Pork Barrel: A Feeding Frenzy

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The Prime Minister loves to boast about infrastructure, and pat himself on the back over multi-million dollar roads and roundabouts. But he will get the sense, whenever he grows the cojones to call elections, that corruption in infrastructure will be one of the main things which will sink the UDP, and will get them kicked out of office.

Never before in the history of politics in this country have we seen such unadulterated feeding at the public trough through hustling in infrastructure contracts. There is no doubt that a large number of Ministers in Cabinet have become multimillionaires from the granting of contracts to friends and cronies. From sugar roads in the north to work on major highways and roads across the country to runways and roundabouts, this has been a feeding frenzy the likes of which the Belizean people have never seen.

Mr. Barrow has been asked about it time and time again, and he has chosen to ignore it, as if when he does so it means that it does not exist. When approached about a one-mile stretch of road which cost taxpayers $8 MILLION when it could have been built for less than half that, the Prime Minister became confused, as if he just didn’t get it. Now, months after the UDP’s favourite contractor Imer Hernandez finished Faber’s Road, it is already cracking up, and is a testament to substandard contracting. And Mr. Barrow is mute.

Belizeans will never forget nor forgive Mr. Barrow for Lake Independence Boulevard, a $5Million dollar debacle, down the drain because the contract was given to a crony, and they were trying to hurry it up before elections, and didn’t do a good job. So many stories of corruption and incompetence and greed, like the $17M municipal airstrip which has already had to be fixed after only a year, and the $7M Caye Caulker runway which was sinking months after it was completed. And the street through Orange Walk Town, given to another crony, which was cracking weeks after it was completed. The list goes on and on.

Recently, Belizeans have witnessed the latest mess on the Phillip Goldson Highway, where road works not even completed yet have begun to break up. Just this week workmen were at the site of the roundabout near Benny’s Apartments where water had flooded under the cement and had to be pumped out.

And yet, Mr. Barrow wants $180M to build a road to Caracol. What a sick joke. How much of that money will go into the pockets of Ministers? How much of that money will go into the pockets of cronies? And when it is done, the road will be another testament to shoddy work, like every other project done by the UDP Administration.

Mr. Barrow came in on a high horse, claiming that there would be no corruption under his watch. The horse has disappeared, along with the two-sided machete. Call the elections now, Mr. Barrow. The people are ready.

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