Thursday, June 20, 2024

GOB approves loan motion for BWS project on Ambergris Caye


The Prime Minister of Belize Hon Dean Barrow on behalf of the Government of Belize (GOB) on Wednesday July 11th tabled a loan motion at the sitting of the House of Representatives to approve a loan of US$720,000. The loan, which is being obtained from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is for the creation of a detailed design for the expansion of water and sewerage facilities by Belize Water Services (BWS) on Ambergris Caye. The loan motion was taken through all stages and approved the subsequent day on Thursday July 12th following the 2012 Budget Debate.

According to PM Barrow, the main objectives of the project is to “assist BWS in updating and incorporating missing background considerations related to the project’s environmental and social context; validate feasibility study conclusions and the preparation of detailed design, drawings, technical specifications cost estimates and bidding documents for expanding the existing water and sewage systems on Ambergris Caye, Belize in order to facilitate the appraisal and financing of a capital project.” Such design will give a complete and updated layout of how the entire island’s portable water and sewer pipes, extending two miles north and almost five miles south including the subdivisions, would look like if and when the main execution of the project is done.

Speaking at the 2012 Budget Debate, Area Representative for Belize Rural South Hon Manuel Heredia Jr. commended the Barrow administration for moving ahead with the loan motion. “… As a result of the loan motion, it will eventually inject over $40 million dollars into the infrastructure of the island.  Mr. Speaker, I must applaud the Prime Minister for being bold and taking this initiative,” stated Heredia.

In speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Heredia explained that the approved loan is just for the detail design needed to pave the way for the “capital project” (main project). “Let me say that this loan will be used for the technical part of the project, to come up with a design and conduct consultation and feasibility studies and so forth. But in order to get the main loan for implementing the project itself, we have to do this first,” said Heredia. The technical designs intend to cover and include water and sewer pipes for the island. In will give a detail for water pipes layout that will extend two miles north from the bridge while sewer connection will run up to one mile north of the bridge. The design will take into consideration water and sewer pipes for the entire down town, including Boca del Rio, San Juan, San Pedrito and all southern subdivisions going up to approximately six miles south of the town core area. When asked if San Mateo will be included in this new project Heredia replied that “I am not certain if San Mateo is included.”

“This means a lot for the island. I believe that if we want to attract more tourists to our country, then we have to improve the infrastructure of our country and this includes our water and sewer distribution. I am definitely happy because it will help improve the infrastructure of our island. Almost 60% of the revenues generated from tourism come from this island [Ambergris Caye] and so we have to improve our island,” said Heredia.

The condition of the loan is for it to be paid in “32 equal or approximately equal and consecutive quarterly installments on each due date commencing on the first due date, two years after the agreed date.” The interest for the loan is set at a rate of 2.5% per annum to be paid quarterly on the outstanding balance of the loan. This means that the loan of US$720,000 and interest of approximately US$144,000 (totaling about US$864,000) is to be paid back in a span of eight years.

Once the execution of the project under the current loan is done, it is the hope of Heredia that the GOB will be able to access the US $20 million needed for the actual project itself. BWS is a government own institution run by a statuary board.

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