Leader of the Opposition John Briceno was quiet during the budget presentation. However, he stepped outside and spoke to the media about the PM who he referred to as delivering a lame duck presentation. Briceno chided the PM for the millions being spent close to 100 million in principal on roads, money he believes could be better used to serve the people of Belize.
Leader of the Opposition: “Well we just listened to a lame duck Prime Minister that more energy and more enthusiasm, just going through the motions. Obviously when you listen to the Prime Minister closely he was more talking to the IMF, to the multilaterals and not to the Belizean people. Trying to justify all these infrastructure projects to them. Projects that what we have been seeing is that it is all about these projects. We know what is going on with all of these projects. That is why more and more people are referring to this Government as the kick back government. In effect this is a kick back budget. There is nothing for the productive sector, there is nothing for our ordinary citizens of this country. When you think about it this Government has spent approximately eleven billion dollars and ask yourself are you better off today? Has poverty gone down? Has crime gone down? Has unemployment gone down? Has productivity gone up? By all the metrics you take it this is a Government that has failed the Belizean people. This budget is an empty budget that was presented to the Belizean people.”
Reporter: “ However as a representative for the north is there in you any excitement over the projects to I believe again pave the Orange Walk to Progresso Road and the Corozal to Sarteneja Road?”
Leader of the Opposition: “Well it is about bloody time don’t you think. I mean we have been abandoned, when you look at the PETROCARIBE funds that were squandered. ALmost $500 million and look at what we got in the north. We got next to nothing and for the Prime Minister to finally come and tell you… I want you to go through the road in Orange Walk Town and see how it is breaking apart. Millions have been spent there and it is breaking apart. It was about time that they are going to fix these roads. When we were in Government when we were leaving 2008 we were starting to pave the road from Progresso to Orange Walk Town. Now finally we are talking about it eleven years later oh now we are finally going to get to you. No man we are still not happy about that. There is so much more work that can and should be done in the north for the people so that is not getting the Prime Minister off the hook. The highway leaving Belize City, in some one of these roundabouts you have already seen it is opening up because it is poor quality and they are trying to cover it up with some cement, well it is already opening up. When you look at the quality of work and the excess amounts that we are spending. It makes you question how can we justify $90 million US dollars to pave the Caracol Roads when we have children going to school hungry, when we have parents that cannot afford to pay school fees. How can we justify that? The Coastal Road whilst it is a road that I support but again you question 139 plus million dollars to pave the road you have to question this. How can we spend so much money? How can we continue to borrow more and more despite the fact that the Prime Minister likes to boast that he is not getting commercial loans. Yes he is not but you are borrowing and we will still have to pay.”