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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2018. 12:24 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, in the absence of Prime Minister Dean Barrow who is still recovering from back surgery, delivered the Independence Day address to the nation on the 37th anniversary of Belize’s Independence.

Faber credited the government and Barrow’s Cabinet for ensuring that democracy and the rule of law always prevail despite many challenges facing the country. He also declared that the government, realizing that it has trailed behind in acquiring technology to improve the efficiency and quality of service at government departments, is determined to implement a digitized e-Cabinet system. Faber said the new system is expected to see a marked improvement in the level of service to the public over the next two years.

Faber said the project has already started but will accelerate with a new program in October to revamp tax institutions. He added that there are other investments aimed at strengthening the capacity of people, processes and technology in GOB departments.

Faber also spoke on the status of national security, noting that since two emergency zones were declared in Belize city, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of street violence which had caused the state of emergency to be enacted. He said the immediate response is not the only way to tackle the problem of crime. He added that with this in mind, the BOOST and Pantry programs, as well as education subsidies and housing grants will continue to be rolled out and expanded, targeting those families most at risk.

Speaking on the economy, Faber noted Belize’s outstanding performance in the tourism sector, helping to boost the country’s economy by 5.8% in the second quarter of 2018. He added that despite strenuous financial obligations, GOB has been able to meet all its payments while maintaining strong financial reserves, stating “there is no sign of any crisis in the foreseeable future”.

Faber said with all the economic activity, it is important to continue developing infrastructure, noting that the four-lane Philip Goldson highway renovation is almost complete and will conclude with a replacement of the Haulover bridge. He also said that rehabilitation works on the Coastal road will begin by mid-2019, while work has already started on the new ‘airport bypass’ road connecting the airport directly to the George Price Highway.

 

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