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Government & Politics

Millions to pave the Road to Caracol

The interest rate on the Coastal Road would be at 4.8 percent per anmum to be paid quarterly for the rehabilitation of 59 kilometers of road. But that was only one of two major roadworks announced. There was also a US $5,941,000 and US $20 million secured from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The 5.9 million US is set aside for the Second Road Safety Project and the $20 Million US for 26 miles of the Caracol Road to be transformed from dirt to asphalt. This loan also did not sit well with the Opposition.

Orlando Habet Cayo North East: “Madam Speaker I believe that until we are prosperous to spend this kind of money in the wilderness we should concentrate on prioritizing our spending where we will get better returns. I believe that rural development: that includes the development of village roads, farm roads and other access roads are far more important for national development. I am quite certain that the tourist would be contented with a well maintained all weather road in Caracol thank you.”

Leader of the Opposition John Bricenio: “ I want to align myself with what the Honorable Member for Cayo North East said over the Caracol Road loan Madam Speaker. I in good faith cannot support this loan of $20 million dollars US paving the road to Caracol and the Honorable member from Cayo North East was right. I don’t know if they are trying to confuse us in bringing different loans so we can’t keep track of how much we are going to be spending on the Caracol Road because if you look at what has been presented to us right now Madam Speaker they are saying that this amount right now is only covering 64% of this portion of the road so they have to borrow another 36%. That 36% Madam Speaker is another eleven million two hundred and fifty seven thousand US dollars that has to be borrowed yet. There are so many other pressing needs in this country Madam Speaker. Look at our small farmers, we need to be able to assist them Madam Speaker. They can’t get access to affordable funding, they can’t get access not even to the local markets, there are roads and whenever it rains it is impossible. We need to be working with the productive sector Madam Speaker. According to breaking news I read the article and they are saying that the Government is going to spend ninety million US dollars to pave the Caracol Road. How can we justify this Madam Speaker? Yes we want the tourist to have a nice paved road, yes nobody denies that but we have more pressing needs Madam Speaker.”

Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow: “I thought that going to Caracol was a kind of national desideratum if I can use that term. The benefits in terms of Tourism and the member for Cayo North East described it as wilderness. Man that is as I understand it some of the most pristine naturally, beautiful areas you can find in our entire country and what is happening out there or what can happen in terms of tourism. All the lodges that will go there and plus there is a security element to it as well but if they don’t agree that doing the road to Caracol isn’t in the national interest Madam Speaker then I can’t argue with that and I will say only this much more, again in terms of the cost this is what the funding agents they come up with and sure there are other things we would like to do but those people lend you money just for what you want you know. Those people lend you money for what you want that when they think, that what you are asking to borrow for makes sense, that it has to be what they see as a huge priority for our country but if you all don’t think it is Madam Speaker I respect your position and sit down.”

The loan term is for 20 years. Five years is the grace period plus an additional 15 years to fulfill the loan agreement.

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