U.D.P. Election Manifesto Promises
The referendum didn’t figure into the United Democratic Party’s manifesto launch this afternoon. The glossy red and white document is in two parts; the first section deals with the U.D.P.’s pledges for 2012 to 2017 and the second part lists its accomplishments in the last four years. With a room full of standard bearers and loyal supporters, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the tenets of its election platform are pro-poor, for accountability and transparency as well as for sovereign muscular nationalism. The U.D.P. is promising an oil refinery, more mortgage write offs and lower interest rates. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
The United Democratic Party, both thirty one candidates contesting the March 7th General Elections and close to three hundred supporters filled the River Hall Room at the Biltmore, for the launching of the U.D.P.’s 2012-2017 Manifesto. And in his opening words, Prime Minister Barrow told the gathering the predicted landslide victory even has him concerned:
“We will win a massive unprecedented victory for our second term. But that is precisely why I am a little bit worried. I suspect that I will have quite a job on my hands to deal with the exceedingly large number of successful united Democratic Party candidates.”
And the reason for that anticipated victory is contained in the pages of this two part publication, where the U.D.P. Action Plan set on tenets of, ‘Always for the People’ highlights the accomplishments of the last four years and the other half, listed the party’s pledge, should they be returned to office for second term:
“We will continue to walk in the path of political righteousness; that we will be always for the people, always on the side of the people, always at the side of the people and that we will produce for you the hard concrete quality of life improvements that you desire and deserve, but that at the same time, we are going to give you the good governance that is the hallmark of your United Democratic Party.”
Within the pages, the U.D.P. promises some of the usual infrastructure upgrade and over fifteen thousand lots. Principal among the UDP’s promises is a proposed oil refinery, which is expected to produce local fuel:
“We simply cannot countenance for much longer the situation in which at the pump locally, the people of this country are being swamped by too high fuel prices. Therefore the United Democratic Party will—within the shortest possible time—just so long as it takes to construct this thing, build a local oil refinery. We will turn Belizean crude into gasoline and diesel and kerosene and sell locally refined fuels to the Belizean people for lower, cheaper and stable prices.”
And to boost economic activities, the U.D.P. outlined a number of measures that they hope to put in place:
John Saldivar, Standard Bearer, Belmopan
“The United Democratic Party will conduct a full review of the import duties regime with a view to rationalize it. Your next U.D.P. government will establish a national bank. Your next U.D.P. government will establish an insurance guarantee program for exporters.”
Also as part U.D.P. pro-people creed, the U.D.P. plans to establish a mortgage guarantee scheme to assist first-time homeowners to cover the ten percent down payment on mortgage loans of up to a hundred thousand dollars. Mortgage write-offs coupled with student loan write-offs from the DFC are also of high priority:
“And we are going to turn immediately after we are reelected to the DFC mortgage loans. But for sure, write-offs there will be and we’re not just going to concentrate exclusively on writing off mortgage loans, we are also going to be writing off student loans at the Development Finance Corporation.”
Eden Martinez, Toledo East Standard Bearer, brought back the Voice over Internet Protocol promising to extend the services:
Eden Martinez, Toledo East Standard Bearer
“What we have been waiting on which I believe we’ve been looking at from our first term will now come to reality. The next U.D.P. government will free up Voice over Inter Protocol to residential landline customers in the next few months to be eventually extended to mobile services.”
And already in the pipeline, the Prime Minister says the plans for reduced interest rates at the commercial banks may materialize before March seventh:
“The last thing that I want is something that we might accomplish even before the March seventh elections and that is to reduce the cost of capital in this country to reduce interest rates at the commercial banks. I have a meeting on Monday with the governor of the Central Bank and with all of the commercial bankers and I believe that that meeting will result in the kind of agreement that will see an immediate drop across the board in the lending rates of the banks of this country.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
The U.D.P. is also promising to build a road and bridge that will link Chetumal Street to the Western Highway. Last year, squatters were forcibly removed from the area. It led to a riot that turned violent between the squatters and police.