Today, the Minister of Finance will read the 2019-2020 budget at the National Assembly in Belmopan City, in the shadows of a lawsuit claiming breach of the Finance and Audit Act. Usually, there is government fanfare when the budget is expected to yield novel growth and progress for a country, imagined, but it’s there. There is no noise this time. In this upcoming financial year’s budget, the expected pork in infrastructure is already under heavy scrutiny by the diverse sectors of the economy. The story is being repeated too often: overpriced projects funded by loans which grow our debts to equal virtually all our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) being tendered to one or two contractors while Belizeans are NOT getting value for their hard earned money.
Roads are literally being built to nowhere. Well maybe our ancestor Belizeans, the Mayas of Caracol, would not agree since they will get a spanking new road or so the agreement goes. The mass of Belizeans will never get to see this project in fruition—that’s because they won’t use the road or maybe it will never get built. There are many examples of massive projects that remain that, projects, e.g. the Haulover Bridge, amongst others. Imaginary projects are in the expertise of this UDP government.
At the Budget presentation, we can all expect a drawl sprinkled with glitter and verbal pictures of a Belize that is flourishing under the shade. The reality for us Belizeans is that we are experiencing ninety six plus degrees in that shade. When one is outside on the overpriced tarmacadam, our pockets are being cooked due to the sky high prices.
As we come to this budget, the austerity tightens. In the face of global low oil and fuel prices, we have to pay higher prices to pad a budget. PM Barrow must have thought that taxing fuel was a brilliant idea. He even lies to himself. He feels that by strangling the economy, he can cause it to magically grow. Viola!
Belizeans should listen to the budget and do what is done to Trump so often: Fact Check. We all have Google now. Yes, it is true that Belize might not have all the information online. But, when it’s not online it is because they are hiding it from you.
Message your representative or, better yet, your UDP ministers! Ask him or her a question! Remind him or her that they work for you. Wait for the answer.