One of the qualms that the People’s United Party has harped on in recent years is the monies spent by the Barrow administration on infrastructural works. The party’s opinion is that the investment is excessive. According to the Party Leader John Briceno there are more urgent projects to address.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “We are looking at the issues on Caye Caulker where people don’t have electricity and water, one of our premier destinations and the UDP has a misplaced priority and the person says ‘no, they have a hustling priority.’ and that because the hustle is with these big infrastructure projects. I think that the new PUP government is going to be focused about people. How is it that we are going to improve the lives people? How is it that we are going to reduce poverty? How can we increase the salaries of Belizeans, how can we grow the economy? So whilst there will be some kind of infrastructure work of course but it has to be about priority; how we’re going to keep our children in schools to ensure that gangs are not preying on them so that we can fight crime head on so that we can improve the standard of living of all our citizens. It has to be about people. We are going to be people centered, a people driven government.”
While Prime Minister Dean Barrow has expressed no regrets in spending on infrastructure, the Opposition Leader, John Briceno, noted that his party is prepared to halt any infrastructural investments they feel is unnecessary should they be voted into office this year.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “We have a right as a new government to say our priorities are different and these big contracts of $180 million according to the Prime Minister like for instance going to Caracol, that we can say we’re going to redirect the funds to something else. We already are taking a close look and when we get into government if we see a project that we believe is not in the best interest of Belize we are going to stop it and we are going to say we are going to either take back your money and only pay what is left or we can use these funds to other more pressing projects that I believe that will be able to positively affect the lives of our citizens.”
Another issue that the opposition leader commented on with the media is the matter of redistricting. The redistricting exercise is pending and is being demanded of the Government. While a case is currently before the courts to get the exercise done, Briceno did concede that it would not be practical during an election year.
Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “I think that this is something that should have been done some time ago and to be able to try to do a redistricting right here two months, three months, six months before an election I think it’s a bit concerning. It worries us as to if we would have enough time to do a proper redistricting that is our main concern but I’ll be meeting with our deputy leaders along with our legal advisor I think if not this week certainly by Monday for us to be able to take an official position on this matter.”
Back in August 2016, the Chairman of the Election and Boundaries Commission, Doug Singh had told the media that the redistricting exercise would have taken place prior to the 2020 elections.