BRS Area Representative Hon. Andre Perez talks about future plans
Wednesday, March 9th, 2022
After the November 2020 victory for the People’s United Party and consequently forming the new government, the administration believes that the country’s challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic are improving. Area Representative for Belize Rural South (BRS) (Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker), Honourable Andre Perez, said during an interview with The San Pedro Sun that he now feels confident in delivering on all his main promises because the economy is in better shape. The work ahead is to finish the health center in Caye Caulker, build a hospital for San Pedro Town, develop infrastructure (bridge and roads), build schools north of San Pedro Town, and develop other important programs.
Perez said these projects are achievable, and residents of BRS can expect more improvement in services during 2022. Perez, who also holds the Ministry of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, noted that financial institutions are approaching his government, asking how they can help the country. According to him, this is due to the government’s good job in reviving the economy and the rate of transparency. He is convinced that once there is a hospital in San Pedro, the private sector will support the much-needed health center on La Isla Bonita. “I remain optimistic that we are heading in the right direction, and I want to make sure that our people made the right choice by choosing me as their area representative, which I take very seriously and passionately,” he added that the economy is growing. Still, the country is not yet where it should be.
A few islanders chose to share their comments on their area representative’s performance. Some said Perez is working and appreciate his efforts. But many of them stated that they are still waiting to see if he will deliver on the projects the island needs the most, such as schools and the hospital. They agreed that it is not easy after the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, but they want to see results sooner than later.
Hospital and schools for Ambergris Caye
In speaking about the hospital for San Pedro, Perez indicated that the funds are secured, and land has been identified. The hospital will be located on a five-acre piece of land south of town, specifically after the Escalante subdivision. Perez said the hospital is a collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Currently, the parties involved, such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness, are discussing the design. The project also includes housing for doctors and nurses. The Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II near downtown will continue offering its services.
The area representative said the construction is yet to start on the schools built seven miles north of San Pedro Town, but the project is still very alive. The funds for the schools, a pre-school, primary, and high school, were part of an BZ$80 million loan obtained in 2015 by the previous administration to build 35 schools countrywide. The then Minister of Education Patrick Faber said the loan was procured through the Caribbean Development Bank and that BRS was getting the most significant chunk of those monies. Perez said the funds for these schools are still available, and the only delay so far is due to the project’s planning. The Ministry of Education is reportedly looking to start the construction soon while designing a public transportation system for the students. Another factor for the delay is the situation with COVID-19. “It is coming along,” Perez said.
Other projects; amnesty and water taxi
Other key projects his team is working on are the amnesty application process for citizens of the Caribbean Community or CARICOM and Central Americans, who may be undocumented in Belize. Another plan is to construct a marina or water taxi terminal by the current Marina Drive to divert most of the congestion downtown. Perez says this project needs to be well planned to accommodate the different onsite services, such as taxis and rentals. “It’s a long-term plan that we are working on,” said Perez. All the main streets in every subdivision, starting with the stretch at Marina Drive, will be cemented/paved.
Perez said the international terminal located at the Sunset Boardwalk Boulevard on the lagoon side in downtown is not suitable because of the size. This terminal has been a controversial project on which $5.6 million was reportedly spent to complete it in 2014. It was a project under the previous administration under the watch of former Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. Unfortunately, the facilities have not been utilized since the conditions at the terminal were not ideal upon completion. There are claims that large vessels cannot dock due to the shallow areas around the terminal, and it is alleged that only boats with outboard engines use this terminal.
In the days ahead, the Honourable Andre Perez plans to get closer to his constituents by hosting what he calls ‘Service Days’ to listen to the people’s concerns. The first Service Day is on Wednesdays, March 9th, in Caye Caulker from 9AM to noon at the central park. On March 12th, it will be the turn for San Pedranos, and Perez will be available at the central park from 9AM to noon.
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