The People’s United Party has joined Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA in condemning the multi million dollars contract awarded to Imer Hernandez for the reconstruction of approximately one mile of Faber’s Road. In its release issued this morning, the PUP states quote, “ There is no rational justification for this portion of road costing $8M when the conventional rule of thumb for routine reconstruction of roadways is $1M per mile,” end of quote. The PUP goes on to compare with a road contract awarded to Cisco Construction in 2016. That contract, the PUP says, was estimated at four million dollars a mile and included the widening of 3.5 miles on the Phillip Goldson Highway, light placement and construction of a heavy duty retaining wall to stop the erosion of the river bank. According to the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, the PUP feels that the price tag on the Faber’s Road project is bloated, adding that this is another instance among many others that Minister of Works Rene Montero is scrutinized for.
John Briceno – Leader of the Opposition
“First of all we want to put a record that we fully support the fixing of Farber’s Rd. The street is in a bad state of disrepair, but our concern is that we believe there is no justification to pay $8 million dollars to favored UDP contractor to fix Farber’s Rd. A number of things come to mind if you look at Coney drive. Coney drive was rebuilt in the middle of a swamp in around 2000 that is almost 17 years ago and it was built for little under $3 million. Eber Hernandez does not have the reputation of doing quality work. I’ll give you 2 examples: If you are from Orange walk town and drive on the Philip Goldson Highway going through Orange Walk Town, its breaking up , the sides walks are breaking up ,when you go to the northern portion by Trial Farm , several areas are sinking. The round cement roundabout that he did at the end of that portion of work the cement is breaking up. When you go to the Santa Elena border between Mexico and Belize, the work that he has done is sinking, the road is breaking up, and these are the people that are getting these contracts and it makes us wonder what’s happening.
We in the PUP are making 4 demands on the Prime Minister. 1) We are asking the Prime Minister to halt this contract until everyone can look exactly where it is happening.2) We are asking for full transparency, we want a copy of the contract, we want to see who are these selective contractors because it was not advertised as the press release said was a selective contractors, so we want to see who all these selective contractors were and how much did they bid to do the work. And also we want to see what the Contractor General said over this contract. That if he did give a full support or did he not give a full report over the contract. 3) We are demanding that the prime minster needs to do a full investigation or audit in all the contracts that have been issued through the ministry of works and the ministry of finance could be through Belize investment limited or directly through the Ministry of Finance or directly through the Ministry of Works, we need to know all the contracts that have been issued to who and for how much. Lastly, if the Prime Minister does not take action because we are sending him a letter today, that if the Prime Minister refuses to act we will be taking legal action against the Prime Minister , the Minister of Works and the UDP Government.”
The PUP is calling on social partners and other bodies with a stake in the development of the country to stand against the awarding of such contracts.