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ACQUIRING LAND PUSHED UP PRICES, – SAYS WORK’S MINISTER

ACQUIRING LAND PUSHED UP PRICES, – SAYS WORK’S MINISTER
November 30
10:25 2018
THE REPORTER:  News Staff, -  

Minister of Works Rene Montero says that the Government of Belize has to borrow some $14 million from the Inter-American Development Bank to add to an existing $54 million loan for upgrades to the George Price Highway, because it needs to acquire land to finish the project.

GOB presented the loan motion to the House of Representatives on November 25, in an effort to complete the upgrades to the road stretching from Roaring Creek to Santa Elena to supplement the 2015 project which was created to pave from miles 47.9 to 76.3 along the George Price Highway. The loan will have a 25 year lifespan.

“Because a lot of land has to be acquired, Madam Speaker, and these lands are very costly. That is the reason why we have that price for that road. Also, we are taking into consideration a lot of safety features. We are widening the road and all of these things,” Montero said.

The People’s United Party strongly condemned the loan motion, with National Deputy Cordel Hyde noting that GOB has, in several instances, approved a project budget only to make a supplementary motion to borrow further sums of money for the same project.

“I am wondering how we got our early calculations so wrong where this project is concerned. You are talking about 30% off base. You had an original loan agreement for $54 million to pave this stretch of highway from Roaring Creek to Santa Elena and you now come back to the honorable House and say you need $14 million more. Who is advising the government?” Hyde said.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow defended the motion, saying that the stringent accountability measures placed on loans from the IDB ensures that there has been nor will there be any improprieties with regards to the project.

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