In recent days, reports circulated that the Belize City Council had no water supply due to disconnection for non-payment. The council had issued a release denying that report. Mayor Wagner referred to it as fake news.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “You got to be careful the fake news is on a rise right now. That completely false news- fake news. It was a situation where we have some tenants on the lower flat a pipe had ruptured and that is the truth. I don’t need to be standing here telling lies that is the truth of the matter. This council continues to be attacked. This council would go down in history as one of the councils that has been attacked the most. I feel that again that I always tell the people that are throwing those attacks out there ‘ listen election is over. We are not running for general elections why do you keep coming at this city council?’ and we believe it’s all political. It’s all because it’s a master plan that they want to continue the attack on this council.”
This issue led to the question of finances and the council’s current situation. According to Mayor Wagner, they are operating without any direct help from Central Government. He says that the subvention that the council used to receive directly from the government is now channeled towards the municipal bond which was launched under Mayor Darrell Bradley.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “This is the time of year you see a spike. For this council it is a bit more slower given the fact that we don’t encourage much of the discount programs that the previous council engaged in. When we look at their books this is the time of year that it spiked for them. We still maintain a flat course but it continues to improve and we see that we will be in a much better position November/December. We continue to pay all our bills we have paid our workers continuously throughout the year, occasionally you would hear that they did not receive it on this day but at the end of the day the council’s mandate is to pay salaries on the 15th and end of the month. Most of the time when you hear these complaints it’s when a weekend is coming just around the 11th or close to the ending of the month and people already anticipate that they will be receiving those funds in their accounts and it takes sometimes two days for the banks and the credit unions to process those funds but we have never missed a pay period.”
Reporter: In terms of economic activity that event or that initiative that the council took on do you find it beneficial?
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Of course, the Super Sale the city residents, we are about the people and the people benefit from the sales and from the savings that they enjoy at the event also. The Albert street was a dead zone on a Saturday now you walk on Saturday on a Super Sale Saturday and it’s buzzing with activity that is what we want and that is what we need in this city.”
Mayor Bernard Wagner also spoke on the issue of crime in the old capital, Belize City. He says the collaboration with the Commissioner of Police is healthy and regular and that there is the installation of street cameras for proper surveillance.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “We continue to have good and foster a relationship with the Commissioner of Police he has visited me on two occasions and we have spoke on how some of the areas that we can could collaborate- one of those areas is in CTV cameras. They are currently along with BTB putting in some cameras in the Memorial Park area, we are looking to establish some safe zones where we’ll put certain cameras in different zones to alleviate crime and have that eye in the sky component. There has to be more it requires more boots on the ground and to ensure that our people feel safe. I believe as a matter of fact at our Super Sale zone we have never had an incident at the Super Sale Zone and this has been going on for a year so I believe the program that the Commissioner has put in place is working. We will never fully take out crime there will always be that crime component there but once you are working towards the common goals you as the city and the commissioner and the police together I believe we could make some inroads.”
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, expounded on the subject of surveillance cameras, referencing an announcement made earlier this year by the Prime Minister.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “If you had listened to the Prime Minister’s 21st of September speech he did allude to the fact that police and BTL are in collaboration to install these cameras across the city so we have started that project. It will be piloted for December and January and after the pilot is over then we’ll go full scale. I must also state that we are also in collaboration with the Taiwanese Embassy who again will also be deploying an additional hundred cameras for us in Belize City. So I can see a bright future for Belize City in the sense that we will have the entire city under surveillance on a 24 hour basis because the cameras do have night vision capabilities and with that we should be able to have a better control of the crime situation within the old capital.”