Senator Peyrefitte’s comments are not the only ones referred to as ridiculous. Former Minister John Saldivar took to his Facebook page earlier today to criticize the government on their first three months in office. According to Saldivar over two hundred thousand persons have been affected by the decisions of the government pertaining to the pantry program and unemployment. He noted that 700 persons have been fired which has affected over two thousand persons. He stated that the Briceno administration has taken away pantry form eighteen thousand households which has affected over fifty four thousand persons. His statement went on to speak of unemployment, Covid-19 relief grants among other programs. With all that said by Saldivar, Prime Minister Briceno had some advice to give the former Area Representative.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think John Saldivar needs to find a job. That’s the first thing he needs to do because politics is over for him. He’s never going to get elected ever again so he needs to go and find a job that he needs to start with and maybe we could help reduce the unemployment rate in the country let’s start with that. But for him to just- you see you lose all sense of credibility when you say these foolish things man. These things are ludicrous of what he is saying. The people lost their jobs long before. We need to remind people the last four quarters before COVID three of them the economy contracted and in one of them we only had growth of less than 1%. We were already in a recession before COVID hit us. People were already losing their jobs, now that COVID hit us then of course tourism gone through the door or through the window and so all of these people now don’t have a job. The damage was already there, we are turning things around. We are creating some employment for instance when the Minister of Agriculture Abelardo Mai started to work with our Belizean farmers, the cattle ranchers and getting cattle exported we’re exporting cattle into Guatemala in large numbers, we’re doing it in Mexico. We’re exporting chicken, pork, eggs, things that were not being contemplated under the UDP. We opened up the Free Zone with grave concern but we tried to do it as safely as we possibly can. As it is right now about a thousand persons are working right now at the Free Zone. The BPOs have been expanding, we’ve been hiring more people with the BPOs so what planet does this man live that he’s talking about hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs since we got into government. Please I want you to understand I fully appreciate and feel the pain that everybody has been going through because there are tens of thousands of people out there suffering. Our unemployment which is at 30%, under employment is about 39% that means of every hundred persons that are employable sixty nine of them are either unemployed or don’t have full time jobs and that’s the reality. The only area where we have not made any kind of fiscal adjustments is in the public service, the public sector and so we have to do that. Now you could say we’re going to cut expenditure, we’re going to cut in rent but at the end of the day will it be enough and that is the question that we have to answer and we’re going to answer that sitting down together with the unions the Public Service Union, the BNTU and the Senior Management unions also.”