It’s been two weeks since elections were held and after the naming of the cabinet and assigning of CEO’s the work of the new Government in officially underway and the first ceremonial sitting of the House and Senate took place on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.
Among the formalities was the swearing in of a new president of the senate, Mr. Mark Pech; New government senetors, Charles Gibson, Lisel Alamilla, for the PUP, Karen Bodden and Collet Montejo, Marconi Sosa, Mark Lizarraga for business sector; for the churches Fr. Noel Leslie; for labor, Ray Davis; two re-appointed, Juliet Thimbriel and Lisa Shoman and the leader of the Government Business in the senate, Godwin Hulse.
After a great deal of ceremonial formalities including getting a new speaker, Attorney Michael Peyrefitte, whose Deputy is Belize Rural North Representative Edmund Castro, got settled in. Ministers were sworn in, Head of State; Sir Colville Young delivered the Throne Speech which outlined the Governemnt’s plan for the next five years.
The Prime Minister delivered his speech in which he listed the following as his administrations headline plans for the next five years:
“We will, without a doubt, continue and expand our trademark pro-poor policies and increase social and second chance opportunities for those at the margins. As just one example, we will now begin the extension of the food pantry program to every single District Town.
We will scale new heights with our education subsidy, either by increasing the amount to first and second formers or by making it available to third formers.
We will offer a third tranche of mortgage write-offs to distressed, long-standing homeowners, this time to those whose indebtedness is with the Development Finance Corporation.
We will guarantee the 10% equity deposit required by the private banks for individual building loans of 100 thousand dollars or less.
We will offer tax credits for new residential and commercial construction.
We will overhaul the entire tax code so as to provide greater fairness to the middle class and to the business sector.
We will continue to bring down the cost of capital at our financial institutions.
We will renegotiate the super bond.
We will source Government fuel supplies out of Venezuela under PetroCaribe, so as to lessen the cost and expand the reach of our countrywide, job-creating infrastructure drive.
We will build, either alone or in partnership with the private sector, a local oil refinery to process Belizean crude. We will thereby at least cushion the punitively high pump prices that have been hammering our consumers as a result of skyrocketing international costs.
We will create a national development bank particularly to service the credit needs of the productive and export sector.
We will rehabilitate the roads to all major archeological and tourism sites.
We will increase the size of the Police Department and the BDF so as to provide for greater national security.
We will consolidate and defend nationalist gains, especially as these relate to public ownership of our essential utilities.
We will broaden the legal and institutional infrastructure necessary to support transparency; work the oversight role and system of the Senate; and promulgate new Finance and Stores Orders to guide Government procurement practices and guard the spending of public money.
We will strengthen our Democracy by making Citizens’ rights more effective. For example, we will pass regulations to make the triggering of referendums and recall elections by constituents and advocacy groups more user-friendly and hassle free.
Finally, the Office of the Prime Minister will continue to be above reproach. That Office will now be staffed with additional high powered bodies to provide not just more of an economic and social outreach to the general public and individual sectors, but to enable it to act, in relation to Ministers and Ministries, as an honesty invigilator; an accountability monitor; as a whip and scourge against corruption.
Mr. Speaker, I repeat: this new Administration is in deadly earnest about giving new life to the old homilies: service above self; rigorous maintenance of the public trust; humility in office; and scrupulous integrity in financial affairs.
To slightly paraphrase the words of the TR song that was perhaps the greatest hit of the election season, always UDP will shine the light, always UDP will treat the people right.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and God bless our beloved Belize!”
Government of Belize Chief Executive Officers – Kindly note the current list of ministries and their respective Chief Executive Officers:
Ms. Audrey Wallace – C.E.O., Office of the Prime Minister
H.E., Mrs. Yvonne Hyde – C.E.O., Ministry of Economic Development
Mrs. Beverly Castillo – C.E.O., Ministry of Natural Resources
Mr. Jose Alpuche – C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture
Mr. Michael Singh – C.E.O., Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development, and Consumer Protection
Dr. Wendel Parham – C.E.O., Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable
Dr. Colin Young – C.E.O., Ministry Energy, Science & Technology, and Public
Col. George Lovell – C.E.O., Ministry of National Security
Mr. Carlson Gough – C.E.O., Ministry of Works and Transport
Ms. Marian McNab – C.E.O., Ministry of the Public Service and Elections & Boundaries
Ms. Judith Alpuche – C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation
Mr. David Leacock – C.E.O., Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports
H.E., Mr. Alexis Rosado – C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs
H.E., Mr. Lawrence Sylvester – C.E.O., Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
Dr. Peter Allen – C.E.O., Ministry of Health
Mrs. Candy Saldivar-Morter – C.E.O., Ministry of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development, and NEMO