2013 is just a few hours away from being recorded as another eventful year in the chronicles of Belizean history.  While we welcome a new year with the singing of Auld Lang Syne at midnight, our political leaders are focusing on national goals for the next twelve months.  In their respective New Year’s addresses aired on this station, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca both look at the trials and tribulations that have propelled and impeded us as a nation and both have different perspectives.  From the incessant rains that have ravaged streets and roads across the country to the sensational political scandals that have wracked government, their statements cover the gamut of what has happened in 2013, as well as resolutions to make 2014 a better year for all Belizeans.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“My fellow Belizeans, the various periods of relentless rains in the last quarter of 2013, including the prolonged spells in December played havoc with our road and street infrastructure, our agricultural crops and, in many cases, our homes and livelihoods.  We were, of course, spared the full force of any hurricane but the flooding, the water damage, the marooning of entire villages that even now remain cutoff from road access, at times appeared nearly as bad.  God, however, never takes us to a place from which he can’t bring us back and the troubles caused by mudslides and rivers and lagoons bursting their banks, by the loss of corn and beans and cattle brought once again to the fore the resilience of the Belizean spirit.”

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

Francis Fonseca

“My fellow Belizeans, 2013 has been a year of scandal, corruption and growing poverty in Belize.  Thousands more of our fellow Belizeans have fallen further into poverty and hopelessness, with little or no economic growth, thousands of eager young graduates join the growing number of unemployed.  In 2013, once again the U.D.P. government offered no plan, no vision, no solutions to the serious challenges Belize faces.  The U.D.P. have rejected unity, rejected reform, rejected accountability and instead have defended and embraced corruption, nepotism and the status quo.  2013 has indeed been a bad year for Belize under this U.D.P. government.”

Dean Barrow

“We will press ahead with the reform agenda by reconstituting the Public Accounts Committee, remedying omissions such as the failure to appoint the Integrity Commission and by revamping government’s procurement and financial management policies.  And so we greet the New Year, welcoming January’s traditional sunshine and the literal and metaphorical re-growth that this presages.  We look around and we see retrenchment and wage freezes in sister CARICOM states.  We see a pitiless economic contraction continuing to stalk the region, but, in Belize, we are able to count our blessings.  We give thanks for hard work, for sound husbandry and for providential fortune that was ours in 2013.  It is a combination that propels us now into 2014.”

Francis Fonseca

“In 2014, we must stand united in our efforts to create a stronger and better Belize.  This begins by planting the seeds of change and reform.  The PUP will lead this change.  We will present the Belizean people our plan and vision for a more just and equitable society in which all Belizeans have an opportunity to live a better life and to provide for their families with dignity.  We will work with all Belizeans who believe that Belize can do better and can be better.”

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“We are powered by optimism, rooted in native confidence by belief in God’s goodness, by the incontrovertible evidence of a successful outgoing year and by the realistically drawn prospects of a bright incoming one.  Happy New Year then to Belizeans at home and abroad and I wish peace, progress and prosperity to everyone.”

Francis Fonseca

“Let us therefore enter the new year with a renewed sense of hope and confidence.  Let us be the change that we want to see.  Let us fight for our country.  Let 2014 be a new beginning.  God bless you and your families.  God bless our beloved Belize.”

Channel 5