The Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, then posed a question to the Minister of Rural Transformation, Oscar Requena, about what his ministry is doing as it relates to the recent floods. Barrow asked for an update on what the ministry is doing to address this urgent problem in the rural areas as evident by recent flooding in Corozal, Orange Walk and Toledo? Here is how Requena responded.
Oscar Requeña, Minister of Rural Transformation: “Madam Speaker, I want to start off by reminding the Leader of the Opposition that the Village Councils Elections are over sir and if you were trying to gain some points for the Village Council Elections, you and your party took a beating. Let me remind you of that. So Madam Speaker, over the last 19 months that we have been in Government, significant work has been done in the rural areas as never before. As never before! That is why, I want to remind the Leader of the Opposition, 148 villages, 148 to 23. Historic beating! If the people were dissatisfied, if the people did not approve of Plan Belize being executed, would we have gotten that overwhelming support? Please! So it is clear. What have we been doing? We have been working on roads, Madam Speaker.”
Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House: “Please address the issue.”
Oscar Requeña, Minister of Rural Transformation: “We have been working on repairing the infrastructure, putting in place drainage where that is necessary. That is what this government has been doing and I want to remind the Leader of the Opposition that we are experiencing, we are witnessing, we are living the effects of climate change and that is a factor that we have to take into account. There is far, far more rain and we are getting far more floods that are very severe. Can we stop the rain? No we can’t. Can we stop the flooding? No, we can’t. But we can put in place mitigating factors, as we are doing, to address that Mr. Leader of the Opposition.”