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Mar 23, 2018

What Can a Billion Dollars Do?

Julius Espat

Earlier, Cayo South representative Julius Espat spoke about the PAC. He also spoke about the ways the monies are spent – and in his view, misspent – over the last decade of the U.D.P.’s administration. He sought to lay a trail back to this year’s Budget of how monies used, for instance, with Petrocaribe on stadia and streets, could have instead been used to build a state of the art hospital, or more schools and classrooms, or more houses. Decisions made then, he says, continue to have an impact today and into the future.

 

Julius Espat, Area Rep., Cayo South

“When we have billions – so you look at these legal transactions and how we have lost money and you put the Petrocaribe money to it, that adds up to a billion dollars in loss that we have had in this country because of premeditated – I wouldn’t say illegal, but premeditated transactions for certain people to benefit from. And so Honorable Francis [Fonseca] from Freetown: what in your opinion could a billion dollars do? And you know what a billion dollars is, people see it out there, that is a thousand million dollars – sometimes we forget those lots of zeros. A billion is a thousand million dollars, so what could we have done in this country for a thousand million dollars. I think we could have had free education from primary school to university for all Belizean students for the entire ten years they have been in government. That is what a billion dollars could have done – a thousand million dollars could have educated our people from [pre-school] to University for ten full years. That alone, Madam Speaker, would have enabled us to have a well-trained population in various fields and professions, which would have enhanced our productive capabilities, thus allowing us to compete in foreign markets, as this is drastically needed to jump start this economy in a positive and better future for our Belize – that is what that would have done. A billion dollars, Madam Speaker, would have provided free health care for everyone in this country for ten years, and this I know is close to your heart, Madam Speaker. Imagine you as the head of a medical organization in charge of the country, would have been given a budget of one billion dollars – a thousand million dollars, Madam Speaker; with yoru experience and your knowledge and your passion for the health of this country – nobody would be sick! And I’m saying it specifically to you, Madam Speaker, because I want you to reflect on it and understand that that is the problem. I try to put it in different sectors so different sectors of society can relate to it closely to their heart. This alone could have relieved a great financial burden off the backs of the people that need it the most; it would have increased our life expectancy and thus create a healthier society which in turn would greatly assist our economy. So you see how everything goes back to the budget and the economy, Madam Speaker, and that is what is important in these exercises – nothing works on its own. When you steal, you hurt somebody else; when you do good, you help somebody else.”

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