Two supplementary budget motions were introduced in the Senate yesterday. The first was a one million dollar motion to support the DigiLearn Project. Senator Mark Lizarraga rose to protest the motion. He questioned the cost that Digi is placing on the economy, especially during the covid-19 endemic.
Mark Lizarraga, Senator: “One would think Mr. President at the very least a public company that we have invested so much in could have contributed this towards Digiearn. The Ministry of National Security, Home Affairs and defense okay they needed more furniture and equipment for this COVID thing, the family services, COVID-19 response. We can understand. We can understand. The COVID-19 food assistance program five million dollars we can understand but we should have more details but then Mr. President final item Ministry of Works Caracol road seven hundred and twenty one thousand dollars. Seriously? That is our priority at this time? Mr. President my goodness, man. Let us have a heart. Let us have some compassion for the burdens we’re putting on the the Belizean people, we don’t need to be borrowing more at this time for the Caracol Road. Three quarter million dollars? Please you tell me we can’t put that on pause until we get over this hump ? That that is of great national importance at this time ? At a time when government revenues have fallen tremendously?”
Another motion introduced was one for the Caracol Road Project, which would cost over seven hundred and thirty thousand dollars. Senator Louis Zabaneh protested against this. He stated that this is not the time to be borrowing more money for infrastructure.
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Senator: “This is a time when we’ve heard the argument before it’s about food. It’s about Hunger. It’s about our people who are in need. And yet seven hundred and twenty one thousand three hundred and seventy dollars is going to go to the Caracol Road. You know Mr. President that on this side we have always been making the point that we disagree with this government’s infrastructure lead policy. I have called it an import promotion policy, which is absolutely the opposite of what we want. We want an export promotion policy, but by the government being so bullheaded pushing on an infrastructure policy what it means is that we take our limited resources and we have to buy from abroad we have to import the cement. We have to import the steel. We have to import the bulldozers. We have to import the trucks. We have to import all those things that go into road construction and bridges and so forth. When at the same time you have the hospital’s falling apart, literally falling apart, infested with rodents etc, us not having basic facilities and we are crying out here on behalf of the people for those policies to be changed and now in a COVID situation we are having money still go to those projects when the people need it so much.”