Expert on municipal markets meets mayors
The Church may be a hallmark of communities but no municipality can survive without a market. That is why the mayors from across the country were attending an important meeting at the El Rancho Bar and Restaurant in the Capital. A European Union (EU) Consultant had travelled the country and spent quality time at each market analyzing how they operate. The EU intends to invest three million Euros in local market development and the Minister of Labor and Local Government, Godwin Hulse says that it is necessary for vendors to have a comfortable place to sell their products.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour
“This is the launch of a workshop under the BRDP II Program. So there is a consultant in the country whose function was to help to improve the management of the various markets in the municipalities and these are all the markets bar the Belize City one and Stann Creek is coming on as well at some time. So he has been here since March—I think late February, early March—and he has visited them; he has done his preliminary study. Today he is going to present his findings to the group; this is why you see all the mayors invited etc. And generally the whole idea is to ensure that we improve the management of the market so that when people bring their produce—particularly as I said from the rural areas to the markets—there is a place to display them, there is some security, there is water, it’s hygienic. And then you can create the dynamism that I talked about in a market where people come and buy and haggle and come. And that is the whole idea, but this is particularly to enhance the physical management of the infrastructure, accountability for the resources and that kind of thing. It is simply the municipalities; those persons at the City Councils and Town Councils who will be managing the facility as you know Ministry of Finance is involved because it’s under the BRDP II Project and they are in charge of the resources and the consultant will be presenting his findings. So it is mainly major for the managers which are the councilors and the administrative staffs in those various municipalities. It is how you create those facilities so that the vendors are comfortable in their location and can sell their produce.”
Mike Burchell, Manager of Public Facilities and Markets
“This is a three months mission just to review their existing markets, the market operations as the European Union is going to be investing three million Euros over the next couple years in market development. So basically the review was to review the operations in the market particularly relating to administration, finance and legislation and also the future development policy of markets here in Belize. One of the issues here is basically communication, strengthening communication links between administration and the market traders. The market vendors don’t seem to be well-organized. In my travels I’ve only found in one of the towns, villages or cities, one market association and that is in San Ignacio and hopefully through my inputs that is something that we will try to encourage; to develop market associations to work more closely with local authorities. The discussion with market vendors…it’s their living; they are concerned about some of the services and facilities on some of the markets. But I think that basically the market trade just wants a voice, just want to be heard and hopefully with better communications with the local authorities. So there is a bit of a void there and that needs to be encouraged and improved.”