In last Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, former Prime Minister, Said Musa rose to highlight the issue of education subsidy. According to Musa, the Ministry of Education is cutting off the opposition from their allowance allotted for education.
“Our greatest assets are the people and the greatest asset for the future is of course our young people, our students. Now I was very distressed to learn when we called your ministry minister that the usual assistance of education subsidy provided to students across this country will no longer be received by the opposition members and I would say this, allow me to finish and you can correct me if I am wrong. That $10,000 whatever it is that the government assisted us with in the past, you are not spiting a member of the opposition in depriving us of that you know, you would be depriving thousands of young people who need to go to school. You will be contributing.”
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
“Honorable Member is that related to the ……”
“It is about people, the greatest asset of our country. I wish the minister would explain that because I feel very passionate about this. If these young people cannot get the assistance for the education it’s the parents who will have to pull them out of school because the poor parents many of them cannot afford it and of course the crime will increase, unemployment will increase, dropouts will increase so many things will increase so bear all that in mind in providing the education assistance.”
Education Minister, Patrick Faber responded to Musa on the issue raised but did not say definitively if indeed the allowance is being cut.
“He called my office to ask my secretary if he could get the subsidy tickets to distribute them, this is the former Prime Minister, that is what my secretary reports, that you called to say ‘can you get the subsidy tickets so that you could go around in Fort George and deliver them like Santa Claus.”
“I tell me people that it’s the Government of Belize giving this subsidy so how can I be asking for it? But to answer my question man.”
“All the students who apply for the subsidy as you know get their subsidy ticket whether you take it or not they get their subsidy tickets. Madam speaker but I am glad that they are raising this because for many years they are right, we have given allocations to all members of the honorable house for education. Since when is it a right? Not to give you a quota, the people’s money you are right, it is the people’s right to have access to that money but there is nothing that says that money must be given via representatives.”
Musa says the allocation is about ten thousand dollars for each opposition member.