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January 04
12:55 2019

REPORTER: News Staff, Jan. 4th.

The Reporter has been informed by sources up north that following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement at the last House Sitting that $300,000 would be allocated to each district for infrastructural work, the money in Orange Walk isn’t being disbursed equitably, leaving the sugar roads in areas controlled by the PUP in terrible condition.

According to reports, of the $300,000 allotment for the Orange Walk district, half is being diverted to Orange Walk North and the other half to the Orange Walk East constituency. This has raised concern among those in the sugar industry, as the majority of the main arteries that make up the most frequently used sugar routes are situated in the Orange Walk South constituency, in which an estimated 34 feeder roads totaling approximately 267 miles, is situated.

The reports also suggest that despite his absence from active politics, former Minister Gaspar Vega has contracted $150,000 worth of work to his nephew, the infamous Imer Hernandez, who has been awarded other large contracts in the past and whose completed work has been the subject of much controversy due to rapid deterioration.

The other half of the money has reportedly been allocated to the Orange Walk East constituency and contracted to Julian Patt. There is concern that no money has been allocated to the roads in Orange Walk South and other main roads which are in urgent need of repair.

A video posted to Facebook over the weekend showed a cane truck which had overturned near a muddy ditch on one of the sugar roads in Yo Creek, being flipped right side up by two tractors. Chairman of the Orange Walk branch of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Alfredo Ortega told the Reporter that the extreme state of disrepair the roads pose a constant risk to the truck drivers who use the roads to deliver cane. Ortega made an appeal to the government to invest in the roads which most benefit the industry and the wider economy.

The Reporter also understands that no contracts have yet been officially signed as the Zone Engineer, Graciano Medina was on vacation and just returned on Thursday. Further reports claim that Hernandez’s company has already started work in the Fresh Water Creek area, where the nephews of Gaspar Vega reportedly own and operate cane fields.

Video provided to the Reporter as proof shows works having been started on the Fresh Water Creek sugar road in San Estevan. Another video also shows repairs done on the road and areas where fire paths even with the cane fields have been graded.

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