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Prime Minister highlights achievements in Government ‘mid-term report’

Posted: Friday, June 23, 2023. 5:49 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The time seems to have gone rather fast, but it has officially been two and a half years since the People’s United Party (PUP) took office, in November 2020.

To mark the moment, Prime Minister John Briceño’s office released an eight-minute summary ‘mid-term report’ video address. After reiterating his thanks to the electorate, the Prime Minister took credit for rescuing the dollar from devaluation, reducing national debt, reviving a near-moribund national economy, and restoring national and international confidence.

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And he expects the economic growth and recovery to continue: “The SIB [Statistical Institute of Belize] will report shortly that during the first quarter of 2023, the Belizean economy continue a historic rise, growing by 11.5 percent. with the dynamic tertiary sector of tourism and services surging by 16.5 percent. 2023, I am sure, will extend the expansions of 2021 and 2022, with unemployment now reaching close to 3 percent.” He added that the Government has been especially focused on job creation, mentioning the increase in the minimum wage at the start of 2023 to 5 dollars an hour.

It’s not just jobs, the P.M. continued, citing the 11 thousand house lots issued, many to first-time owners; 260 new houses and another 200 under construction, and 2,600 more students receiving assistance to get through school – far more than the United Democratic Party had done in its 13 years in power, and which resulted in a recent poverty assessment finding 68 thousand fewer Belizeans living in poverty.

Further improvements are to come in the municipalities ahead of elections due next year, while the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing continues to manage and complete major projects started by the previous Government.

In health, plans are in train for new facilities in San Pedro and Belmopan while more assistance is given to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).

Concerning the sugar industry near and dear to him as a Norteño, the P.M. signaled that Government still held out hope for a resolution to its issues: “I remain highly confident that all sugar stakeholders can overcome their differences to preserve and expand this important sector of the North. Government will persevere its role as facilitator for compromise amongst the private sector…”

The Prime Minister concluded that the Government continues to aim to “nudge the arc of national change to your favour,” that “greatness can be yours and our country’s fate,” and that the achievements of his second half of term will exceed the first half.

 

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