave 36.6 miles of road Madam Speaker. If you were to take an average we are in effect spending $3,880,000.00 to pave 1 mile of road on the Coastal Road Madam Speaker and by any metrics you would take that is really a lot of money that we are spending.”

Prime MInister Dean Barrow: “ When the Leader of the Opposition talks about what engineering and the rebuilding will cost during their time in office. You must remember that was a long, long, long time ago he is talking about but on a serious note Madam Speaker he is asking me questions about enhancement communities in terms of details that I can’t answer. You know I am always a fellow who will confess to my lack of knowledge in particular areas. I am no engineer, I am not expert, I am nobody capable of assessing these things. It is like again you are directing the question to the wrong person. What I can tell you is this. This money is coming via the CDB as a vehicle through which the British are making their disbursement. The best of the technical expertise of the CDB and of the British Government. It was them that decided how much this thing is likely to cost. The amount they had for Belize was such that when they were fishined that paving, that rehabilitation of the Philip Goldson Highway I was telling you about from mile 20 right down through Orange Walk and Corozal to the border is also going to come out of the British loan funds.”