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GOB borrows US$7 million more for George Price Highway Rehabilitation

This morning, at the sitting of the House of Representatives, the Government passed a bill to borrow seven million US dollars from the inter-American Development Bank. The money is an additional sum to the 27 million US dollars that the Government had received as loan for the George Price Highway Rehabilitation Project back in 2015. That project encompasses three components including civil works and maintenance, institutional strengthening, and engineering and administration. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the original loan is not sufficient to execute all related components. Government now needs the seven million US dollars to pay for, among other things, supervision of civil works, the relocation of utilities, and environmental and social mitigation measures for some twenty miles of road between Belmopan and the Santa Elena bypass. While admitting the need for rehabilitating the highway, Cordell Hyde, PUP Lake Independence Area Representative, expressed the Opposition’s concern on the additional loan.

Cordel Hyde Deputy Party Leader PUP: “These are the kinds of things you see in textbooks that speaks about things that are not so above board, you under price in the beginning and then you come back for more later on and we are in a difficult position because we can’t not support this but it has to go on. But I think the revealing thing about this is that it reveals just how shady the Fabers Rd. project was because here you are talking about 19.4 miles to pave and outfit, 19.4 miles and it’s coming up at 68 million dollars close to 70 million dollars which would put a mile of road at 3.4 million dollars each thereabouts, we are talking about to cover supervision of civil works, utilities relocation, environment and social mitigations, measures and so on 3.4 million dollars per mile and the bumpiest and ugliest mile of paved road we have seen in this country outside of Lake Eye Blvd. Fabers Rd. cost us you know much Madam Speaker 8 million dollars. Those on the other side need to tell the Honorable house exactly what it it cost to pave a mile of road because it’s late 8 million dollars  in Belize City for a road that is sub par, a road that is ugly, bumpy, you old and you sick you can’t go on that road because bad things will happen to you. If you pregnant worse but now we come to the house and say well from Roaring Creek to Santa Elena is going to cost 3.4 million dollars. There is a whole other figure for the Philip Goldson Highway so really I don’t like this Madam Speaker, I think we need to get it right from the first start. I think we need to know exactly how much a project is going to cost because we come to this Honorable House and talk about millions of dollars like its monopoly money. 80 million dollars for the Caracol Rd.

Rene Montero Minister of Works and Transport: “This is the facts Madam Speaker that we require a lot of land so that we can widen the streets and make it safe for the people in that area . Thank you Madam Speaker.

Honorable Dean Barrow: This is the safeguard that the member and all Belizeans have, You are not talking about a locally funded project, you are not talking about a locally conceived exclusively and implemented project. This project from start to finish has the back stop of the IDB: first of all they don’t agree to lend you money for a project except if that project has been put under the microscope by their technical people both with respect to engineering, design etc and financing and they do not agree to a level of funding and then have you come back and ask for more and accept that more is required except they then put you under an even more elevated level of scrutiny to make absolutely sure that everything is on the up and up. You can’t try nothing with the IDB Madam Speaker and that is the ultimate fail safe with respect to a project such as this.

The load is for a term of twenty five years and will be disbursed over a four year period.