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    Tuesday, 29 January 2019 20:33
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The 2016/2017 budget debate ended late yesterday evening with the Prime Minister of Belize’s presentation. The Right Honorable Dean Barrow’s speech only lasted for half hour but during that time he lashed out the Opposition for claiming that the unemployment rate is at an all-time high.

PM-on-Budget1-300x225Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“He talked about what the average earnings in this country are, but he offered no source or authority for the figure he gave. Likewise he said he had embarked on some sort of tax per dollar calculation for the people’s earnings, but in coming up with the number, and in telling us how he did so he used such outrageous sleight of hand that it required a scolding from the Minister of National Security who is the only true economist in this House. It was not surprising then Mr. Speaker that when it came to our Statistical Institute of Belize the leader of the Opposition cited them and their data with approval when it suited him. For example the GDP growth last two quarters…he was quick to say this is what the SIB said and they obviously are right. He used that to determine, fine economist that he is, that we are in a recession. But when it came to the unemployment figure similarly given and documented by the Statistical Institute of Belize – and they’ve been doing this every time they put out their bulletins – when it came to the fact that they confirmed that unemployment now is the lowest it has been in a decade, that doesn’t suit the leader of the Opposition so he quarrels with it.”

The Prime Minister also responded to the comments made by several parliamentarians of the Opposition that the Petro Cribe money was squandered and overblown contracts were given to…..quote unquote, UDP cronies.

According to the P.M this is far from the truth and in his words there is no “hanky panky” when it comes to the use of the Petro Caribe funds.

Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“Now among the half-truths, untruths, falsifications and misrepresentations from the Opposition, one stood out. That was the charge that the Petrocaribe projects being implemented by BIL, had contracts awarded on the basis of cronyism. Mr. Speaker, that's why we put representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Chamber of Commerce on the BIL board of directors, to make absolutely sure of transparency, to guard completely against any possibility of HP as your station called it "hanky panky." And those representatives will tell you that all these contracts were awarded on the basis of fair and open bidding. You talk about the civic center? The outfit that won, went up against Kee Chanona from Trinidad and Tobago. First class regional reputation and the local outfit that won which is a partnership, came in some 6 million dollars under Kee Chanona. Thats why they won the contract and as you can see work has already started and is proceeding apace."

At the end of his address the Prime Minister reiterated that the 2016/2017 budget is bold and sterling.


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