The situation at the Port of Belize remains at a standstill, and since the workers are engaging in a strike, ships have been turned away as there is no one to unload them. This is having a detrimental effect on the economy, which has already taken massive blows from the covid-19 endemic. The Prime Minister weighed in on the situation today, stating that with all that is happening, there is consideration into nationalizing the Port. According to him, if the issue continues in the manner it is, the government will need to step in to protect the country.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “When we come to the matter at hand now the question of the Port clearly this stalemate cannot continue. Who asked earlier on- I think it was Isani- about foreign exchange this of course has an effect on foreign exchange. We know and continue to say the position can’t be optimum, can’t be other than difficult, challenging but we’re managing this puts a further crimps matters puts a further dent in our foreign exchange earnings. The stalemate if ships can’t be offloaded some of them can perhaps go to Big Creek but I don’t know how much Big Creek is set up in terms of storage facilities and in terms of their ability to take all the containers that normally would be offloaded at the Belize City port I’m not sure what the situation is there but you’re talking about additional costs. So the choke hold, the strangle hold that is being exercised on the economy of this country, on the well being of the citizenry of this country is not something that any government can contemplate with any kind of indifference it is a spur to action sir. Nature of the action still to be determined. There is a hope that perhaps the two sides can come together, the defacto Minister of Labor is making every effort to encourage them to try and settle their differences, the Chamber of Commerce has weighed in, the labor sector has weighed in but perhaps on one side of the equation. In any case while every possibility of a possible breakthrough has to be exhausted, while every effort has to be made to encourage the two sides to come to some kind of an understanding if that proves simply to be impossible government must reserve the right to do what it has to do to protect commerce, to protect the lifeblood of the country, to protect the citizens of this jewel.”