Belize City Council Denies Allegations of Misconduct Amidst Grader Purchase Claims
The Belize City Council is rejecting what it says are false narratives being pushed by a newspaper and media blog affiliated with the opposition. Last week, Guardian Newspaper and Hot off the Press published articles alleging that the council purchased an overpriced and uninsurable grader. The articles claimed that several councilors benefited from the piece of heavy machinery’s purchase by inflating its price. The newspaper alleged that while the council paid two hundred- and eighty thousand dollars for the machine, it only cost the council a hundred thousand dollars. Today, Belize City Deputy Mayor Allan Pollard dispelled the allegations, and chalked them up to political mischief.
Allan Pollard Jr, Deputy Mayor of Belize City: “Any contractor could tell you, anyone in heavy equipment could tell you it’s not cheap right ? So I don’t know how they could even put on their page that a grader would cost $100,000. You can’t even get a used backhoe for a hundred thousand much less a brand new grader for that matter. The next thing about the warranty we have a manufacturer’s warranty directly from the manufacturer and we have a warranty from the dealer that comes with free service for a year, comes with maintenance for a year and this grader has been operational for a year. The residents have been – we have been able to answer the residents’ call whenever there are any potholes, after any rains street upgrades with this grader for almost a year. So it’s very surprising that this is coming now – well not surprising but it’s crazy that it’s coming out now and you know they’re trying to use it as a political jab.”
Reporter: And so in terms of the price of the grader. I know that the minutes state that the council had initially stated that it would have cost somewhere around $280,000.
Allan Pollard Jr, Deputy Mayor of Belize City: “Two hundred and eight yeah that’s the final price. The final price of it with warranty and free service like I mentioned, free oil change, free greasing and hydraulic oil replacements and all of that stuff. So it was a really good deal and we had shopped around for quite some time and we thought that the council was in a position to really make a move on this one after researching, after the crew has asked different contractors who are using the same brand in the country so that gave us the confidence to move on his purchase. And they’re making it sound as if though you know I’m out there buying grader which is something completely absurd. Councilors don’t directly deal with procurement here so I can’t understand how. We just bring the proposal to caucus and after that we have our technical team who does the rest.”
Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner also weighed in on the allegations and stated that the council did extensive research before purchasing the machine. He noted that under normal circumstances, the machinery would have cost almost half a million dollars.
Wagner noted that the grader is being utilized by the council to repair several city streets.