Belize Political Assessment


Originally Released on 2013-02-13 00:00 GMT

  • The Government of Belize (GOB) welcomes Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) although the investment climate has cooled over the past year. There is a number of disputes between U.S. and other foreign investors and various GOB agencies as well as new legislation that hampers the ability of investors to seek arbitration to resolve disputes. (DOS)
  • The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) was established to serve as a one-stop-shop for export and investment assistance but bureaucratic red tape may still be encountered when seeking government fiscal incentives. (DOS)
  • Government investment incentives include:
    • Fiscal Incentives Act:
    • Export Processing Zone Act:
    • Commercial Free Zone Act:
    • International Business Companies Act:
  • Generally, Belize has no restrictions on the limits of foreign ownership and control of companies; however, there is a prerequisite that foreign investors obtain prior clearance from the Central Bank of Belize. In addition, there are a few investment incentives which show preference to Belizean-owned companies. (DOS)
  • According to the Ministry of Economic Development, Belize, along with other developing countries, has been given until 2015 to comply with WTO requirements regarding Fiscal Incentives, Export Processing Zones, and Commercial Free Zones. (DOS)
  • Index Rankings: (DOS)
IndexLast Year Available2011 Rank
TI Corruption Index2008109
Heritage Economic Freedom201079
World Bank Doing Business201199
MCC Gov. Effectiveness201145%
MCC Rule of Law201145%
MCC Control of Corruption201181%
MCC Fiscal Policy201170%
MCC Trade Policy201133%
MCC Regulatory Quality201145%

 

  • Foreign investments in Belize must be registered at the Central Bank of Belize (CBB) to facilitate inflows and outflows of foreign currency during transactions, including transfers, and the repatriation of profits and dividends.To pay for goods and services procured outside of Belize in a foreign currency, a “Foreign Exchange Permit” must be obtained from authorized dealers, including commercial banks, money transfer institutions, the Ministry of Finance, or directly from the Central Bank of Belize (CBB). (DOS)
  • Belizean law requires that the Government assess and pay appropriate compensation based on fair market value; however such compensation cases can sometimes take years to settle. (DOS)
  • Recent Nationalizations:
    • In 2005 the Government of Belize reached agreement to renationalize the country’s sole water utility provider. (DOS)
    • Occasionally the government will use eminent domain laws to appropriate private property. Allegations have been made that some of these appropriations were political payoffs. (DOS)
    • In August 2009, the current administration made the decision to nationalize the country’s largest telecommunications provider, stemming from ongoing disputes and litigations. The nationalization was triggered by a British court ruling that awarded the telecom firm damages resulting from the current administration not honoring a contractual arrangement concerning tax holidays. Ultimately, the Government flexed its political muscle and passed a special resolution in the National Assembly to take over the assets and operations of this firm, which was previously held by a series of companies operated by a prominent British politician. (Since 2004, the GOB and a U.S. investor have been involved in a complex and protracted legal dispute surrounding ownership of this same telecommunications provider.) To date, the GOB has not compensated investors affected by the nationalization, and the sides cannot agree on the valuation of the company at the time of nationalization. This has led to litigation against the GOB. Investors are reportedly seeking damages in the range of $300 million USD as compensation for expropriation while the GOB has commented that any future settlement would be far below that amount. Despite numerous pieces of ongoing litigation surrounding the company, in October 2010 the GOB offered for public sale 44.54% of the GOB shares. The sale is intended to put the company back in the hands of Belizeans. The sale of shares closes in February 2011. It is unclear how future corporate decisions and political motives will impact the state of competition in the telecommunications sector in Belize. (DOS) The nationalization was ruled unconstitutional by the Belize Court of Appeals on 6/24/11. The prime minister is now appealing to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, Belize’s final appeal court. (http://www.economist.com/node/18898155)
  • In March 2010, the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act was passed quickly, without much debate, and without consultation with the opposition or business community. The Belize Supreme Court now has the authority to issue an injunction against any person or entity that has commenced arbitrations against the Government of Belize whether that arbitration occurs in Belize or abroad. If the parties against whom the injunction is issued continue in their arbitration, the Court can void the award, and those involved, including their lawyers, advisers, corporate directors, managers, shareholders and secretaries can be criminally charged and fined up to BZ$500,000 ($250,000 USD) or jailed for up to five years for contempt. A further BZ$300,000 ($150,000 USD) can be charged for each day a person continues in breach of the injunction. Even individuals only indirectly involved who provide counsel, advice, or investigative assistance, can be charged. This Act can apply “whether such injunction was issued before or after the commencement of this Act.” This act can contravene agreements calling for arbitration to resolve disputes, including international arbitration agreements. (DOS)
  • A number of major corporations including Belize Bank, which as the country’s largest bank is facing corruption allegations, and Telemedia (formerly Belize Telecommunications), which the government is trying to nationalize, are partially owned by Lord Ashcroft of Britain. (http://www.economist.com/node/11377008, http://www.economist.com/node/18898155)
  • Recent Political Developments:
    • The former Prime Minister, Said Musa, is facing a number of corruption allegations including one that revolves around some shady deals between the Government of Belize, Belize Bank, Venezuela, Taiwan, a private healthcare provider and a number of offshore entities. (http://www.economist.com/node/11377008)
    • The current Prime Minister, Dean Oliver Barrow, has been in office since 2/8/08.
    • His party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), has controlled 25 out of 31 seats in parliament since its victory in the general elections on 2/7/08. Furthermore, during the municipal elections of 3/09 the party won 64 out of 67 seats and now controls all nine municipalities in Belize. (http://www.udp.org.bz/history.php)

 

Belize Email Sources

 

Stratfor

#1

Belize: Prime Minister Clarifies for Citizens Decision To Amend Constitution
Belize: “Prime Minister writes open letter to citizens on constitutional amendments” — CMC headline CMC
Tuesday August 2, 2011 12:31:45 GMT Opposition groups content that the amendment, which they describe as “by far the most radical and far reaching” meant that any future change to the Belize Constitution will no longer be open to review or challenges in the court.

Former prime minister Said Musa said that passage of the amendment would pave the way for a centralized and dictatorial state.

“That to me is a frightening situation that has developed in our country,” he told News 5 television. The Belize Bar Association has also commented negatively on the amendment.

But in his letter seeking to clarify the amendment to the Belize Constitution, Barrow said “the competence, or lack thereof” of courts to review constitutional amendments in countries with written constitutions that are supreme, derives from the text, language and provisions of those constitutions.

But he said where it does not expressly grant such a power to the courts, judicial review of the merits of Constitutional amendments is not possible.

“Of course, the courts can always examine, and pronounce on, Constitutional amendments on the ground of failure to comply with the procedure for amendment to the Constitution,” he wrote, noting that Section 68 of the Constitution of Belize “sets out exhaustively the manner in which the Constitution can be altered.

“No where in the Constitution is any power given to the courts to add a further requirement, such as a referendum,” the Prime Minister said, noting the London-based Privy Council ruling on the matter. He said the position in Belize even without the present attempt at amending the constitution is clear.

“There is no limit on the power of the National Assembly to amend the Constitution, once the National Assembly acts in accordance with section 69. And the Courts should have no power to strike down amendments properly passed under section 69.

“The 9th Amendment is only spelling out the law as it currently is in Belize and every other Constitutional Democracy in the world, except for India,” he added.

Prime Minister Barrow said those people and organisations campaigning against the Bill,” which we must never forget has the enshrinement of public utilities in state control as its principal objective, say two very wrong-headed things: that the unlimited power to amend, which the Constitution has given to Parliament, is a sure open-door to abuse; and that the Bill would deny access to court for anyone wishing to challenge a Constitutional amendment.

“If it is true that the unlimited power of the Legislature to amend the Constitution is an invitation to tyranny, then that has been the position since 1981 when the Constitution came into force. And to argue about what, as a result, is possible in theory without accepting what is impossible in practice, is to proceed in error or deception.

“We share the same Constitutional democratic system as the big countries. And it is insulting to our people to suggest that there is any greater practical chance of the abuse happening here, as opposed to happening in Canada or the United States.”

Just as in those two countries, there is in Belize the kind of democracy, tradition,and people power that is the ultimate safeguard against abuse.

“Barrow said that the amendment to the Constitution “does not stop any citizen from going to court” and accused those in opposition of “knowing this”.

He said the amendment says that… “a law passed by the National Assembly to alter any of the provisions of the Constitutions in conformity with this section shall not be open to challenge in any court of law on any ground whatsoever.”

“That language does not mean that an applicant is unable to make a claim in Court; that he would be debarred from filing his papers in the Registry; or that the court would turn back the suit and not hear the matter.

“The language does mean that a Court, and this is the position even without the Bill, should find against an applicant who seeks to strike down any amendment passed in conformity with Section 69.

“He said no one has ever been stopped from going to the courts to challenge constitutional amendment and that he hopes his letter “clarifies things and,needless to say, the Government will consider itself bound by the outcome of the public consultation process”.

(Description of Source: Bridgetown CMC in English — regional news service run by the Caribbean Media Corporation)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

#2

Belize: Government Rejects Private Sector Resolution
CMC Unattributed report: “Government Rejects Resolution From Private Sector” CMC
Thursday July 21, 2011 00:26:35 GMT The BCCI said that last weekend, the majority of its members voted and ratified a resolution on the renationalization and “this resolution is in regards to the current business climate, the method in which the government acquired private property and also adherence to the rule of law, ” said Vanessa Peyrefitte, BCCI marketing/public relations manager. She said the resolution had formed the basis of a letter sent to Prime Minister Barrow. Earlier this month, the Belize government said despite a court ruling it remained in control of BTL.

The Appeal Court had earlier rule that the takeover of BTL was unconstitutional and that billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft was wrongly deprived of his telecom company. The 150 page ruling handed down by Justice Brian Alleyne essentially nullifies the 2009 acquisition after the Court of Appeal found that the government did not have sufficient reasons to compulsory acquire the company for public purpose. But in a statement, the government said that the judgment contained no order that may be enforced.

Peyrefitte said while there may be statements “out there talking about the Chamber in very negative ways…we are not against nationalization” and the private sector group while it had a problem with the recent acquisition, “it is our hope that we can work hand in hand with the government”. She said the resolution “is simply for us to work together, to let the Prime Minister know (that) these are the sentiments of the business community. Investment climate — it is very important. And at the end of the day, if we do not have positive investment climate, then businesses suffer.

“If businesses suffer, then they start closing their doors. If they close their doors, then what do you have? You have an increase in unemployment. We do not want that. And I do not think the government wants that either. “What we would want is just to work hand in hand with the government. Let’s partner together so that we can achieve the same goal,” she added.

(Description of Source: Bridgetown CMC in English — regional news service run by the Caribbean Media Corporation)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 

#3

Belize Government Announces New Measures for Exporting Scrap Metal
CMC Unattributed Article: “New Measures for Exporting Scrap Metal” CMC
Saturday June 11, 2011 17:46:07 GMT The transportation of scrap metals under the licensing system will be restricted only to authorized trucks that carry clearly visible identification marks. The government said that these authorized trucks would be prohibited from entering areas that lead to the Belize-Guatemala border, such as the Arenal, Calla Creek, and Bullet Tree Roads in the west, and the Jalacte Road in the south. Materials substantially made of copper, bronze or material considered as antiquities will be strictly prohibited from export under the new licensing system.

The government warned that persons found in possession of such prohibited material would be liable to a fine of not less BDZ 10,000 ($5, 071). Under the new licensing system, scrap metal dealers are now required to first obtain an export permit from the Department of the Environment every time they need to export scrap metal. The government said that the new regulations also address the environment impacts associated with the collection and storage of scrap metals through the requirements of an environmental compliance plan by licensees, as well as the collection of data on the trade of scrap metal in Belize.

(Description of Source: Bridgetown CMC in English — regional news service run by the Caribbean Media Corporation)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 

#4

Belize: Daily Notes Government Caught Off-Guard With Bus Industry Protest
Amandala editorial: “Bus operators blitzkrieg” Amandala Online
Friday June 3, 2011 21:14:23 GMT In Belize, the so-called, secretive “Special Branch” performs the intelligence-gathering functions of an organization like the American FBI. No one is supposed to be able to organize an almost national shutdown of road transportation and deliver a body blow to national productivity without the Special Branch having alerted the Minister of Police, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of National Security and the Prime Minister, beforehand. All these Cabinet worthies, however, were snoring in their beds Friday morning while the bus operators were blocking the Northern and Western Highways at strategic points and setting giant tires ablaze in an apparent effort to create the ambience of a war zone.

With thousand of students, workers, public officers, business people, and so on, stranded early Friday morning, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transportation, and the Minister of Police scrambled to initiate damage control. The blockade of the highways was illegal, and the Prime Minister is empowered to use force in such a situation to clear the roadways. But with controversial, police state laws just recently introduced into the House for debate, and a populace nervous about the behavior of special, roughneck, law enforcement units and the continued, broad sweep of draconian drug, gun, and ammunition laws, and in the midst of crushing gasoline prices, the P.M. was clearly more inclined to be discreet than valorous on Friday morning.

A way round the buses blocking the Northern Highway between Miles 6 and 7 was cut through a friendly neighbour’s property. This was as early as 6:30 Friday morning. Hattieville and the Burrell Boom Bridge, however, took hours longer. Carmelita was the worst of all, as the threat of violent engagement between the security forces, on the one hand, and the bus operators and their allies, on the other, lasted until late in the morning when Thomas Shaw, the president of the bus owners’ organization, gave the all clear, which is to say, announced that negotiations with the Prime Minister, which the bus operators had been requesting for weeks, had begun.

The Prime Minister’s travails, however, were not over. Although the highways were freed up, the Prime Minister was ambushed at his press conference that afternoon. Ordinarily, the Prime Minister is the king of press conferences. In fact, he normally seems to relish the jousting in such a forum. This Friday afternoon was dramatically different. The UDP secretariat, or whoever it is, is supposed to organize the political “backative” for such a gathering, must have been looking forward to the weekend. The room at the press conference was dominated by the angry bus operators, so that when the P.M. had finished performing his usual magic of rhetoric and gesture, then introduced the president of the bus operators, Shaw spoke decidedly differently from the way he had spoken to the P.M. in the morning. A “wild card” then entered the picture. An educated preacher, Patrick Menzies, took the podium and gave the government an ultimatum – return to the bus status quo ante by 5:00 p.m., or face the consequences.

No doubt apoplectic at the disrespect, the Prime Minister fought to restrain himself. It was as close to disorder as any of his press conferences have been. For a man controlling 24 seats of the 31 in the House, the Prime Minister had to watch his office reduced in stature at that Friday afternoon press conference. The UDP government has experienced an administrative disaster with this bus business. Political ly, the ruling party’s constituency conventions have been going well, but in the matter of the high profile bus industry, Friday, May 27, 2011, represented total administrative meltdown for the UDP.

The appearance on the national television newscasts on Friday evening of Rufus X on Thomas Shaw’s right shoulder, gave a clue as to what had happened. Arguably Belize’s most experienced and militant revolutionary, Rufus X is the fire behind the bus operators in the Belize District. (The Northern operators do not need anyone to stoke their fires.) The UDP officials may have been lulled by the fact that Thomas Shaw is a known UDP, so to speak. In a larger sense, however, they have become comfortable, in fact complacent, in the cocoon which shields Cabinet Ministers from the financial hassles of the masses. Cabinet, to put it bluntly, got caught with their pants down on Friday morning, and on Friday afternoon. This is bad news for Mr. Barrow.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

(Description of Source: Belize City Amandala Online in English — Website of Amandala, widely-read biweekly founded in 1969; known for political commentary; URL: http://www.amandala.com.bz)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 

#5

Belize: Bus Industry Grievances Boil Over Into Roadblocks, Demands
Report by Aaron Humes: “Bus owners ambush Flippin!” Amandala Online
Friday June 3, 2011 19:22:23 GMT As we went to press on Thursday night, all that the president of the Belizean Bus Owners’ Association (BBOA), Thomas Shaw, would say in regard to latest developments in the rapidly unraveling bus situation was that major operator James Bus Line, the primary carrier to Dangriga, Independence and Punta Gorda, was taking its buses off the road the next day, Friday, in protest of events leading up to Thursday.

Those events included a meeting that was scheduled with operators from the proposed, now delayed, Northern Zone, without the apparent knowledge or consent of Shaw and the BBOA.

The meeting never actually took place (it was postponed, Shaw says a Transport official told him), but Shaw considered it further evidence of betrayal on the part of the Ministry.He would not tell us directly on the record what his aggrieved operators, particularly the Belize Bus Owners’ Cooperative (BBOC) — a cooperative of over 60 operators running buses in the Western Zone and a BBOA member, which was still off the road for the benefit of new company Westline Service, said to be owned by an official of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Sergio Chuc of San Ignacio — would do about it.

But on Friday morning, May 27, beginning at around 4:00 a.m., various operators in the north and west of the country used their buses to block the major roads, entrances and exit points from Belize City to as far west as Mile 31 on the Western Highway, and as far north as the border at Santa Elena, at Mile 87 on the Northern Highway.

The major areas blocked included Mile 6 1/2 on the Northern Highway, Mile 15 on the Western Highway at the Colonel English Bridge entering Hattieville, the Burrell Boom Bridge on the Boom-Hattieville Road and the “El Posito” area of Carmelita, Orange Walk, at around Mile 44 on the Northern Highway.

At each of these areas, tires and other debris were piled high and burned, sending black smoke into the air and effectively stopping commuters from traveling into and out of the city.

The various operators – BBOC at Hattieville and Ladyville and several northern operators who are also members of the BBOA, namely Chell Bus Line, Cabrera Bus Line, Gilharry/Venus Bus Line and other affected stakeholders – made it clear to all concerned that they wanted the Government to take them, and their livelihoods, more seriously and bring back order to the transport industry.

Commuters who spoke to the various local media expressed a range of emotions, from solidarity with and support of the operators, to frustration at their decision to demonstrate their frustrations with the government, to general resignation.

From almost the start of the protest, the Government expressed a desire, as expressed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow on KREM Radio on Friday morning, to immediately get the roadblocks clear and return nationwide transport to normal, and secondly, to get the aggrieved operators to the negotiating table.

The Police Department in its various capacities, along with the Ministry of Works and other involved agencies, was called out to achieve the first objective, but only did so upon the accomplishment of the second, which occurred after the Prime Minister made an appeal to Shaw, as president of the BBOA and Claude Frazer, chair of the BBOC, to meet with him.

This took place at 10:00 a.m. Friday in Belize City, and by noon the last of the roadblocks had been cleared.The Northern Highway at Ladyville was clear by about 8:30 a.m.(after a way through a neighboring field was first cleared), Burrell Boom and Hattieville, around 10:00 a.m., and Carmelita and Corozal, by 11:30 a.m.

Several protestors, including Abner Chell, son of Chell operator Thomas, and John Brackett, of the Citizens for Safety (CIFOS) movement, were detained by police during Friday’s activities.Brackett told Amandala later on Fridaythat he was getting legal advice to look into his detention, and opined that the operators should keep up the fight to get what they wanted.No injuries to protestors or bystanders were reported.

The Ministry of Education meanwhile announced that students scheduled to take the annual Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations (CSEC), run by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), were expected to go to their examination centers “without taking undue personal risks,” and advised them that if they were not able to make it to their designated center, to go to the nearest one where they would still be allowed to take the examinations within the same allotted time.

At noon Friday, BBOA president Shaw emerged from the meeting with the P.M.and Transport Minister Melvin “Flippin” Hulse, and told reporters that a sort of compromise had been worked out on the understanding that the operator of Westline, Sergio Chuc, had already made an investment on the runs that the Department of Transport had thought that BBOC was leaving behind to go to the new Northern Zone (BBOC, the department maintained, has applied for runs in the Northern Zone).

According to Shaw, BBOC chairman Claude Frazer indicated to the Prime Minister during the meeting that he felt that the cooperative was prepared to accept a compromise and split the 18 total runs that had been taken over in the Western Zone by the new company, Westline, half-and-half with Westline.

Unbeknownst to the P.M. – as the press and the nation later found out at the press conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Matalon Business Center conference room on Coney Drive – the proposed agreement was apparently still to be ratified by members of the BBOC and the BBOA, most of whom were not in a mood to talk of negotiation and compromise.The Prime Minister went on to meet with 11 operators from the north, led by Roger Tun, all members of the BBOA, who agreed in principle to the proposed compromise.

With all the main players in the negotiations apparently all lined up, the PM, flanked by Transport Minister Hulse and Police Minister Douglas Singh, as well as Shaw, Tun, and BBOC representative Patrick Menzies – standing in for Frazer, who was suddenly not available for the press conference – outlined for the nation the basis of what had been agreed to earlier in the day.

Said Barrow: “What was agreed is that the BBOC would not in fact be required to operate only on the northern route, on the Belize City runs going north, but that in fact some of the earlier runs, some of the preexisting runs before the attempted reorganization took place, that BBOC had going west, would be retained. …In effect, we would try to divide up the thing and ensure that as far as possible, the BBOC would not lose any of their runs except to the extent that everybody perhaps, will lose runs, as there is an effort to compress the thing and make it altogether viable and feasible. …”

Having set the table, the P.M. called on Shaw, Menzies and Tun, in turn, to confirm and second the arrangement, but a surprise lay in wait.Relating the position of the BBOA after its meeting, Shaw explained why he and his operators felt Westline had to go, and right away:

“…these guys (BBOC) have been operating for over 6 years, and when you look at it, they have been taken out overnight and the privilege given to a guy (Chuc) that has brought in 20-30 buses.As the president, I think it’s unfair and I am not going to mince words, but what I am saying is coming from my hear t, and as a operator myself, I know exactly the economic crisis — with fuel and all the rest of it.I see what these guys are going through.It’s been more than two weeks that these guys have been out there and not making a dime — they have their families and they have bills to pay… if we have to go back to the table and negotiate for another week or so, then where does that put the 60-100 families….”

After a testy reply from the PM reminding Shaw of what they had agreed to earlier, Menzies came to the podium and leveled the room by declaring that the Prime Minister essentially had two options: agree to “return to normal schedule tomorrow at 5 a.m…. all runs — 18 in the west and 6 up north, be reinstated as it was before… immediate release of all buses and compensation for damage to those buses that were damaged by the folks that moved them…. immediate release of all detainees and all charges dropped by 5:00 on Friday evening, or else.”If not, he warned, “what started today will continue.”

Menzies told the approving audience, which consisted mostly of bus operators and supporters from civil society organizations such as Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and Belizeans for Justice, that, referring to the Transport Minister, “when Minister Hulse turned this thing upside down he didn’t negotiate — he promised a few days.Minister Hulse made a promise that he back out on.”He concluded flatly that he was “not here to negotiate.”

Barrow tersely told Menzies that, “It is completely unreasonable and unacceptable to tell government you have until 5 o’ clock to reinstate the BBOC on the western run.That is unacceptable; I am not going to, in any way, suggest that the government wants a confrontation.I am telling you that it is quite the opposite.The government does not want a confrontation, the inconvenience to the public, the economic damage that it will cause.These are things at this particular juncture we dearly want to avoid.”

Addressing both Shaw and Menzies, he added, “I would hope that public opinion will see that in fact we are attempting to be reasonable and to be fair.”

Only Tun seemed to stick to the party line, stating: “At this stage, we cannot tell the BBOC that we don’t want to see them in the north–they have been operating there (in the north)…. so we are very flexible.As much as I said we are on fire, or we are a district of fire, we believe in flexibility as well.And I stand to be corrected as well by the BBOC members–whether any nortenos run in the west.We believe that at this stage, we are open to dialogue with them. …We believe in reform and most importantly, we believe that you cannot stop newcomers to enter into any business. …We all are newcomers to the business at some point in time, be it forty years, fifty years, you name it.However, we must accept the fact that we cannot stop no one to invest.So with that spirit of good, to have a harmonial relationship, I come and I say from the nortenos’ standpoint; we are prepared–Mister Shaw knows about it–we are prepared to lend a helping hand to them.”

Amandala asked the P.M. if the basis of the arrangement – BBOC running in both the west and the north – contravened the standard policy in the zoning program of the Department of a company operating only in any one particular zone.

He replied that when he asked the Minister of Transport about that last week, he questioned, as he put it – “was that (the practice) a law from God?” and was told no; he concluded that it was necessary, in this instance, to depart from the policy with a good and sufficient reason – in this case the resolution of a politically tense situation.

Regarding the roadworthiness of the Westline buses, which had been subject to allegations of lack of proper safety features and non-Belize license plates, Barrow put the duty s quarely on the Ministry to make sure they come up to standard.

Hulse – who faces a potentially difficult re-election campaign in Stann Creek West – is safe in his job, according to the Prime Minister, despite calls from Shaw earlier in the day for him to step aside.He would lead, along with Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and Cayo West area rep Erwin Contreras (both deputy leaders of the UDP) and transport officials, the negotiations that had initially been set for today, Monday, but after the surprises on Friday, were pushed up to Saturday in the interest of resolving the situation as soon as was immediately possible.

Ultimately, negotiation was the decided option, and those meetings took place over the weekend and continued to today, Monday, in Belize City and Belmopan.At press time tonight, Amandala has confirmed that BBOC has agreed to take 9 runs in the Western Zone (4 from Benque to Belize City and back, and 5 from Belize City to Benque daily), beginning from Wednesday, June 1. It is expected that WestLine will hold the other nine runs in the Western Zone.

Neither Shaw nor Frazer were available, and Minister Hulse would only tell us that “the framework is being put in place, the arrangements are being made and we are moving forward amiably.”He confirmed the agreement on the Western Zone, and added that he had just stepped out of the continuing meetings with the northern operators, and would prefer not to comment during the ongoing negotiations so as not to jeopardize their progress.

(Description of Source: Belize City Amandala Online in English — Website of Amandala, widely-read biweekly founded in 1969; known for political commentary; URL: http://www.amandala.com.bz)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited.Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder.Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 

#6

Belize Wants Trade Agreements with Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador
CMC Headline: “Belize Wants Trade Agreements with Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador” CMC
Monday April 18, 2011 21:25:00 GMT Stakeholders’ feedback will assist in establishing clear positions for engagements with Mexico and inform on how we proceed with El Salvador and Honduras. Successful completion of these consultations will be determined by the active involvement of both the private and public sectors,” the Ministry said. It added that the Dean Barrow government recognizes “the many business opportunities available to the private sector under trade agreements and arrangements and urges the Belize private sector to be part of these discussions”.

(Description of Source: Bridgetown CMC in English — regional news service run by the Caribbean Media Corporation)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 

#7

Salvadoran Foreign Minister in Belize for Mutual Talks With Belizean Counterpart
CMC Headline: “Salvador” CMC
Friday April 8, 2011 22:20:51 GMT After closed-door talks, Elrington told reporters that he and Martinez have reached agreement which will see the Salvadoran government sending more assistance to Belize which will be used primarily to help the growing population of Salvadoran nationals who now make Belize their home, after fleeing the civil war in El Salvador back in the 80’s. The communique said Martinez’s visit represents “the beginning of a new era in the bilateral relations of both countries, which consolidates and builds on the values of past experiences and shared responsibilities.”

Martinez, speaking through an interpreter, thanked the Belize government and people for welcoming Salvadoran nationals with open arms when they fled the civil war back home. “We are immensely grateful for what you have done for our people,” Martinez said, as he promised that El Salvador will now use its bilateral relations with Belize to support these communities which have been established primarily around the Belmopan area. Both Foreign Ministers also pledged to cooperate in security issues, human trafficking, and work on establishing a partial scope agreement to enhance the importance of trade and investment between the two countries.

Belize and El Salvador also agreed to explore ways of expanding education opportunities such as providing more scholarships and the exchange of university expertise, including the study of English and Spanish as second languages. Foreign Minister Martinez will also pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Dean Barrow before departing on Thursday (7 April) afternoon.

(Description of Source: Bridgetown CMC in English — regional news service run by the Caribbean Media Corporation)

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

 


About FiWeBelize

FiWeBelize is dedicated to providing quality information to our visitors. We aim to provide an open forum where people can have a voice without censorship while maintaining respect for the opinions of others. Find us on Google

Share your thoughts ...