The Department of Local Government and Rural Development, under the Belize Rural Development Project has undertaken a venture to provide a more pleasant and hygienic environment for market vendors. The project reviewed existing markets infrastructure within Belize, with a longer term Market Development Programme planned, which will involve substantial EU grant funding for market infrastructure initiatives. Minister in Department of Local Government and Rural Development is Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse.
Hon Godwin Hulse – Minister Local Government Rural Development:
Generally the whole idea is to ensure that we improve the management of the market, so that when people bring their produce from the rural areas to a market there is a place for them to display them, there is some security, there is water, it’s hygienic. Then you can create the dynamism I talked about in a market, where people come, and buy, and haggle, and go and come. And that’s the whole idea. But this is particularly to enhance the management, the physical management of the infrastructure, accountability for the resources, and that sort of thing.
As a part of this initiative, yesterday a workshop was hosted which focused on increasing the management and administrative capacities and skills of elected councilors and personnel of the city/town/village administrations, as well as other regulatory authorities overseeing markets in Belize. A consultant to the EU has been in the country since late February. His function is to help improve the management of the various markets in the municipalities and he was the chief presenter at yesterday’s workshop.
Michael Buchell – Consultant to the EU:
One of the things that I will be recommending this morning is the development of a National Market Association, which will basically comprise of elected members that’s responsible for market policy, Senior Market Administration Staff within the towns which will meet together maybe once every three months to share their issues, share their problems, and come up with solutions to those problems. At the same time part of their brief and their aims and objectives would be to encourage greater participation with traders, and encourage trader organizations. The Market Administration, the staff that work for the local authorities, need to be able to have the authority to actually manage and operate the markets, and have the backing from the local authorities.
The project is catering for all municipalities countrywide, except for Belize City.