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Opposition’s response: Budget is “empty” and “hollow”

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Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 3:01 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Lead Opposition Senator, Michael Peyrefitte, has described the new Budget as “empty” and “hollow” and not worthy of the mandate the People’s United Party were handed last November nationally, and in the towns and cities in March. All they have left, he added, is to distract from the national problems.

Belizeans have been starved of even the hope they had put in the PUP, said Peyrefitte, as the Government has resorted to raising fuel prices, cutting pay, and blaming the former administration even as those who have voted for them are now, he said, protesting against them.

And ironically, the former Speaker of the House pointed out, the Senate cannot stop a Money Bill, which the General Revenue and Appropriations Bill is – indeed, the biggest of all; but a no vote is meant, at least today, to express dissatisfaction with the course of the current administration, which he said was meant to present fresh ideas.

The clear need, he said, is to grow the economy in order to pay down international debt and lift all boats economically.

“Where is the vision in this Budget, what is in here other than changing the topics from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration? Cut and paste…The problem with this Budget, Madam President, and I’ll be full and frank with you: there is very little to debate. What is there to be debated? There is very little difference between this and the last four, five budgets,” Peyrefitte maintained.

Peyrefitte charged the Government with “disrespecting” the Public Service and essentially telling them their views and opinions don’t matter, then papering over that by presenting distractions and projecting “doom and gloom.” Meanwhile, $80 million is being provided by support from Taiwan, so the Government need only find $50 million more, but it needs creativity.

And it is inconsistent of the Government, he added, to pat nurses and frontline workers on the back for their sacrifices while knifing them in the back by cutting their pay. “They don’t want a pat on the back, they want you to pay them for the work they do,” he insisted.

And he concluded that the Budget is taking away the little people have in the middle of a pandemic, stating, “Now is not the time for cuts; now is the time for ideas…Leave the UDP alone, try to build your own legacy.”

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