Hon. John Briceño during a University of Belize Virtual Town Hall

0
2112

Party Leader’s Opening Remarks

November 3, 2020

Good morning…

Let me start by saying how grateful I am to be with you this morning.  I am especially looking forward to hearing your ideas and concerns and to share some ideas from our recently published manifesto – planBelize.

Please download the BLU app to check out the plan, since there is no way in this limited time frame that I could reasonably expect to give you a complete picture of our PLAN. I can tell you that our planBelize has been months in development because it is a people’s effort. We base our ideas going forward on three ideals:  hope, vision and realism.

At the moment, we are in the midst of a global and local coronavirus catastrophe and our economy is collapsing.  This requires all hands-on deck. Our work ahead is to recover and improve. What are some of the urgent actions we must take?

First, we must control the spread of the coronavirus.

Also we have to recover and create thousands of JOBS.

All of these things have to happen at the same time.

At the top of our list of priorities will be the roll out of NHI across Belize. Other priorities will include provide free education from pre-school to 6th Form, increase active police officers to 4000, double the judiciary, and the set-up an agriculture plan that includes Food and Security as the foundation of our society.

Our plan gives serious emphasis to youth.

For example, we will ensure fair access to a higher education loan fund and equal opportunity for a $3 million rural education grant fund, and once we start the recovery, we will increase the youth budget to $10 million.

As I travel across Belize the urgent cry is for good basic living conditions. Pope Francis always talks about the three T’s: Terra (LAND), Trabajo (WORK) and Techo (HOUSING). This is the foundation of hope my young friends.

So, our planBelize calls for the construction of 10,000 low income homes, to fast track a stimulus package for jobs and the opening up of the LAND ownership system especially to young people.

Yes, Tourism must bounce back better and we have a clear plan for that.

Two things must and will happen for all this to work,

ONE: that we reform the way we are governed. We must reform the PAC, give teeth to the Integrity Commission and implement the United Nations convention against corruption.

The big question should always be HOW WILL WE PAY FOR ALL THIS?

The answer is with a team that is focused on re-negotiating our DEBT, growing the economy to bring in more revenue, and putting the money into our priorities.

Let me end with a simple example of priority spending. Right now, the UDP is spending almost $200 million on ONE ROAD to Caracol. In housing alone, those funds could have been prioritized to build thousands of low-cost homes. In land distribution, funds could have been spent to survey farm lands for people to plant, grow and reap.

I am here to tell you it is not going to be easy, but we have a plan.

I encourage you to read it, discuss it with your families, and yes criticize it.

We are open for debate and discussion; this is how families work and this is how our nation should work.

Please go to planBelize.bz and read our plans and for those of you 18 and older, please make sure you VOTE safely!