Belize
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Let the Annual Budget Debate Commence!

Mar 21, 2023

Let the Annual Budget Debate Commence!

Prime Minister John Briceño returned from Panama earlier today where he attended a round of meetings with governors of the Inter-American Development Bank.  We’ll have more on that working visit elsewhere in our newscast, but the PM’s arrival is in time for a series of debates that will be held in parliament beginning on Wednesday. The annual budget debate has, for the first time, been extended to a three-day session to accommodate all government ministers, as well as area representatives and opposition parliamentarians.  While the prime minister shared with us what can be expected in the coming days, he also took aim at the opposition, in particular, one area representative whose record of attendance has been less than stellar.  We begin tonight with a look at what’s to come tomorrow.

Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“For the first time we have decided to have a three-day debate.  I think when you have two days, you are in a hurry and many times we are asking ministers to try to keep it down to fifteen minutes and then we go on ‘til one or two o’clock in the morning and it’s not fair to the ministers who would like to point out or to address the nation as to their accomplishments, the work that they have done and the work that they expect to do in the coming year, and also to our Belizean citizens that we are making important decisions at one o’clock in the morning.  So we felt that if we could set it up over three days to be able to give everybody an opportunity to speak, not only the ministers and of course the five members of the opposition.  Well, I think it’s definitely going to be no more than four, maybe less, who knows.  You can never tell with these people, but to be able to give even our representatives a chance to be able to say, you know, to be able to speak to their constituents and say, “listen, over the past year, these are the projects that I did, the work that I did and this is what I expect and intend to do the next year.  As to the opposition, well we know that there’s a member that has been, I don’t think that member has attended, if you put the two or three times that she has attended meetings since November 2020, and you put the time together, that would still not be enough for one house meeting.  I think it’s shameful and the Leader of the Opposition should do something about it and the U.D.P. should do something about it because that person was elected to represent the people and to represent the people, not walking around Belize City but also to go to the House and to defend and speak on behalf of these people.  So I expect it’s going to be a respectful debate, I’ve said to my colleagues that it’s best to just ignore the opposition when they’re making noise and I’ve made the point now that whenever one person in particular who likes to interrupt me, I’ve decided that I will just ignore that person and let the speaker deal with that.”