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Feb 6, 2014

Barrow and Briceño debate state of the economy

 

John Briceño

The Statistical Institute of Belize recently released statistics pointing to an unemployment rate of fourteen point two percent and an inflation rate of point five percent. As far as the economy is concerned, those statistics are relatively positive indicators, but the reality is that the perception on the streets is far different. In the House on Wednesday member for Orange Walk Central John Briceño pulled up statistics of his own which show that the cost of goods continues to go up. Not surprisingly, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was not amused, and responded in trademark fashion.

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John Briceño, Member for Orange Walk Central

“Certainly it is welcomed news that the SIB presented that inflation was at a low rate of one point six percent. But I am sure that many Belizeans noh di feel the numbers because if you ask the ordinary citizens across the length and breadth of this country, they will tell you they are not feeling these numbers because they feel the cost of living continues to go up. Now I remember at a time when the U.D.P. government was more focused on addressing these issues and less focus about what’s happening with the visa scandals and the abuse of power and all of these things that are happening to the government. But those were the days when they were talking about bringing down the cost of living no matter what; even though when that was said already the cost of living was going up. For instance Mister Speaker, in 2009, a pound of red kidney beans was at two dollars and twenty-five cents. Today that same pound of red kidney beans is at three dollars and fifty cents. You know how much ih mi cost in 2007, Mister Speaker? It was seventy-five cents a pound. Poultry, the whole chicken was at two dollars and thirty-nine cents in 2009. Today it is at two dollars and ninety-five cents.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Even for an economist, what you were attempting to do would be a bridge too far. But in your case, your unfamiliarity with the concepts with which you were trying to grapple was patent and it meant that your enterprise was doom from the start. I never interrupted you when you spoke man. I found myself remembering the old song man. Aye man, I am not being rude. Eh man, subside, simmer down and hear what I have to say. And you might learn something. I found myself remembering the old song. Who was it that said you use statistics like a dog uses a lamppost? For support, not for illumination. That is at the clearest illustration of that old saying. Dah noh fi illumination, dah fi support. And we know weh kinda support the dog use the lamppost for. And that’s what you tried to do…urinate all over it.”

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