Opposition Leader Accuses G.O.B. of “Cooking the Books”
His formal remarks will be made in the coming Budget Debate, but today Leader of the Opposition John Briceño offered his first review of the Prime Minister’s Budget, and to say the least, he found it unbelievable. Barrow, Briceño said, offered no explanation for how the Government is able to achieve a primary surplus of over one hundred million dollars and a projected final surplus of just under seven million dollars after consistently running massive deficit in all of their time in office. The P.U.P. leader charged that the Prime Minister did some “cooking of the books” to reach this achievement – at the expense of the Belizean people.
John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition
“He is now talking that he is going to have a primary surplus of a hundred and fifteen million dollars; that is a turnaround from this year of two hundred and eleven point five million dollars. So now, he has never had a primary surplus for the past five years, or certainly never had more than two percent; now in an economy that’s contracting, he’s going to have a primary surplus of three point one percent. The same thing goes to his overall deficits; that now, all of a sudden now, he is going to have no more deficits, in his overall he’s going to have overall a surplus of six point six million; that is a turnaround of round about a hundred and sixty-seven million dollars. He’s talking about what planet who’s living; we need to find out what planet the Prime Minister is living in. You look at their numbers, that turnaround of having a primary surplus now of over two hundred million dollars in less than one year, that just noh add up. That you are going to turnaround now from having a budget deficit of a hundred and sixty-seven million dollars now to have a budget surplus of over six million dollars, it just does not add up.”
“You are basically saying that they are cooking the books?”
“In effect yes; that’s what I am saying – it’s the Barrow Bogus Budget. In a few months from now, we are going to have another supplementary budget because there are going to be shortfalls. But quite likely the Prime Minister will not care, because from all indications that we have been hearing, he’s not going to be around to look after that.”