Globally, governments, businesses and workers are taking a hit financially. In Belize City, Mayor Bernard says it is like going from making one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars. It may be an exaggeration in figures but it is indicative of the impacts and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Mayor, Prime Minister, Dean Barrow sent out a letter early this week to all the Mayors advising them to cut back on their expenditure. According to Wagner, City Hall has scaled back on salaries but they have not resorted to terminating or dismissing any employee.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “That letter was sent I believe Tuesday or Wednesday of this week essentially telling us that you’ll have to make with what you have and lucky for us at the Belize City Council we’ve been making with what we have for the past two years and so we just continue along that same lines making with what we have. Obviously our revenue stream has been cut significantly roughly by we’re down to 20% performing in our revenues, that clearly cannot be sustained. If we’re thinking about laying off people that is not on the agenda right now, we don’t want to add to the already large unemployment market right now so we’re looking at it and we’re taking it day by day and when that time comes to really look at that situation then we’ll have to look critically at it.”
Reporter: Could you provide us with some collection figures because the Belmopan Mayor says he’s gone from 120k weekly to almost nothing what is it like ?
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “I went from 150k in the first week of April 150k that was very well below what we would usually get per month but for the first week of April we were at 150k and I watched the second week it went down to 2k and this week here it’s like $150 so that’s the reality out there and I’m thankful that my staff continue to work along with us. We agreed prior to the lock down that we would take half pay those that work essential services continue to get their full paycheck. We continue to work along with all resources that we have to meet the demands of the city.”
Wagner assured the media that CITCO will work with the resources they have to meet the demands of the City.