The Belize City Council has partnered with a number of organizations to try and rid the city of derelict houses which pose a threat to safety. Belize City Councilor Philip Willoughby said it is important to get everyone on board.
“Well basically since we began doing our assessment based on the check list that was prepared for us by the City Engineer and the City Planner in relation to abandon and derelict structures as well as occupied structures. As you can see the findings are on the ground first hand. You see there is concern for the National Fire Service, you can see there is concern for the folks over at the Ministry of Human Services, concerns for the Belize Police Department as well as for us that represent the city in terms of mitigating against natural disasters so you can see there are threats all around as it relates to each agency. The objective of doing this check list, having the check list and doing the assessment and having all the agencies with us is to show the public and to substantiate the grave need for us to fast track and be proactive in terms of demolishing these abandoned and derelict buildings but there’s a process and the process is that it has to go before the municipal courts so right now this is more like a fact finding, case building process which should be spear headed by one, us the Belize City Council along with the Police Department so that is being done and upon the conclusion of completing the check list those assessments will be done and submitted to the courts and then we have the magistrate adjudicate over it and then we hope that the court would grant us the permission to demolish these structures. We would like to be ahead of the game prior to the hurricane season because you know natural disasters bring its own anomalies and as you can see some of these structures pose a threat to life and other properties around should hurricanes hit on these abandoned and derelict buildings in these areas within Belize City.”
Willoughby said as soon as they can get the permission from the court, they will proceed with the initiative.
“We are ready to start. Another Achilles heel that comes out of these abandoned derelict homes and structures is the garbage problem of which we saw, there are termite issues that may affect the neighbor who doesn’t have termites, there is always the issue of the crime that is of great concern to all communities so there is so much to be looked at, there is so much to be done and we hope that through this mechanism that we are trying to operate under or within, we get it done.
If there is an abandoned lot or structure in your community you can contact the Belize City Council, Police Station or the Ministry of Health so they can add it to the list. The residents we spoke with expressed their support for the initiative.