By: Kevin Bernard
We are getting right into the Christmas season, which rivals September for my favourite time of the year, for different reasons. I love Christmas because no matter what our problems or worries, no matter what our situations at home or at work or in the country, as a community we try to put it aside and focus on family, and on giving, and on just generally being better to ourselves and to others around us. I love Christmas.
But as a Belizean, a family man, a Mayor and somebody who wants to serve my people in the House of Representatives soon – I love other things too. I love living in a good community and good country where all of us, every single Belizean has access to the same opportunities – like jobs and land and quality health care and education – basic things. I am a believer in good governance, and I’ve written and talked about it a lot. I believe in serving all our people. I believe in integrity in office. I believe in honesty. I believe in doing the right thing. I believe in ensuring that the people’s money is handled responsible and for the interest of the many as opposed to the interests of a few. This is why I entered politics, and why I have advocated and continue to advocate for things to be done the right way.
I’ve been following this situation with the $8M Faber’s Road with much interest, from the beginning when it raised a huge public outcry. I didn’t only follow it because the amount seemed outrageous to pay for the cementing of one mile of road. But because the contractor is someone we know very, very well in Orange Walk. Imer Hernandez, the nephew of Gaspar Vega, is the man responsible for the road through Orange Walk. As residents we all remember the hot mix that started sinking long before the project was done. We have to live with the holes and sinking in the road, we have to deal with the broken and irregular sidewalks. The work that he did, and got paid a huge sum of money for, is a mess. Anybody can see that. And he has done the same in Corozal and in other parts of the country. The bottom line is that this man is a lousy contractor. And yet he got the contract for Faber’s Road.
Last week the media reported that the Faber’s Road project is just about completed and there are already cracks in the cement. So just for the sake of my own information I took a drive on Faber’s Road. I am sorry. Somebody needs to go to jail when things like this happen. The work on that road seems to have been done by a group of primary school students, and even saying that is an insult to primary school students. Some parts of the road are already cracking, and the cementing is so bad that driving on it is like being on a boat going over waves. The sidewalks are a mess and the road is so narrow that two big vehicles have problems passing at the same time. The contractor couldn’t even get the yellow line in the center of the road right. That looks like it was drawn with a kindergarten student with a crayon and no ruler, and is already so faded that it can’t even be seen in some spots. That is a crime. Belizeans were forced to pay $8 MILLION dollars for that one mile stretch of road. And it is Belizeans who will be forced to pay back the loan. I say again – somebody should go to jail for the Faber’s Road project.
And that is on my mind as we get to this Christmas season, because the truth is that many people will have a very tough Christmas. For sure Imer Hernandez will have a great Christmas. And all our Ministers in Cabinet will have a great Christmas. But that is not what Christmas should be like. And it makes me very angry.
I am praying, like all Belizeans, that 2019 is a better year for all of us. We have been through too much as a people. There has been too much corruption, too much greed and too much mismanagement, and that needs to stop.