Don’t call it a manifesto. That word, especially around election time, is distrusted and often despised. Instead, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) has presented a series of progressive plans for Belize, addressing the gamut of key issues. The centerpiece of the social agenda of the BPP, according to candidate Elizabeth Dena, is a consolidation of the social portfolios of Education, Youth, Sports, Culture and Women’s and Human Development.
Elizabeth Dena, BPP Candidate, Freetown: Recognizing that a strong family unit is the foundation for a successful Belize, the BPP shall immediately create the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture consolidating departments of women, youth, human development and all relevant departments under one single portfolio. We shall create and introduce a spiritual, value based family curriculum in our educational system at all levels. We shall create and offer more incentives for training in social work with emphasis on family with competitive compensation to make this field attractive to the brightest mind of our country.
Candidate Hipolito Bautista spoke to the primary planks of the governance agenda, including a limit for Prime Ministers and an extension on who can be named to Cabinet.
Hipolito Bautista, BPP Candidate, Orange Walk South: Is that we want to create a state department to be administered by the Governor General. Under that department, we want to place the auditor general, the DPP office, the contractor general, and the elections and boundaries commission. Secondly, we want to limit the size of the cabinet to maximum 10 ministers and we also want to place a consecutive 2 term limit for the Prime Minister. We also would like the Prime Minister to choose his cabinet or her cabinet, with all due to the women here who are all possible prime minister candidates in the future, to choose his/her cabinet from the public at large. There are lot of qualified Belizeans out there, not only politicians but also our ordinary citizens, but not ordinary in the sense that they don’t have the knowledge to be a minister.
Other policies were presented by members on everything from land to diplomacy and the anti-corruption agenda. While presenting the economic agenda, party leader Patrick Rogers noted that the party’s message is scary for some, but uplifting for others.
Patrick Rogers, BPP Political Leader: Given our commitment to participatory democracy, it is the BPP’s position that we shall engage the respective industries and communities via communication and dialogue. We already build our stage by the way , our lee mobile stage, because we intend to visit all 200 villages and we intend to visit every corner of every municipality in this country, in able to consult and take our message and hear from them to refine it. At the end of it we need to ascertain what recommendations that people want to see us do along with what we know we need to do for them. That journey begins November 5th so we can’t lose Belize. Belize could lose now if uno nuh choose fu stand up beside these brothers, 25 strong, that have stood up and all on the ballot, but due to circumstances beyond our control in sense that the merchant class who runs this country are not too pleased with our message of shifting this economy to a productive sector based economy. So we don’t get any of their money, in fact the biggest merchant in this country literally told our campaign manager, “I will see you November 5th.” Wasn’t that what he said Bobby? But the donations that we’ve been receiving is from the productive sector and the entrepreneurs that are in the light manufacturing industries in this country, who have heard our message very clearly and understand that as an accountant, we understand and are sensitized to the fact that their businesses are exposed to more rich that the merchant, weh just go buy something and import it, bring it yah, mark it up, put it pan e shelf and then they nuh pay the duty sometimes when they bring in them products. So we are saying that we will be shifting this economy to one of more productive base.
The BPP has twenty-five candidates on the ballot in all six districts, a first for any non-major political party.