The Government of Belize is currently undertaking the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project which will be co-chaired by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Works and Transport. The project was officially launched on the 14th of March. To oversee the project’s implementation the Government has established a National Road Safety Committee (NRSC). Monday morning at the George Price Centre, a ceremony was held that officially launched the committee. Among members of the board were Errol Gentle, CEO for the Ministry of Works and Transport; Yvonne Hyde, CEO for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; and Hon. Santiago Castillo, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. They addressed the committee and the importance of road safety in Belize.
We determined to reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic accidents, which have resulted in so many senseless deaths. We have lost mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, to name a few, making Belize the highest in the region per capita, as it relates to death by road traffic accidents. These statistics must change, and the committee, that will be commissioned here today, will oversee our national effort.
Our vision for improvement in road safety is that through an integrated and comprehensive approach, along with demonstrated respect on the part of all road users, the frequency and severity of traffic collisions, road trauma, will be reduced.
Our aim is to reduce these road traffic injuries by the year2016 by 20%. However I would encourage everyone to aim even sooner.
The Caribbean Development Bank is assisting the project with a loan of $14,495,00 BZ currency. Andrew Dupigny, Division Chief, Economic Infrastructure Division for CBD, represented the institution.
Andrew Dupigny – Representative of CDB:
CDB has been, and continues to be, a long-term partner in providing support to the Government and people of Belize, as they strive to reach their development objectives. One of the hindrances to Belize’s development is a public health and economic impact associated with traffic accidents on this country’s network. The project has been designed such that the opportunities for your engagement will occur regularly throughout the life of the project. This will include annual review workshops, where yearly results will be communicated to you and to the public, and project efforts will be refocused and adapted if necessarily. We further expect that the establishment of this committee will further cement stakeholder opportunities to guide the project’s implementation, and to sustain the initiative beyond this initial three uear period.
After the presentation and the acknowledgement of the committee members, a contract was signed for the first part of the project, which involves infrastructure works on the George Price Highway from Belize City to Belmopan. This part of the project aims to reduce road accidents by upgrading road surfaces, installing culverts and constructing bus lay-bys.