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SHYNE BARROW_2021
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The limits of self-reliance

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Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021. 4:36 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Area representative for Mesopotamia Shyne Barrow deconstructed the hackneyed phrase, “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime,” in the context of self-reliance during the Budget Debate.

That is all well and good if you have the boat and fishing rod, said Barrow, but many Belizeans don’t.

So, a tough decision for the Government could have been to hold off on infrastructure projects in rural areas like Toledo or repurpose outstanding loans with the international financial institutions, which the previous administration did to the tune of $100 million, to help fund programs like the Unemployment Relief Program and Food Assistance Program.

Just $3 million is budgeted for social assistance, and $5 million per year for housing (counting the unused funds from 2020), and it is no wonder the unions are skeptical of the Government’s promises, said Barrow, and even worse, the Government has been spending unnecessarily for rentals and purchases. And it must be even more galling that the government came in claiming pay rises of 20 percent.

According to Barrow, the Opposition has “given the unions space,” amplifying their message that austerity starts at the top.

 

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