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Leader of the Opposition blasts “bloated” Budget and “business as usual” Government

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2023. 4:16 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow has described the 2023-24 national Budget as confirming Belize’s continued “spiral into the abyss” from a Government that claims it is “open for business” but is acting like “business as usual.”

By that, Barrow means “time fi we eat” – supporters of the People’s United Party (PUP) who he says are now gorging after 13 years in Opposition.

Barrow’s familiar theme of his two-hour presentation was that the Government came in with “every plan in the world” and after lifting Belize out of the COVID-induced contraction, is “underperforming” compared to their promises and even where the economy was in 2019 when we were “the best in the region.”

He added that there are rumblings of “frustration” with the Government’s inability to deliver to investors, business people and ordinary citizens due to “bureaucratic molasses” and being “shaken down” by Ministry employees.

According to Barrow, there are helping hands out there including from the Opposition, but the Government refuses to see that there are problems – problems with citizen security, problems in the agriculture sector, problems in health, problems in education and an overemphasis on agriculture.

Government’s priority should be addressing inflation and high fuel and food prices, Barrow said, offering a list of basic food items from rice to meats to vegetables that have seen high inflation year over year per the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). Meanwhile, Belizeans are still awaiting the 50 thousand jobs and 10 thousand homes promised while Government seems to turn a blind eye to worthwhile investors, he said, mentioning Waterloo’s cruise port project and that of Stake Bank (which is nearing completion although ran into earlier difficulties).

In a subject near and dear to his own heart, entertainment, the Leader of the Opposition mentioned an encounter with an artist that wanted to travel abroad from Dangriga but had yet to meet with his area representative Dr Louis Zabaneh – an example of the Government’s seeming disdain, he claimed, for the “orange economy.”

Barrow suggested that the National Bank and Development Finance Corporation (DFC) should be capitalized and privately-owned domestic banks approached to turn to harnessing the power of education, expanding access and guaranteeing the tools for them to do for themselves what the Government can’t do for them.

“It is not rocket science, it is not too much to ask; it is our birthright. Our inalienable right to a happy life, a healthy life, a safe life which this government promised they would deliver. We don’t need to wait another 40 years to realize this; if you listen to the Prime Minister, economy better than ever, everything better than ever, so do it now! fix the problems now! We must not wait another term for this incompetent government to be ousted. I cannot support this bloated broken Budget from a broken Government, walking to the end of their one-term rope paved with broken promises,” Barrow concluded.


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