Belize Chamber of Commerce Expresses Discontent Over New Regulations Without Consultation, Ministry of Agriculture responds
While many Belizeans welcomed the government announcement to expand the list of goods that are subject to regulation under the Supplies Control Act, the Belize Chamber of Commerce says they should have been consulted. The chamber has reportedly put out a press release expressing discontent over not being consulted. The move, according to the government, was aimed at assisting residents who are feeling the effects of global inflation and adds 34 items to the list. Today, Minister of Agriculture, Jose Mai, responded to the chamber and says the government must do what is right for its citizens.
Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: ” I saw the release issued by Chamber of Commerce. I don’t know who voted for them. We are a government elected by the people. The people and we know that there is price closing and there is inflation is real. When we invited the people to meet with us, the importers and the retailers and those who have stores. The question should have been how many of them are on the Chamber of Commerce. I don’t know, how much people run the Chamber of Commerce. So when we discuss this in cabinet and work with that list, it is because the people are demanding that from us, the government, and it is the people who voted for us. So when they are saying that they were not consulted, maybe they should go out and broaden their membership so that they are well presented when we meet with them. But we cannot be consulting every single person. This thing has been dragging on for a long time. We need to get this done. We expanded the list and now we are meeting with them to reach a level of understanding to say let us try to control the percentage on the profits on this. So I don’t know why that should be a problem with them. My suggestion is that they need to amplify their membership so that they be represented in these meetings. But we cannot delay the process. I mean the people out there are suffering. Inflation is real. A lot of it was imported. We didn’t make it. We didn’t increase the price. And so we need to deal with it right away.”
Belize has placed 54th on the Henley Passport index for 2023. That ranking simply means that out of 199 passports, Belize is the 54th strongest in terms of where a passport ranks on the global mobility spectrum. The group gets exclusive data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), and looks at 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. The scoring method states the total score for each passport is equal to the number of destinations for which no visa is required. When Henley had just started publishing the Passport Index in 2006, Belize had placed 42nd. In comparison to our neighbors, Mexico placed 22nd on this year’s index while Guatemala placed 36th. We will have more on this index in our evening news.