Cabinet Addresses Food Prices and Sugar Industry in Belize
Cabinet met this week to address a number of national issues including the high cost of food and the sugarcane industry. On Monday, Cabinet met and approved an adjustment to the pay scales of social workers within the Ministry of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, to normalize salaries for social workers across all ministries. Cabinet invited Lennox Nicholson, Controller of Supplies for the Supplies Control Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise, to give a report on efforts being made to address price-gouging countrywide. Cabinet also appointed Ministers Jose Mai, Orlando Habet, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, and Henry Charles Usher, to discuss and present a paper on opening a cooperative of stores that will sell basic food items at reduced costs. That group is to report back within a month. Cabinet approved that a commission of inquiry be formed to look into modernizing the sugar industry and that the Sugar Industry Control Board be given the necessary funding to continue its operations. During the meeting the Attorney General also reported on the High Court ruling in the claim brought by Belize Sugar Industries, to challenge the Sugar Industry Act. The Attorney General said that there are good prospects for appealing the ruling, and also stated that BSI has expressed a commitment to working with cane farmers on industry matters. Meanwhile, Minister Kareem Musa, head of the Cabinet sub-committee on the sugar industry was instructed to begin talks with BSI and other parties to ensure the industry remains stable. Cabinet also approved Blue Economy finding through the Inter-American Development Bank for activities that would strengthen fisheries management by expanding to the production of non-traditional fisheries products. Cabinet also supported the creation of new regulations within the electricity sector, to restructure and expand the licensing scheme. Lastly, Cabinet called on all Belizeans to remain vigilant as the most active portion of the 2023 Hurricane Season approaches.