On Wednesday morning, residents of the Port Loyola division and surrounding divisions on the Southside were out protesting against the lack of low-income housing for residents, and what they believe to be an uncaring, vindictive Government of Belize.
The demonstration was sponsored by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) and its standard bearer, Gilroy Usher, Sr., who hit rival Anthony “Boots” Martinez for creating different standards for himself and his constituents.
“Today we are being forced to live in slum housing, not because our country does not have money to address our concerns. We’re being forced to live in slum housing, because of massive corruption in government and its unconcern about the welfare of the Belizean people.
Despite millions of dollars for home restoration after Hurricane Mitch, the majority of those persons affected by the storm in Port Loyola have not received any assistance.
Belizeans, if tax payers’ money is good enough to build over a dozen large yellow concrete houses for Boots over Belize City, tax payers’ money is also good to build proper low income houses for the people of Port Loyola.”
Gilroy Usher promised to make reforms under a PUP government to pay attention to the needs of residents, contending that less than affordable housing and renting situations should not be allowed to continue.
Lending her support to the cause was Collet Standard Bearer for the PUP, Yasmin Shoman.
“We are out here today, along with Mr Usher, to show our support fer proper housing. we are living under a so called pro-poor government.
They’re talking about PetroCaribe money, well roll the houses Mr. Prime Minister, roll the houses.
We have a Minister of Poverty Aleviation, but nothing has been aleviation, it is always sufferation under the United Democratic Party. Our people don’t want ham and turkey and soda. They want jobs. They want houses.
People are tired of paying house rent for delapitated houses. People are literally living in dwellings that are crumbling when a little bit of rain comes. So we say to the Prime Minister of Belize, you have failed the people of Belize. You don’t deserve to be the government. Roll the houses! Roll the houses!”
Activist Ernest Smith complained about the ruling party’s intentions with the now-rolling out mortgage loan payment program for the month of December.
“This mortgage relief payment, that is announced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, is not only selfish, it is confusing, and it’s vindictive, because they’re now saying in their financial press release, that only new construction units are qualified for the mortgage payment relief.
We don’t have anything against the people who was fortunate enough to have a mortgage, and who have gainful employment. My issue is with the people who are struggling, especially the poor in the rural areas, and the very poor of the Southside area of Belize City.
We have seven prominent UPD members who are representing the Southside of Belize City. So we have to ask ourselves, why the Southside of Belize City is the worst neglected and the poorest area of Belize.”
The demonstrators then marched down a newly-concreted Central American Boulevard into the neighborhoods of Port Loyola.