Day Two of Budget Debate Concludes in Belmopan

Day Two of Budget Debate Concludes in Belmopan

Day two of the budget debate ended just before five o’clock this evening in Belmopan.  The day’s session began after ten o’clock this morning and saw presentations from ten area representatives who each spoke for an average of 45 minutes.  In the same form as yesterday, the debate went without incident.  As a matter of fact, the opposition side had only two of its five representatives, namely the opposition leader and Collet’s representative, Patrick Faber.  The lengthiest presentation today came from Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Julius Espat.  His presentation was followed by Kareem Musa of Caribbean Shores, and Florencio Marin of Corozal Southeast.

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “We come from, I would say, a privileged background Madam Speaker, I can say that. But we represent people that don’t have those opportunities and that is a sacred responsibility given to us as area representative, to look after the ones that cannot look after themselves. The haves, Madam Speaker and God bless them, have it all. They have access to all. They have access to money. They have access to attorneys. They have access to contacts. They have political connections. They are fine if it’s blue or if it’s red. The have nots have absolutely no opportunity if government does not step in to defend them. In this country, people do not give the same respect to villagers as they give to the urban citizens. And that is a fight that I have fought from the day I was elected. The villagers of this country deserve an equal if not maybe larger proportion of the budget because of the size of the population, one. Two, because the villagers are the ones that produce and feed us.”

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “It’s an even greater honor for me to follow the lion of Cayo South, the member for Cayo South, the honorable Julius Espat.  The vision of our ministry is to build a safe and secure Belize, one that fosters the development of a peaceful and democratic society that maximizes fully on its human, material, and natural resources to ensure social justice, ethnic harmony, citizen security, stability, and overall prosperity. I want to thank the Cabinet for approving an increase in our budget within our ministry that pushes this vision into reality. 2024 to 2025, projections are looking bright, with several exciting initiatives in the pipeline. The proposal of a bill to modernize the National Forensic Science Service Act, Chapter 39-2 of the Laws of Belize including the establishment of an Office of the Chief Medical examiner, and at the same time propose a bill to repeal the antiquated Coroners Act. Through the CABEI Project the Forensics Department will commence the first phase of establishing a new, state-of-the-art forensic laboratory and the country’s first forensic morgue in Belmopan.”

Florencio Marin Jr, Minister of National Defence and Border Security: “Military operations throughout the year. Our security forces executed a series of strategic operations aimed at safeguarding our nation from internal and external threats. The Belize Defense Force spearheaded surgical operations targeting specific incursions, including the destruction of illicit marijuana and coca plantations and the deterrence of illegal aircraft landings. These operations disrupt a variety of criminal activities from incursions, illegal cattle ranching, illegal cultivation, and settlements and illegal gold panning to illegal logging and deforestation. Mr Speaker, I am happy to report that just last month, after intensive night-flying training, the BDF air wing started to conduct night flying operations to ensure that our skies are safe 24-7.”

With a weak showing on the opposition side, the opposition leader took licks from the government side.  

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “And then they come speaking of the right honorable George Cadle Price as if he is something that they can put in their mouths. When that government fought the Right Honorable George Price are the way up to independence and they refuse to be a part of our independent country. Stop being hypocrites. And they acknowledge him only when he died. They’re like all of us, when somebody is dead they’re the greatest but when they’re alive nobody cares. So that is the level of hypocrisy that we are dealing with. And I’m so happy that the member from Collet is here now at least I have somebody to make eye contact with. How was your flight, sir? Did you come in first class?”

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Madam Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition gave his presentation and I didn’t know exactly how to feel about his presentation. I didn’t know if I should feel amused by what he was saying, if I should be concerned by what he was saying but he actually tried to convince himself that he won the election. If you listen to him and then if you look at his ads, because he went so far as to ads on TV, this man genuinely feels he won the city council and town council elections. It reminds me, Madam Speaker, of when I buy Boledo, Fu We Boledo, not  Brad’s or the prince Boledo. Fu Wi Boledo, the People’s United Party Boledo. And then I go buy a number like 100 pieces of 61. I’m giving you rake today, clerk. But then 67 plays. But I still take my ticket and I show up at the Boledo agent the next day and I say “check it for me, I’ve come to collect. I win.” And the Boledo agent looks at me and says “But minister you are off.” But while I buy 100 pieces of 61 and I was kinda close, my boy bought 1000 pieces of 6 using the Lord’s money. What we have to understand that when the Leader of the Opposition was calling for elections it was actually a cry for help. He knows what’s coming his way. And he knows that the only way he can hold on to leadership is if there is an early election because the knives are being sharpened, the blood is in the water, the sharks are circling him. And then he talked yesterday, Prime Minister, he said the Right Honorable Said Musa had called an early election. But he was confused because it was actually the right Honorable George Price that had called an early election in 1993. But he won’t know about that because that was when Diddy was bringing him out. I think he was being groomed and Diddy was going to bring him out. So you can understand Prime Minister why he was clouded and confused as to what was happening in 1993 and still suffering from that relationship with his mentor. But Madam Speaker I wish that I could send some sort of a life saver for the leader. And I wish I could tell the Prime Minister to call elections because it will be a blowout again but the truth is, Madam Speaker, we still have a lot of work to get done and I hope he can understand that. But let his heart not be troubled. You can rest assured that his party will put him out of his political misery in very short order.”

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