PUP blasts budget on day one of debate

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

The People’s United Party (PUP) started day one of the debate on the national budget, taking strong positions against the Government of Belize on several issues.
PUP Leader, John Briecño indirectly accused the government of tampering with statistics, saying that the projections of growth in the budget do not match the reality that Belizeans are facing.

Briceño made his case by referring to statistics from the tourism sector, pointing out that hotel occupancy had fallen by 12 percent from 42 percent to 37 percent in 2016, when compared to 2015.
“It is perplexing that the BTB (Belize Tourism Board) can state that overnight tourism grew…over 40,000 tourists, but hotel occupancy fell by 12 percent,” he said.

The PUP standard bearers all raised numerous issues, including crime, the economy, infrastructure, and even the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute. Area representatives from the UDP, in like fashion, argued their points as presented in the budget presentation on March 13. The debate is scheduled to continue on Friday, March 24.
Apart from the political back and forth, which was noticeably more agreeable under the stewardship of the new Speaker of the House Laura Longsworth, the government presented several Bills to the House for various stages of reading.

Those Bills include: the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2017; the Evidence Amendment Act 2017; the Indictable Procedure Amendment Act 2017; the Parole Act 2017; and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust Amendment Act 2017.

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