We’ve heard the Prime Minister talk of the reopening of business and the running of public transportation. It is important to note that this is not an indication that the country is still not in a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, the Government is looking to extend the State of Emergency for another sixty days.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Going forward this is what will happen. The original State of Emergency Proclamation will itself expire on April 30th 2020, an extension is clearly needed but that can only be done by way of a resolution of the National Assembly. There will therefore be a meeting of the House on Monday coming and a meeting of the Senate the following day. Those meetings are for the sole purpose of approving the state of emergency extension and physical attendance in the chambers will be limited to the bare minimum of members needed to constitute a quorum. Once the extension of the state of emergency is approved by parliament a new SI will be drafted for the signature of the Governor General. The National Oversight Committee is currently being advised by the National Task Force, the Economic Czars and the health team as to further relaxations that the new SI could safely permit. The point is that we’re looking at the commencement of a phased calibrated restart of business and economic activity in Belize. I repeat that this will have to be a finely balanced exercise especially since we cannot discount the possibility of a coronavirus second wave. To underscore that the National Assembly is being asked for a two month extension of the state of emergency so there will be an easing of rigor in the new regulations coming into force on May 1st 2020. However It will be to a studiously calculated degree as we continue to treat the preservation of life and health as our first priority.
Again, we remind you that the State of Emergency is like standing guard during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the State of Emergency in place, the Government, if they see fit, could re-implement the strict restrictions and regulations that they are currently easing.////