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Mar 22, 2016

P.U.P. Leader Disappointed with Budget

John Briceño

On March eighth Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented the budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year under the theme – Stability in the time of change. He claimed that it was a bold statement by a government which had served the people well, and would continue to do so even when faced with real challenges. One of those challenges of course, had to do with a deficit at the end of 2015 of more than one hundred and eighty million, or five point one percent of GDP. We’ve covered many budget presentations and budget debates and the only constant we’ve found is that both sides look at the same figures and see two vastly different realities. Today, the debate of the 2016/2017 budget got underway with the presentation of Leader of the Opposition John Briceño, who claimed great disappointment with this so-called bold budget.


John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Now the Right Honorable Prime Minster said in his presentation that this budget is a bold one given the current circumstance.  It doesn’t seem that way to me and here is why – Of the one hundred and twenty-six million dollars we are proposing to spend in health, not a single penny will be spent on addressing the mental health problem, a growing issue in Belize.  Also, there are zero dollars for critical maternal and Neonatal services, which affect our youngest and most vulnerable, our babies. Close to one million dollars was cut from housing and urban development. In a billion dollar budget, only one million dollars is budgeted for poverty alleviation; the food pantry will be cut by one hundred thousand dollars from two point eight million dollars to two point seven million. In the ministry of Social Transformation, Constituency Assistance Program zero dollars. Back to School assistance program – zero, Mother’s Day Appreciation – zero. Sorry folks, this is not an election year. These actions don’t seem bold; they seem irresponsible, for what we see is increased spending and increasing debt, yet our poor remain poor and no better off.  What is so bold about that?”

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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