By Gilroy Usher, PUP Standard Bearer Port Loyola
A portion of government’s press release for the second phase of the Covid 19 financial relief states: “Workers who have been laid off because of Covid-19 and self-employed persons, who have lost their income as a result of Covid 19 may apply.”
With those few words the government quietly made it known its decision does not to include persons who were unemployed (not formally employed) before Covid-19 in the second phase of the financial relief for hardship caused by the coronavirus. It was a decision made by uncaring men and women with cold hearts.
For clarity the unemployed refers to domestic workers, tradesmen, food vendors, handymen, lawn keepers, and other persons who offer their services informally to care for their families.
Whenever there is a national health crisis and a major decline in the economy of any country as in the case of Belize for the past five months, it is a fact that those who are unemployed (not formally employed) suffer the most hardship. That’s because other persons in the community have less funds to hire their services. It is therefore not only necessary but simply fair and just that the most vulnerable group in the society be included in any financial assistance for hardship caused by the coronavirus, when their back is against the wall as is the case today.
The bread of the ministers of this county is buttered on both sides and around the edge. They don’t understand the hardship ordinary men and women are going through to survive daily.
The ministers squander over $1/4 million each for spanking new late model vehicles for themselves as if that hefty cost for a vehicle is peanuts. They enriched themselves and their cronies with millions of dollars from bloated road contracts, and they have nothing to show for millions of dollars in overseas loans that the Belizean people have to repay. Nevertheless these same self-centered ministers are now denying financial assistance for hardship caused by the coronavirus to all those persons, who were unemployed before the pandemic.
When it comes to the most vulnerable group in Belize, the unemployed, the UDP leaders of this country have hearts of steel.