The People’s United Party (PUP) today delivered its plan of action for the next four years in a manifesto entitled “Power to the People,” which it says encompasses and summarizes its plans and objectives for the people who it hopes will return them to Government in the next fourteen days. Before we tell you why the PUP wants to return to Government, we share with you the main promises the party is making to Belizeans, as presented by its leader, Francis Fonseca.
Francis Fonseca, PUP- Party Leader & Freetown Area Rep: Your next People’s United Party government as a matter of urgency commits to the following. 1) Create 25,000 jobs. 2) No to the ICJ. 3) The rollout of National Health insurance country wide. 4) Free education from pre-school to 6th form. 5) Free home title, to first time land owners at the age of 18. And to reduce the cost of living, which has become so burdensome over the last 8 years under this UDP Government. We will reduce the general sales tax from 12.5% back to 10%. We will appoint the 13th senator because we are not afraid of impotence. And again, to relieve the cost of living, again to relieve the burdensome economic challenges that face our families on a daily basis under this UDP Government. We will towards the abolition of income tax on all of our working people. We will also put in place an affordable housing project that will provide quality housing across the country for Belizean people. The ministry of housing will be fully funded under the next People’s United Party’s government to provide housing for the Belizean People. And my friends as we’ve said last week, when we launched the social contract, we will implement a very important governance reform agenda within the first 100 days.
Fonseca said that this election is about, quote, “the extraordinary Belizeans labouring in the shadows, seeking neither fame nor riches, asking for an opportunity to provide for their families.” He says they will be the heart and soul of the next PUP Government, which he says has become better and wiser as ordinary people after eight years in Opposition.
Francis Fonseca, PUP- Party Leader & Freetown Area Rep: Our party’s challenges over the past decade have taught us many important lessons. The last 8 years in opposition we believe has made us stronger, have made us fairer, and made us better people. We ask you, the Belizean People, with the greatest humility, to give us the opportunity to work for you, to serve you. We will not fail you, I will not fail you.
Speaking afterward with reporters Fonseca addresses the economic outlook and how the party will tackle these key issues in light of the country’s situation.
Francis Fonseca, PUP- Party Leader & Freetown Area Rep: Well all of our commitments are based on sound analysis of the economy and the potential we believe the economy has for growth. So all of that was taken into consideration. In terms of going an economy, there are really only 3 factors that can be taken into account. 1) We have to encourage export net growth. We’re absolutely committed to that, that is a fundamental part of this manifesto. We also have to attract investment, both domestic and foreign investment into the country, and there has to be tax reform to free up capital in the country. So those are the 3 elements that we have taken into account in preparing this manifesto and that underpins the commitment that we have made to ensure in every case that we are able to have the resources necessary to carry out those commitments. For instance, free education from preschool to 6h form. When I was the Minister of Education, we carried out that analysis already of what it would cost. It would cost about 3M more at the primary school level, about 8M at high school, and about 12M at the tertiary level because that is the most expensive. The accurate picture is that we’re looking at something like 23M in addition to the existing education budget to meet that commitment, which is absolutely achievable.