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Mar 27, 2015

Parliamentarians Squabble Over Agriculture

Jose Abelardo Mai

Elrington was followed by the Area Representative for Orange Walk South Jose Abelardo Mai, who criticized the budget because he says it offers nothing for the agricultural sector, and no programs to assist the farmers of Belize. According to Mai, the budget is short-sighted and lacks vision, since G.O.B.’s only plan to raise revenue is to enhance collection of taxes. He says the government should instead be focusing on and enhancing the productive sectors of the country. Mai’s criticism, as he probably intended, certainly got the attention of his colleague on the government side, who fired back.

 

Jose Abelardo Mai, Area Representative, OW South

“Do you know how many times the terms like rice policy, strategic export policy, food security, livestock and corn were used? Zero. Does the government have any priorities here, Mister Speaker? I rest my case….that’s the way it is for the backbone of the Belizean economy and the sector with the highest foreign exchange earnings in this country. So you see, Mister Speaker, why I say I come to bury this budget because it contains nothing for rice producers, nothing for the grain producers, nothing for the beans producers who are struggling to market their product right now; and much less, anything for the powerless and emasculated, disrespected stepsons, the cane farmers of this country. Mister Speaker, there is no mention of any plans of programs that government will implement to generate more revenue to reduce the hundred and eighty-five million dollars budgetary deficit. Oh there is, Mister Speaker, there is. He says that revenue lifting will be done through improved tax administration and closing on existing loopholes by focusing efforts on tax auditing, monitoring fiscal concessions and cracking down on GST evasion. That is how the government plans to raise revenue. My goodness. You know how the farmers feel when they read this, Mister Speaker.”

 

Hugo Patt

Hugo Patt, Area Representative, Corozal North

“During the time that he was the general manager of BMDC, BMDC was practically broke, quebrado, en la bankarota. When this U.D.P. administration took over BMDC in 2008, there was no depot in Orange Walk, there was no depot in Belize City and there was no depot in Cayo. Literally, there was no operation as it pertains to the BMDC and Mister Speaker, back then as is now; BMDC played a critical role with the rice farmers in the south. Now he is speaking about rice policies and rice vision and ways forward in which we can better improve the situation with the rice farmers. Why is it then that the member for Orange Walk South, during his eighteen years as general manager of BMDC, did not take the necessary steps to ensure a livelihood and a thriving industry for our rice farmers in the south? All of a sudden he knows and he knows better. That’s a shame on him. And most importantly of all, he is talking about bad administration and corruption in the Department of Agriculture. He is forgetting to tell the people of this nation and particularly to our agricultural people, our farmers, that during his tenure some of the most exorbitant salaries were being collected. That is something that he will not know and he would not want to tell, but that is something that is in the records, Mister Speaker.”

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1 Response for “Parliamentarians Squabble Over Agriculture”

  1. Mark Pech says:

    Great Job Mr. Patt, I wonder what Abelardo Mai does with the $7000 Salary and $7000 he gets to help his constitution? As far as the ppl of Owalk South know we the poor farmers have little or no communication with him. I would like to know why he was fired from the Agriculture Department under his own party?

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