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Jan 31, 2017

Budget Cuts Will Make Belize “Leaner and Meaner,” According to A.G.

In the run-up to the presentation of the General Revenue and Appropriations Bill, also known as the Budget, in March; there will be planned consultations with civil society, the business community and others coming up. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow and his Minister of State, Doctor Carla Barnett, have spoken of “re-balancing” the tax system to ensure greater collection of taxes and avoidance of new fiscal measures, even as in some quarters there are warnings of everything from retrenchment to devaluation. One of the Government’s departments that has long struggled with financing is the Judiciary. Its budget was cut in the current fiscal year, 2016-2017, and on Monday, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte was asked to justify that reduction. Ministry of Health officials have also indicated that they have been asked to stay within certain frames when planning their cut of the national pie. Peyrefitte told reporters that no cuts to the national budget for the coming year have officially been confirmed, but if there are, he added, it is because the times demand it.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“We have to be leaner and meaner, all of us. I mean, the public has to make up its mind, you know; when we increase the budget, there is criticism; now that we’re looking to decrease it, now you want to blast me for the fact that it will be decreased. These are stringent times; bills have to be paid and we have to trim the fat wherever we can get it. We will never do anything to limit the effectiveness of the Ministry but at the same time, wherever we can cut it…and remember, there is only talk of cutting it. Wait till the Budget come out before we mek sure that it get cut no man? We noh know if ih wah get cut for sure.”

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