A three storey concrete structure was inaugurated this morning just next to the Belize Coast Guard off the George Price Highway. That edifice which was constructed at a cost of about one point seven million dollars is now housing the offices for the Belize Port Authority. On hand to declare the facility open was Minister of Transport, Edmond Castro. He told the media that this is the first move in bringing the maritime agencies closer together.
“For the first time the Port Authority has a home and it has a home in its rightful place, next to the Belize Coast Guard and I think it’s time for all the maritime affairs to be housed in the same block whereby it is easier when you license your boat. If we need assistance from the Coast Guard, we are right there. We are right here if we need whatever it is. WE have the benefit of having everybody, whether it is maritime assistance right here on this block. I was given some information and I think it really makes sense to have also IMMARBE which deals with the international segment for Belize Port Authority to be on the same block. I think it is a wonderful thing to see them enjoying this area.”
This building was in the pipeline for about six years now since Minister Godwin Hulse had responsibility for the Belize Port Authority. It wasn’t until Minister Hulse acquired title for the property that the building now sits on, was construction able to begin.
“Remember there was some issue when they wanted to privatize the Port Authority and then there were no lands that were designated for such. It was in 2011 I think, Minister Hulse received title. He fought long and hard from 2008, he received title for this for this portion of land for the Port Authority building and we are here some six years later inaugurating the building. It’s a milestone, it will be easier for maritime affairs, people who want to license their boat and there are some more improvements that we needs to do along the line in terms of to make it more friendly and easier access.”
The Belize Port Authority was previously located on North Front Street in Belize City which proved costly for the Government due to the rental of its offices.
“I have no idea and I really not interested but I know we have our own building now and so now the cost to government. Well we know more. The Port Authority is doing well enough to pay the loan that they received from the Heritage Bank so I think this is an asset to the Government of Belize and the Port Authority that deals with the enforcement of our maritime affairs.”
The staff of the Belize Port Authority has occupied the new offices since the start of May. Also at today’s ceremony were several past Port Commissioners as well as the current, Merlene Martinez and the Chair for the Board of Directors, Ruth Staine Dawson.