A manifesto is defined as a public declaration of policy and aims and is usually presented before an election by a political party or candidate. This morning in the old capital, Belize City, two of the main political parties gathered at their respective Secretariat along with their standard bearers and a room full of supporters to launch their book of pledges and commitments to the voting population. The People’s United Party had twenty eight of their standard bearers in attendance at their launch and presented a four page document in English and Spanish with a list of intentions, should they make up the next administration. Party Leader, Francis Fonseca spoke of those promises.
“Your next People’s United Party Government as a matter of urgency commits to the following;
- Create 25,000 jobs
- No to the ICJ
- The rollout of National Health Insurance countrywide
- Free education from preschool to 6th form
- Freehold title to first time land owners at the age of 18
- Reduce the cost of living which has become so burdensome over the last eight years under this UDP government.
We will reduce the General Sales Tax from 12.5% back to 10%. We will appoint the 13th Senator because we are not afraid of oversight and again to relieve the cost of living, to relieve the burdensome challenges that face our families on a daily basis under this UDP government. We will move towards the abolition of income tax on all of our working people. We will also put in place an affordable housing project that will provide quality housing across the country to our Belizean people. The Ministry of Housing will be fully funded under the next People’s United Party government to provide housing for the Belizean people. We will implement a very important, a very important governance reform agenda within the first 100 days in office.”
It is quite a book full of good intentions but just how will it be done when the People’s United Party do not have a good grasp of what the country’s financial status currently is? According to Fonseca, it is doable.
“All of our commitments are based on sound analysis of the economy and the potential we believe the economy has for growth. In terms of growing an economy there are really only three factors that can be taken into account. One we have to encourage export led growth, we also have to attract investment both domestic and foreign investment into the country and there has to be tax reform to free up capital in the country. So those are the three elements that we have taken into account in preparing this manifesto and that underpins the commitments that we have made to ensure that in every case that we are able to have the resources necessary to carry out those commitments.”
The manifesto was launched under the theme, Power to the People.