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Debate continues on Sarteneja Road

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019. 2:31 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The battle lines are drawn as to the Corozal-Sarteneja road to be funded by the Taiwan Export-Import Bank through the Overseas Engineering Corporation (OECC): can the Government be trusted to complete the road without shenanigans?

Opposition Senators debating the loan motion of US$50 million in the Senate today pointed out that the Government appears to have a penchant for overfunding road projects – such as the Haulover Bridge and Philip Goldson Highway project; the soon-to-be-started Caracol Road project; the Fabers’ Road project and the Airport Link Road project among others.

For 47 miles, said Dr. Louis Zabaneh, and assuming the Pueblo Viejo and Laguna Seca bridges cost $5 or $10 million, it will cost about $1.6 million per mile to “upgrade” the road. He questioned whether in light of the mentioned projects, this is not a waste.

Much was made of the Taiwanese’ decision to route the funds through the regional OECC, based in Guatemala, rather than the Ministry of Works, or as suggested by Business Senator Mark Lizarraga, Belize Infrastructure Limited.

Senator Isabel Bennett maintained that the Belizean people are entitled to know what we will get, since we must pay it back.

But Leader of Government Business Godwin Hulse cited separation of powers, making note that at this point it is about securing the money, and then letting the engineers and planners do their jobs.

The motion was subsequently approved.

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