Leader of the Opposition, Patrick Faber this morning appeared on LOVE TV’s “The Morning Show” where he discussed issues affecting the nation and in particular the Collet constituency, the area he represents. Collet is one of the constituencies that has a high population of poor families. It is also one of the constituencies in south side Belize City that is plagued by crime. Most recently, residents of Collet had to deal with flooding caused by incessant rains. Faber says monies allocated by the government through the community development assistance program aids in helping his constituents.
Patrick Faber, Collet Area Representative: “Credit ought to be given to the government and even as we speak the government has approved for us all representatives to receive the community development fund which varies in size on a monthly basis I mean dependent on the size of your constituency in terms of the number of voters and so that will allow us to be able to put off projects, substantial projects not where we would want it to be in terms of larger infrastructure, building homes and fixing streets and all of that but enough to do initiatives that will help the people of the constituency. So my constituents can certainly look forward to that and that to me is a step in the forward direction and so I give the government kudos for that initiative and for putting that into place. But apart from that we continue to do what we can for residents. My constituency office continues to function and you know a number of issues come to that office everyday including those that are related to COVID. I’m sure that since the rains have come down very heavy the kinds of requests that we may not necessarily be able to fulfill right now to help with housing materials and so on will come but we try to do what we can do and of course we try to create the networks with the government ministries where possible and with the private sector where possible to be able to help our constituents.”
Faber also spoke on Government’s plan when it comes improving education access in the south side Belize City. One of the criticisms Faber has is that what the government wants to do, the UDP has done already.
Patrick Faber, Collet Area Representative: “Those government schools on the south side of Belize City; Maud Williams, Sadie Vernon, Excelsior High School the fees that those schools charge were minimal and most of it was taken care of by the UDP in government. So to say now these schools will experience free education that’s nonsense, that’s been there. It’s an insult to the people of the south side like you are just aware that these schools in fact those are very low fees and I don’t know how much you recall but in the latter part of our administration except that COVID came and we had some serious financial difficulty we were prepared to make all government schools countrywide feeless. No fees at all. We weren’t going to reduce the fees because we tried that already and we saw what happened ultimately the schools just raised the fees to something else or put other fees so we were at the point of saying no fees and in fact we did two schools already and most of the schools in the south side of Belize City were very low if not very free because we made sure to create those spaces.”
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: So there are areas where the present government is following up some of the things that you’ve done even though you criticize some that they’re not following up.
Patrick Faber, Collet Area Representative: “Yes they are following up and I want to be fair. You ask me about education assistance to our residents. Well the current Minister of Education does provide the parliamentarians, the duly elected representatives there are only five of us on the opposition side with resources. It’s small, it’s not what we are used to in Collet and in other constituencies even but I will give him credit for making that attempt to help our people. I think this year’s allocation was $20,000 for our residents. Which if you understand is a drop in the bucket. If you have ten UB students and you give them one semester $2,000 that’s only ten students getting help and we have hundreds of primary school students.”