Ministry Launches Boundary Expansion Exercise for Seven Towns Across Belize

Ministry Launches Boundary Expansion Exercise for Seven Towns Across Belize

The Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour, and Local Government has embarked on an exercise that would officially give boundaries to seven towns across the country.  The ministry has been tasked with expanding seven of the country’s municipal boundaries, excluding the cities of Belize and Belmopan. To do this, the ministry, via the Department of Local Government, will hold sensitization sessions with town residents to garner feedback. The ministry says the exercise has been in the making and seeks to promote community engagement and foster inclusive governance. Director of Local Government Clifford King spoke to our newsroom about the venture’s overarching goal and how it will benefit the respective municipal governments. 

Clifford King, Director of Local Government: “This exercise goes back for quite a while now for over ten years if we could be a bit specific. The municipal bodies have been lobbying government through their own entities for the expansion of these boundaries for quite some time. These boundaries are dated, the current boundaries for many of these municipalities some of them date back to the 1980s. And really what is intended here is to align the boundaries to what in practice the municipalities provide services to and for within those jurisdictions. So it’s really to from a jurisdictional standpoint to align the services and the goods if we call it goods that municipalities provide to align those things with the residence and the areas that they serve around and within those municipalities. I’ll be very quick to add that these proposed expansion of municipal boundaries are not going to encroach on any existing village boundaries. That’s very critical for people to understand so it’s really just assuming those areas that these municipalities are currently serving but are not within the municipal boundaries and I can give you a few examples so that I can clearly demonstrate this for you. There is the San Lorenzo housing site in Orange Walk it’s not within Orange Walk Town, it’s not within Trial Farm it’s within the Orange Walk Town space and the Orange Walk Town Council provides services in that area construction, maintenance of streets, collection of garbage etc. So that’s a clear example of an area where the municipality provides services to a particular area that is not within their jurisdiction but those areas are identified to be a part of that jurisdiction but legally they are not.”

King added that once the proposals are made law, residents living in areas that will be amalgamated with municipal spaces will be required to adhere to the policies of their respective local governments. 

Clifford King, Director of Local Government: “Whatever entities whether residential or commercial once they exist within these new expanded areas then they will be obligated to comply with laws that apply to them which would include laws relating to trade licensing to liquor licensing to refuse control and collection to property taxes and any other legislation that are local and that residents and commercial entities will be required to adhere to. But remember that the intention of this initiative is to align municipal services with the obligation of residents nad persons that live within municipal spaces and so that is really the intention of bringing all of this into fold. It’s long overdue actually. As I said I think the most recently delineated municipality was back in 1996 which is Orange Walk Town and Punta Gorda 2001 when Hopeville became a part of Punta Gorda Town that was the most recently done that’s now over twenty four years and so this is a long overdue exercise and so we’re taking the proposals to public sensitization starting on the 20th of May in Dangriga and we do want persons from these areas to come out and we also want persons from the villages during the consultation process with these nearby villages these village councils participated in these discussions, office of the area rep participated in these discussions and so we have a sort of alignment in thought at the ground level and so now it’s just to take it to public discourse.”

The ministry invites and encourages all residents of the towns and communities nearby to participate in the crucial discussions. Dates of meetings can be viewed on the ministry’s Facebook page.

Related post

Constitutional Concerns Arise as Belize Prepares for General Elections

Constitutional Concerns Arise as Belize Prepares for General Elections

As Belize gears up for the impending General Elections, a crucial constitutional matter has emerged, stirring concerns among the Belizean public…
Minister of Constitutional Reform speaks on the country’s laws on bi-elections

Minister of Constitutional Reform speaks on the country’s laws…

The Elections and Boundaries Department is preparing for the imminent bi-election in Toledo East.  The date for the area’s nomination and…
Deputy PM Comments on Redistricting Exercise

Deputy PM Comments on Redistricting Exercise

Despite an order of the high Court, the Elections and Boundaries Commission has still not completed the redistricting of electoral divisions.…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *