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Thursday, December 12, 2019
Home Letters The more things change ? ha!

The more things change ? ha!

2) The list of items which will not be taxed come July is miniscule. Anyone surviving on just this list of items would be living a very boring and closed type of life. For the poorer people it will mean a bigger outlay for necessities to feed, clothe, house and educate their family.

3) More rumour of persons in high places being situated in another department. Why is it that, if a person is deemed to have done a poor job in his/her previous position, is ineffective or even corrupt, that it is thought that he/she will do better if given another high profile job? An average worker in the ranks, at the first whiff of wrongdoing, would be tossed out unceremoniously.

4) Why do they call it a ?Budget debate?? I was unable to listen to the full two days, but what I did hear was not a debate on the budget but a rehash of what a) the Government had supposedly accomplished in the past year and b) all the things the Opposition felt had gone wrong. To my ear there was no debate on any part of the budget as regards to particular finances, proposed projects, no discussion, nada. What we need is two days of outlining the work proposed for the coming year and how the Government is going to accomplish this, not a dissection of the past.

5) The general public will be impacted in a negative way by the new tax structure. However, do you see any of them spending big money on full-page ads such as Bowen and Bowen and Caribbean Tobacco have done? No doubt they will lose some profits and yes, they do provide a good deal of employment, but their products also are the cause of many of the greatest health

care problems in the country. Surely by now we all know the many adverse affects of smoking and daily we listen to the news and hear about accidents, and other forms of violence, which were the result of too much alcohol. A more insidious affect is found when we consider what happens as a result of drinking quantities of coca cola, and other soft drinks, major contributors to the rapidly increasing rise in diabetes and all the various manifestations of heart and artery disease. Yes, these products should be taxed heavily but, even better, the taxes so raised should be used for the health care of the nation, preferably at the preventive end.

6) The crime rate continues to rise. That is disturbing enough and the causes need to be thoroughly analysed, but even worse is when so many of the cases seem to be solved until they get to court and the defendant gets off on some technicality, or because some officer of the court or the law has not done their work. Time after time the same faces appear in the news; many are up for offences committed while out on bail for a previous charge. Isabel Tun stated in her address that it takes 3-times-as-much money to keep a prisoner in jail for a year as it would have to have educated him for a year. Poverty may be instrumental in forming a criminal but it is certainly not the whole answer – prevention is! Educate a person suitably and they will have the means to keep themselves, and their family, out of the poverty cycle. That means spending more money on more schools and teachers, rather than on prison facilities and wardens.

7) Oil! Will this be the same story as our water, electricity and telephone? There is still too much secrecy in deals being made. What is startling is that over three million acres of land and water are already given to be surveyed and drilled. When did all this happen? Aside from the consideration of who will get the money generated by oil production, what about all the ecological considerations? An oil spill can foul up both land and sea quicker than anything else. One spill in the ocean and say goodbye to the coral reef. The people of Spanish Lookout are farmers. They and the rest of the country can?t eat oil. How many of these farmers can you relocate because of the smell, or other problems? There is only so much arable land available to them. Chase them off their farm land and Belize will be in a bad situation as far as food production. The oil revenue might be available to import more food but it would never be enough, nor would it provide employment. What kind of environmental safeguards are included in any contract concerning oil exploration, drilling and transportation, and how, and who, will be the enforcers?

Pat Asling,

Benque Viejo

<[email protected]>

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