House of Representatives on August 3, 2020
Orange Walk Central, Party Leader Hon. John Briceño:
It is important that today the PUP makes its position abundantly clear as to the redistricting exercise and the holding of the next General Elections. On Friday, I was floored when I heard what the PM said on television about Andrew Marshalleck. And I quote, ‘Andrew Marshalleck, is he the, or one of the official lawyers of the Peoples’ United Party? The PUP wants the elections postponed.’ end quote.
Today there is a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Belize against the UDP government to hold a redistricting exercise as soon as possible.
Let me make the following points very clear, abundantly clear:
- The PUP is not in favour of any postponement of the elections. In fact, we have been calling the elections from last year. Do not use this excuse to postpone the elections just because your party is breaking up. You need to call the Elections now!
- The PUP is not a part of that lawsuit or any lawsuit for any redistricting at this time. And while Mr. Andrew Marshalleck is a PUP supporter he is NOT representing the PUP in this lawsuit.
- Within the first year, a new PUP administration WILL have a redistricting exercise, and we will ensure that it is done fairly and with full consultations and transparency.
Madame Speaker let me put it again clearly and simply: Mr. Prime Minister Call the Elections now.
Stann Creek West, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson:
Money issues are made available through the Ministry of Education. Stann Creek West is the biggest constituency in Belize. Regardless of the help we are getting there is still no equity in the issue of assistance to elected members of this national assembly.
For this year, the Ministry of Education got a warrant to assist representatives with Education assistance. For those who are elected members of the UDP they are getting sixty five thousand to assist with Education that adds up to One Million Two Hundred Thirty Five Thousand Dollars.
For an unelected UDP standard bearers. I assume there are twelve. I know that in Mesopotamia and Port Loyola there are elected members and two standard bearers. I hope they are not both getting assistance. The UDP caretakers are getting thirty thousand dollars. There is no provision for the standard bearers for the People’s United Party. We the PUP representatives are getting three thousand to assist.
(Given the math)Every elected member should be getting Fifty Two Thousand Dollars Six Hundred and Twelve Dollars. All the PUPs are now getting Thirty Three Thousand which is what ONE UDP is getting to help with Education.
It is unfair and unjust especially in this pandemic when the people are crying for assistance. The people will send you a strong message at the polls whenever you decide to call this election. Our people have been robbed of what is theirs.
Cayo Northeast, Hon. Landy Habet:
We have a failing and deteriorating health system. Despite the fact that in March 19, 2015 the then CEO stood up at a press conference and announced that his government was getting a grant thirty million dollars from the European government for a new wing at the Belmopan Regional Health Hospital. Some monies were to be used for the refurbishing of the failing infrastructure the Northern and Southern Regional Hospitals. Today we have not seen that happen as yet.
And then, on September 24, 2015 a few weeks before the last General Elections, he again announced the same thirty million dollars for the construction of a brand New Hospital for the Western Regional at Belmopan. Today, not a stone has been turned.
Today, the Benque Polyclinic seems like it will fall apart. There have been several inspections and nothing is done for repair. This is a health and human hazard. Basic medicines are lacking.
Poor quality laboratory and ambulance services are issue. There is negligible services in terms of ultrasound machinery. There are no tomography and imaging available.
The people never come first with the UDP. Raising false hopes in the catastrophically afflicted poor is despicable.
Not even with more than twelve billion dollars, of those a little over 3 billion was allocated to the health system and we cannot see the improvement.
Orange Walk South, Hon. Jose Mai:
It was clear today that Covid-19 has no political lines. We are all vulnerable. We have to work together. It means we have to listen and take advice. It matter not who gives the advice, PUP or UDP. I was privy to serve in the Agriculture Covid Response Committee. We prepared proposals to submit through the coChair. We were not listened to, maybe thrown away. Now there is a Poultry shortage. This is a learning experience and we have to learn from our mistakes.
Poultry and beans is the cheapest source of protein, in our country. So when they cannot afford poultry then they cannot afford the more expensive meats like pork and beef. When we did not buy from the producers directly they ended up having large amounts of product in the freezers. Then they could not buy feed to for the birds, the same was for pork and beef. So cash flow was a problem. They could not empty the freezers so what happened they had to kill birds or sell at cheap rates and now we have a shortage. This is temporary. The good news is that people are consuming poultry almost as fast was when the tourism industry was open.
But we cannot be putting them through this when the government could have helped.
It is very expensive to restart poultry, swine or cattle industry. It is costly to restart.
Let us consider our farmers. Consider the producers. It is a cycle. Everyone has a refrigerator. You can free up space and then get cash flow. Not having money to feed the birds is a disaster.
I want to ask the government today. With the money that they care getting in relief and other programs, let us make an effort so that the farmers can benefit directly from this money. Let us help the farmers who are in dire need this time.
Toledo East, Hon. Mike Espat:
We live right along the Guatemalan border. The people who are responsible to take care of our kids in the schools. Teachers have been asking for basins, soap, and detergent in order to keep the kids properly clean. Some of them have no water system. This virus is deadly. When we dealing with kids they will play and touch one another. We need to caution.
We have also been having reports on the road going to Corazon and Crique Sarco. Once those buses start going, we will have problems when children and teachers are going to school. The Ministry of Works needs to be aware of the conditions. We all need to be prepared for the worse.
We need to take this matter much more seriously with our kids.
Toledo West, Hon. Oscar Requena:
Farmers in the Toledo in the border areas producing pepitos and other. They want government to help them find a market to sell those products. They are in the harvesting season and traditionally this is sold to Guatemala. The border is close and now they are stuck. They are seeking government intervention. They have invested heavily and they expect a return and they don’t want their product to perish. We hope to be able to get the government to support the farmers to market their product.
I was very happy with my visit to the allspice farm in Golden Stream Village. They have been producing black pepper for a very long time. They are saying that they have enough to supply to local market. Enough black pepper. It is a very good product. Again, the investor would like government support to market his product locally. It would also go a long way in saving foreign exchange and also stimulate the economy by providing employment. We would like to ask the relevant ministries to provide support for our farmers.