The Belize Municipal Development Project is a 30 million dollar venture financed by the World Bank, aimed at providing infrastructure development to seven municipalities in Belize. The first phase of the project, which is being spearheaded by the Social Investment Fund, is near completion, as works in six of these municipalities have wrapped up. However, the renovation and expansion of the Dangriga Market have had some setbacks and have only recently been progressing. SIF says the reason for the delay was because the hired contractor had experienced some cash flow issues and was unable to finance the project, in terms of purchasing materials and paying his work men. And while that contractor has entered into a new financial relationship which has allowed for the continuation of the works, we have learned that he has unfinished business with his previous financier. That person, contractor Lyndon Bailey, says he invested thousands of dollars into the refurbishment of the market. He says the contractor approached him to help bail him out financially and in spite of his early reservations, Mr Bailey says he borrowed the money and jumped on board, a decision he now regrets. Lyndon Bailey says he has since been trying tirelessly to recover $55,000 owed to him, all to no avail. He stopped by our studios yesterday, after exhausting all other avenues. He told us how it all started.
Lyndon Bailey – Contractor:
First he came and he said that he wanted to pass over the project to me, for me to finish. We were going to split the profit on the end. But he was like desperate, because like he was hassling me hurry jump into the program. [I told] I need time to check out everything, and make sure that I am going to receive back my money that I put into the project. So he said you only have 30 days before SIF move in and cancel the project. He was hassling me. [He] made about five or six trips, because I was trying to make sure that I don’t run into the same problems that I run into. I sent my foreman up to the job to make to check out the job, check all the paperwork, check all the estimates, to make sure that we have enough money to finish the project. When my foreman went up there, he spent about three days up there, and he said “Yes. The project does have the amount of money to finish.” We would be left, after we finished the project, with somewhere around two hundred thousand dollars.
Mr Bailey says he has scores of receipts and respective documents that substantiate his purchases and contributions to the project and all that he wants now is the money owed to him, but that he has been given the run around.
Lyndon Bailey – Contractor:
Now he found a new financier about a month ago. I called him. I went to his house early in the morning to catch him. All what he said is just pushing me around, and saying that definitely I will get my money on Friday, and so forth.
Lyndon Bailey suggested that if the contractor doesn’t have the money, the new financier ought to step in and pay current debts. He also requested for SIF to reimburse him, but as we understand it, SIF’s hands are tied, as they did not hire Bailey, but the contractor did. Since yesterday, we have been trying to contact the contractor for comments but have been unable to do so. Meanwhile, SIF says works at the Dangriga Market should wrap up by the end of August.