It was only a few days ago that we reported on the Statistical Institute of Belize’s report on unemployment. In today’s sitting of the House of Representative, Orange Walk Central Area representative John Briceno addressed those statistics. Briceno mentioned that the information gathered may not have been very consistent. According to Briceno, during the survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize, once a person is working even if for only an hour they were recorded as being employed. Briceno adds that this process makes the report far from accurate.
John Briceno – Orange Walk Central Area Representative
“Underemployment continues to rise because we have a weak economy, a dismal economy Mr. Speaker, actually it was reported that the economy in the past nine months of last year only grew 0.4% which is nowhere close to the 2.5% of GDP growth that was projected in the budget debate last year and certainly it is a far cry from the 5% growth that the UDP government promised the Belizean people, but it would rather interesting to know the underemployment rate Mr. Speaker or may perhaps we are ashamed to know that we are a par time nation or seasonal nation that we only work during when the crop is on or worst yet a catch and kill nation Mr. speaker, so how can we say that there is lower unemployment when the economy is not expanding, a meagre 0.4% expansion of the economy cannot give you a 2% decline of unemployment, the number certainly does not add up. While the government maybe blotting that the unemployment wen down last year it is still a lot worse than when it was in 2008 because in 2008 when they got into government the unemployment rate was at 8.5% and the records are there 8.5% Mr. speaker.”
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“You are a professional pessimist and you want to see the glass half empty well in this case my friend I am telling you it is not only that it is half full it is at least three quarters full. From as early as the end of the last calendar year, December there will be an additional growth in the economy, there will be an additional optic, and by the time you get at the end of the fiscal year which won’t happen until March 31st, there will be an even greater optic, in fact optic is too modest and unambitious of a word, there will be even a greater hype, there will be an even better splurge, and it is all because of the government spending that has already started that is being ramp up even as we speak and that will drive economic growth.”
As the Prime Minister proceeded to list the governments “progressive stamp” in the country’s economy, he addressed the issue of sugar road in northern Belize. According to the Prime Minister, monies have been disbursed and even more money will be coming to Orange Walk.
Honorable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“Look again at what it is that is causing this drop in the unemployment all over this country, last week my friend from Orange Walk South talked about the sugar roads that there was still the need for additional funding, I just check and we disburse the first 2 million dollars, this week another $500,000.00 going to pay for sugar roads, the deputy just said to me, well but I think you have budgeted for all to go to Corozal I need some to come to Orange Walk, he will get some more to go to Orange Walk by the time we have done 3 million dollars have been spent on sugar roads. Creating employment, ensuring that the farmers can deliver their produce so that once again the north can be awash in money”
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