Last week the Prime Minister spoke of austerity measures that the Government and the private sector will be forced to undertake including the laying off of employees. In that vein, he committed to assisting those who have lost their jobs through monies being sourced from multiple agencies. Since the announcement, many have been clamoring for immediate assistance but as the Prime Minister explained, the financial advisors are coming up with a system of disbursement while the Government is doing the necessary paperwork to get the monies.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “We’ll be hearing from the economic czars, we’ll be hearing again from the Governor of the Central Bank, we’ll be hearing from Joe Waight as to the sorts of measures we can take apart from the borrowing that we’re doing so that we can try to assist people who are going to be laid off, we’re going to be hearing about what government and public officers will need to do to cut spending. Clearly the revenue base is being terribly eroded in consequence of what has happened but the most important aspect, apart from the health aspect of the meeting to come at 10 is to continue to flesh out the plans and proposals and the sourcing of the funds so that we can start to cover those persons who have already lost their jobs. I can tell you that BEL is providing a million dollars for us to help with this exercise, I think BWSL is doing the same I have not yet heard from BTL. I see that there was a press conference held by FECTAB or whatever it’s called last week and they said we need to start paying now because we already have $75 million dollars; I explained painstakingly when I spoke about the sourcing of funds that first of all the $25 million dollars that we are borrowing has to be approved by parliament – the House has done so the Senate meets on Wednesday. So we don’t get that $25 million dollars until the budget with that additional allocation is passed and of course we’re sourcing funds from elsewhere, the World Bank which is diverting some of the monies already programmed for this climate resilient infrastructure project but these things take a while. If you think the Belizean bureaucracy is slow meet the international bureaucracy. It’s coming though, this morning we’re going to be talking again to Social Security Board again I don’t want to say too much remember that we’re going to this afternoon try to provide you with a comprehensive bulletin following the meeting and I will make myself available as needed to answer questions so that the nation can be provided with all the details.”