The Belizean/American caught in April trying to smuggle 183 undersized lobster tails out of Belize through the PGIA has been allowed to leave the country without being charged. The unnamed individual was issued a summons by the Fisheries Department and is facing a minimum fine of twenty thousand Belize dollars. He is expected to be arranged in court for having the undersized and out-of-season lobsters in his possession. Until then, however, the man has been allowed to leave the country according to Minister of Blue Economy Andre Perez.
Abner ‘Andre’ Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy: “This sting operation, you have to know that we were working on this. Not something that just last minute we caught. We were following up on this. This has been a long operation occurring and this person was busted. I think that in being understanding, the person, the individual caught was with a minor that we could not, you know, we made some considerations that he’s linked to his family here that is involved in the very same business and we are very much in discussion with them so we are expecting that person to return and his family is involved as well to take up the responsibility. So when that happens, we will be calling out the names because I was called out the other day that you didn’t say the names but in terms of following the law, due process. It’s not out of the woods yet. We’re dealing with it. It sends a message but let’s not lose focus also on the great work that the Fisheries Department is doing in intervention that sooner or later, you will get caught and again with the new laws that we have passed where they have stiffer penalties, the very same week we passed it, people got caught with it and the last time we’re hearing that somebody is going to pay as much as $30,000 in penalty fees as per law. So it’s working. It’s serving as a deterrence and sending out a message across this country. There’s no room for breaking the law in terms of our Fisheries products that are out here that are so precious. We have to follow the law.”
Vejea Alvares, Love FM News: So the gentleman was allowed to leave the country?
Abner ‘Andre’ Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy: “Because of having the minor. Yes, because of having a minor and they were going back and the minor had to go to school and we made consider, but there were agreements made and everything and it’s not out of the woods yet and we’re very much on top of it.”