Screen_Shot_2017-01-30_at_8.26.57_PMSince the tragic death of nine year old Geraldo Lopez, a student of Solomon’s SDA Primary School which occurred back in December of 2015, the administration and staff of the school had been advocating for the construction of a pedestrian ramp which they say had been long overdue.

But all the cries of the school’s administration and staff seemed to fall on deaf ears…that is until the Orange Walk Town Council undertook the challenge of building the much requested ramp on the Belize Corozal Road located near the school.

The work officially began this morning and will be completed in one phase which is expected to last approximately one week, says Mayor of Orange Walk Town, Kevin Bernard.

Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“Initially we had agreed as a Council that we would have done this work in two phases; first portion and then a second portion on the following week or so a time span of two weeks to have completed the project, but we decided today at our management meeting that is best for us to proceed in full the entire project so that one we cause less delay in terms of traffic as well as we could speed up this process so that the school and the children can benefit from this pedestrian ramp as early as possible and so I can see that timing would cut down definitely in terms of the work that we have to carry out here at the pedestrian ramp, it is very crucial as I had mentioned that we get this work done, it is important for our children in this area, it is for their safety and as a child friendly municipality that is one of our commitment that we were going to build pedestrian crossings as specific zones.”

The Council, we understand wrote to the Ministry of Works more than twice requesting approval for the construction of the pedestrian crossing but received no substantial response. Therefore, they took it upon themselves to initiate the construction.

Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“While I had written I think three or four letters to the ministry, the Administrator wrote the CEO and wrote the Engineer we did get one response from the Engineer but nothing substantial too well you know they want to come and talk to us about the entire road because of the maintenance of this road or whatever that was as far as we got from them but there has been no indication whether or not they would give us whatever permission and as I feel as the Mayor of this town and I think the residence and I could speak on behalf of the parents whose children come to Solomon’s School and residence who use this area that this pedestrian ramp is necessary is important, it is crucial and it is urgent so I don’t think that we ought to wait for any approval per say from any ministry of works this is our town, it is our district jurisdiction and I believe that the town council allows us to do so(Town Council Act) what I can say however is that we are following the direct specifications of the ministry of works, we are following their same specifications that they do on all of their major ramps that they have built, earlier today we were visited by one of our supervisor of the ministry of works asking us if we have gotten any permission that they are not here to stop progress, well my response is simply this, when they come in to my town and they are scraping streets and creating havoc in the Orange Walk East Area such as what they are doing right now creating a lot of dust we don’t stop them because we believe that the intention is good we want to see development in our area and so like I said to Mr Ramos that just as you want to ask us to seek permission then I believe they also need to get permission from us to go and tamper on our streets in our jurisdiction so it’s all a mutual thing I said to them we are proceeding with this work we are proceeding with what needs to get done at the end of the day this is for the benefit for the people of this area this is to benefit for our children and safety of these children.”

Mayor Bernard added that during the initial preparations this morning, it was observed that the street itself had not been properly built by GOB, however, the council will ensure that the construction of the ramp is up to par.


Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“I am told that the hot mix should have been four inches, did we get value for money when you look at the thickness of the hot mix that was placed around it almost an inch and a half so where is the other portion, where is the rest of the material that should have gone down did we get worth that five million dollars’ worth of investment that should have dome down on this street this is maybe why the high way is breaking up in other sections, sinking in other areas but not here to bash nobody about their work, I am here to tell the people of Orange Walk of this town that as the Council and as your Mayor I am committed to ensure that we look after the safety of our children, the safety of our people and we are going to build this ramp and this ramp is going to benefit them.”

The community is once again asked to bear patience with the council as the work is being executed.

Screen_Shot_2017-01-30_at_8.26.44_PMKevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“I want ask our driver for example first of all for their patients and the understanding that we are doing this not just to stop the drivers but we are doing this to protect our people, to protect our pedestrians, to protect our children and so I want to ask also the children and the users of this road to take caution and to work along with our traffic officers and our employees that are out here doing the work to respect  the guys that are working out here at the end of the day it is for the benefit for all of us and so when this entire project is completed I think it comes definitely for the benefit of all the users of this road including the pedestrians.”

We understand that after the project is completed, the Council will then proceed to build another pedestrian crossing near Landy’s and Sons Hardware Store.

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