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Mar 23, 2023

Tracy Panton Says Briceño Administration is Impotent in Current Economic Times

Tracy Panton

Today inside the National Assembly, the budget debate on the Revenue Appropriation Bill 2023/2004 resumed and Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber and Sista B, of Queen Square, were once again absent from the proceedings.  During her presentation, Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton flagged the Briceño Administration for not making good on the promises of the PlanBelize manifesto. She says that the budget for 2023/2024 which stands at one point four billion dollars is two hundred and ten point eight million dollars less than the expenses of the government, inclusive of the wage bill.  It’s a stark contrast to the position put forward by Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow on Wednesday, who described the budget as both bloated and broken.  Panton says that seventy percent of every dollar collected in the public purse will be consumed by non-capital spending or recurrent expenses for the government. This, she says, is crippling the government’s ability to invest in the citizenry and improving the lives of all Belizeans.  


Tracy Panton, Area Rep., Albert

“Impotent on any new strategies to navigate the current economic times and what lies ahead. The PM in his usual fashion reverted to his status quo approach, beating his chest, blaming the United Democratic Party, offering no meaningful relief or real solutions for the crippling cost of living and paying more lip service to the Belizean people. I truly marveled on how boisterous the prime minister was in his pronouncements of the historic economic performance of his administration – completely aloof and the void of the day to day realities on the ground. The prime minister has no idea what poverty feels like. In the PlanBelize manifesto free education from kinder to university was the call to action prior to the 2020 general elections. Limited access to social safety net programs. They may be available in other constituencies, but certainly they don’t exist in Albert. And most importantly madam speaker the crippling cost of fuel at the pump. These concerns along with matters relating to citizen security and the lack of transparency and accountability in public affairs are top of mind for Albert residents. We on this side of the house are highly doubtful that the figures outlined in this year’s estimates are a true reflection of how the government intends to manage the public purse while maintaining its commitment to the IMF for fiscal consolidation. Let us be honest. The fiscal consolidation that the government has been able to achieve was achieved largely on the backs of our hard-working public officers, our teachers, our armed forces, our police officers and our other permanently established public servants who had to endure a ten percent cut in salaries and an increment freeze that will now be restored on April first. What was glaringly missing in the presentation was that there was no mention on what other fiscal consolidation measures will be put in place to ensure that we keep the public debt within the generally accepted ratios provided by the IMF.”

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