Belize City Council: A Stern Wake-Up Call for Aspiring Candidates

Belize City Council: A Stern Wake-Up Call for Aspiring Candidates

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 19:53
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By: Virgilio Valverde

Guess Columnist

As the municipal elections approach on March 6th, 2024, Belize City stands at a crossroads, burdened by a litany of pressing issues that demand immediate attention from aspiring candidates looking to lead the City Council. It's an understatement to say that Belize City is far from the beacon of progress it aspired to be when this Council assumed power for two consecutive terms. One issue that deserves the spotlight is the appalling state of traffic management.

Traffic congestion has become an inescapable nightmare for both residents and visitors of Belize City. Each year, the problem worsens, and yet there seems to be minimal effort invested in brainstorming and exploring viable solutions. The chaos unfolds daily, intensifying during weekdays and leading into holidays. Motorists from all corners of the country converge upon our already congested city, only to find themselves with no place to park and no semblance of a solution in sight.

A glimpse of this chaos can be found near schools situated on the main thoroughfares during peak hours. Motorists block access to drop off or pick up students, creating a hazardous environment. As you approach the downtown area, the situation deteriorates further. Traffic crawls at less than 10 miles per hour, a constant stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper ordeal. The few parking meters are perpetually occupied, leaving drivers circling aimlessly in search of parking. The promised multi-story parking structure behind the Bliss Institute on Regent Street remains nothing more than a political mirage.

Parking is just one facet of the city's deteriorating infrastructure. Neglected streets on both the north and south sides are riddled with potholes capable of damaging vehicles beyond repair. Drainage systems, particularly the manholes, remain in a state of disrepair, with stagnant water and mud.

The Phillip Goldson Highway near mile three is emblematic of Belize City's deteriorating condition. It takes over half an hour to navigate this congested stretch, adding to the misery of daily commuters. The ongoing nightmare near the roundabout near mile 3, which has lasted over seven months, is a testament to the Council's indifference. This is within the heart of the city, and the least we can expect is basic road maintenance.

While the rainy season might shoulder some blame for road conditions, it cannot excuse the neglect of essential infrastructure that defines our city. Belize City's residents have grown weary of empty promises and inaction, and the upcoming elections will be their opportunity to voice their discontent or approval at the polls.

Our once-pristine access to the beachside has been allowed to deteriorate, reflecting the Council's lack of vision and disregard for our city's cultural heritage. Meanwhile, the homeless and transient population that occupies our main streets receives no support or assistance from the Council, forsaking our responsibility to provide a basic level of care and humanity.

Street vendors, trying to make an honest living, face unnecessary challenges. Instead of nurturing local small family businesses and finding innovative ways to generate revenue, the Council continues to burden the small vendors with taxes, further exacerbating the cycle of poverty.

It is high time for the Belize City Council to reevaluate its priorities and cease siphoning the lifeblood out of the very citizens it is meant to serve. Aspiring candidates should take heed of the public's growing discontent and debate these pressing issues as they seek to lead our city into a brighter future. The people of Belize City deserve a Council that listens, acts, and prioritizes the well-being of its residents over political posturing and empty promises. The choice is in the hands of the voters come March 6th, and it is high time for change.