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Mar 11, 2011

Leader of the Opposition gives first impression of the Barrow Budget

The budget will be debated on March twenty-third. It’s sure to bring fierce resistance from the opposition. But before that occurs, News Five asked P.U.P. Leader John Briceño for his first impressions of the budget. Briceño said it was a yawn, since old programs that never got off the ground were being rehashed.

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

John Briceno

“It has been probably one of the most uninspiring budget from this government in a very, very long time. But on a serious note, the Prime Minister in 2008 asked the Belizean people to imagine the possibilities. Here we are three years later and whilst he is talking about we are free to fly, obviously this bird’s wings are broken because anywhere you go, they will tell you that Belize is not better off under these past three years—that it is worst off. He has admitted to inflation. He has admitted that the consumer index price is going up. He is trying to rehash some of the same old projects that he has been talking: from the roads in the north, the solid waste management project and another list of projects that he has rehashed. So actually there is nothing really new that the Belizean people can be all excited about. When you look at what he is looking at his cap two and cap three programs where he is putting a lot of emphasis. Well his cap two program is the one that he controls where he can get monies from taxpayers and do the necessary infrastructure or projects that he would like to bring in. If you notice he did not meet his target for 2010/2011. And in the 2011/2012 budget, he is slashing it down even further. But what is even worse is that his cap three program—the one that is offering him the most challenges—year after year he comes to the national assembly to lament and to give excuses that he is having problems with the ministry of economic development  with the personnel because they can’t access these loans. Well in this instance, what the Prime Minister has done, he has increased significantly what he expects to get in his cap three program. If we look in the past, record, the past three years, we know for sure that it will be extremely difficult for the Prime Minister to live up, to be able to access the cap three program. Just today alone, we are going to be borrowing over eighty-three million dollars in five different loan motions that have already been presented. Yet he is only prepared to accept that the amount of loans that have increased was only about seventy-two million externally. Yet today alone, we have over eighty-three million dollars that we are borrowing. When you look at the records from the central bank, this government has borrowed about four hundred and fifty-four million dollars since he got into government. The Prime Minister has been trying to keep him budget going just by borrowing more and more and more and with all of that, despite all of that, his deficit continues to increase and there is no coherent plan as to how he is going to be able to cover sustainably these budgets.”

Jose Sanchez

“Part of the deficit he mentioned was because of zero rated items that would have been in import duties. What are these zero rated items that are causing us to lose in imports?”

John Briceño

“Well I would challenge that. I think that it is whilst he did give and zero rate some items and I don’t have the list her with me today that I can give it to you; I think what is more important is that the reality, the truth is that the economy has slowed down. If you look at import duties, the amount of revenues that have come in have slowed down considerably and that had a direct impact on what government is going to collect not only from duties, but even from GST and the other related taxes. That is what is catching the government; there is no coherent economic plan.”

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7

“So you aren’t impressed with the two point five percent growth which the Prime Minister spoke about?”

John Briceño

“Are you impressed? You go and visit the Belizean people all across this country as I have been doing. I am the only person that has been visiting the Belizean people across the country. And wherever you go, everybody will tell you they cannot get a job. And those that had jobs have been losing there jobs. And in some instances, for instance especially in the free zone; what they have been doing is this new phenomenon of underemployment. In the sense that, instead of firing you, they cut down the hours, they cut down the days that you work so that they can spread it around. So that is what is happening. This growth he is claiming to achieve is not translating to the ordinary citizens of this country.”

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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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2 Responses for “Leader of the Opposition gives first impression of the Barrow Budget”

  1. Do it right says:

    Anything seems boring when you don’t understand what’s happening Mr. Briceno. lol Grow a brain and be the bigger man and make suggestions as to how to improve the situation. It’s easy to criticize but come up with a solution is much harder. Something i am sure you won’t be able to do. As your colleague once said, you are an “intellectual light weight.”

  2. tush says:

    WHy do other people’s job!!!! we Foolish people placed them there so wee need to be there to be there slaves….. They are so incompetent….. U should think about it and not talk and then realize what u said, s..h..!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PUP all the way and teh UDP should rest in Peace in 2013, like it or NOT its the people choice….

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