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Screen_Shot_2013-11-28_at_8.10.38_PMThe Prime Minister’s Press Conference yesterday was loaded with promises on behalf of his government to the people of Belize. Among them is a 76.72 Million Dollar National Road Infrastructure Programme funded under the Petro Caribe agreement with Venezuela. Included in the programme is 10.25 million for the Corozal District, 15.61 million for the Toledo District and 6.34 million for the Cayo District. Notably though, out of all the districts, Orange Walk Is getting the smallest share of the pie as Government has allocated a mere 2.92 million for the entire district. Now, the news did not sit too well with many Orange Walkenos and with the Orange Walk Town Council who has constantly been lobbying with Government for financial assistant to upgrade the streets across town.

Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town

“When I spoke to the CEO on Tuesday in Belmopan he clearly said to me when I ask them what are they going to do about the Main road meaning between mile 53 and 55 that runs through our town he said they don’t have the budget for it but they have been given an approval for them to fix certain areas of the Belize/Corozal road that have been damaged and these are sections like coming after the UNO gas station, in front of Sabor Cosina and I understand just before the traffic light here by fire station and then also by Cheetos and a little down on Otro Benque road those are the areas that they are going to be fixing which he told me it is a little bit over three hundred to four hundred thousand that is being allocated for that, I understand that some slight work is going to be done on San Antonio road but is not going to be paved majorities of these monies are going into some of these areas like San Estevan road and these areas that needs attention, and so when I look at that it is very, very eye opening to see that we in the north that have one of the biggest industry the sugar cane industry we have a lot of farmers who travel through our roads and even though many use the by-pass but if they are looking at the by-pass itself the by-pass also needs some attention because if they leave that road unattended it will also deteriorate but we have some very serious concern I mean if the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister is very serious in developing Orange Walk district they need to start to focus their attention as well to the town.”

Presently, the town council is rehabilitating streets across town with the little resources available. And despite their financial constraints the council has found the financing to pave seven streets at a cost of approximately one hundred and ten thousand dollars not including material and labor. Truth of the fact is that the council is only responsible for maintaining the streets and not paving. And according to Mayor Bernard, the Government of the day is well aware of the factor.

Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town

“Many people look at the councils and say oh you are not fixing our streets, you are not doing this, you must remember that the sole responsibility of the municipality it town council especially because of the limited resources that we get is merely to maintain streets not to building streets but to maintain streets that are built, government is there to build and construct streets in the municipality as well but we are not getting that help in Orange Walk but the mere fact and we look at the figure 2.4 million dollars across the district definitely it is just a drop in the bucket for the people of Orange Walk and the entire district. All we are saying let this be shared equally, equitable across the country, I am not saying Corozal don’t deserve ten point something million dollars am pretty sure they deserve even more but what happen to Orange Walk district why is it that we are being single out, if the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are serious about development and infrastructure then let them put the money where their mouth is, bring the development to Orange Walk as well.  I think we deserve much more and the problem why we are single out that is exactly is the point that we are a council control by PUP members and we also have three area representatives that make up the majority of the elected representative in Orange Walk district that are from the PUP and so it is obvious that we are not being paid attention, and the reason why I say this because if  you go to Trial Farm and to all these areas that are under the Orange Walk North division, ministry of works has been pumping sources and energy in those areas for the past year and a half since they got into office past nearly two years and attention is not being done to these other areas like in the Orange Walk east, in the Orange Walk south and in Orange Walk Central.”

At the end of the day it is not about complaining says Mayor Bernard, it is about developing the town.

Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town

“People are saying we need to stop cry, I mean what I also say to people let all pay taxes give us the money in order for us to be able to invest it into fixing our streets, a lot of people complain and I say it on Facebook and criticise this council and when I go back and check the record these are the same people that owe a lot of taxes to this council and so this is what am saying is that if you want development in your town start by putting back the money that you owe the council by paying your taxes and that would help the municipality to be able to address the streets in Orange Walk Town, we are doing what we can with the resources that we have.”

Of note is that the Prime Minister is depending solely on the Petro Caribe funds to carry out the million dollar project.  

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