More infrastructure development investments in Valley of Peace, Cayo

More infrastructure development investments in Valley of Peace, Cayo

The Resilient Rural Belize Program and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development have inked a memorandum of agreement. It’s to upgrade 4.7 miles of farm feeder roads in Valley of Peace in the Cayo District. Minister of Infrastructure Development and Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat, underscored the ministry’s commitment to developing the area. CEO Victor Espat reiterated those commitments as well.

Hon. Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “We are service providers we don’t seek financing. We make that very clear to the Prime Minister. We respect the roles and responsibilities of each ministry. But we are lobbyists and so we lobby with them to be able to make sure that our people get access to some of those resources. We lobby with respect and we lobby with love and we lobby with facts. And why do they return that respect to us at the Ministry ? I must say it is because of an awesome CEO that I have in the ministry. Why do I say this ? Because we produce. IMF when it comes to a country rarely singles out a ministry to be able to finance for the development of a country. They normally do the opposite. They normally say stop the spending, cut the taxes, stop the – they have a formula. The IMF came to Belize recently and in their report they signaled that they are recommending to the Government of Belize that more resources be put into infrastructure work.”

Victor Espat, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing: This RRB project was dead under the past administration. It was used as a mere political gimmick full of empty promises. This government, your minister saw beyond politics. He say beyond party lines and along with the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Agriculture embraced the resurrection and salvation of the RRB project for you the beneficiaries. It would have been easy to let this project die, to blame the past administration for their failures, to play politics but we’re not here for that. The people of Valley of Peace know that this is true. They know that this is true because they have seen the tireless efforts that have gone into improving your community. You have witnessed unprecedented infrastructure work in your village, on your main roads, on your bridges, on your farm roads and the work will continue.”

According to the CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. Osmond Martinez added that this is a manifestation of the project’s objectives, which include upgrading public infrastructure, such as roads, drainage, and information systems, to improve market access for poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers across Belize. 

Dr.Osmond Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development: “And this will be the second one today we will be signing an MOA with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to do the development of the road here in Valley of Peace and it will be a 4.7 mile road enhancement which will be a total of $2.2 million Belize dollars for the construction of that road. However that will not be the only project that will come to Valley of Peace. I recall the Minister coming and fighting with me over and over until he said no I need more projects for Valley of Peace, I need more and more so well he got a second one which is the enhancement of irrigation system for a hundred and forty acres of land which will cost a total of $750,000. Then once that was approved he continue to fight for you all and he said no no that’s not enough so we decided well there will be the purchase of office equipment which will cost $8,100. Then he came back and he said I’m still not satisfied and so there is a fourth component now and that’s the construction of a storage and packing center which will cost a total of $100,000 and still your area rep and minister was not satisfied and he said no no n we have to get some more for my people of Valley of Peace. And so he got a fifth component which is the purchase of fertigation equipment which will cost a total of $115,000. Well at that moment I said well I am off the hook but you know your minister and area rep still came back and continued to fight for Valley of Peace and he said no way CEO I cannot accept that and so he got a sixth one which is the purchase of field and processing equipment of $31,200 and the guy is still not happy. He wants more for Valley of Peace and I will tell you a secret right now this cooperation will be getting the highest chunk of monies from RRB which will be a grand total of $3,277,000.”

A ministry press release says that the cost of upgrading the feeder road is approximately $2.2 million and is slated to begin in April 2023.

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