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Mar 28, 2018

Godwin Says Budget Has “Bright Spots”

Godwin Hulse

The 2018-2019 General Revenue and Appropriation Bill is headed to becoming law going into the Easter break. Debate in the Senate wound up late Tuesday evening with the Leader of Government Business, Senator Godwin Hulse. Hulse contends that in his sprawling portfolio of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, and Immigration and Nationality, looked for ways to expand and contract and found both. But like colleague Michael Peyrefitte, he said the government has tried its best to meet all objectives and leave room for further development. In his closing statement, he pointed out that Belize can look forward to greater regional trade opportunities as a means of getting out of our economic doldrums.

 

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“We looked at this Budget, at least the portion of the Budget that our Ministry is responsible to, with responsibility. We went through it item by item. We looked at where we could cut; we looked at what was more important given the limited funds. I wanted four point seven million for Capital Two; I got two point something. But we saw how we could work with that, and how we could try to push this forward, because we recognize: agriculture is one of the most powerful pillars of the economy, and if we could boost it, if we could drive it, if we could get the exports up – I am guaranteeing we can push it to the max. And I am very happy for President [Donald] Trump, to be saying he will shut his borders and put his wall and this and that and renegotiate NAFTA, and all the rest of things he is doing, because Mexico will now look south, so we’re looking at South-South trade and that is good for us. So I’m not into American politics and what they’re doing there, but if we can trade with Mexico and trade with Central America, who we are on the border with, it becomes a good thing. We are looking at a partial scope agreement with Mexico – Senator Courtenay will remember that back then we were looking at a full scope but the Mexicans didn’t want that – Doctor Barrera and Doctor Solis said no, but now they are prepared to look at a partial scope which is very good for us. Partial scope with Guatemala is working: we sent our first shipment of official cattle; we are doing beans, we are doing corn, we are doing rice unofficially, we will do pigs and that is the way to go. CARICOM is fine but we know CARICOM: they’re small countries, too far away, we have to go on ship, they have too many regulations too, so if we can push the Central American corridor that will be to our benefit. On that then, with all the criticisms we’ve had and all the things, there is not all doom and gloom, there are some bright spots. And I’m sure you’ve from some of our colleagues in the House, there are bright spots. So I ask you to join us in moving forward. Some of you may say that I can’t support the Budget because the Budget doesn’t have anything – I tried to outline that it does, and there is some growth pattern in it, and the other issues we have we need to come together. I said to Senator Courtenay and I will repeat – I am a consensus person, and I am prepared to join everybody in trying to bring some solution to this crime solution, because it’s not us alone, it’s not a government thing. It’s not U.D.P. vs. P.U.P. – they’re not going out there di kill P.U.P. and noh di kill U.D.P. or N.G.O. people. No, it’s all of us in this so if we collectively put our minds (Claps), we’re ready to roll.”

 

The Bill goes to the Governor General for his assent.

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