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Opposition Leader: Government trying to spin the truth on budget

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And while the government gave an explanation on the Financial Secretary’s statements, Opposition Leader John Briceno is not convinced, especially since he says the Prime Minister has been avoiding the subject of the budget. Here’s how he put it.

Reporter

“Sir you say you spoke with the Financial Secretary are you able to divulge any details of that conversation?”

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“Well I spoke to him and what he tried, whilst not going into any detail, but he tried to assure me that they think that they have things under control but that is as much as I can say.”

Reporter

“Do you believe him?”

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“I have great respect for the Financial Secretary but what is going to happen next month I don’t know.”

Reporter

“The explanation of the government is that that leaked Whatsapp message from the FinSec us the usual message that is sent out at this time of the year when the budget is being prepared; you’ve been in government, does that sound true to you?”

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“Against the government is very skillful in how they lie because yes a part of it is true but I have never seen a memo that will alert the CEOs in the different ministries of government telling them ‘well stop spending money.’ ‘but you can’t continue spending money because we don’t have any more money.’ ‘because debt is at 100% of GDP and we may have to print treasury bills next month so we can pay our bills.’ I’ve never seen that part. I’ve seen when they say we are freezing all accounts or we don’t spend what is there but I’ve never seen one where they include that ‘we are at 100% GDP and that we may have to issue treasury bills to try to meet our commitments next month.”

Reporter

“So would you characterize that as a Freudian slip on the part of the Financial Secretary?”

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“I don’t think it’s an issue of a Freudian slip, it is an issue where the government is trying to spin themselves out of the truth.”

And when asked whether he expects government to raise taxes, here is what Briceno said.

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“When it comes to the Prime Minister you can never tell but remember the Prime Minister is a lame duck Prime Minister. From all indications are that he will leaving it’s anybody’s guess but not in the to distant future so probably he is going to leave the mess to Faber to try to clean it up. So if he doesn’t raise the taxes I would not be surprised but the day of reckoning will come.”

Reporter

“Do you know whether or not the other social partners have been consulted on this budget.”

John Briceno – Opposition Leader

“No one as far as I am concerned has been consulted. I know the Belize Chamber of Commerce has been very upset because they have not been consulted. I have asked for a meeting with the chamber and I should be meeting with them on Wednesday to have a consultation with them to present them with what our views are as so far and then we want to hear from them so that whenever we respond to the budget we can have a budget, a response that represents not only us per se the opposition but even the productive sector and the private sector when we reply to the budget.”

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