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The UDP Says GOB Should Not Contemplate Raising Taxes

The opposition (UDP) has come out rejecting the idea or consideration by the Briceno administration to increase taxes. The release referred primarily to Cabinet’s announcement on October 12 that the Ministry of Logistics would be conducting a review of the fees in the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Order of 2003. According to UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte, this is certainly not the time for them to be raising taxes. He further stated that increased taxes were not a part of the PUP’s promise to Belizeans prior to the 2020 elections.

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “Public servants their pay have been cut by 10% except for the CEOs. They’ve been cut by 10% which is a serious cut in terms of disposable income being given to our public servants who have worked for so many years and put in so much time in the service of the country. So you have nurses, police officers, for example just to name a few who are front line people for example their pay has been cut and then now you’re looking to tack on an additional burden ? And then what is the purpose of this increase tax that would come about ? We do not believe as I advocated in the Senate before and I’ve said publicly, in a pandemic it’s not the time to be stripping people of their purchasing power. It is the time to hold fast what we already have or even maybe give people more. The UDP in the beginning of the pandemic we not only maintained salaries but we also made sure that there was a food program, a pantry program that would help people for those who were in the private sector, help them bridge this situation that we’re in. So in a pandemic the UDP is saying come on have some heart, have some soul. These people are already suffering so why are you going to put an additional burden on the public when the public is already burdened and then it is in relation for example to what the Prime Minister – and I hope the news people would play the clips of what he used to say – when we used to raise the price of gas he used to rant and rave and say most of it is just taxes and the reason why the UDP at the time had to raise taxes, according to him, was because we had no vision or ability to grow the economy.  He used to always say don’t raise taxes grow the economy. Well Prime Minister you’ve been in government for eleven months now you know ? So what have you been doing to grow the economy ? What are you doing to grow the economy instead of putting these extra taxes on people and how can you boast about savings from restructuring the superbond supposedly and then even though you’ll be freeing up some monies that you have to pay then you shouldn’t have to tax people. People should get a break especially in a pandemic. We’re saying you said in your Plan Belize that you would increase the minimum wage to five dollars. You said you would do a number of things that you can’t do. We see them making constitutional amendments but you can’t make a simple amendment to make the minimum wage five dollars? So you can’t do that. You can’t give people a decent minimum wage which is five dollars but at the same time you’re increasing people’s expenses it cannot fly. The UDP cannot be in support of anything that will further bring hardship to the people of Belize and so we had to let our voices be heard and that is the position we are taking.”