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Apr 27, 2020

PM Barrow Refutes Claims of Politicization of COVID Relief

Dean Barrow

There has been constant criticism from the People’s United Party that relief aid being provided by the Barrow administration is being done through political constituencies, as opposed to organizations such as the Belize Red Cross that are capable of handling the logistics of distribution.  While the PM admitted that programmes such as Food Pantry were developed under the U.D.P. several years ago, he reiterated that monies for the Food Relief Programme which is being administered through the Ministry of Human Development are not going to either of the two political parties for disbursement.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“All this talk about politicization is completely inaccurate.  First of all, a distinction has to be made between Food Pantry and the new Food Relief Program.  Food Pantry, as you know, has been in existence for years and I would be the first to admit that the majority of the recipients of the Food Pantry may be on the Food Pantry program in consequence of the efforts and exertions of area representatives, U.D.P. area representatives.  Not a penny from the new monies allocated to Human Development for the rollout of the countrywide food assistance program, not a penny of that will go into the Food Pantry.  The Ministry of Human Development must make do with the resources budgeted by the Ministry of Finance, but we have to make sure that notwithstanding the fact that there will be all sorts of cuts and ministries not getting what was actually incorporated into the budget, we have to make sure that they get their money simply because food is so important.  But the new money, ten million taken out of the seventy-five, to be repaid as soon as I get it back from OFID, that goes strictly to the food assistance program as opposed to the Food Pantry program.  And I am satisfied that indeed the Ministry of Human Development is handling it in a non-partisan, non-political way.  Remember that applications are screened by the ministry with the help of additional public officers who were not on furlough but were not working during that two week period and I believe that because a lot of them will not have a great deal to do, the assistance from the wider public service or additional public servants to help with the processing is going to continue.”

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