The Government’s Press Office issued a statement from the Prime Minister Dean Barrow late this evening. The ten-minute address aimed at instilling calm among the Belizean citizenry as several restrictions and actions are being taken to combat COVID-19. In his address, the Prime Minister assured the country that food shortage is not an issue as Belize has sufficient produce to feed the country.
Rt.Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “My primary message is to assure that you are not alone, neither in your anxiety about the present challenges nor your preoccupation about the future.I thus reiterate to every Belizean that my Administration, together with the National Committees, will spare no effort, will action every partnership, will lose no opportunity to cushion the economic impacts and minimize the medical repercussions of this pandemic. You know that neither the depth nor the duration of this battle is yet clear. In this connection Belize and all countries-from the richest to the poorest-are in the same boat. We face a lethal, deadly enemy that refuses to stay still long enough for us to get a bead on it. What is nevertheless also clear is that our country is properly positioning itself for this battle. We do so both on the economic and the medical fronts. First and most important, we can feed ourselves. And there are two things that are important in this connection. The global supply chain that facilitates imports of essential inputs for our country, is not being broken. Even more important, though, is the fact of Belize’s self-sufficiency in all basic commodities. With our local production of grains, meats, vegetables and poultry products we are able to dig in for the long haul. That is what sets us apart. Second, Government is determined to deploy a diverse range of fiscal and monetary measures to fortify our economic structures and bring us through. Our measures include aid to the newly unemployed and the longer unemployed; commercial banking and credit union support to business and the self-employed; and one form or another of customer relief from our utility providers. Broadly speaking, all options are on the table and every backing we can at all come up with will be used to stabilize the economy and underpin the welfare of the people.”
Prime Minister went on to assure the public that on the health front, we will be fine. Our stellar health workers coupled with the assistance from Cuba will allow us to manage the COVID-19 response needed for the country, as unpredictable as it may be at this time.
Rt.Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “I repeat that, as hard as the circumstances are, there is no need to panic. And even if we have to take the ultimate step of a national shutdown, there will be no interruption of essential services. Access to food, pharmaceutical and other necessary supplies will be guaranteed. In short, Government and its partners will move heaven and earth to protect our people. Of course, we need your help, we need the cooperation and understanding of each and every Belizean. This crisis, like no other, demands a unity of effort, a spirit of collaboration, an overflow of fellow feeling and a pouring forth of all the reserves of national humanitarianism and patriotic solidarity.”
As was noted earlier in our newscast, the issue of fake news persists. This is one of the items addressed by the Prime Minister, indicating that it does no good for anyone in our country for persons to be spreading panic and fear.
Rt.Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “I repeat that there is no need for panic. We don’t have to crowd the supermarkets and grocery stores because there is more than a sufficiency of necessary supplies. This will continue for as long as the pandemic lasts. Most important, there is great harm in spreading false rumors and certainly no benefit in stigmatizing persons that may become unwell. I ask you always to remember our advantages. Our small, dispersed population is spread over 2 cities, 7 towns and over 200 villages. We are therefore blessed by a good degree of natural physical distancing. And our interconnectivity will allow for effective tracking and treatment in the eventuality of COVID clusters emerging. My message to you is, therefore, one of hope. But that is not to sell short the seriousness of the crisis. It will challenge our resilience.It will test our endurance. I have every confidence and not a single doubt, though, that this too shall pass; that we will once more emerge into our famed, golden, life-affirming Belizean sunlight; that we shall overcome; and that at the end of our trials we shall be once more grasping with both hands the overflowing cup that a beneficent Providence has always reserved for us. We are fortune’s child; and we will rebound to seize that special destiny marked by fate for this special land. Belize now and forever, God bless Belize.”
As mentioned, the Prime Minister’s address was published online just before six o’clock this evening.