The Prime Minister had a lot more to say about his government's Plan Belize Medium Term Development Strategy, 2022 to 2026 - which was launched today. It's a strategy that plans to target six main areas of society, such as poverty reduction, corruption, and citizen security, and outlines how the government plans to realize them. According to the prime minister, they were able to develop this strategy after consultations with the public, and that if they were to use this development plan as a midterm report, well, the PM believes they'd give him at least a B+.

John Briceno, Prime Minister
"It's very exciting for our government to be able to plan the medium term development strategy, 2022-2026 and it's based on Plan Belize and at its core we have issues of land, health, education, jobs, housing, and also fighting corruption in public life. And so we based on those basic principles, we laid out the plans on infrastructure, poverty reduction, growing the economy, creating opportunities for people, protecting the environment, so it's simply something that has started off several years of consultations that we have been doing along the length and breadth of this country and now today we took that Plan Belize and then our technical people, the ministries, Economic Development, Sustainable Development, all the different ministries then tore it apart then put it together into an actionable plan and that's what we have presented to you today."

"I think that we have been doing way better than what people expected. If I were to ask you journalists in 2020, you would have never expected us to have a 5% unemployment rate, you would have never expected us to reduce the national debt from 130% to approximately 63%. You would have never expected us to be able to get tourism back on its feet so quickly, agriculture, the BPOs, the services, so there has been a lot and even with crime despite the fact that we had this hideous crimes or horrendous crime, whatever you want to call it, at the end of the year, and this weekend we had another one in Yo Creek - unfortunately most of this is drug related, but it's horrible and it's bad but the truth is you see the trend slowly start to come down, the work that Minister Musa has done along with his team, while he has been quiet without much fanfare we're seeing the benefits of their efforts. He has release almost 200 rogue cops, he has stated crime is going down, we are trying to reorganize the police, we're giving them more equipment, bringing up more technology, the camcorders, the cameras in different hotspots, there's a lot that has been accomplished. Do we have more work to do? Of course we have more work to do, will there be people that are going to be complaining, of course they're going to be complaining so when I hear a journalist will be saying, well people tell us, of course you have some people that will tell you but the truth of the matter, when you look at the tremendous amount of work that we have done, we are moving this country forward, we have increased the confidence in Belize that we have both local and international investors coming to Belize and our people are working and this country is moving forward."

But in Shyne Barrow's book, the government's grade is more like a D… minus. He explained that inflation and citizen security are just two areas that have been worse than ever, and also chastised the prime minister for turning the launch into a celebratory campaign speech.

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"If you listen to CEO Martinez, there is a much sober and practical prospectus being offered as the the way forward, what is the plan to achieve these benchmarks in trade deficit, citizen security, poverty reduction. And I was especially pleased to hear him say there is nothing to celebrate, that this is not a celebration, this will not be a celebration until we get these things done, this is what the CEO said. But then you listen to the prime minister, this was a celebration, this was a campaign rally, basically everything has already been accomplished and I don't even see what the MTDS serves, if you listen to the prime minister. So that is why it was important for me to be here today and continue to participate as the opposition has in order to achieve accountability of these proposed deliverables. You talk about ten thousand houses, only a few hundred houses have been built in the last two years. If within this term, they gave themselves a year outside of this term, but in order to achieve ten thousand houses, which they in essence doubled down on that mark. How do you achieve that on the current trajectory? You look at this report of 5% unemployment rate. According to who?"

Reporter:
"SIB."

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"I didn't hear SIB, I am checking right now, I don't think SIB would risk their credibility by saying that our unemployment rate is 5%, according to what statistics, that is not what we're facing on the ground."

"Getting back to a pre COVID state of affairs is not necessarily and accomplishment and that's what I'm saying, it was perplexing and disheartening to hear the prime minister turn the medium term strategy into a celebration and a campaign speech rather than a sober commitment to improvement, you can't get to where you're going if you already believe that you're there, and we're not there."

Channel 7