Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno appeared on today’s Morning Show, venting on several national issues, the current state of the economy and the PUP’s plan on making things right should they be elected in the next general elections. One of the points he brought up was immigration. Referencing the recent news reports of a queue of immigrants lining up at the UDP Lake I’s office in the hopes of getting nationalization. Briceno has noted that the mix of politics and immigration is not a good recipe but added today that the problem may just lie within the public service itself.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader, People’s United Party: “First it’s important for us to put on record that we’re not against these people getting their nationality, many of them deserve to become Belizeans. Many of them love this country, they feel that they’re Belizeans but the system has not worked. Now, there is a system that can work but the big problem is the public servants, the public service that they’re not doing their job. I think it is wrong when an individual gets papers, passport, have to get the doctor paper and everything and they take it there and then they don’t hear from these people until one year, two years later when they go and try to check and they tell them ‘Oh everything done expire so you have to start to do it all over again.’ A lady came to see me just about two weeks ago, she needs advice. She said “I had put in my old passport, I put in everything a few years ago and they have me up and down and I had to get a new passport.”She is about 55 years old, she was here from before she was 18 so most of her life, she has children that are adults that are Belizeans and the system has not worked for them. So we have to hold the public service responsible to ensure that there is a system where these people can go through to a path to citizenship. It is there but we need to make it work.”
Briceno went on to speak of corruption and the platform of anti-corruption that launched the Barrow administration into Belmopan. He made reference to the recent reports from the Auditor General.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader, People’s United Party: Look at the present Prime Minister he was elected on an anti corruption platform and today we have the worst most corrupt government we have ever had and then the very same Prime Minister is continuously spinning and spinning and spinning trying to say “well you know dah noh me I’ll try to hold them accountable if they have the evidence in front of me.'” but many instances you will not be able to get the evidence but anything that looks that was wrong and of impropriety then you could fire that minister from your cabinet and the Prime Minister has refused to do that. Look at the issue with Herman Longsworth, the Prime Minister have that report for more than a year on his desk. He knew what has happened there at the Sports Council and only now because he tabled it he says he’s going to take action but he could have taken action a long time ago.”
According to Briceno, the People’s United Party has established four goals they would be working towards once brought into Belmopan as the ruling party.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader, People’s United Party: “We have four goals and one of the goals that we have is to reduce the deficit by 50% in ten years and the only way you can do that is by increasing production, export, both local and import and we need to find ways how we’re going to do that. For instance we will fast track trade negotiations with Mexico to ensure that some of our products can go into Mexico, what you call a partial scope agreement. We need to look at Guatemala and also El Salvador and other areas potentially that we can do. I mean you heard the new president of Guatemala where he’s saying he wants to see how we could have a better relationship through trade and sports and other cultural activities and so again it has to be about trade. We have to be able to produce more but we also have to work with the productive sector, we have to look at the tax structure for the productive sector, we have to look for instance at diesel we are going to ensure that diesel doesn’t go beyond $9 and then we have to rebalance it with the rest of the fuel. So these are some of the activities that we have to take.”
General Elections are expected to be called by November 2020.