Yesterday we gave a brief overview of the PUP’s press conference called on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the 2012 general elections which they lost narrowly.Today we have highlights of that press conference. First, Party Leader Francis Fonseca summarizes Belize after five years of the UDP in power.
Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition:
After 5 years of the UDP Belizeans have less money, less jobs, less security, less opportunities, ans saddest of all less hope. Teachers and Public Officers are frustrated. Moral in our Security Forces is at a low point. Our national University students and faculty are disillusioned. Grass roots organizations are disrespected and victimized. Village communities are neglected and abandoned. The blood of our people continues to flow at the hands of violent criminals. Our young mothers and their new-born babies fall victim to a corrupt, decaying Health System. And our young graduates sit at home jobless, increasingly loosing hope with each passing day.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia went on to list some of those failures, but first she commented on what she called the air of arrogance in Belmopan, particularly Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega on the subject of land distribution.
Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia – Area Representative, Belize Rural Central:
What bothered me most was not so much his comment about not being a normal Belizean. What bothered me is when he said, “I saw nothing wrong [that] I gave my family member a piece of land, and I gave my family member two house lots, and a piece of land.” “I gave,” as of it was for him to give. Not so much the comment about not being a normal Belizean. So ladies and gentlemen, let’s look at the other aspect of it in terms of nepotism. The Prime Minister is the chief offender in this area, with his brother, his son, his ex-wife, all of them creaming millions, placed on Statutary Boards abd Bodies, and having close friends and cronies benefiting, even though they may be unqualified, for the areas they are concerned with. In terms of nepotism, ladies and gentlemen, we would have to give this Government an “A”. Do you agree with me?
Another area of agreement is crime and national security, highlighted by deputy Carolyn Trench-Sandiford.
Carolyn Trench Sandiford – Deputy Party Leader:
But not us not just look at numbers, let us look at faces. These are lives that have been lost and each had a story to tell. They were fathers and brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, sisters, mothers and daughters. They were children. They were students. In some communities they were taken out in twos and threes, and four in one sweep. George Street and Belize Rural Central are testament to this. Some were in front of their families, in front of schools, and even churches. Nowhere is sacred now. They have left behind empty beds, rooms, chairs in classrooms. But more importantly, families and communities and the nation, who is going through a difficult adjustment period, and are experiencing a range of emotions. And then imagine the thousands who have survived the rape, the robbery, the sexual and physical assaults.
As for the PUP, Fonseca says the party has been doing its own internal work
Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition:
We’ve also had a lot of internal meetings to address many of the serious issues we are facing as a country; to discuss what the P.U.P. response is to these various sectors of our country’s economy; what plans and policies we will develop over the next few months and years as we lead up to further and future elections. So in many respects, it has been a lot of internal work taking place very quietly. We have strengthened our party organs and sought to breathe new life into them. we have tried to strengthen our party’s secretariat as well; we have made some decisions about the decentralization of our party as it relates to the work of our party caucuses in the various regions of the country—in the south, in the east and in the west. So that work is ongoing and what we are using this one year opportunity to do is to say to the Belizean people that we recognize that it is time for us to do more; we recognize that it is time for a more assertive, a more aggressive, a more forceful, a more effective People’s United Party to stand up and fight for the Belizean people. So we have done our own internal reflections. We believe that there is always a lot of work to do, but we believe that we are on the right track. There is a lot that has been done, but there is a lot more that is left to do and we are committed to doing that in a spirit of unity as a party.