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Road infrastructure projects overpriced and underdone says Julius Espat

The People’s United Party launched its plan for housing and infrastructure yesterday at the Charter House in Belize City.  We told you of the plan to build ten thousand houses should the PUP be elected into office.  Today we bring you the party’s views on the road infrastructure projects that the current administration had undertaken.  According to Espat the road infrastructure projects were overpriced and underdone.

The People’s United Party launched its plan for housing and infrastructure yesterday at the Charter House in Belize City.  We told you of the plan to build ten thousand houses should the PUP be elected into office.  Today we bring you the party’s views on the road infrastructure projects that the current administration had undertaken.  According to Espat, the road infrastructure projects were overpriced and underdone.

Hon. Julius Espat, Area Representative Cayo South: “Ask yourself. You have a hundred contracts going out worth millions of dollars and there’s only one person getting 90% of the hundred contracts what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? What would come to your mind? Do you believe it’s fair that only one person is capable in the entire country of doing that work, just to start with. So that is the first signal that tells you that there is something wrong. Then you go to the specific project. For example the road that they just built through Lake I what is the road named – Chetumal Street, Lake I Boulevard was completed with fanfare and ribbons and cutting of everything, the next day it turned like submarine. Why is that ? And then government comes and defends it and says “Oh the ground wasn’t ready. This didn’t happen.”  Then you go to the Fabers Road one and you look at the value of a mile compared to the value of a mile somewhere else. Then you go to the airport one and you ask the question was that a priority for this country ? Do we have more pressing issues that needed to invest $33 million dollars ? Then you go to the Caracol one and you spent $180 million in the wilderness and then you ask yourself why are they spending $180 million when we could have roads and drainage and proper infrastructure in our rural community ? All of that in any audit would lead you to ask the question why ? So if there’s a doubt government should have been accountable and transparent enough to show you all the details and then your doubt goes but because Government has been reluctant to give you the information then automatically you assume the worst and so it’s government’s fault in every way. One for doing what they’re doing. Two for not being transparent.  Three for trying to fool us in how they’re accountable. Four by having the oversight committees totally muted and insignificant and five by having a Prime Minister that defends it at every turn.”

The political tradition when a new party takes over in Belmopan is the halt of ongoing projects especially the ones started under the ruling party’s opposition.  With the possibility of the UDP losing the upcoming elections the media asked PUP’s Julius Espat, who is an architect by profession, whether the PUP will cancel the roadworks currently in progress and those in the pipeline.

Hon. Julius Espat, Area Representative Cayo South: “The Coastal Highway I personally have no problem with I think it’s an important road to be built. It benefits the entire country and so why would I be somebody negative for a project like that. The Caracol one I like the one that goes from Georgeville all the way to Cirsto Rey, San Antonio I like that link of the road. I am reluctant to tell you that I would support the one going to Caracol itself because I don’t think that’s a priority but I don’t know if I have – I don’t even know if I will be a minister in cabinet so I can’t tell you that. I don’t know what will happen in the future and I don’t know what agreements this government has made with foreign entities to determine  if it can or can’t be done. I can’t make a statement that I cannot substantiate. If I would have the ability to change it I definitely would try to change it and invest that potion of $180 million dollars  not the one with Georgeville and Cristo Rey but the other part and use that money for something that is important for a post COVID Belize. I would but I wouldn’t do it illegally and I wouldn’t do it like how Barrow nationalized BTL that cost us $500 million more than it should have cost us that’s how I would do it but I’m not there yet, we’re not there yet and so that’s the reality.”