On Wednesday, Belizeans will head to the polls to elect its 31-seat House of Representatives. Dean Barrow is hoping that his United Democratic Party (UDP) will once again win a majority of seats, securing him his third consecutive term as prime minister. The UDP won 17 seats in 2012 and then picked up two more earlier in 2015 during special elections. The People's United Party is the main opposition party.Breaking Belize
recently took a look at each party's platform. Francis Fonseca and the PUP have plans to offer free education from pre-school to sixth form, lower or eliminate certain taxes, repealing the gun law and the PetroCaribe Loans Act, abolish the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) which has been accused of using excessive force, provide house lots to each Belizean upon the age of 18, and extend National Health Insurance (NHI) nationwide. The PUP has also promised to expand the Senate to 13 members and to establish greater institutional checks on government corruption.
The UDP, on the other hand, promises to build upon the programs that it has overseen over the last two terms. The UDP has proposed four bills to "strengthen governance, accountability, and transparency in public financial administration": The Public Procurement Bill; The Finance Management Bill; The Public Sector Investment Bill; and The Public Debt Management, State Guarantees and Lending Bill.
Instead of offering free education as the PUP proposes, the UDP promises to construct 35 new schools, establish Science and Technology and Enterprise and Innovation institutes, and improve expand Internet penetration. The UDP is also betting on several infrastructure projects related to the improvements to the Phillip Goldson Highway and Goldson International Airport and new airport, hospital, coast guard base and port construction.
On Monday, Belizean chief elections officer Josephine Tamai denounced
threats to her and her family. The OAS sent its first election observer mission to Belize
in 2012 and has done so again this year. As far as I know, there were no threats to candidates or electoral authorities three years ago.
All bets are on the UPD winning a majority of seats and Barrow winning his third consecutive term as prime minister.