By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
On what would have been George Price’s 95th birthday, the People’s United Party (PUP) launched its 10-point Social Justice Agenda.
Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca introduced the new Social Justice Agenda at Independence Hall on Wednesday morning, following a short wreath-laying ceremony at Price’s grave at the Lord Ridge Cemetery, in recognition of his many accomplishments.
Fonseca said, “It is fair to say that at times, we have walked away from the straight path that we have been on, and today, we’re saying that we recognize that. We accept that, and we are absolutely committed to making sure that we are walking on the path of social justice.”
Fonseca described the agenda as a way for the party, which was founded in the labor and union movement, to return to its roots of advocating for social justice and reforms.
One of the party’s objectives on the agenda is the proposal to introduce an equitable non-political Welfare to Work program, which would provide food, housing, clothing assistance, and skills training to persons who qualify for the program.
Numerous countries have successfully implemented similar programs, which have had success in providing aid to needy persons; still, the concept is new to Belize.
Also notable is the PUP’s objective to “de-politicize” the distribution of lands, thereby, providing an opportunity to all Belizeans over age 18 to have equal access to ownership of land.
Last year, even Prime Minister Dean Barrow described the Lands Department as “a hotbed of corruption.”
The Social Justice Agenda also lists a minimum wage adjustment as one of its objectives.
According to the agenda, the minimum wage would be adjusted every three years to compensate for the increases in cost of living.
This is in line with the National Trade Union Congress’s (NTUCB) plea last week to Minister of Labor Godwin Hulse to review the minimum wage formula.
The PUP agenda also pledges to provide free, quality education from pre-school to junior college with textbooks via laptops as well as free; and quality healthcare under the National Health Insurance Program.
Other areas of focus in the agenda revolve around the creation of new jobs and industries and the eradication of poverty.
There is also an objective to expand the Social Security Program to provide for a non-contributory pension scheme for all Belizeans.