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‘Government’s economic statistics don’t match up to real life,’ says Patrick Faber

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2023. 1:57 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Area Representative for the Collet Constituency, former United Democratic Party Leader Patrick Faber, is challenging statistics presented by the Government of Belize (GOB), saying that the figures which tout economic growth do not accurately represent the situation in society.

Faber, speaking at the debate of the national budget today, said that while the GOB’s annual economic growth data shows the economy prospering, it paints a false narrative as the numbers are only high compared to recent years where economic activity was low due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faber used the example of tourism growth statistics to say that while recent data shows increases in tourism arrivals, the overall figure is still some 34 percent less than pre-pandemic figures, and accused GOB of using the figures to mislead the public.

Faber took special umbrage with Prime Minister Jon Briceño’s presentation where he stated that poverty was reduced from 52 percent to 39.5 percent and that 68,000 people had managed to break free from poverty.

“What you all present in terms of the numbers on paper is a pretty picture but the reality is different,” Faber said. “Poverty reduction is a complex issue, it cannot just disappear because of a single policy or a few initiatives, therefore it is essential for us to investigate the government’s actions and the government interventions that have led, if it is true, to this decrease or improvement if you will, in poverty levels.”

Faber went on to say that in the Prime Minister’s presentation, he cited three key factors responsible for the reduction of poverty, land distribution, housing, and education and challenged that explanation saying that the government has yet to properly deliver on its Plan Belize manifesto. He noted that in the Prime Minister’s presentation, he conceded that only 260 houses from the 10,000 promised in plan Belize have been built. Faber also pointed to Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde’s presentation, where he explained that programs to distribute lands to citizens are still in the works but have not been fully materialized.

“You said land, but unu no start to give out the land how unu want yet. You said house, but unu only 260 of the 10,000 done to build. You said education, but nothing is happening in education that hasn’t been happening before. So how, pray tell? Tell me how 68,000 people just miraculously got up out of poverty,” Faber said.


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