By Alexis R. Milan
The Government of Belize, at Wednesday’s House Sitting, tabled several Bills and motions, including two for loans from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) totaling $124 million for education and road rehabilitation.
The CDB Belize Education Sector Reform Program II Loan Motion 2015, is a US $35 million loan request to finance various projects in the education sector.
The IDB George Price Highway Rehabilitation Loan Motion 2015 is a US $27 million loan request to finance improvement of the highway between Belmopan and Santa Elena (Cayo)..
Minister of Education Patrick Faber explained that the US $35 million loan from the CDB will be used to renovate existing schools and provide new furniture and equipment throughout the country with a focus on rural areas.
New facilities will also be constructed in the Trial Farm area and in San Pedro town, he said.
Faber highlighted the need for more classroom space, and said San Pedro will receive a new primary school and possibly a new high school.
The “Gungulung” area of Belize City is also expected to have a new school constructed there with the use of the CDB funds, he said.
GOB also tabled a Supplementary Appropriation Bill, requesting $80 million in additional financing for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Of that $80 million being requested, 70 will be used to pay Fortis Energy Services for the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) settlement, and $10 million will be used for the redemption of a Belize Defense Force (BDF) bond.
Other Bills that were tabled for second and third readings at the Sitting, were the National Protected Areas System Bill 2015 and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust Amendment Bill 2015.
The first is a Bill to provide for the maintenance and coordinated management of protected areas and the latter, a Bill to amend the definition of a protected area.
GOB also introduced the Customs and Excise Duties Amendment Bill 2015 to introduce the third stage of customs reductions in regard to economic partnership agreements between CARIFORUM and European Union (EU) countries.
Newly elected area representative for Dangriga, Frank “Papa” Mena also took his oath as a member of the House just before Wednesday’s session began.