Municipal elections are to be held in March of next year. Already, the two major political parties are mobilizing and last week, Leader of the PUP, John Briceno, was on the ground in the Kontiki area of the Cayo North constituency. Briceno spoke about his party’ s readiness for the upcoming elections and about some of the complaints and concerns he has heard from residents of the twin towns while he was on the ground.
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: We have been walking the length and breadth of this Country talking to people and visiting them and listening to them. Our people are seeing that we need a change. We need to turn things around, we need to fix this country; but to be able to fix this country we have to start with the municipal elections. We have to fix the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio, and we need to be able to put good, competent, hardworking people to manage the affairs of these twin towns, San Ignacio and Santa Elena. We believe that the PUP is ready and we’re going to put a fight. But, one of the things that are of most concern is that here we have lots of good people that like to get involve but they are simply afraid because of the intimidation factor. Here you have no other than the chairman of the UDP mister August who behaves like a tyrant in this place. That if you just dare say anything against his party he comes and he attacks you personally, and that kind of intimidation people will tell you; my father works for government, my sister has a scholarship, or you know I’m trying to get a piece of land. I want to get my papers for my land and if I show that I’m supporting the PUP, they’re going to victimize me. That has to change, and I’m letting the people understand the power is in your hands.
PUP leader Briceno also spoke about a major concern for residents across the nation of Belize, that of the increase of fuel prices at the pump.
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: Because the Prime Minister doesn’t know what he’s doing in growing the economy, the quickest way for him to get money is by taxes. And whilst he’s saying he’s not raising GST what does he do? He raises the price on fuel, and the fuel has a direct impact, especially on poor people. Poor people may not have a car and may not have to buy fuel for their cars and their pickup truck, but they have to ride the bus. And everything that they buy uses fuel for it to be produced. The productive sector, their price continues to go up, that is why you see the cost of living continues to go up. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the Cayo District is one of the districts where it has the highest rate of inflation. This has a direct correlation on the standard of living and on poor people. The Prime Minister needs to understand stop getting the easy way out. Stop chancing poor people when you’re telling them you’re on their side by raising the tax on fuel. You need to bring down the tax on fuel Mister Prime Minister to be able to help the poor people and to help the productive sector to get this economy going once again