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Faber faults cuts to education, social programs; Fonseca hits back

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Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2021. 1:15 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber said he considers cuts to the education and social programming projects particularly painful and not equal and equitable as claimed by the Prime Minister.

School transportation expenditure has been cut in half, hurting bus runs in rural areas; the education subsidy has been reduced; costs to primary and secondary schools have been slashed, and the vaunted social programs started under the United Democratic Party (UDP) have had a knife taken to them, including food pantry, food assistance and unemployment relief. The food assistance program was reduced to a third of its former finance commitment, from $29 to $10 million.

And the former Minister of Education lamented that funds for resource centers in his and other constituencies as well as the Gateway Youth Center and Frank Lizama Skills Training Center have been cut, as well as RESTORE Belize which is run from the Prime Minister’s office.

People will clearly not win, Faber claimed, with the Ministry of Human Development backpedalling from helping Belizeans still without a job.

At least, he noted, the PUP appears to have come around to the notion of infrastructure fuelling national recovery, considering the continuation and start of many projects initially funded under a UDP administration. Both major highways, the Caracol and Coastal Road and others will continue to be funded to their completion.

But successor Francis Fonseca scorned Faber’s efforts to reach out to the trade unions, announcing at the start of his presentation that union sources made known to him that months before general elections, Faber’s Ministry of Education reached out to renew the contract to rent his Belmopan quarters – it was dropped, as Faber noted in objection.

And the unions have told him during negotiations, Fonseca added, that no matter their disagreements with his Government, they cannot trust Faber as a future Prime Minister.

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