The Government of Belize had received US$7,248,000 in loan financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Belize Road Safety Project. This project is timely since, according to data available from the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009), Belize recorded 68 road deaths in 2006, equivalent to approximately 31.1 traffic deaths per 100,00 inhabitants – the highest fatality rate amongst the Bank’s member countries.
An analysis of the data also showed that between 2004 and 2006, 70% of all collisions occurred in the Belize District, followed by the Orange Walk District with approximately 14%. Furthermore, statistics from the Ministry of Health’s National Health Information Surveillance Unit identified road traffice injuries as the fourth leading cause of death in the country, regardeless of age and sex.
This project is the first phase of what is expected to be a long-term initiative of the Government to improve road safety in Belize and aims to reduce the incidence of death and serious injuries associated with road traffic accidents through: (1) safety improvements at problem spots along the George Price Highway to its junction with the Hummingbird Highway and around the Belmopan Ring Road; (2) changed road user behaviour as a result of road safety education and awareness campaigns; (3) support to the Police and Transport Departments in traffic law enforcement; (4) support to BERT and the Western Regional Hospital to enhance post-crash response; and (5) capacity building for personnel from institutions involved in road safety management.
The Ministy of Finance and Economic Development is the executing agency and will be supported by a Project Management/ Road Safety Unit, and Task Leaders in the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports; Health; and Works and Transport in implementing the project. The Project Manager and other implementation and oversight personnel have been identified and work continues to fulfill the conditions precedent to first disbursement.