In 2008, the United Democratic Party wanted you to Imagine the Possibilities. Four years later they wanted you in on the Action Plan. Three and a half years on, they promise that the Best is Yet to Come as they seek a 3rd term in office. This morning at the Biltmore Hotel in Belize City, 29 of the party’s 31 standard bearers along with party executives members and supporters, listed 44 commitments from a future United Democratic Party government, ranging from the promise of a new International Airport on Ambergris Caye to improving government services through the implementation of a system wide quality process reform. Chairman of the UDP’s Public Policy and Platform Committee, Doug Singh spoke about the road to the 40 page document:
Douglas Singh, Chairman of the UDP’s Public Policy and Platform Committee: The document that we are presenting today is the result of consultation at the private sector forum, focus groups, and various other groups that represent all sectors and demographics of Belize. It is truly a product worthy of all stakeholders and the Belizean people. This is the largest manifesto ever produced by the United Democratic Party. It is 40 compact pages of the highlights of our government. It is a true demonstration that we have kept the promises that we have made to Belizeans in 2008, and 2012. But it is so much more than that, it is about building on our successes of the last two terms, about creating an environment that ensures a social safety net for Belizeans and at the same time, create an atmosphere where Belize will be easy to do business in. One that attracts investors, and creates job. One that means prosperity for all Belizeans, and one that is people focused and business driven. Putting together this manifesto wasn’t an easy task. Last time, I think the manifesto was 28 pages, and we’re looking at 40 pages this time. But it wasn’t easy for really one main reason, we had so much information, so much accomplishments, so much that the party has done and so much that the party plans to do, that the challenge was trying to cut that down in 40 pages.
The three standard bearers who no-showed today’s manifesto launch all come from the West: John August for Cayo North East, John Saldivar Belmopan and Rene Montero for Cayo Central. Prime Minister Dean Barrow commented that whatever their reasons for not being on hand at today’s event – the party readily forgives them because their seats are sure winners for the UDP. The party leader said his party is now preoccupied with telescoping what they intend to do, should they be re-elected – he spoke about some of plans including the emphasis on improving the service that Government provides to the public:
Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister and UDP Party Leader: In looking at our manifesto you will see that we are concentrating on a number of areas. But at the very top you will find that there is an emphasis on the kind of structural changes in any facet of government, in order to ensure excellence in service delivery. We have been obsessed with the fact that while there is all this positive activity taking place, while we are able to point to the demonstration effect of the uplift that this United Democratic Party has presided over with respect to people’s lives, with respect to measurable improvements in the quality of life for all the citizens of the country. We recognize that in terms of the interface of the regular citizen with government, there’s a great deal that’s lacking, there’s a great deal that’s left to be done.
We note that in the case of any political party, a manifesto is not a legal document and therefore promises and commitments spelled out therein are not actually legally binding.