Opposition Leader slams Government in his Independence Day address

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Updated: September 22, 2017

Belize celebrated its 36th anniversary of independence yesterday. The official ceremonies which took place at the foot of the National Assembly building saw members of the diplomatic corps, members of the parliament, the judiciary and others gathered.  As is customary, the Leader of the Opposition delivered an address.  Earlier this week Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno told the media he would use his Independence Day address to focus on some of the challenges being faced by Belize. Briceno lived up to his promise.

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“Today all over our nation social and economic problems abound. The cost of living is out of control, fuel is now over $11 per gallon- close to a half of which is collected at the pump is collected as taxes that go to government. Ten years later we still live in a nation blessed with wealth untold yet close to half of our people are living in an unjust and wrenching poverty. Today in 2017 in some of our rural communities we still have Belizeans who lack the basic needs like potable water and electricity. Many of our workers, close to 60%, lack any secondary education or training in basic skills. Our minimum wage does not reflect a just system when we pay our domestic and shop workers as little as $3.30 an hour- an amount that comes far short of what is needed to constitute a living wage. The nature of violence in Belize has become so pronounced that our own very Prime Minister in the recent sitting of the House of Representatives confessed that we live in a violent nation.”

Briceno’s address was disrupted by hecklers however after one member of the public had to be escorted out by law enforcement officers, he continued. And while he spent most of his time lamenting what is going wrong in Belize, Briceno said he remains hopeful.

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“Once confidence and optimism we see ever increasing despair and desperation. In spite of it all I remain optimistic. We Belizeans never give up, we love this country, our children and we will always aspire to live in a nation that offers the promise of prosperity. Our desire is to live in Belize where we all believe wholeheartedly that we can make it if we try. That is our duty to help each other get ahead.

He said they stand with civil society and others who are fighting to see a better nation.”