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Road works to begin in new budget cycle

HeadlineRoad works to begin in new budget cycle

Photo: Hon. Cordel Hyde – Minister of Natural Resources

Minister addresses infrastructure delays for new landowners at Mile 8

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 16, 2024

In August 2022, Parliament approved $2 million in supplementary expenditure that was earmarked for the construction of a road network in an area of the Mile 8 Community along the George Price Highway which has yet to be developed. The roads were to assist 2,000 new landowners from Belize City who were granted land in that vicinity.

At the House Meeting on August 24, 2022, when Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Cordel Hyde spoke about the large distribution of residential lots to hundreds of Belize City residents, he remarked on the unavailability of crown land in the Old Capital, and urged the primarily Southside residents to resist the temptation to sell the land for which they paid a few hundred dollars, but which is valued at over $20,000. He deemed it a “massive transfer of wealth to the people.”

At the same time, Hyde recognized the frustration of the new landowners because they were unable to reach their lots. He remarked about funding to give landowners access to their lots. Hyde said: “… I am happy to report that this supplementary appropriation will see the Ministry of Infrastructure start the process where the roads will be put in. I know a lot of people were frustrated … and some of them didn’t think we were serious.”

Well, a year and a half later, the beneficiaries have grown even more impatient and concerned, with no signs of the roads being pushed through. Landowners have said they don’t even know where the land is. Today, when Minister Hyde was questioned about it, he put to rest any speculation that it was a “ghost” transaction. He confirmed that the land is surveyed and parcelled out. He went on to explain that the $2 million approved at the end of August 2022 was diverted for recovery efforts when Hurricane Lisa hit on November 2, 2022 and its powerful winds destroyed about 500 homes and damaged almost 5,000 buildings.

Hyde says, “… Hurricane Lisa came and ravaged us, and we had in excess of $20 million in damages.” According to Hyde, foreign assistance received was insufficient, and so the $2 million that had been earmarked for the new infrastructure work at Mile 8 was used to assist with recovery. However, Hyde is now giving assurances that funding will be reassigned anew, and “in this coming budget cycle, work will begin in earnest there to ensure that those who have invested their $500 have the access that they so richly deserve.”

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