Social Reform and National Security Also Highlighted
The highlights of the message also include a recap of several achievements by way of social reform, particularly the appointment of the Integrity Commission, the signing of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention and a date being set for the Thirteenth Senator Law; all points that were demanded by teachers during their strike in October.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Underpinning our entire economic, fiscal and monetary framework is the strength of the Belize dollar. It is still more than amply backed by the requisite level of reserves, and is immovably anchored to the traditional and current peg. There is also social reform to accompany economic reform. The Integrity Commission has been appointed, the UN Anti-Corruption Convention signed, and the commencement date fixed for the 13th Senator Law. The Occupation and Safety Health Bill will shortly go to Parliament, as will amendments to the Social Security Act providing expanded benefits to all workers in the country. We have as well sorted out the interpretation of a section of the Law so as to ensure proper coverage of stevedores who don’t work continuously. I want to close by saying just a bit about National Security. We have provided both the B.D.F. and the Coast Guard with much additional material, including helicopters, seagoing craft and weaponry. The police are also far better resourced and we have grown their numbers exponentially. Increased funding for our men and women in uniform will continue under CABEI’s Belize Integral Security Program, reaching ten million dollars next year and thirty-eight million in 2018. We are determined, therefore, to resist external dangers and defeat internal threats. There is no room for lawlessness in our society. And so the bringing of economic and social progress to our people has to be accompanied by relentlessly confronting the culture of gangs, violence and murder.”