2008 was the fateful year that Belizeans decided to take a risk and vote for the UDP. They had promised to do better, to wipe out poverty, crime, corruption, to lower the cost of living and better living conditions. Twelve years later the cost of living has skyrocketed, social security contributions have been increased while benefits have decreased. Even the NHI services have been curtailed precisely when they are most needed. Pre pandemic poverty had already affected almost half our population and now it has extended to catastrophic proportions. Inflation is high because the taxes on fuel have been excessive and transportation costs are high. The monopolization of the LPG importation has led to several increases already in the short time that the company has been in operation. The retail price for LGP has become prohibitive and the living conditions of countless Belizean families has regressed fifty years to the times of fire hearth cooking.
This has been particularly difficult for Belizean families in urban areas. The UDP’s battle cry then was the nationalization of the utilities, the false promise they made was that rates for electricity, water, and telecommunications would be lowered making them more affordable to the public. The litigation for those utility companies have cost Belize and her people hundreds of millions, far more than the actual worth of the companies. Yet, rates have increased steadily, and reported profits have dwindled rapidly. These now public utilities far from lowering rates instead have become the cash cow for a privileged few including members and close friends of the Barrow family.
Corruption has been the only thing to truly thrive under the shadow of the UDP. It has enveloped and permeated the entire country these last dozen years. The infection has spread and has caused permanent damage and an ingrained culture of corruption. The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture has not been without its fair share of controversy either. There have multiple reports coming out of the Julian Cho High School that allege misappropriation of funds and preferential contracts given to well-connected teachers who moonlight as contractors and hustle on the side. We must not forget the audit at the National Sports Council which uncovered redirection of funds to the tune of more than one million dollars. The then Minister of State Herman Longsworth had funneled close to forty-five thousand dollars into his private and political account, he was fired as the Counsel General at the Embassy in New York for his involvement in the debacle. This happened under the nose of the new leader of the UDP, and since he has not come out to speak against it should we assume that silence means consent?
The Honorable Member for Collet likes to pretend that the stench of corruption does not come from him, but the fact is that he is neck-deep in the mire. He has been part and parcel of every decision made in Cabinet, whether by deed or omission the New Party Leader of the UDP bears the collective responsibility for the chaos Belizeans must now face. He must assume the responsibility of the pillage at Lands and even Hon Omar Figueroa’s looting of the Hol Chan Marine coffers to provide political propaganda for his constituents. Hol Chan is now forced to ask for donations through a Go Fund Me page online in order to pay its employees and remain afloat. The entire UDP Cabinet is smeared with the same filth, none of them can shake the culpability. The electorate has already decided, on November 11th the UDP must be ready to bounce!