On May 12, 2017 at the last sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Culture, Patrick Faber rose to introduce the National Cultural Heritage Preservation Bill 2017. This new Bill looks to establish a fund that will provide for structural improvements under the initiative that seeks to preserve portions of Belize’s history by way of the restoration of the old colonial structures. Today, the National Institute for Culture and History, NICH, issued a release saying they, along with the Institute for Social and Cultural Research, the Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture will commence research on the various historical landmarks in and around Orange Walk Town. The first stage of this research will take place on Saturday, June 24 at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk Town. Opposing the amount of monies being used for this project is the Caribbean Shores PUP Area Representative, Kareem Musa. Musa surmised that the monies should be put to another use. Minister Faber had responded to Musa’s comments.
“Well I did not hear Mr. Musa’s comments and while it is true that the legislation was a precondition for the loan to go through we absolutely believe in the merits of the legislation. Whether or not the loan is approved, in fact it is already approved, but whether or not that was a precondition I think it was time that we put in place that kind of legislation. Now I can only base on what you have said Mr. Musa said but in terms of his insistence that we focus on people and preserving the culture as it has to do with living beings then I agree with that but there is no reason why we can’t do both and operate a simultaneous operation to do both. I think the living preservation of culture is very dependent on some of these historic infrastructure and historical documentation being there and so I don’t think that if we want the best result that we can ignore one and do the other and we certainly should not place value on one over the other.”
According to Faber, in a 2010 survey conducted prior to the drafting of the Bill it was established that Belize City has over eight hundred buildings of historical and/or architectural value. In 2014, an agreement was signed with Taiwan and the International Cooperation Development Fund (ICDF) for the execution of this project to the sum of just over fifteen million Belize dollars. The agreement was signed with the condition that legislation be enacted aimed to protect and preserve Belize’s historical and cultural assets not yet cover under the NICH Act. The project is entitled, ‘Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project’.