here's some info on the PUP platform, I will add the UDP information when that interview is released on Thursday.
P.U.P. manifesto: lower taxes, more land
Election manifestos in most
countries are the kind of
documents that are read once
and promptly forgotten by
voters and politicians alike. That
practice was certainly true in
Belize, but in recent years a
funny thing happened:
manifestos somehow became serious business. The
turning point came in the 1993 campaign when it is
widely believed that the U.D.P. manifesto promise
of "free education" was a major factor in that
party's dramatic come from behind victory. In 1998
it was the P.U.P.'s turn to "out-manifesto" its
opponent with promises of ten thousand houses
and fifteen thousand jobs. So what will the People's
United Party do for an encore? Today, thanks to an
upbeat high-tech extravaganza, I found out.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
In presenting its manifesto for 2003-2008, the
People's United Party spared no expense...walls awash
in blue, twenty-eight standard bearers strong and
supporters galore. Welcome to Belizean politics in the
twenty-first century. Party leader Said Musa was quick
to set the tone.
Prime Minister Said Musa
"I am sure you will agree that we achieved most of
what we promised in 1998, came close to achieving
the rest and did many more things that we had not
And so began the long list of the P.U.P.'s "we wills".
Prime Minister Said Musa
"Fiscal prudence and sound public investment will
remain the cornerstones of our economic management
as we continue to grow the economy, while ensuring
that the disadvantaged benefit as well those who are
better equipped to take advantage of better
opportunities. We will ensure the creation of twenty
thousand new jobs, local entrepreneurs will have the
same access to investment incentives as foreign
investors, and we will direct all future foreign
investors away from retail businesses and towards
agro industry and other productive and foreign
exchange earning enterprises. We will remove sales
tax from more basic items and home phones. We will
abolish property tax on properties valued under twenty
thousand dollars. Abolish stamp duty on land valued
under five thousand dollars, and abolish stamp fee for
government leases and further reduce electricity and
"Education will continue to be the number one priority
for the next P.U.P. government, and we will make sure
that every Belizean child will have access to primary
and secondary education. We will invest ten million
dollars in more and better preschools and day care
centres; build fifteen hundred new classrooms; ensure
the provision of free basic primary school textbooks to
the needy; build more high schools; invest forty
million dollars to complete the C.E.T. vocational and
technical programs in all districts."
"The new P.U.P. government will assist every Belizean
family that needs land to build a house, start a
business or work a farm. We will provide thirty
thousand house lots to first time land owners; make
available suitable and surveyed agricultural land for
small farmers; convert all existing government leases
to free hold title cheaply and quickly."
But with the opposition saying that the P.U.P. is
writing cheques the government can't cash, party point
man Mark Espat believes that despite the hype, it is
the past that will decide the future.
Mark Espat, P.U.P. Candidate, Albert Division
"For people to believe you, for it to be credible, you
have to have a record. I believe we have that record
of building Belize. Yes, I do agree this is an ambitious
manifesto, but the demands of development and
demands of the people are greater than ever before
and I think our party and our government has to step
up to meeting these expectations."
Prime Minister Said Musa
"You're preparing to exercise your power to chose your
government for the next five years. They say that
memories are short in politics..."
And no doubt the P.U.P. is hoping the public will soon
forget last week's revelations by the United
Democratic Party of an exclusive fifteen-year contract
signed between G.O.B. and Novelo's Bus Line.
"What's the deal with those documents that the
U.D.P. has presented?"
Max Samuels, Minister of Transport
"The documents are their problem. The question of
Novelo's having a franchise or a concession is not so."
"These...the copies they presented show your
signature. Did you sign any agreement like this?"
"We had some business to assist the Belizean
transportation industry, and we took some steps in
those directions, which had nothing to do with a
franchise to Novelo's."
"But where there any documents signed?"
"Documents were signed, but not for any concession.
You probably would want to know that a concession or
a franchise would need to go to the House of
Representatives for approval."
"We have tried to be always on the side of the
commuters. If this has meant facilitating our own
Belizean companies trying to make a company
stronger that employs hundreds of Belizeans, we have
done so. I don't think our government has anything to
be ashamed of, we want to always be on the side of
the commuters of Belize."
Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Candidate, Freetown
"What we share with you today is the product of
nationwide consultation and dialogue, grounded in the
wisdom of the Belizean people and guided by our
nation's best interests. Our party is confident that in
the days and weeks ahead, as Belizeans focus on our
message and plan of action we will all agree that
now, perhaps more than ever, Belize needs the
People's United Party."
Copies of the P.U.P. manifesto are available online
On Thursday the United
Democratic Party makes its presentation.