The 33rd Independence Day Ceremonies were held in Belmopan with the usual pump and circumstance.
The Prime Minister’s Address has become the highlight of the event in recent years, as he has chosen to use the opportunity to reveal upcoming plans and, in a sense, bearing gifts for the Belizean people. In this year’s address, the Prime Minister said that it is a certainty that at year 33, Belize is recording pronounced advances. He went on to speak about what he says are the four most important pillars of our nation building enterprise; those are a sound economy; the physical transformation of Belize, social renovation in order to remake our democracy in the image of egalitarianism; and fourth, the maintenance of patriotism and pride. After expounding on these pillars, the Prime Minister revealed some of the plans to relieve the middle class.
“This year, in keeping with the emphasis on the middle class, I announce that Government will meet the interest payment for the month of December 2014 on all home mortgages in the country with an original value of up to 100 thousand dollars. Thus every borrower in Belize with a housing loan at the National Bank, all the commercial banks, the DFC, Social Security and all Credit Unions, will be helped.
Preliminary estimates show one thousand six hundred and two such borrowers at the commercial banks, four thousand eight hundred and thirty three at the credit unions, around seven hundred at the DFC, about seventy at the Social Security Board, and two hundred at the National Bank. All together then, at least seven thousand four hundred and five mortgage owers will be assisted in this way.”
Another announcement made by the PM is that internet prices may be getting lower with double band wit
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“There is vibrant competition in the sector. Liberalization resulting in the complete opening up of VOIP and related services, and internet and general rates that are at their cheapest ever.
As this forward march continues, it gives me great pleasure to announce that I have just signed a Statutory Instrument making internet services zero-rated, rather than exempt, for GST purposes. This will allow all internet service providers to charge even less, and in the case of BTL, as of October 1 customers will begin to get double the bandwidth for the same price.
Of course, GOB takes a revenue loss in consequence, but it is well worth it, as together with BTL we deepen all-important internet penetration in this country.”
As for where BEL is concerned , the Prime Minister says that there can be no doubt that Government’s still short public stewardship tenure has already produced a stellar record.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“BEL made profits of $18 million in 2013, while actually decreasing rates to consumers by 7.9%.
There is every likelihood of further rate reductions in 2015.”
Prior to the Prime Miister’s address, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, also gave his address.
“A growing political divide, grounded in a troubling brand of governance, which offers no regard, or respect, to duly elected representatives of the people who do not belong to the party in Government. Political parties are important and necessary, but once elected to Government, that political party and its leader have a solen duty and obligation to serve the people of Belize wherever they may live, and regardless of who they voted for.”
Hon. Fonseca addressed the issue of crime and border security as well, saying that “ like the global war on terror, the battle to stem the rushing tide of violence by marginalized Belizeans, especially our youth who have very little to lose, can never be won with brute force and aggression and without understanding and focusing on the root causes of the problem and without investing more in people and less in meager, unsustainable handouts.”
This year’s Independence Celebrations theme was “Industrious Hands, Intelligent Minds, Together For Belize.”