“Boots” Defends Pro-Poor Programs at Day 2 of Budget Debate
Turning to the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives this morning…. After being seemingly overwhelmed and nettled by the force and ferocity of the Opposition People’s United Party’s response on the opening day of the debate, the governing United Democratic Party’s speakers tempered their responses. They focused on what people want to see – how the various programs offered by the Government will help them to maintain and improve their standard of living. On Thursday, Lake Independence area representative Cordel Hyde questioned where the budgeting for the Government’s “pro-poor” programs went, which provoked a response from the deputy prime Minister Patrick Faber. Today, Minister of Human Development Anthony “Boots” Martinez offered a fuller explanation.
Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Area Rep., Port Loyola
“The food pantry program, Madam Speaker, continues to assist three thousand, three hundred and forty-four families in Belize City, Cayo, Toledo District, [with] a better standard of nutrition by providing their staples at a subsidized cost. Madam Speaker, to that end, I’d like the member for Lake Independence to look in the Budget book at page two hundred and seventeen, item twenty-seven, cost center two-seventy-seventeen, and you will see that it is budgeted for food pantry for Cayo and Belize City, and we are expanding it to Dangriga also. This means that over thirteen thousand people are eating better; a few months ago, the program was extended to Stann Creek District, and so, an additional two hundred working poor families in that district are now benefiting from this important program. Here again, Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Human Development is not content with just [administering] program; we want to ensure our programs work. Our BOOST program continues to assist close to nine thousand children, elderly and disabled persons from thirty-five hundred households through direct cash assistance. The partnership between these families and the State remains strong, as we continue to ensure that the beneficiary families hold up their end of the bargain, and the children go to school, and receive their vaccination, in return for their cash assistance.”
The Boost-Plus program in Southside Belize City will further assist four hundred families according to Martinez.