Stevedores in Belize City stand to lose thousands of dollars each in annual income when BSI/ASR will move most of its sugar exports from the Port of Belize to Big Creek in the south. The waterfront workers’ representatives, the Christian Workers’ Union, have not welcomed this decision and area representatives of Belize City’s south side have not either. When asked about it today, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Anthony Mahler suggested that it’s time for the government to expand money-making opportunities to include everyone. The Pickstock area rep also spoke on comments made by his Cabinet colleague, Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai.
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations: “It’s a difficult situation for all parties but as a government we have to find the best solution for all parties involved including the stevedores. I represent a lot of the south side communities many of the stevedores are my personal friends and we have to ensure that they can continue to make a decent living and to ensure that their supporting their families. It’s about a hundred of them but we also have the discussion of over five thousand cane farmers that have invested their blood, sweat and tears in the sugar industry in Belize.”
Reporter: Mr.Mai’s comments on the situation that they should probably find something else to do did you find that insensitive sir ?
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations: “To be honest I didn’t hear it, I was out of the country I just recently got back but if that’s what he said I think he could have chosen some better words that’s my position on that.”
Asked on what should be the government’s next course of action, Minister Mahler explained that his government will have to expand financial opportunities in tourism so that the affected waterfront workers are included.
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations: “That’s why I’m working so hard to bring back tourism to levels where it was pre-covid and to reach higher heights. So for me I have studied briefly in both Japan and Taiwan and the Asian belief that for any great nation or city to grow and develop you need an efficient port system. I think the Port of Belize has to do a lot better in terms of modernizing that facility or the infrastructure there and so you continue to grow tourism then you grow agriculture, you grow everything else because it trickles into all other sectors of the economy and so my goal is to focus on growing tourism, improving tourism and so that more people can benefit off it including the stevedores. They’ll have more work offloading ships and that type of thing because there is more demand.”
Minister Mahler explained that through tourism, he’s optimistic that he could bring some semblance of hope to the affected stevedores.