The People’s United Party condemns the awarding of a grossly bloated contract for the ‘reconstruction’ of one mile of Faber’s Road to Imer Hernandez, nephew of disgraced former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. There is no rational justification for this portion of road costing $8M when the conventional rule of thumb for routine reconstruction of roadways is $1M per mile. With Municipal Elections just months away, it is clear that this is nothing but an attempt to enrich select UDP Ministers and cronies and pad election coffers.
We note that in 2016, Cisco Construction was awarded a contract for major works on 3.5 miles of the Phillip Goldson Highway, including the widening of the entire stretch by 10 feet, placement of lights and the construction of a heavy duty retaining wall to stop erosion of the riverbank. That contract worked out to less than $4M a mile. It is beyond comprehension that routine works on 1-mile of Faber’s Road would be almost double that.
It is not the first time that Minister of Works Rene Montero has been scrutinized for bloated contracts. Almost $7M was recently awarded for the paving of a short stretch of road in Santa Elena, from the Loma Luz Boulevard to the Hawkesworth Bridge. In addition, Montero was also involved in the awarding of the contract to an under-qualified construction company owned by his brother for the completion of the Twin Towns municipal building and allegedly a multi-million-dollar contract for the completion of the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Del Carmen.
The PUP calls on all social partners and other entities with a stake in the development of the country and who are fighting corruption to stand against the awarding of these bloated contracts. This is nothing more than business as usual in the UDP where select persons gorge at the public trough while the majority of normal Belizeans remain poor. We call on the Prime Minister to immediately rein in his Minister of Works who has seen his fortunes improve beyond all proportion while in office.
It is time to change how things are done! We call on all Belizeans to take a stand against the corruption which has affected every facet of our development.