For the past years residents of Orange Walk Town have been complaining about the deplorable state that San Antonio Road finds itself in. Despite several promises that the road will be upgraded, Government has failed to do so and instead have relied in the quick patching of pot holes to solve the problem. But the craters found on San Antonio Road are just one cause of concern. The dust that is created due to the dilapidated road condition has proven to be a headache for residents of the area. So much so that this morning a group of them decided to take matters into their hands and visited the Ministry of Works to lodge a complaint. But from what we found out, not much was accomplished since the response that they got is not what they expected.

Screen_shot_2012-11-01_at_8.38.41_PMCarmelita Perez- Reporting

For years now residents of Orange Walk Town especially those living along San Antonio Road have been asking for the road to be fixed. To put it plainly the street is in dire need of a facelift and as time goes by it deteriorates even more.

Government has relied on quick patching and grading to alleviate the pothole problem. In fact two months ago the grader was seen in the area leveling the potholes at the same time doing away with the little stretch of pavement that was left. But instead of alleviating the problem it only made matters worse and today residents of San Antonio Road say they are living in a sand dune.

As you can observe dust is everywhere blanketing the vehicles, trees and even homes. For residents the situation has become unbearable.

Ermelindo Novelo- Residente San Antonio Road

“Esta calle esta hecho un desastre desde cuando lo rasparon, el Public Works lo empezaba  a mojar pero en la mañana cuando da una hora dos horas ya polvazón otra ves y hay choferes que no tienen escrúpulos porque pasan como que van a buscar una herencia en Orange Walk y botan polvo porque van duro no van despacio, si hay unos que van despacio pero otros duro. Aquí había un pedazo de pavimento y no nos echaban tanto polvo pero cuando lo quebraron y lo rompieron yo dije pues van a componer la calle pero solo lo rompieron y lo dejaron así.”

In trying to find a solution to their dilemma a group of residents accompanied by their children visited the Ministry Of Works this morning where they expressed their concern to Senior Supervisor Adolfo Ramos. The response they received; however, is not the one they expected.

Ermelindo Novelo- Resident San Antonio Road

“Queremos saber mas o menos que es el plan sobre el camino y ellos no dijeron de que están buscando finanzas para componerlo.”

Ana Dora Chavez- Resident San Antonio Road

“El sénior dice de que el plan esta pero que no hay dinero ahorita y de que él estaba de mandar cartas y cartas a Belmopán porque nosotros le dijimos que si él no puede que en que otra parte podemos ir porque nosotros estamos desesperados. Nosotros les pedimos que si pueden hacer unos bumps y él dijo de que vamos a ver si se puede y que hay que avisar dos semanas antes para poder hacer un bump, poner un rotulo para entonces poder hacerlo, lo van hacer ellos de tierra pero hay que esperar dos semanas.”

And while GOB allocates funds to upgrade the road the health of residents is at risk.

Ana Dora Chavez- Resident San Antonio Road

“Tanto polvo, solo vivimos con catarro y principalmente cuando los niños van a la escuela porque los vehículos pasan casi volando y tenemos bastante niños y la calle allí no la respetan. Estamos enfermos desde que empezó la polvazón, se nos quita el catarro uno o dos días y volvemos otra ves a lo mismo y hay bastantes personas que tenemos asma entonces eso nos esta matando y ya tiene como dos mese mas o menos que estamos viviendo así, había bastante hoyos pero les echaban tierra pero no quedaba así y los vehículos como quedan pueden ver la cantidad de polvo que entra en las casas.”

In order to alleviate the problem the Orange Walk Town Council sent out its water bowser truck to wet the street for the dust to settle.

Kevin Bernard- Mayor of Orange Walk

“I have been getting calls from concern residents indeed and their concern is the fact that there is too many dust in the area, some people are already saying that some of their neighbors are suffering asthma, some other sickness , coughing and it is something that we’ve trying to do as well as on our part to assist those residence because ever since we got in we have been approaching more than one time to see the ministry of works to see when will they actually take action on that road, I have heard recently they have just went and grade it but it left all the dust so this morning our trucks and I’ve asked our operations manager for us to make sure that we constantly be passing there and wetting with the trucks but of course these are additional costs to us because diesel has to be spent, we have to be having our trucks out there and this is something that the ministry of works should take full responsibility for.”

Records at the Orange Walk Town Council show that on January 31st 2012 a little over a month before Municipal Elections the Government of Belize deposited $50,000 into the town councils account for the rehabilitation of the San Antonio Road. Records also show that the previous U.D.P Town Council awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of San Antonio Road to Yo Creek Road Project to Imer Hernandez the nephew of Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Gaspar Vega. On February 2nd 2012 Hernandez received a check for the amount of $50,000 from the U.D.P Town Council as a onetime contribution towards the project. But while the money has been paid out the work is yet to commence.

Kevin Bernard- Mayor of Orange Walk

“Prior to election there was a contract already signed that the entire San Antonio road to the bridge should have been paved and these people shouldn’t have been suffering in these types of conditions and so I want to challenge the minister of works and the ministry of works to ensure they fulfill their commitment to the people that they were going to pave that road.  I know that our operations manager have been very much in communication with some people from the ministry of works but every time he ask when are we going to do something they always say they don’t have the money and so this council is looking very seriously in seeing maybe in the future what we can do to lobby from government what they can do to push the work we done and that is why I think very important for residence to understand and I know and I feel their frustrations because like in anything you demand your work from government, you demand the work from your local municipalities and so the residence from the San Antonio area I want to say to them that we are going to do our part to lobby and I will personally write the minister of works to see what we can do to address this problem.”

Ana Dora Chavez- Resident San Antonio Road

“Que nos ayuden a arreglar la calle porque aquí van a ver un montón de muertos ya de tanto polvo porque ya es demasiado lo que ay. Limpiamos y a las dos horas ya esta sucio la casa otra vez y el polvo lega hasta atrás y por eso nos reunimos todos y fuimos allá. La gente del otro lado también esta sufriendo porqué es igual allá.”

This afternoon we tried to get in contact with Senior Supervisor for the Ministry of Works Adolfo Ramos, we were informed that he was out of office and no one else was authorized to respond to our questions.

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+1 #2 Belizean 2012-11-05 14:12
There should be a collaborative effort from central government and town municipalities to work and fix this problem. The town council can only do so much with the limited resources it has left after so much years of udp's inability, incompetence, and stealing. Now, government should at least try to alleviate the people of Orange Walk's problem. The mayor has done so much in a short time compared to the udp in six years or so.
#1 bzn2dbone 2012-11-02 19:50
Not wanting to sound too political, but prior to elections, this same news station interviewed the Mr. Bernard in his capacity as Mayoral Candidate and he said that the road was the full responsibility of the Town Council and that when he is elected he will ensure that this road is fixed. So what happened now?

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