The repairs being conducted on the historic Swing Bridge, by William Bill Lindo, who has publicly declared that he is not an engineer and is merely going by trial and error, is costing the Belize City Council more than six times what was originally budgeted. The repairs began almost four months ago and it was to be done at an estimated cost of twenty thousand dollars. Fast forward to today, however, and the pedestrian portion of the bridge remains closed and the cost has gone up to over one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. The media met up with Mayor Bernard Wagner who spoke on the matter.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “The repairs to that bridge first of all pales in comparison to the $49 million bridge that is being contracted as we speak. It represents 0.002% not even 1% of the cost.”
Reporter: But we know the quantum of that one.”
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City:“Yes we know the quantum but listen to me, this bridge here was a tragedy waiting to happen. We can’t just continue walking across that bridge and never do something to it. We know that we have a long term plan for the bridge, we do have a long term plan but in the interim we have to ensure the safety of the people that traverse that bridge.”
Reporter: Sir but you still haven’t told us the value though.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City:“It’s in the one hundred and twenty thousand dollar range, that has been in the media for the past two or three weeks.”
Coupled with the increased cost, the media asked the Mayor to comment on the fact that Lindo is the father to the City Manager, Stephanie Lindo while one of the attorneys for the council is brother to the City Manager and son to William Lindo. By all indications it would seem like nepotism, but according to Mayor Wagner, that is not the case.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City:“We employ three law firms to do business for us, to represent us. The law firm that William works for chose him, it’s not us that chose him. We went into contract with three law firms and their law firm chose him to represent us and all of those decisions again are council decisions so I wouldn’t say it’s nepotism. All decisions that the City Administrator makes are sanctioned by the City Council.”
A timeline for the repairs to be fully carried out on the bridge is yet to be determined.