Several residents of Belmopan are in opposition of a gas station being constructed in front of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Primary School (OLOG). The People’s United Party has issued a press release expressing their outrage about this situation. Today our Cayo Correspondent, Fem Cruz spoke to the City Council Administrator, Ralston Frazer and he explained that the project was given a green light by the city council and the Department of the Environment.
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: A number of residents in Belmopan are concerned and not happy about a proposed gas station to be constructed on a piece of property which is in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Primary School on South Ring Road in Belmopan. Love News understands that the Belmopan City Council and the Department of the Environment did not object to the construction of the gas station. Ralphston Fraser, the City Administrator, spoke to Love News about the role of the City Council.
Ralphston Fraser, Belmopan City Administrator: “The basic procedures as far as my knowledge goes speaks to showing that the person is the intended owner or in this case the rightful owner of such property. Following that the Belmopan City Council through the office of the mayor would or would not issue a letter of no objection. In this case the Belmopan City Council had issued a no objection letter. That no objection letter is not issued to the intended developer. Knowing what the project is such letter is issued and it is issued to in this case the Belmopan Fire Department and the Department of Environment. Now that is in a nutshell to let these two entities know this is what Belmopan is thinking, Belmopan City Council at least through the office of the mayor, this is what we’re thinking you guys need to give us the technical guidelines based on their criteria for such projects. It turns out that we learnt through Plus TV that the Department of the Environment seemingly issued a clearance. Now following that the person would have had to have their architect or engineer draw their plans for such a development according to the guidelines that would have been issued by the Department of Environment also by the Fire Department. Such plans would then now come to the building unit within the Belmopan City Council under the CBA for approval for construction. I can tell you clearly to my knowledge and to that office knowledge, the Building Unit in Belmopan, we have received no such plans, working plan for such construction. So I am not sure where it is said that the Mayor has approved construction of such a structure. Mayor doesn’t do those approval, what the mayor is going to do is, as far as I know, issue a no objection letter which as I said we did you know but we are at a point right now where we ourselves are not in possession of such a letter coming out of DOE. I have checked in our files here at the Belmopan City Council, I have checked with the relevant people here who would have received such letter and to this point it appears we have not received such a letter. So we are in touch with the DOE for them to supply us with such a letter but this is a situation that does not have to go the mile. If the residents of Belmopan in consistency with what the general sentiments may be right now come to recognize that this is not what they want in that area well so be it the people would have spoken.”
Love News has contacted the Depart of Environment and spoke with CEO, Percival Cho. He explained that the request was declined back in October 2018 on two grounds. One of the grounds was that the gas station must not be directly adjacent to a school or church, which it was. However, in June 2019 the files show that DOE approved the project. Cho noted that they are working with the Legal Counsel to have that retracted as the department’s position on the project did not change.