Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2022. 11:40 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Cordel Hyde said the Opposition overlooks many things in the criticism of the Budget and what gaps the Government has left behind.
The furniture money that Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow criticized was for furnishings at the new building in the Lake Independence area, he explained, for example.
So it is easy to get up and criticize, but we govern ‘in prose’ and for the benefit of all public officers and teachers and the population generally, said Hyde.
And it is to those public officers and teachers that he used the first part of his address to speak to – those whom he witnessed, especially in his Ministry, working tirelessly at a time of high prices and lower wages. Therefore, it was important for the Government to restore their cut wages as of July – even if that’s not nearly enough. He also acknowledged that the Government needs to do more listening and reaching out to hear from all at each level of society.
Hyde described the Budget as ‘the biggest ever’ but acknowledged that even two years after the start of the pandemic and economic shutdown here, Belize was not yet where it wanted to be or even needed to be.
Nonetheless, there will be more concrete houses (to add to the 167 already built), free education at Southside high schools, and for a subject especially near and dear to him – more for youth and sports, which he hopes will reverse our tide of lack of competitiveness and athlete development.
In the area of National Health Insurance, there is an increase of $3.2 million to help residents of Southside Belize City and the northern districts gain access to this service which Hyde said would help in preventative medicine to reduce death tolls for the likes of non-communicable diseases.
In his own Ministry, Hyde said he lives for the joy on the faces of someone who has gotten land in their name for the first time or seen their land issue resolved, but acknowledged that there was still a way to go. He noted that 30 percent more in land taxes had been collected in the last year, but too many have not paid their fair share, he stated.
Nonetheless, they push forward with untangling the land mess and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity.
Hyde concluded that the true test of any Government is not how many elections they win, but how many they have pushed toward success from failure.
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