Armenia Village Chairman says his efforts to get water for the community are thwarted

The Village of Armenia is located about 15 minutes outside the City of Belmopan and is within the Cayo District. With a population of just over 1000 persons the community has the unique privilege of many chiefs and no Indians. What do we mean? Well the Hon. Julius Espat is the Area Representative for the community while Ismael “Miley” Garcia is the caretaker. Its Village Chairman is Orestes Sho, but the ranks don’t stop there. This Village also has a Land Chairman, and a Water board Chairman; one would say that’s a good thing and that work is being done within that municipality, but according to Village Chairman Orestes Sho, that is not so.
Orestes Sho – Armenia Village Chairman:
vlcsnap-2013-04-25-22h02m21s205At first I was wasn’t frustrated.  I wasn’t discouraged, because I don’t know who they are.  I am a person that I can work with any colours.  I contact Maya, Spanish, and English.  So it was not that bad for me, but what makes it difficult for us as a community, the ex-area representative, when I gone into power, said that he doesn’t want to work with me, none at all.  What shows me that attitude that he had was the first meeting that they had, they collected all their preferences and the privilege ones for him.  They went into a private house to have a meeting.   So they didn’t give me the respect.  They didn’t give me the power to be the Chairman.  They take everything as politics.  My vision is to work as a community, as a group, and we can show the benefit after three years time. But we didn’t have that opportunity.  I personally did not have that.

Chairman Sho ran as an independent candidate in the last Village Council elections and won. Sho says that one of their biggest problems is Water and that he’s tried working with the various parties and persons of influence within the Armenia community to get a water project going; but to no avail.

Orestes Sho – Armenia Village Chairman:
vlcsnap-2013-04-25-22h01m44s103Right now we are in the dry season crisis.  The major problem at this present time is water.  We don’t have water, none at all.  Government has been investing in drillings, but they are unsuccessful up to this date.  I personally approached SIF.  SIF said it is very difficult for us  to get help again, because we did get a project already.   So now this is what has been keeping us back.  So now I sit down with my Village Council, with my Water Board.  I said to them, “Let us seek other financial organization. I know we can be successful.”  But since they’re too deep in politics, they said “No, Government has to do it. Government has to look good.”  But who is [getting] punished?  The people.    

Because water is vital to every community and household daily operational needs, Sho says that despite warnings from the Health Department people continue the go to the caves branch river to get water.

Orestes Sho – Armenia Village Chairman:
vlcsnap-2013-04-25-22h01m28s231I could bet you, you come on Saturdays and Sundays.  You go to the Cave Branch River. Full to the max.  And the Health Inspector discouraged us to go to the river. But what is the other solution then?  They say the river is contaminated.  But where are we going?  Because that’s the only solution for us at this present moment.
The Chairman of the Water Board is Mr Emiliano Rodreguez.  He has been there for two years.  He is a man that is doing very well at this present moment. He was very honest to come to me and tell me, “Mr Sho, I would love to work with you, but I was told not to work with you.  So please understand me. I don’t want you to feel like I am the one that doesn’t want you with me.”

Plus news has secured an interview with Rural Development Coordinator Mr. Ernest Banner who will be commenting on water problems of both Armenia AND Pueblo Viejo. We’ll bring you that interview in a subsequent newscast.

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