PM Briceno to look into ways to give back to Belizean Diaspora
During his visit to the United States, Prime Minister John Briceno, was able to meet with several Belizeans living overseas. It was during those overseas meetings that the Prime Minister was able to listen to the needs and concerns of Belizeans abroad. According to him, the country is now looking to see how they can service or give back to the Belizean diaspora.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “During COVID the diaspora sent approximately $300 million dollars during that year for Belizeans. Many Belizeans would not have had food to eat if they had not sent that money. The diaspora raises funds for health, the diaspora raises funds for education, the diaspora sends sometimes experts to help us in Belize. Our Belizean diaspora they are doctors, they are engineers, they are entrepreneurs, they have their businesses and they want to find a way how they could help Belize but they want to see something that’s organized because some of them say you know ‘I’m trying to send medication to Belize but I don’t know how to get it here, to who to send it. ‘Or when you see they’re charging me taxes we’re making a donation.’ ‘So we want to buy a land. We want to build a house.’ Say there have been instances where they say ‘we’ve sent money for somebody to build a house for us and by the time when we get to Belize and we realize what they’re doing they’re stealing our money.’ So I said maybe it is time, and I just started the discussion with Minister Mahler whereby maybe we can screen some contractors and we could advertise these contractors to the diaspora saying you want somebody that will build your house ? These are the list of contractors that we can certify that will build you your house the way you want it for the price that you want. We need to be able to see the land process in transferring their land or buying their land. We need to be able to find an office that can assist them in getting these things done. If they give us so much I mean we need to be able to give them something in return. We need to be able to, see the Belizean diaspora in the United States they have access to capital, they have access to markets, they have the experience, they have the training, they have contacts and we need to be able to take advantage of that. So by having these meetings and talking to them as a group and then meeting with them one on one you start to build that connection with them and for them to start to say you know what we have a government now that’s prepared to listen to us and something that we want to participate, we want to belong to.”