General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2023 Presented in House
A General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2023 was also taken to the House of Representatives today. Prime Minister rose to present the expenditure list, justifying the need for additional monies for the government. Among the reasons for the supplementary, are the building of a new St. Matthew’s School, a new Forward Operating Base as well as improvements in the office spaces for the judiciary.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “We are therefore pleased to support the National Bank by capitalizing the bank with an additional $5 million dollars. Turning to a matter of serious concern that of citizen security the reports of a Mexican Cartel exacting violence upon our citizens in the northern part of Belize is no secret. This requires urgent and meaningful response. As requested by the police department we are proposing to immediately allocate $1 million dollars towards this heavy and serious threat to our national security. Likewise my administration prioritizes support for the most vulnerable. Therefore an additional $2 million dollars will be allocated for the target social protection to be administered by the Ministry of Human Development. In support of caner farmers we are funding a $1 million dollar grant for fertilizers. I don’t see you clapping member for Mesopotamia. He was walking with the cane farmers the other day when he was so call the process noh. I guess he done switch sides he won’t support money for them. But you were there with one of them, you were there with only one of them. Show the hypocrisy of these people. And we are appropriating a further $500,000 to extend the amnesty project. The St.Matthew’s Government School recently burned down to the ground we’re allocated $1 million dollars to build a new school at St.Matthew’s Village. The Sarstoon Operating Base build less than ten years ago by the past UDP administration is uninhabitable and is in a complete state of disrepair. It’s sinking and leaning on a side. Urban legend says that when the past minister of National Security visited and stood up in there the place started to sink because it was badly constructed. Urban legend said I didn’t say. The point is – and also Madam Speaker coming back to the sinking of the Sarstoon Operating Base that was built ten years ago you know you recall the sad incident some years ago when a brave BDF soldier lost an eye in an accident at that base. We need to knock it down and build a new base and I hope that the members of the opposition will also support us to rebuild this base at a cost of $500,000. The Charles Bartlett Hyde Building on Mahogany Street which will house the Vital Statistics Unit, the Family Court, the Legal Aid Center and the Magistrates Court Buildings in Belize City and Belmopan require extensive repair and renovation at a cost of $1.9 million dollars. All these buildings were neglected by the United Democratic Party Government and now this PUP government has to fix it.”
Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow, questioned the need for a supplementary budget just two months after the new budget was passed.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Budget planning that you have overseen over the last three fiscal years has been a complete disaster. It reeks of incompetence. We are sixty days removed from a budget being presented in this honorable house Madam Speaker and it is unprecedented that a supplementary would be brought to this house a mere sixty days removed from the reading of the budget and the passing of the budget Madam Speaker. The Opposition can understand St.Matthews. Now we’re talking about $69 million dollar supplementary so that the Belizean people can understand after we just passed an almost $2 billion dollar budget Madam Speaker and supplementary appropriations bills are to be presented to this honorable house when emergencies take place. It is for spending that was not anticipated Madam Speaker so St.Matthews we understand and the narco war in Corozal I can understand having to reinforce our troops and our security forces Madam Speaker. But when you look at something like the base that he said when the former Minister of National Security the former UDP Minister when he would visit the base when he stands on the base the base sinks so you just realized that two months after you passed the budget ? I mean you’re embarrassing yourself man. You see I used to kind of you know you have to kind of pay attention to your predecessors you’re in the game thirty years so I thought you had something to teach me but all you’re teaching me is to be incompetent. I really have to take you off my list of Prime Ministers to give any review because you know that supplementary spending is reserved for emergencies, unanticipated bills. You just admitted that that base has been in distress for quiet some time so why didn’t you put that in the budget the we just passed ?”
Also speaking on the supplementary, was Collet Area Representative, Patrick Faber who questioned the need for seven million dollars. Faber alluded to some hanky panky under this supplementary budget.
Patrick Faber, Area Representative, Collet: “You said that we would accuse you of not being capable and competent and that is very true sir. Begin Madam Speaker maybe the Prime Minister can begin with personal emoluments for these judges. You knew in fact you had to advertise am I correct these three judges you don’t just pull them out the sky I believe you advertise regionally and all of that to get applicants to apply so you must have known at the time of the budget that you would have been hiring these three additional judges. So we allocate another $500,000 there for three judges. Seems like a lot of money but we already saw a huge chunk paid to judges already and I’m not going to get into all of that but that’s a concern as well. And then under the Ministry of National Defense where my colleague just raised the concerns that the Opposition Leader continuously tries to shoot him down well we see tremendous increases there as well and you’ve said, and this is the first time that I’m hearing you concede the Police Commissioner certainly did not concede that there was som issue with a Mexican cartel. So it is good to know that you’re admitting that and that we have such a serious problem and we’re trying to do something to face off that problem. And then Prime Minister I have to agree with my colleague on the Guinea Grass rudimentary water system. This could have been budgeted for $1.3 million dollars. We see under your ministry as well urban improvement project and these projects I listened to you explanation and still don’t understand what it is. This is $7 million dollars, what is that money being spent on ? Is this because the municipal elections re coming up and you’re going to try to do all kinds of magic works now in the urban areas of our country to try to buy elections ?”
The General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2023 will go to the Senate for ratification on Monday.