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Dec 22, 2017

P.U.P. Did Not Play Scrooge with Christmas Cheer

John Briceño

The final announcement from Prime Minister Dean Barrow at the December eighth meeting at the House of Representatives came as a true surprise. Despite a sluggish economy, the Government of Belize found some six hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars to be set aside for the program popularly known as “Christmas Cheer.” Introduced at the height of the Petrocaribe program in 2011, it attracted instant criticism from the Opposition and social partners and those few area representatives inclined to take advantage were likewise criticized. But with little notice this year, and many in need, the P.U.P.’s John Briceño told us that his party was not inclined to play Scrooge. But he did issue a warning that the ruling party was in several cases not playing by the rules.


John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“We do have a fundamental problem where we start using taxpayers’ money to just spend in such a manner. But in this instance, we knew nothing about it; it was presented to us then and there. And many people are going through a very, very difficult time and it would have been very difficult for us to say at this time that we are not going to accept the Christmas Cheer. But what we want to make very clear to everybody and especially the government, that there seems to be issue of like Animal Farm – some are more equal than others. We are hearing that Ministers are getting two or three times more than what the twelve P.U.P. area representatives are getting, and even caretakers have also been given money in the divisions where we have P.U.P. representatives, which I think is simply wrong. But we do with what we have, and we are going to ensure that these monies which have been made available, that we spend it on those which need it most, which are the Belizean people.”


From a high of two point two million in 2013, the amounts handed down have progressively been reduced, to the point where Opposition representatives got nothing in 2015 and with the drying up of funds in 2016, Government went to other sources. Similar programs were established in connection with Mother’s and Father’s Day.

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1 Response for “P.U.P. Did Not Play Scrooge with Christmas Cheer”

  1. Marwaione says:

    While I disagree that politicians should be borrowing money and spending on what they shouldn’t, might as well make taxpayer by giving Xmas cheer

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