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2011/2012 BUDGET DEBATED #403189
03/25/11 09:43 AM
03/25/11 09:43 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
The first day of debating the 2011/2012 budget concluded just before five o’clock this evening. Patrick Jones was in Belmopan and filed this report.

Patrick Jones reporting….

Today’s Sitting of the House of Representatives at times resembled break time at any primary school compound. But this after all is the debate on the budget for fiscal year 2011-2012. When things quieted down enough, Leader of the Opposition John Briceño presented his rebuttal of the Prime Minister’s budget speech two weeks ago. Mr. Briceño, interrupted frequently by members of the gallery and cross aisles shouting match with members of the government side, took just about an hour to tear apart the Barrow fiscal plan for the next twelve months, calling it an empty pot budget with no plan for lifting the nation out of crisis.

JOHN BRICEÑO – Leader of the Opposition

“The Prime Minister is only campaigning in poetry when he talks about celebrating growth and restoring sustainability. Too bad for us he is governing in raw, ugly, uninspired prose. When Belizeans look at this year’s budget Mr. Speaker, what they see is the same tired, laundry list of old initiatives recited for new consumption, unaccomplished promises, lame excuses and deluded decisions that will do nothing to directly ease the pain that we have endured over the past three years."

Mr. Briceño went through the budget step by step pointing out where he saw shortfalls in the document; but he struck a raw nerve when he suggested that the Prime Minister will squeeze fifty million dollars out of the Belizean people via the one dollar flat tax on fuel. The Leader of the Opposition said that had the Prime Minister correctly calibrated the windfall tax on petroleum production, the burden on tax payers could have been lessened considerably. And while the shouting continued from the galleries on both sides, things deteriorated to a physical confrontation a short time later when opposing supporters went at it. Belmopan representative John Saldivar said that each time the country found itself in financial crisis, it turned to the United Democratic Party and that his government has once again responded to clean up the mess left by the People’s United Party.

JOHN SALDIVAR – Belmopan Area Representative

“This government is taking this economy on the way up; last year it was 1.8 or 9 now it is 2.8 and we are projecting it to be 3% by the end of next fiscal year. That is growth, Mr. Speaker, that s sustainable growth so that we can take the benefit of that growth and pass it on to the poor, to the masses of this nation."

After Saldivar’s intervention, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, pausing to take shots at the Leader of the Opposition, said that the road to recovery has been arduous, but his government was able to travel it with the support of the Belizean people and that the economy will continue to grow. He also outlined what the country’s earnings have been from oil production, saying that those funds have helped tremendously in helping to pay own our debt obligations.

GASPAR VEGA – Orange Walk North Representative

“ Mr. Speaker the oil revenue from the Spanish Lookout oil field stands as follows, working interest revenue $24,390,503.14, royalty revenue $60,460,784.18; GOB Production share 1.5%, $1,552,673.22 and Mr. Speaker I must make mention of this, because they like to cry wolf, saying that this government is not doing this while they were the ones who signed the contract. Mr. Speaker on BNE the production share that the government is getting is 1.5%. Under this administration we have not signed one contract one PSA with less than 10% production share.”

Cayo Central Representative, rising in support of the budget said that Belize withstood the test of the economic downturn without having to import the basic food items.

RENE MONTERO – Cayo Central Area Representative

“The many challenges of our previous years gave us the opportunity to prove to the Belizean people that their choice of government, the UDP government is capable of leading them through their hardship successfully. This is an achievement that was accomplished because of the policies of my ministry promoting national food and nutrition security. In fact we had bumper crops in corn, beans and rice. Last year alone Mr. Speaker corn production went up to 98 million pounds that is 30 million pounds than the amount consumed in the country per year. Rice went up to 35 million pounds which is 5 million pounds more than expected and RK beans increased from 9 to 14.1 million pounds. Mr. Speaker the excess corn was sold to Guatemala as whole grain and Jamaica as corn meal which is a new market for Belize. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report that we also assisted the hurricane victims in Guatemala with 75,000 pounds of corn for human consumption and also Haiti with hundred million pounds of corn seeds."

Former Prime Minister Said Musa, in his presentation said that the budget as presented by the Prime Minister on March eleventh, shows no clear plan of how the government will lead the country out of the difficult times.

SAID MUSA – Fort George Area Representative

“ What this entire budget exercise shows are the following, one this government has no development plan; two, this government has no strategy to stimulate new economic activities, three, this government has no new ideas to increase productivity and exports, four, this government has no ability to generate job opportunities, five, this government has no sustained action to improve the quality of life of the Belizean people and there is growing poverty in our country. You know Mr. Speaker there is coincidence that this year like last year the prime Minister held no consultation with the social partners, no consultation with the business, none with the labour, none with the NGOs, no consultation in crafting his budget because it is a budget with no vision and no clear direction, just an exercise in deceptive bookkeeping. A budget, not grounded in reality, not grounded on the needs and aspirations of the Belizean people."

After Mr. Musa’s presentation, Stann Creek West representative Melvin Hulse and Pickstock representative Wilfred Elrington also rose to make presentations on the budget.


Re: 2011/2012 BUDGET DEBATED [Re: Marty] #403190
03/25/11 09:44 AM
03/25/11 09:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

P.U.P. Protest Government’s Budget; supporters ejected from House

The debate on the budget 2011-2012 got underway today in Belmopan. The leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, was first to deliver his presentation; it was a punchy speech with good sound bytes that drew holes in the Prime Minister’s budget of eight hundred and forty-three million dollars in revenue and grants and eight hundred and eighty-nine in expenditures. But the melt-down came just after Briceño had concluded his presentation. The house proceedings had to be interrupted when hell broke loose between party supporters in the gallery. One U.D.P. supporter was asked to leave, then “Yellowman”, Macebearer and U.D.P. Stalwart, accompanied by police attempted to have several P.U.P. supporters ejected. And that’s when the commotion spread to the streets. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the first story in our detailed coverage of the day’s events in Belmopan.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Tension ran high among supporters of the People’s United Party this morning on Independence Hill following an outburst inside the galleries of the Assembly Building which led to the ejection of several spectators. The eruption came at the start of the 2011-2012 Budget Debate as Minister of Public Service John Saldivar was making his presentation.

On the outside P.U.P. stalwarts protested angrily, flags and banners in hand, chanting their party’s slogan before an effigy of the prime minister. According to Opposition Leader John Briceno the removal of his supporters from the balcony shows the partiality with which the situation was being handled.

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“We came out for two reasons. One is that I believe that it is unfair when the mace bearer is trying to get our people out and they threw them out. Because on the other side of the house here we have people behaving even in a worst fashion [by] hurling insults and hollering while I was speaking. So I came out in solidarity with them but at the same time I came out to address these people that are here with us today to tell them how much we appreciate that they are here with us in solidarity. To tell them that we understand the pain that they are going through, that we are listening to their concerns and that we agree with them that the people are tired of the Dean Barrow U.D.P. Administration.”

Elsewhere during the demonstration officers attached to the Belmopan police formation stood vigil over the throng ensuring that things did not escalate beyond their control. Among the protestors were some who believe that a fellow party member and head of its women’s group was maliciously exposed in a recent issue of the Guardian Newspaper. A placard waved above them shows two pairs of female underwear with the names of the newspaper editor and his talk show co-host.

Marissa Quan, Protestor

Marissa Quan

“The reason why I have this sign is because Friday I gone and I defend ah woman who denya one decide fu disgrace and disrespect eena di Guardian. In defense ah di woman ih neva have nothing fi do wid politics. Dehn spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday di dedicate time di try defame me and discredit me because I defend ah woman so I figure maybe dehn panty to tight. So I bring some bigger ones fi dehn. This one wah fit dehn more comfortably. If da lady dehn wahn be I could show dehn how fu be woman.”

Undoubtedly the decision to publish the image of Gina Tillett in the UDP’s weekly organ has raised the ire of the Belizean public including many within the opposition party. That however is only part of the reason why they’ve converged on the hill.

John Briceño

“There are many points that they are here fighting on. The number one is the issue of jobs, jobs, jobs! They can’t get one job. They can’t get one piece of land. Cost of living continues to go up. Crime continues to escalate. It is totally out of control. If there is one theme, if there is one message the people are tired of the suffering that is being administered by this UDP government on the Belizean people.”

Echoing that sentiment is this protestor, one of many who made the journey to the capital city in a fleet of buses that shuttled supporters here.



“Me and my family is not willing to vote for them no more because you know what after all you do for them, you put them eena power dehn wah use fi dehn power against we the people, we the Belizean people that give them the power. Because we vote that da di one weh count at the end of the day. Right now we have to deh behind them trying to get a head way with them and what dehn do to we da send police afta we. Dehn chase we out, outta fi dehn office like we da dog. I had an appointment, I came here from Monday. I was here Monday morning to see Mr. Gaspar Vega.”

…and while she did not get to see the Minister of Natural Resources on either attempts her message, along with those who were also protesting in Belmopan this morning was loud and clear. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Re: 2011/2012 BUDGET DEBATED [Re: Marty] #403298
03/26/11 10:06 AM
03/26/11 10:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Corozal South West Representative Gabriel Martinez was the first to take the floor when the debate resumed today. Minister Martinez supported the proposed budget, saying that it contained much to celebrate, particularly for cane farmers in the north.

Gabriel Martinez – Representative, Corozal South West

“The cane farmers in northern Belize are celebrating much more because we were told this morning by the experts that the TCTS, that simply means tons of sugar cane for tons of sugar is at its lowest ever at 8 tons of sugar cane for one ton of sugar. Mr. Speaker that means quality; that means the working partnership, the good working partnership of the cane farmers, of the people at BSI and the bold initiative that this UDP Government took at the inception of this sugar cane crop.”

Next to speak was the representative for Freetown, Francis Fonseca. Fonseca told parliament that he listened for what things the government would be doing to improve investment climate, reducing crime and growing the economy; but he found none. Fonseca characterized the budged as one with no hope.

Francis Fonseca – Representative Freetown

“Regrettably Mr. Speaker, we were to be bitterly disappointed by the Prime Minister’s presentation. The budget presentation of March 11, 2011 will most certainly go down Mr. Speaker as one of the most uninspiring, unimaginative, unremarkable and unfulfilling presentations ever made by a Minister of Finance in these chambers. As I have said many times before Mr. Speaker, I take no comfort in the government’s failings. When the government of Belize fails, Belize fails and when Belize fails the people of my constituency, the people of Freetown and their brothers and sisters across the nation are the ones who suffer and hurt so I take no comfort in the Government failings. For the great majority of Belizeans Mr. Speaker, these are the worst of time. Each and every week and month they face great uncertainty and anxiety Mr. Speaker. How will they put food on the table today, how will they keep the lights on, how will they keep the stove burning, how will they keep their children in school, how will they pay the rent or mortgage this month, what if I get sick, Mr. Speaker, they ask themselves where will I turn who do I turn to, will I be able to find a job this month? And for those who are fortunate to have a job, Mr. Speaker they are asking, will my employer be downsizing, cutting back, will I lose my job or will I have to take a pay cut. Mr, Speaker this is the reality of Belize in 2011.”

Fonseca said that these are the worst of times for the people of Belize who are facing great uncertainty. For his part, Collet representative Patrick Faber in his support of the budget, said that because of the policies of his government, there has been an increase in the among of children now going on to high school, and more of them, he said, are beneficiaries of the government’s education subsidy.

Patrick Faber – Representative, Collet

“There are some 5,428 students in first and second form who received the subsidy from this Government in 2009/2010, that represents Mr. Leader of the Opposition, write it down because I don’t want you to come back and say you did not know, write it down since you are so good in mathematics, write it down, 5,428 students in first and second form over the year 2009/2010 receiving the subsidy representing 50%, ½, .5 of all the students who are enrolled at this time in secondary education are receiving subsidy from this Government. They talk about the IT-VET, $40 million from the CDB they only built the ITVETs so they could give their cronies and friends contracts to buy poor equipment. Check the ITVET in Stann Creek and Toledo and you will see the poor quality, they could not do that in Belize City because all eyes are watching, but they creamed, there is no good intention in them. The students who were not performing got boxed out. Under this plan for education finance reform Mr. Speaker these students will be receiving these monies and again we implore the opposition to support us."

Belize Rural South representative Manuel Heredia Junior in his support of the budget, spoke of developments under his Tourism minister. He noted that despite challenges brought on by the global financial crisis, Belize’s tourism is on the rebound and will continue to improve supported by the budget.

Manuel Heredia – Representative, Belize Rural North

“And then the member from Fort George, talking about foreclosures of hotels and closing of hotels and this and the other practically that the world is ending because we at the Ministry of Tourism are doing practically nothing. Let me tell the member from Fort George that since we took office we have been working diligently in trying to improve the quality of life of the Belizean people because this Government believes and has tourism as a priority and definitely we are there to work together with the stakeholders to make sure that we have the best industry in this country. Let me tell you that even though when we took office the global recession was about to come and indeed it was a tough time but because we have the vision and we have the courage to take bold step we went ahead and decided that we will use the resources of this country to the best interest that we can. I can tell you under my leadership in the Ministry of Tourism with less money that we have we have been able to help the BHA, BTIA with a lot more funding that was given when the previous administration was there. That was a promise that my Prime Minister and I made to these people even before we were elected because we knew we would be the government. We have been working very closely with all these agencies to make sure that we can achieve the best for this industry. Mr. Speaker but there is no credibility? Let me remind them that from the time we took office the credibility of this country has been restored and there are many investors more coming. Yes, some of the hotels have closed but there are many others that have opened. I can walk the member from Fort George and Freetown to my beautiful island so that he can see the development that is happening over there. In the next couple months there are three or four projects that I can tell you that is coming on stream. One is for $40 million US, another for about $25 million another for about $12 million so they are hoping that investors do not come to Belize but Belize is a beautiful country it is a good product and it is a place where people want to come.”

Heredia told the house that Belize has seen a three percent increase in cruise tourism and an eight percent increase in overnight tourism. He predicted an even better performance in the upcoming tourism high season. One of the big projects expected to get underway shortly is a thirty million dollar tourism project in San Pedro which is awaiting a loan approval from the Inter American Development Bank. Another is the anticipated distribution of over two hundred house lots in the Belize Rural South constituency. But while those were rather straightforward review of their respective ministries and areas, perhaps the two day debate’s most dramatic moments were reserved for when Orange Walk East representative Marcel Cardona took to the floor of the House. After the pleasantries were dispensed with, Cardona launched into an all-out attack on his own party. The lame duck representative aimed much of the venom of his near one hour long speech at Orange Walk North representative and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, and the Prime Minister himself.

Marcel Cardona- Representative, Orange Walk East

“The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and member of Orange Walk North spoke about this government is pro poor. He mentioned that with $250,000.00 allocated last year towards survey cost his Ministry of Natural Resources have surveyed house lot in each and every district. The question which immediately came to my mind and the mind of many residents of Orange Walk East was, what about Orange Walk East, why have not withstanding our efforts even after several personal requests by the Orange Walk East area representative and special delegations from the East to the Prime Minister himself calling for the intervention or assistance of cabinet and even the Prime Minister himself to get more land surveyed and more land available to our needy people, we have been unable to do so. Are our people not considered to be poor, like the rest of the country or are our people from Orange Walk East being singled out? If carrying out land surveys was so easy for others, why had it become an impossible task for us the people in Orange Walk East? Were we operating in an Animal Farm situation where some of the animals were more equal than others? Was favouritism bias and discrimination being used as a basis for making the government’s tax payer’s dollars available to one constituency over another?

Speaker of the House

Honourable member I have given you wide latitude to proceed but this is the financial and economic debate on the budget. You are venturing into political and religious matters, please proceed with that.

Marcel Cardona- Representative, Orange Walk East This is relevant to my constituency and it pertains to the annual expenditures and it affects my constituency.

Speaker of the House

Proceed honourable member.

Marcel Cardona- Representative, Orange Walk East

"The final decision is for you and the intelligent people of our country to decide upon. For three years I must remain humble and keep quiet, keep my mouth shut if I wish for Orange Walk East to benefit from Government’s resources and for three years the people of the Orange Walk East constituency and myself have quietly suffered in silence but rather than our punishment and suffering at the hand of the highest ranking officials in this current government being abated, the torment, the scorn and disrespect has been steadily increased. That no more national or government lands are now available in town to provide to those in need of the same.

Michael Finnegan – Representative, Mesopotamia

Mr. Speaker on a point of order, it would look like the member from Orange Walk East wants the whole budget. Why doesn’t the Prime Minister give it to him?

Speaker of the House

Please proceed honourable member from Orange Walk East.

Marcel Cardona- Representative, Orange Walk East

As I was saying, Tower Hill Village, similarly no where do we find in this year’s budget provision for a much need two storey hurricane resistant ferro concrete building for Tower Hill Village to serve the similar purposes to those mentioned previously. And finally, someone else once wrote “Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared but only men of character are trusted”. Remember you only reap or harvest that which you have planted, so if you plant honesty you will reap trust, if you plant goodness, you will reap friends, if you plant humility you will reap greatness, if you plant perseverance you will reap contentment, if you plant consideration you will reap perspective, if you plant hard work you will reap success, if you plant forgiveness you will reap reconciliation, if you plant faith in God you will reap a harvest so be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap later.”

Following his spirited presentation, Cardona left the chambers having informed the speaker during his presentation that he does not support the budget and would be abstaining from voting. The immediate next speaker was the member for Mesopotamia Michael Finnegan who started out by urging his colleagues not to pay any mind to Cardona saying that he has no status in the Orange Walk East constituency. The budget debate wrapped up late this evening by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The document now goes to the Senate next week for ratification before it goes to the Governor General for his signature. The new budget comes into effect on Friday of next week.


Re: 2011/2012 BUDGET DEBATED [Re: Marty] #403572
03/30/11 09:42 AM
03/30/11 09:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
The Budget Debate last week was a historical. The action of Parliamentarians begs the question whether the debate over how Government expects to spend the people’s money, moved to that of “an animal farm” quarrel? Many things occurred before our very eyes; things that will go down into our political history. Let me first say that this is the first Budget Debate that brought the Barrow Administration under fire from the Opposition and at least one member of the ruling party. It was also the first time that a fight erupted in the gallery between supporters of both major political parties; inside a house that should be the most honorable place in Belize. It is also the first time that the Speaker of the House allowed disorder and chaos to take control of the day’s proceeding forcing the Budge Debate to temporarily be suspended.

Day one was the Leader of the Opposition Hon John Briceño’s day to shine and shine he did. He took a little over an hour to chastise and rip apart the Prime Minister’s budget presentation delivered a week before the budget debate. Hon. Briceño started by calling the Barrow Budget an “Empty Pot Budget,” questioning how much of the 21 pledges made by the UDP in 2008 has been accomplished so far by the UDP. The PUP Leader’s opening remarks paved the way for what would become the most fiery budget debate under the Barrow Administration. But even when the Prime Minister had his lost words on Day 2 of the debate, he failed to say how much of the 5000 jobs promised have been created so far by his administration. In his response to the Leader of the Opposition, The PM did not made reference to Briceño’s statement that unemployment has almost doubled since the UDP was elected. On Briceño’s questions on crime situation and the UDP 360 degree approach to curb crime, the PM used the corruption card once again to dodge the bullet before the nation.

But as Briceño began to tear apart the figures for 2011/2012, he was constantly mocked and deliberately interrupted by members of the UDP gallery and even shouting comments from across the isle of the ruling government. Even while being interrupted, Briceño maintain his calm and focus and was able to point to the PM and the nation that this year, like the previous year, will bring no alleviation on the burden Belizeans are facing. Briceño indicated that the lack of growth has increased unemployment and created and increased underemployment. He added that Belizean families are unable to pay for their basic food and a decent shelter. He presented facts showing how more Belizeans have fallen below the poverty line and will not be able to afford the basic goods and service such as food, health care and provide for their children's education. But even as statistics are indicating that our poverty levels continue to show an increase, Briceño pointed out that the middle class is fast disappearing. He was sharp in pointing that families fall into economic misery, suffering from crime and all those other issues that are plaguing Belize.

But just as Belizeans were waiting for PM Barrow’s response to Hon Briceño comments, Barrow was lay waited and bombarded by one of his own member of his party. Empty shell fell apart in the ruling side of the chamber as Orange Walk East UDP Area Representative Marcel Cardona aimed his contribution at Deputy PM Gaspar Vega and the PM himself. In his explosive remarks Cardona referred to the PM’s ways of running the people’s business as that of “an animal farm, where some animals are more equal than other.” Cardona wasted no time in questioning the Barrow Budget citing that the budget has nothing for his constituency. Cardona told the nation that his people were sick and tired of the unfair treatment inflicted on his people by his own government. The Area Rep said that proposed budget showed a clear discrimination and abuse against his people who are treated like lepers or sub-humans without rights and privileges. Of course Cardona would not be allowed to fly free with his comments as he was frequently interrupted and mocked by his own UDP colleagues and supporters on the gallery.

And while Briceño and Cardona shined during the two days of budget debate, so were disrespect, chaos and unruly behavior. The National Assembly is an honorable place and must be treated as such. But even with the frequent intervention by the Speaker of the House Hon. Emil Arguelles, lawlessness and disrespect ruled. He failed to keep “The House” in order, allowing supporters from both political parties to shout at members of the national assembly creating havoc. Party supporter should not be allowed to shout comments to any member of the National Assembly but it happened during the two days of presentations. Unparliamentarily language is forbidden and if a member uses such languages, the Speaker of the House should ask the member to retract from such comments and refrain from using such languages, but instead it was allowed. And because Mr. Speaker had no order in “HIS HOUSE” the shouting matches went physical as members of the galleries broke loose into fight; first time in history, The House proceeding was temporarily suspended until all supporters of the Opposition was ousted from the galleries.

But while Belizeans had to stomach the unparliamentarily behaviors, personal verbal attacks and the two days of uninspiring political self praises, again Belizeans were left with a very bad taste in our mouth when the PM responded to the Opposition’s presentation. Instead of responding to the question raised and contribution made by Briceño, Belizean got personal venomous attacks, childish observation and uncalled disrespectful and unparliamentarily remarks. At the end, PM Barrow skewed from the issues raised and cleverly pulled out the supper bond card and the internal PUP business diverting from the hard-hitting issues at hand. In fact the PM made no comments to Cardona’s bold contribution and remarks against the PM himself. He used the Monday newscast however to refer to Cardona as a “dead duck politician.”

But how do we move on as Belizeans following the budget presentation? While we continue to live in political peril certain things are clear in our minds. Sure as hell Belizeans are not satisfied, we want and demand a better life and sure as hell we are not seeing recovery in near sight. But until Belizeans can unite, demand in one common voice, put up a good fight and bring our government to its knees, we will not see the change in the way Parliament conducts “Our Business.” Fair, victimization, corruption, nepotism and the lack of political will must be trampled out of our political system so that Belizeans can trust once more in our Government. It is only if we believe in ourselves and in our country that Belizeans will be able to save Belize and move our country forward.

Jorge Aldana

Re: 2011/2012 BUDGET DEBATED [Re: Marty] #403693
03/31/11 09:14 AM
03/31/11 09:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno appeared this morning on Love FM’s Morning Show where he once again reiterated the party’s position on the government’s budget for fiscal year 2011/2012. The Opposition Leader says they have several concerns on what they call the quote, “empty pot budget” presented by government.

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“We certainly have a number of concerns. For instance the issue of the fuel where the Prime Minister increased or removed the GST having the people believe that they are going to get some relief, but a few days later increased the import duties by about an average of a dollar on fuel. So then that increased the cost of fuel that is having a direct impact on the lives of every single Belizean. As a consumer it will affect you because with the GST when the price goes down the tax goes down so you pay less, but when the tax is fixed the way it is now, when the price goes down that tax remains the same and we will still have to pay this tax the government has imposed on you. On the business sector they could have claimed back whatever they pay in the GST as an expense. Now they can no longer do that, they have to absorb it or in some instances pass that cost to the consumers so it will have an increase in the cost of living. Where it is going to have the most profound negative effect is on the productive sector. With the productive sector they have to be competing with the imports that are coming into Belize or when they are exporting. With the GST they could have gotten a refund from what they have been paying on the GST. Unfortunately now that that has been removed they can no longer do that so their cost is going to go up and they are going to be less competitive and in some instances they will probably sell less or cut down on people they employ. It can have now a continuation of this spiralling negative effect on the economy. But what makes it even worse for the Belizeans is that now they are realizing that under the Windfall tax on the petroleum industry, the Prime Minister was boasting that they are going to get fifty percent of whatever they get over ninety dollars. What Belizeans did not realize is that the Prime Minister passed what they call the Statutory Instrument number twelve in 2008 that allows the oil companies to collect back whatever they pay in the Windfall tax. So, if they pay a dollar in Windfall tax they can claim that dollar as an expense when they are paying their income tax. So that fifty percent really only translates to thirty percent.”


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