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Aug 23, 2022

U.D.P. Protests Gas Prices and Cost of Living

The United Democratic Party took to the streets of Belize City today in protest. After failing to acquire the necessary permits from the Belize Police Department to demonstrate, the U.D.P. still went ahead and executed its plan to march against the cost of fuel. However, protestors were brought together at a time when the party’s leadership is divided. So, there were a few senior members who were noticeably absent from the frontlines today, including Patrick Faber and Tracy Panton. Notwithstanding their nonappearance, the demonstration was carried out without incident. Police officers were stationed at various points along the route, but they were only there to maintain the peace and not to put a stop to the march. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports on what was the first organized U.D.P. rally since they were voted out of office in November 2020.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Today’s protest, organized by the U.D.P., began at their headquarters on Youth for the Future Drive. Protestors made their way unto to Vernon Street and then unto Central American Boulevard. There, they made a brief stop in front of a Shell gas station, purportedly owned by Prime Minister John Briceño, to protest against the current fuel prices. U.D.P. Party Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow was among those leading the protest.


Moses “Shyne” Barrow

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, U.D.P. Party Leader

“It is time for action. Lower the gas prices, lower the cost of living, bring relief to the people. We are tired of Johnny Briceño going into the House of Representatives, telling us that he understand and is doing nothing. People are suffering.”


Barrow was flanked by former Belize City Councilor Phillip Willoughby, his Second Deputy Beverly Williams, the former Area Representative for Belize Rural North Edmond Castro, and the former Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Former Belmopan Area Rep.

“Well I am here to support the party and my party leader to let the world and country know that we are behind the honorable Shyne as our party leader. We are united. We are definitely fighting against the situation in the country right now with respect to cost of living. We have to, this is intolerable and it is unnecessary. All the other countries of the world, in fact in our region, are coming up with some kind of package to help to relief poor people from these prices. Not here in Belize, instead we keep the price of gas elevated, why because they want to get back revenues, while these people suffer.”


From the Shell gas station, the procession made its way down Cemetery Road and unto Youth for the Future Drive at U.D.P. Headquarters where the protest came to an end.  Party Leader Barrow says the U.D.P. will continue to take action until the Briceño Administration lowers the cost of fuel.


Moses “Shyne” Barrow, U.D.P. Party Leader

“We are bringing attention to the problems of this nation and we will continue to take action until we see measurable responses from the government and ultimately these results will be that we will form the next government because people are tired of the pain and suffering. This is not about me. This is about the Belizean people who are suffering. You are suffering, everyone is suffering. The business community is suffering, the poor people are suffering.  The gas prices need to come down.”


And, while there was skepticism on Monday as to whether or not the U.D.P. would receive support for its protest, the party was able to draw a gathering. Party Chairman Michael Peyrefitte spoke with reporters about the turnout and questions about whether any promises of handouts were made to protestors.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, U.D.P.

“Promises, promises of a better Belize, we don’t pay people to demonstrate. So, like I told people on the radio yesterday, if dah mih just me one ih mih wah alright. With tell people that this is what we are going doing and people choose to join. We don’t organize it to an extent like that. We say we will meet here. We will move off from here, walk to the gas station and come back.”


Paul Lopez

“But sir, you know how these things work. Some people will expect a fifty dollars or something like that after the protest.”


Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, U.D.P.

“And, I did not expect Ben Affleck to marry Jennifer Lopez again, but that is my disappointment. You can expect anything you want. But, what I am saying, that is not our plan. That is not what we did. That is not what you do when you are trying to rebuild organically a mass party like the U.D.P. You cannot pay people to be a part of a movement. You cannot pay people to be a part of a party. They have to believe in you. And, we have to demonstrate we believe in them and the nation, and that is what brought out everybody here today.”


Leonardo Samos, Protestor

“My name is Leonardo Samos. As a delegate of the U.D.P., I am proud to say this that I believe it is time for Johnny to move from here.”


Harry Longsworth, Protestor

“It is the best protest we have had since Pup took over. Prices are too high. I gawn buy a cup of coffee this morning and they raise it to fifty cents. What you think of the gas?”


Steven Buckley, Protestor

“Bredrig, right now I not even got a job. That’s the first thing with me; I not even got a job. I guh try sih my politicians them fih get a job and deh not even want give me a job. You understand weh I the come from king. I need a help.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez


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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