Gaspar Vega’s Police security was just one of the matters that attracted a fiery back and forth in the House meeting held last Friday. Another issue was one brought up by the Opposition Leader Hon. John Briceno on the recently released labour force statistics. Briceno pointed out that the data shows a worsening state of affairs in Belize, which has seen heavy spending but very little substance.
Honourable John Briceno – Party Leader of the People’s United Party
“It is twice as hard for a woman to get a job in Belize, young people between the ages of 14 and 24 one out of every three young people are unemployed and under employment continues to be a major factor in Belize, under employed people simply means that these are people that are working anywhere between one hour and thirty five hours per week. We have 25,302 Belizeans that are under employed which is around 16.7% of the working population but when you add the 9% of unemployed people and 16.7% of under employed people we have over 25%, one of every four Belizeans either don’t have a job or barely they have anything to be able to hold on to, this in itself is really, really bad because it shows a weak economy, there has been little growth in the economy and it shows that it is an economy that is not keeping up with the population or with our labor force and we know when people are not working or they barely have anything or they catch and kill they are not making enough money to take home usually end up with more poverty or more crime. But what bothers me most Madam speaker that here we have 59.5% of our workers with just a standard six or less of education in our labor force when we have just squandered four hundred million dollars of Petro Caribe, 600 Billion dollars from the oil money we have borrowed over 1.3 Billion dollars and all of that money is gone it has been spent and spent and it’s not coming back this government in effect has spent over 8 billion dollars since they have been in government yet 59.5% of Belizean workers only have a standard six education or no education at all.”
Honourable Patrick Faber – Deputy Prime Minister of Belize/Minister of Education
“We have seven thousand classroom spaces for first form, you added up that is a fact, you want me to go through it; we have about sixty high schools in this country and we have the ITVETS and we have the second chance programs and we have the, you see you don’t like the facts, no not me start and I can’t make he slide especially when he is attacking education, rather than attacking what we should do is work together in order to have these problems fixed, that is the important thing we should do, so it is not the statistics, and I’m not sure about your statistics neither, were those statistics that you quoted from the SIB in terms of the Primary, the qualifications of the …I don’t know, the same statistics that your colleague was questioning whether it was accurate or not just now, now you want to say its accurate the same statistics that you are going to use so Madam Speaker what he just said cannot be fixed overnight that’s one of the things he said but he is not to blame this administration because if there is any blame because this administration did not squander.”