Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2021. 9:17 am CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Shyne Barrow: Prime Minister (PM) John Briceño could not answer my question about COVID19 unemployment relief and food assistance in a straight forward fashion.
The PM forgot he must be held accountable to the Belizean people who are suffering and who he works for!
The tax payers pay the Prime Minister and all the Area Representatives thus there must be a transparent accounting of how the tax payers money is being spent to help the tax payers who are in a socio-economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
I was one of the most aggressive in lobbying Prime Minister Barrow for COVID-19 food assistance and relief funds. To that end over 40,000 families got COVID-19 food assistance under the UDP Administration.
Another 70,000 people got the COVID-19 unemployment relief fund under the UDP administration.
Those details were provided regularly by the previous government. All Prime Minister Briceno and his Cabinet have to do is give us the number of people receiving COVID-19 food and financial relief since he took office last year.
The refusal to release the statistics on COVID-19 relief is bad governance and proof that this PUP Government is failing the people in urgent need, lack of transparency also opens the door for corruption and the politicization of COVID-19 relief distribution. In plain english the PUP Government will help who they want and that’s bad for Belize.
The PUP administration promised to be better than the last UDP administration but instead they are worse. Instead of expanding the COVID-19 unemployment fund they abolished it, instead of making sure the 40,000 families got their food assistance in a timely fashion they drastically reduced the number of people receiving and delayed the distribution.
As a legislator it is my sacred obligation to hold the Prime Minister and his government to account for their failed COVID-19 relief response. I will continue to ask the difficult questions on behalf of my constituents and the people of Belize at every sitting of the House of Representatives.
I owe it to the people in Mesopotamia who have stopped receiving their grocery bags and the people who have stopped receiving the unemployment relief fund.
What will these people do? How will they eat? How will they pay their rent ?
I owe it to the people across this nation who are suffering due to the failure of this government to respond urgently to the socio-economic needs caused by COVID-19 State of Emergency.
The people of Mesopotamia and the people across this country did not want to hear what the Musa Administration did as an excuse during the Barrow administration, the people wanted action which for the most part they got from the UDP administration.
The Briceno administration cannot blame their failures on the Barrow administration, the people do not want to hear those excuses, the people want the PUP administration to deliver. The people want the PUP to fix the problems to which they had all the solutions when they were in opposition campaigning for change.
The people need food assistance, unemployment relief money, a hold on evictions and a hold on mortgage payments until curfew is lifted and the economy reopens and they can get back to work.
If the PUP administration have tens of millions of dollars to buy new vehicles and build roads to no where they can find the money to provide the food and financial aide to those unemployed due to the COVID-19 State Emergency.
This PUP government is focused only on the health aspect of the COVID-19 State of Emergency and completely neglecting the humanitarian aspect.
The PUP government must not pride itself in saving the people from the COVID-19 disease if simultaneously they leave the people to starve and go homeless.￼
Hon. Shyne Barrow
House of Representatives
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