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Protesters take to the streets over high cost of living

A protest was organized in the south with the aim of sending a message to the government on the high gas prices and the current cost of living.  Stann Creek Correspondent, Harry Arzu, followed up on today’s protest which had the participation of two individuals.

Jeffery Budd – Coordinator: “Well, my mission is just to bring awareness that people are suffering: the gas price is too high, the cost of living is going up but the minimum wage is not going up. We need the Government to understand that we are suffering, we are suffering and the people have to unite. That is the only way the Government will hear and we will do our part at the grass root level, we will try to unite ourselves, we are going to stand up, we are going to try and better our life but we put the Government there to look after our affairs.”

Harry Arzu – Reporter: “Give us some of the issues that you are protesting against?”

Jeffery Budd – Coordinator: “Well, we are protesting that the minimum wage has to go up. For fifteen years now goods and services are going up, sometimes 100% but minimum wage stay the same. Not to talk about the gas, 47% of the gas is the tax. You want to tell me that the Government can’t make it be less and pass around the money to local businesses and so forth so that they can strive. Those people provide jobs for a lot of local people, we are suffering.”

Harry Arzu – Reporter: “How come the numbers are so small today?”

Jeffery Budd – Coordinator: “Well, it is a new initiative, for the most part, the south doesn’t really stand up and protest but it is a start and I feel happy, people can see that we are protesting, it is all right to stand up.”

Moses Sulph, a concerned citizen in Belize City, also had a planned protest for today, which saw a handful of people attending.  Sulph, who operates under the umbrella of the Belize Leaders for Social Justice, took to the streets to protest the high cost of living that Belizeans are faced with on a daily basis. Moses Sulph, the Co-Chair of the Belize Leaders for Social Justice, said that over the years several commodities have increased, while many persons are earning minimum wage and so are not able to meet their basic needs.

Moses Sulph – Co-Chair, the Belize Leaders for Social Justice: “Many Belizeans are suffering, there are families who are facing very hard times trying to provide for themselves and their families off $3.30 cents an hour. Cost of living is extremely high, the cost of living has gone up by over 150% in some cases over the last ten years while people salaries have only gone up about 7% or 15% total so people are suffering in our country. There is 42% poverty, there are 82,000 Belizeans working for $3.30 Belize and hour while a regular burger is about $5 so people are suffering and we are out here today to call on the Government, the Prime Minister, and his Cabinet to do something for the poor. It is a fact that no family in this country who is earning minimum wage can pay their basic bill and I want to reiterate that those people who are making minimum wage Belizeans have to either beg, borrow, steal or prostitute themselves to be able to cover their basic cost.”

Sulph’s protest started from the Constitution Park in Belize City, just after ten o’clock this morning.