Fuel prices have become a tremendous burden that the Belizean people have had to bear, and it is a fact that when fuel prices go up, other commodities go up as well. The opposition party, the People’s United Party and the Belize Chamber of Commerce have previously called on the government to lower the prices, but to no avail. The Belize Leaders for Social Justice is also concerned about the fuel prices. In this regard, the organization will be holding a protest tomorrow in the hopes of getting the government’s attention to convince them to lower the fuel prices. Moses Sulph, the Co-Chair of the Belize Leaders for Social Justice, are encouraging the public to come out and let their voices be heard.
Moses Sulph – Co- Chair, Belize Leaders for Social Justice: “We will be having a protest demonstration tomorrow to advocate for the lowering of cost of living which is a tremendous burden to most Belizean’s. Under that umbrella of cost of living they are a number of issues that is very important at this time such as cost of rent, cost of taking the bus, cost of acquiring gas, cost of goods and services on a whole because the increase in gas cost or gas price does drive up other commodities so that is important for us to understand. Those who are selling those other commodities are not going to just observe the cost, they are going to pass it on to the consumers whereby the consumers who have limited resources already due to low or minimum wage and the fact that wages haven’t been increased as the cost of living or the goods of service have so that causes a problem for all of us. Our concern is that there are complacency and a lack of urgency to understand the suffering that a lot of Belizean people are facing and it is a fact. I can tell you that many children go to school without lunch money or some children don’t go to school because at some point their parents don’t have lunch money. It is a fact that as long as you are making $3.30 an hour and cost of living continues to increase significantly the monies that you make will never be able to cover your basic expense.”
Villagers in Hopkins are also feeling the pinch from government constant taxing of the fuel which continues to drive-up the prices. And so protesters will also take to the streets there over the high gas prices.
Moses Sulph – Co-Chair of the Belize Leaders for Social Justice: “For example the gas prices, there is a lot of local people that own businesses here in Hopkins that do snorkeling or they do traveling tours, maybe carry people to the airport or what have you so every time the gas goes up these people get affected. You cannot always be trying to carry up your prices with those tourists because they are already used to one set price so the Government really are hampering these people because they take more money out of their pocket to pay the gas people so that they can put gas in their boat or their pan. Basically, over the past fifteen years, the price for goods and services has increased and in some cases by a %100 but yet the minimum wage is not raising so the same amount of money you have to take to try to stretch to buy things are getting more and more expensive. People are in distress, you take a little $30 or $40 and the little bit of stuff you bring from the Chinese won’t last long.”
The protest commences at ten in the morning at the Constitution Park. Meanwhile, the protest in Hopkins is also scheduled for ten in the morning and will commence at Maude Park.