Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Budget debate to begin #460654
03/21/13 07:40 AM
03/21/13 07:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,832
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
This Thursday, thirty one representatives in the House are expected to engage in a lively battle inside the National Assembly. The Opposition People’s United Party is expected to challenge the merits of the 2013-2014 budget which was tabled by the Prime Minister on March first, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said that his budget offers no new taxes and no cuts, while placing much emphasis on the success of the principal haircut of the renegotiated super bond. Armed with figures such as the growth of the economy by five point three percent during 2012, the PM is expected to defend his budget that the Opposition will certainly fight with tooth and nail. Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca, has gone on record to say that the budget does not have a plan to seriously deal with the economy and health sectors. Fonseca also criticized the Prime Minister for his short speech on crime. No doubts sparks will fly across the National Assembly chamber as representatives will either defend or attack the dollars and sense of this year’s budget.

Channel 5

Budget Debate Scheduled For Tomorrow' PM Says this Budget Is a Difficult One

The budget will be debated in the House of Representatives on Thursday and Friday of this week, and while the Opposition People’s United Party has criticized the government for not making any great strides in its first year of governance, the ruling party argues much to the contrary. While the budget does come with some constraints, the ruling party believes that it also has a few good features, and Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, says that his portfolio was given a boost.


"We have had an increase in our budget and we are satisfied with it; i think it was like a five percent increase in our budget and we’re satisfied that that will work for now; we would love to have more and we would always love to have more but we will work with what we have and we believe that with the new ideas and the new things we’re trying that we’re going to see success and we’re already beginning to see the signs of breaking through but it will take some more time before we can really say we have conquered."


"Any particular area that five percent will be invested in?"


"No I generally increase the budget but I must say we had to increase our fuel budget quite a bit; there has always been the cry about Belize Police not having sufficient fuel, thankfully the Ministry of Finance heard our cries and we’ve been able to get some more fuel, some more maintenance. As you know, we recently have increased our vehicle fleet by quite a bit with contributions from United States, with purchases from the Government of Belize and so that necessarily means we have to buy more fuel, so our fuel budget has gone up a bit to meet the new demands."

The budget debate will begin at ten on Thursday morning. It is a budget described by Prime Minister Dean Barrow as quote, “a difficult budget”.


Re: Budget debate to begin [Re: Marty] #460733
03/22/13 07:51 AM
03/22/13 07:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,832
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Budget Debate Begins Leader Of Opp to PM: "Sharp Tongue and Loud Mouth"

And while the game will be played on Saturday - the games began in Belmopan today - and by that we mean, the political games. That's the budget debate, a two day marathon of finger pointing, name calling, chest beating and self-congratulation, which is the centerpiece of the parliamentary calendar.

As per custom, the leader of the opposition got it rolling. And while the Honorable Fonseca is not known for his oratorical style, he did show a few flourishes today. Here's a few portions of his 40 minute reply to the budget:

Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of Opposition
"Again this year, Mr. Speaker, it is deeply regrettable that we must record the absolute failure of this UDP Government, to carry out any consultations in respect of this year's budget. This shameful failure is of course consistent with the UDP's total disregard and disrespect of the Government's social and economic partners in development. It is a budget disconnected divorced from the Belizean reality. This a budget, Mr. Speaker, in which 'full belly di tell empty bell, kip haat, bredda, kip haat, sista'. The budget continues a 5-year pattern of excuses, cruel empty rhetoric. Loud mouth, dirty mouth, and sharp tongue are all we've gotten from the UDP for 5 years. Let the record reflect that we on this side of the House join with our teachers and public officers in demanding that this Government delivers at a minimum, a 5% salary increase this fiscal year. Where are the 5,000 new jobs promised 5 years ago? Where is the reduced GST? It went in the other direction, Mr. Speaker. Where are the lower utility rates? I just told you that it went up 17% in January. These are things that they promised. Where is lower cost of living? Where are the shares in the national oil company you all promised the people? Where is the 6% annual growth? Next year, it's going to go back to 2.7%. Where is lower fuel cost, Mr. Speaker? 5 years of UDP nothing, 5 years of UDP waste, 5 years of UDP corruption, 5 years of growing unemployment, 5 years of increasing crime, 5 year of higher prices, 5 years of petty, arrogant leadership under the United Democratic Party."

Hon. John Saldivar - Area Representative, Belmopan
"And he's talking, I'm sure, for political gain again to say that they are on the side of the public officers and the teachers. Let me remind him that it is they that froze the increments for teachers and public officers in 2005. Public officers and teachers will get their raise. They deserve their raise, and they will get it when this Government, and this country is able to responsibly afford to give them their raise. When it comes to the Union, Mr. Leader of Opposition, what do you think has been central to the negotiation with the Unions in terms of the salary increase that they are asking for? The budget has been central to those negotiations because it is the budget upon which the Prime Minister has promised that if we get the kind of revenue performance that we wish to have, that it is based on that, that the public officers and teachers will get their raise. So, they have been studying the budget. We have been talking the budget with them. And then, to talk about the Chamber and the business community which we are not consulting; it is this Government, Mr. Speaker, that appointed a liaison officer in no place other than the Prime Minister's Office."

Rt. Hon. Said Musa - Area Representative, Fort George
"The Prime Minister presents a budget for 2013-2014 with another gaping hole of 127 million dollars in financing shortfall. Is that outward and upward, or is it backward and downward? The reality in Belize today, Mr. Speaker, is that the masses of the Belizean people are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. The cost of living keeps going up higher and higher, the grocery bill, the light bill, the water bill, the rent, the mortgage payment, the school fees, and the medical expenses all have become a heavy burden which the bottom half of the population, mired in poverty and misery, are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible to bear. Now, the Member for Belmopan, the Minister of National Security, was talking about the PUP freezing the increment of the public officers and teachers in 1 year. That is so. What he did not mention is that it was the People's United Party Government that gave not 1, but 3 annual salary increase of 8% for junior officers and 5% for senior officers. The New Year's gift for 2013 from this UDP Government was to slap an additional 17% increase on electricity to consumers in Belize. The people will recall, Mr. Speaker, that the PUC had proposed that the Government should pay part of this increase on the street lighting bill. But the pro-poor UDP Government said, 'None of that, Government will not pay a cent more. Let the people pay.' Mr. Speaker, even in his budget presentation, which should be a serious discourse on the country's finances and the state of the economy - I cannot let this pass, Mr. Speaker, because it really was very insulting and despicable of the Prime Minister, if I might say so, in his boorish arrogance. He could not resist inherent proclivity to be nasty, describing the Opposition members as vermin-like behavior, equating us to excriment. Now, Mr. Speaker, if I were to get up in this House and talk - accuse anybody of being a piece of _ over there, I'm sure you would stop me. But this is really unacceptable."

There's was much more from the house - and we'll have it for you later as Fonseca calls Mark Espat, the UDP's "Red Eye Bwai."

Channel 7

Re: Budget debate to begin [Re: Marty] #460738
03/22/13 08:09 AM
03/22/13 08:09 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,832
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Lackluster budget debate

The 2013-2014 budget debate took place in the House this morning. The Speaker called for good behavior and by and large House members were in true form restraining from the usual mudslinging. But he would note later during the presentations that few members had actually referred to the estimates.  The Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, set the tone for the opposition side, saying the budget was an empty one but government was loud mouth and sharp tongue.  News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports on the inspiring debate.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The budget debate of the General Revenue Appropriation bill for fiscal year 2013-2014 was lackluster. However, the opening of today’s house meeting was the Prime Minister’s call for unity on the unfounded Guatemalan claim.

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The cabinet must be seized of this matter as must the Leader of the Opposition and his party. But I must say that I don’t like what is being proposed by the Guatemalans. Nevertheless, presumably after we’ve had a chance to analyze things closely and Leader of the Opposition had a chance to do the same and we can exchange views, we can take a unified national position.”

The PM then repeated that the Super Bond has been successfully renegotiated.

Dean Barrow

“I just wanted to inform you and this honorable House and the nation that Belize’s Debt Exchange offer has now finally, legally, conclusively closed. This happened yesterday with the submission of all the relevant legal documentation. Tenders were presenting eighty-six point two percent of the aggregate principal amount of the eligible claim were received by the expiration date of the offer and consistent with the collective action clause in the original bonds, the entirety of those bonds have now been exchanged for the new 2038 bonds. Consequent upon that, for those who set store by what the rating agencies have to say, I have made it plain that I don’t. I believe that in our peculiar circumstances where we are not borrowing anything new commercially, rating agencies and their pronouncements which can send up or lower the borrowing costs to countries on who they pronounce. It has no real relevance to us; nevertheless, there are those who don’t agree with me and as I say, they set store on the actions of the rating agencies. And they will be placed to know that as a consequence of the successful restructuring, Standard and Poors has announced that the ratings on Belize have raised to B – B-minus as a consequence of the completion of the debt exchange.”

Francis Fonseca

The Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca lashed out at the Super Bond’s chief negotiator, former P.U.P. Albert Area Representative Mark Espat, who he now dubbed the ‘red eye boy.’

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“The bond restructuring team led by the Prime Minister’s new red eye boy, his Excellency, his Excellency the ambassador was a disastrous failure. The team leader’s initial high risk strategy of low-balling the bondholders turned out to be a near fatal mistake; you had to rush over there PM—turned out to be a near fatal mistake. The initial options were soundly rejected and what Belize ended up accepting was a far, far cry from any of the original indicative scenarios. The truth is Mr. Speaker that if it were not for the good faith of the chairman of the bondholder committee, Mr. Mediratta and his long-standing relationship with Belize developed over many years under the People’s United Party Administration, superbond 2038 would not have gotten done. So Prime Minister respectfully, save us all the bouquet throwing at your red eye boy. We know the truth. Ih should throw some bouquets in other places. We know the truth Mr. Speaker; the Belizean people know the truth. In any case, he has been handsomely rewarded for his restructuring—not of the bond—he has been handsomely rewarded for the restructuring of the Albert Division and I am confident that he will be grateful and join your party for that handsome reward.”

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security 

“They dread going to the polls in four years time because the four years of unprecedented growth and development that we will experience under the U.D.P. will make it almost impossible for them to be the government next time around. And I hear them lambasting Ambassador Espat. I would want to think that in their minds, 2012 Mister Speaker was Mark Espat 1.0. In 2017, they may very well see Mark Espat 2.0.”

The Leader of the Opposition chastised the ruling party for not consulting stakeholders on the budget.

Francis Fonseca

“The absolute failure of this U.D.P. government to carry out any consultations in respect of this year’s budget; this shameful failure is of course consistent with the U.D.P.’s total disregard and disrespect of the government’s social and economic partners in development. No consultation with the unions, no consultation with the council of churches, no consultation with the agro-productive sector, no consultation with the Chamber of Commerce or the Belize Business Bureau, no consultation with youth and student government leaders, no consultation with our artists and musicians; no consultation Mister Speaker with the Belizean people.”

One of the P.U.P.’s message centered on the U.D.P.’s quote ‘loud mouth and sharp tongue.’ Unquote.

Francis Fonseca

“This budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 does nothing to change course. Unemployment and underemployment continue to devastate our Belizean families wreaking particular destruction and devastation on the hopes and aspirations of our youth and women. Some thirty thousand Belizeans actively seeking a job cannot find one. ‘Loud mouth and sharp tongue’ do not create jobs Mister Prime Minister.”

Said Musa

Said Musa, Freetown Area Rep.

“Now in 2013, our dear prime minister is once again fantasizing as an Olympic champion this time taking a victory lap with laurels and garlands—much in evidence—while as the Leader of the Opposition said we didn’t see any garlands and laurels when we arrived this morning Mister Speaker. Whatever the fantasy, you were comparing yourself to an Olympian. It is time for a reality check. At the end of 2007-2008, when they took over, the outstanding external death totaled—external as well as domestic—was two point two billion dollars. Now in 2013, after the so called superbond has been restructured and we now have superbond 2038, the total external debt according to the Prime Minister in his budget speech totals two point four billion dollars. So with all the talk of restructuring and saving everything else, we are now two hundred million dollars more deeper in debt than we were in 2008 when the People’s United Party left government. The prime minister can fulminate as much as he wants about that we in the P.U.P. have nothing to show. Well Mister Prime Minister and all of you over there, tell that to the over fifty thousand Belizean mothers and their families who benefited from free affordable quality health care under the national health insurance scheme that P.U.P. initiated on south side Belize City and expanded to the southern districts; Stann Creek and Toledo. Tell them too why is it that as soon as you came into office, you started dismantling this great health program. A great health program, one of the best for the poor people of this country; if you really want to fight poverty, talk about medical expenses. Why are you cutting back on NHI? Why are you suspending so many of the programs of NHI? But you want to talk about safety net for the people? You are cutting back on a program for people that can least afford it. And then tell them too why you have suspending the program when by now it should have been extended to entire country of Belize.”

John Saldivar

“Public officers and teachers will get their raise; they deserve their raise and they will get it when this country is able to responsibly afford to give them their raise. In the U.D.P. version of economic growth Mr. Speaker, this economic growth is being fueled by growth in agriculture, growth in tourism, growth in construction, growth in fisheries, growth in aquaculture, expansion in hotel construction, better performance in sugar, in banana. This is what the U.D.P. version of economic growth is based on.”


Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

This  afternoon the Ministers of Education, Natural Resources and Human Transformation from the government’s side made their presentations; as did the representatives from the Orange Walk Central, Stann Creek West, Toledo East and Corozal South East as well as Belize Central. The debate continues Friday morning. 

Channel 5

Re: Budget debate to begin [Re: Marty] #460831
03/23/13 07:47 AM
03/23/13 07:47 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,832
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

BCCI: Announcement - Letter to PM re 2013-2014 Budget

Dear Prime Minister,

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reviewed the draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014. The proposed budget calls for $934 million in overall spending, $72 million more than last year, but promises that "this budget will see absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts." GOB assumes a GDP growth of 3% over the previous fiscal year with $934.3 million in total spending and total revenue and grants of $871.7 million resulting in an overall deficit of $62.6 million. We note that spending has significantly increased with no mention of the major sources for financing this spending outside of domestic borrowing, bilateral and multilateral loans, which will only serve to increase our indebtedness. The BCCI has continuously pointed out to GOB a number of areas where it is critical to cut expenditure to ensure sustainability while creating room for the economy to grow. We believe that those expenditure cuts are realistic and necessary and to that end would like to suggest/reiterate several possibilities for consideration.

  • The pension age should be increased to 65 since the proposed allocation for pension has increased in excess of $5 million. In addition, given GOB's exorbitant Wage Bill of a projected $483.2 million or 56% of total expenditure for FY 2012/13, BCCI suggests that GOB should freeze all hiring with the goal of lowering the wage bill by attrition.
  • Following our review of the Auditor General's 2010-2011 Report BCCI believes that the House of Representatives should never have allowed another budget to be read without corrective action being taken following the irregularities, apparent corruption and waste pointed out in this report. Diligent attention to addressing the contents of this report would underscore government's commitment to transparency and good governance.
  • The BCCI does not believe in Big Government as this puts a strain on the populace which must foot the tax bill for same and serves only to further inflate the wage bill and damage an economy in fragile recovery.
  • The deployment of Foreign Service officers should be strategically applied in areas that would be most beneficial for Belize, particularly for investment attraction purposes. Further, these officers' performance in attracting investors should be tracked as part of an annual review process. Each Head of Mission should be thought of as a Trade Representative and tasked and trained accordingly.
  • Another major concern is the $60 million infrastructure package financed and implemented through the Belize Infrastructure limited, the wholly GOB-owned, private company which promises to "raise that tide that will float all Belizean boats." This newly registered company raises concerns. Will it replace the Ministry of Works? How will it stimulate private sector growth? How many new jobs will be created and in what sectors is this anticipated? The BCCI feels that this requires more consultation to better understand the objectives of GOB.
  • Government should consider applying the benefits achieved via the Superbond savings to implement measures to actively stimulate the private sector, Le. easing the layers of taxation; giving breaks for capital investment; applying cross··border duties and taxes to cost of goods only rather than CIF, given the impact of petroleum price increases on freight rates. This in turn will lead to sustainable economic growth.

The above list is in no particular order of importance, and is by no means exhaustive. However, these are the matters that the BCCI consider to be most impactful.

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry reiterates its commitment to working in partnership with

the government to ensure creation of an enabling business environment that promotes sustainable

growth and economic vitality.

Kay L Menzies (Ms.)
President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Hon J Espat Goes From House "Brat" To Most Magnanimous

Last year the highlight of the Budget Debate came from rookie representatives Julius Espat and Santi Castillo. They got into a classic verbal spar- the highlight of which was when Espat loudly proclaimed that the only standing orders he adheres to are the ones that come from his constituents.

So this year, the line-up was set the same as it was last year, with Espat leading off for the PUP - and Castillo responding to him for the UDP. But, Espat threw what baseballers would call a "change-up." He was a model of parliamentary restraint - even though he was highly critical of the Barrow budget. Here are a few excerpts of his 35 minute presentation:

Hon. Julius Espat - Area Representative, Cayo South
"Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister has hit the nail on the head, when he compares his budget performances and this budget with the likes of a Harry Houdini. In reality Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minster is an illusionist, and his budget is but a mere illusion. How is it possible that the stats quoted in the Prime Minister's budget indicate that our economy is growing when our fathers cannot get a job, when our highly educated youths coming out of the universities cannot fine meaningful employment, when our poor mothers do not have the means to prepare a nutritious meal for their children, when our Belizean people cannot afford to clothes or send our loving children to school? We do not feel confident enough that we are willing to borrow from the banks; we are losing our homes and businesses at alarming rates. The newspapers are flooded with foreclosures. Here are examples of the publications of just this month. Mr. Speaker I took clippings from the month of March just to show you foreclosures, and it is alarming, every single page. Orange Walk foreclosures, Belize City foreclosures, San Ignacio foreclosures, Dangriga foreclosures, San Pedro foreclosures, and don't even talk about Toledo and Dangriga because it goes on and on Mr. Speaker; this is ridiculous. Normal Belizean businesses are closing down one after the other, down town Belize City alone Majul Sharma King Street, closed down; Papu Punjab Albert and Bishop Street, closed down; Big Daddy's Dinner - remember that, Mr. Speaker - Big Daddy's Diner at Commercial Center, closed down; Macy's Café on Bishop Street, closed down; El Centro Restaurant, one of the nicest rice and beans closed down; Venus Records, King Street and Albert Street, closed down, A to Z on King Street, closed down, Venus Photo Studio, Bishop Street East Canal closed down; Sings Souvenirs, Albert Street close down; Juanita's Store, Albert Street and King Street closed down - Yellow, you will know about this - King's Record, North Front Street, Swing Bridge, closed down; Excellent Dinner, corner East Canal and Cemetery Road, closed down; Odette's Store, Albert Street; Mopan Hotel, Regent Street and Ferrel Lane closed down; Domino's Store, Orange Street closed down; Delta Store Albert Street; Mr. Speaker I don't want to go on because this is just one two street, and it shows you an idea. The PM's utterances of zero tolerance for corruption, I've heard it many times, hip swift and effective action for the slightest wiff, the sharpening of the sword on 2 sides, all sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing, and in my second language 'absolutamente nada'. Mr. Speaker the last attempted audit was for 2010-2011 and the auditor is saying she could not satisfy herself as to the money collected, and spent, and as to the wareabouts of stocks; vehicles, heavy duty equipment's and other assets that our hard earnd taxes paid for. She was forced to withhold her opinion on the national account. Paragraph 3.5 in chapter 3 of her report the auditor general states, 'As a result of the significant material errors and omissions identified in the financial statement received from the Accountant General, I am withholding my opinion on the statement.' This is a serious indictment on the UDP Government; it is time for the people of Belize to realize that if they do not rise up and demand accountability from this government, then only the ones that live and benefit in Barrow Land will eventually survive. The rest of us, Mr. Speaker - and probably you are a part of it too - will be collateral damage."

And while Espat called for an uprising, he was also uncharacteristically even-handed in praising those UDP Ministers who have helped him in Cayo South. In fact, his praises almost turned into a love-fest:

Hon. Julius Espat
"So I applaud the Minister Patrick Faber, yes 3 cheers for the Minister; he is a man of his word. I went to him and he assisted, and Mr. Speaker that's all we want. Remember, the guys on that side, you are not our enemies, we are just political opponents, and we take a little jab once in a while, but we are not enemies. We are Belizeans, and that's why I applaud the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Speaker of the House
"I'm not sure I'm used to all this love."

Hon. Julius Espat
"The Prime Minister and I have been throwing jabs across this floor for a couple house meetings, but I respect him as the Prime Minister of this country. And the last time I went to him to seek a request for the people of Cayo South, Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister was professional enough, he address me. We spoke and he gave me his word, and I assumed at the time, being young at this, that it will not happen. I thought that it would not happen. Low and behold, 15 minutes after the meeting the Prime Minster called back and said, 'Your request has been granted, not only for the people of Cayo South but for all 14 constituencies that the People's United Party.' That is what a Prime Minister should do when he is Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte
"Members calm down please, I know we don't know how to handle this, but I certainly don't; I'm shocked."

Hon. Santino Castillo - Area Representative, Caribbean Shores
"Let me divert briefly to rebut some of the comments made by the Hon. Member from Cayo South, who we thought was the brat of this house. But, he was very restrained today, showing a lot of love, so I guess I have to show a little bit of love myself. I think what the Prime Minister meant, where he spoke about Harry Houdini, is that we, the UDP Government, under his stewardship were able to get out of the bangles, that the PUP Government left us under. in fact, the last trip, the super bond would have been the one that would have killed Belize, had this UDP Government not gotten in and escape itself. The PUP are the last on to speak about accountability, that would be like if the Hon. Requena would call me short. He speaks of virtues, The PUP, virtues? Please."

And later on, we'll have much more from the House Meeting, as the whole subject of the Red Eye Boy came up many times today...

Channel 7

Re: Budget debate to begin [Re: Marty] #460906
03/24/13 07:52 AM
03/24/13 07:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,832
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Day 2 of Budget Debate Concludes In Nation's Capital

Day two of the 2013-2014 budget debate featured a few uncommon events.  The visitors’ gallery at the National Assembly was filled today with students from Sacred Heart Primary School in Dangriga.  It was at the invitation of the Speaker of the House, Michael Peyrefitte, who from the onset, asked the parliamentarians to raise the bar in terms of their conduct in the House.  The second feature was that there seemed to be, for the first time, a level of courtesy between the two sides.  This was how it played out.

Julius Espat

Cayo South Representative (PUP)

“We have been able to assist with the transportation of our children, the Minister of Education has graciously assisted us as part of that team, so I applaud the Minister, Patrick Faber; three cheers for the Minister – he is a man of his word, I went to him and he assisted.  Remember, the guys on that side, you are not our enemies, we are just political opponents and we take a little jab once in a while but we are not enemies, we are Belizeans and that’s why I applaud the Minister of Education and the Honorable Boots Martinez has been good to us too and the Minister of Tourism, thank you so much for helping us with the ATM Caves; that was something very good with the ATM Caves in the village in Teakettle but I have one simple request, Mr. Minister; the villagers are asking Minister Heredia – you have spent the money at the ATM Caves but the villagers of Teakettle get no benefit from the cave, we are asking if there is a possibility of allocating a small piece, I will design it myself, free of cost, so that you can have a market where the villagers can show their trade and bring out their baskets and make some money.  If you can help the people of Cayo South with that, we would really appreciate it.  As I said, Mr. Speaker, we are here to be check and balance, if they do good, we applaud, if they do bad, we criticize, that is the role that we have to play.”

The only heated moment was an exchange in the latter part of the session between the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber and the PUP’s Leader, Francis Fonseca and Stann Creek West Representative. Here are highlights of that moment.


 But let me finish with the list, San Pedro High School, St. Michael’s High School, Stann Creek Ecumenical, where he teaches and he should know better but I will deal with that in a minute because he said a whole bunch of nonsense just now, Toledo Community College, Wesley College, all of these schools…..”


“One second member; to address the concern, he opened a door, Leader of Opposition, he is just trying to explain it; when the member of Stann Creek West listed off his 23 villages, there was no issue but am sure you……..”


“Mr. Speaker, the reason I listed these schools is because all of these schools…..”


“Point of order, Mr. Speaker.”


“One second, Minister.”


“I appreciate that the Minister has an opportunity to respond to a specific point which he said the member made which he wishes to clarify but this does not open the opportunity for him to speak again about the education budget.  He has had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker; why did he not list those schools when he was making his presentation.  Except for Georgetown, every single school was built by the People’s United Party.”


“Now, you are grand-standing because that wasn’t in the discussion.”


“Leader of the Opposition, if any of those were not built, I have to give them an opportunity to respond to that.  You are opening a door; the member from Dangriga did make certain statements.”


“Mr. Speaker, yesterday what I did, is I listed the schools that were not benefiting and that was what the member of Belize Rural Central and the member of Dangriga jumped on.  They misrepresented what I said and so I am merely clarifying.  They know, Mr. Speaker, that the former Minister, member for Freetown engaged the member from Stann Creek in a bogus scheme to build Georgetown Technical on private land and wasted a hundred thousand dollars of the government’s money.”


“Members of the gallery, one more outburst and I will clear the gallery.”


“I never owned any private property and he knows that the People’s United Party government and I, as the Minister of Education never engaged in any activity to use any private land for any purpose of that nature.  It was I, as Minister of Education who ensured that we had the government land available for the building of that school.”


“One second, one second; you see how easy I allowed you to clarify your point?  Now, allow the Minister of Education to clarify his point.”


“Mr. Speaker, nobody has to take my word for it; the students who are here from Dangriga and anybody who wants to go and see, they can go and see; ride with me down the Hummingbird Highway and you get to the approach of Georgetown Technical and you will see, Mr. Speaker……..”


“Total fabrication!”


“Wait, Minister, one second, one second; Member, you have a point of order or a point of clarification?”


“I want that at the next meeting of the National Assembly that he brings the documents that shows that Rodwell Ferguson owns the land at the Georgetown junction.”


“Proceed, Minister.”


“Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, anybody who wants to see can travel down the road and see where that former Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Freetown and who was the  Minister of Education spent a hundred thousand dollars of government’s money, of tax payers’ dollars, the evidence is in the ground, on the piece of land, owned by the member of Stann Creek West where the school is not present right now because when I became the minister and the United Democratic Party came into office, we found out that that was the case and we found land, all this I explained yesterday in my presentation, we found an adjacent piece of land that the school has now been built and it is a wonderful, state of the art facility.  Is it not true, Mr. Leader of the Opposition, that you were the Minister of Education that spent a hundred thousand dollars, all the steel, all the cement is right there in the ground; if you think I am lying, anyone can go and see it.  I urge the media to go and see it; it’s right there.  A hundred thousand dollars in a failed foundation that was built on land that was owned by the member for Stann Creek West, that is factual; it is there for anybody to go and see it.”

In his presentation, the PUP’s Cayo South Representative, Julius Espat, referred to the budget as quote, “an illusion”, making reference to the state of the economy, the unemployment rate, the cost of living, rising fuel prices and, using from the newspaper publications, made references about the number of business foreclosures. 

Julius Espat

“How is it possible that the stats quoted in the Prime Minister’s budget presentation indicate that the economy is growing when our fathers cannot find a job; when our highly educated youths coming out of universities cannot find meaningful employment; when our poor mothers do not have the means to prepare a nutritious meal for our children; when the Belizean people cannot afford to clothe or send our loving children to school.  How is it possible that our economy is growing when the unemployment rate is at an all time high; statistics showing us that it is even worst in the district that I come from, the Cayo District?  How can we even think of growing this economy if normal Belizeans do not have access to land?  How can we grow this economy if there is absolutely no accountability in how this government spends the people’s money?  How can the Prime Minister say this economy is growing when our poor productive Belizeans like the two thousand residents of Armenia Village in the Cayo South constituency still do not have a drop of water in their community in the dry season; we are now living in the 21st century; man has sent rovers to prod and investigate Mars while the village of Armenia only lies ten minutes away from our nation’s capital and these people cannot get the basic services that they deserve.”

The next presenter was Minister of State, Santino Castillo, who supported the budget and pointed to his party’s practices of accountability. 

Erwin Contreras, who supported his party’s budget, said that the economic indicators show growth and a projection on that same path.  But the PUP’s Ivan Ramos of Dangriga criticized the lands distribution system and zeroes in on what he called the “flaws” in the education system.

Minister of Housing, Michael Finnegan, congratulated the Former Speaker of the House, Sylvia Flores, on her achievement as woman of the year, bestowed by the US Embassy. 


Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater
San Pedro Fun Finder
Paradise Guy Event Calendar
Cayo Event Calendar

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Belize Happy Adventures
Conch Creative
Caribbean Culture & Lifestyle
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
ShoutChat Box
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (bobcat bill), 292 guests, and 0 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online2,982
Jan 29th, 2019 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1