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Mar 30, 2010

Seven in favour and five senators vote against budget

In Spanish Lookout today, a bank heist, ended with the murder of a security officer. The thirty-two year old was killed on the spot when five thieves jacked the Scotiabank. We will more on this story later in this newscast. But first we go to the Senate which met today in Belmopan and while the debate was not as testy as it was in the House last week, there were memorable moments and an unprecedented vote – seven in favor and five against the new budget. Voting against the budget were opposition senators who were joined by Business Senator Godwin Hulse and Union Senator Paul Perriot. Interestingly the senator representing the churches, Henry Gordon voted in support of the budget and its taxes along with GOB members. Much of the debate centered on the taxes, in particular the GST which will put a further burden on consumers when it takes effect come April first. Senator Eamon Courtenay spoke against the budget saying that the People’s United Party felt that it brought no relief for poor Belizeans. Courtenay also felt that the zero rated goods would have little if any impact on those who are already struggling.

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Senator

“The budget sets out by design Madam President, to impose the harshest ever tax assault on the Belizean people and that is wrong. This budget that we debate today, fails to provide or offer the private sector any incentives for new investment and that is wrong Madam President. Indeed when one reads the budget you will see that there is no job creation strategy and that is wrong Madam President. Regrettably, honorable members, the budget is found wanting, it is lacking, it has failed to meet the challenge we confront; it augers ill for the year ahead. To wonder aloud, why is it that we are relieving from import duty, mustard seed oil? Why are we relieving from import duty rape oil? Why are we relieving from import duty something called: kolsa oil? We are relieving coffee substitutes, substitute coffee. Who is going to benefit from any of these reliefs? Why are we relieving from GST percolated coffee, irrigation pipes of plastic and inactive yeast? But yet, we find no increase on casino gambling, no increase on cigarettes imported from abroad, no increase in taxes on alcoholic beverages and drinks imported from abroad, no increase on winnings from gambling. Madam President, when we select things like rape oil and kolsa oil and percolated coffee and coffee substitute but we allow coffee and alcohol and gambling to go without any sharing of the tax burden we say it is a wrong policy choice in the context of the challenges that we face.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Seven in favour and five senators vote against budget”

  1. Belize It says:

    Brilliant. Eamon Courtenay makes such good points, we need more Eamon Courtenays.

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