Love News has learned that Port of Belize Limited has requested an increase in container tariff. If this request is approved it is more likely that consumers will be negatively affected. Belize port costs are among the highest in the region. Prime Minister John Briceno was asked about it yesterday and he explained that the matter was first discussed by the Barrow Administration.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “That has not come to Cabinet but from what I have been told is that this is something that had been discussed from the previous government and the previous government was at the point of approving it only because then I guess the elections came and it never took place. We recognize that Belize is going through a very difficult time. There’s the issue of inflation, obviously we are very aware of it and we’ll be aware of whatever implications that may have so should that happen, should that come to us obviously as a Cabinet we have to take a very serious look before we can decide any increases at this time.”.
And speaking on the matter today with former Prime Minister Dean Barrow. He explained that given the circumstances in 2020, an increase in the tariff would not have been contemplated much less implemented.
Reporter: The current Prime Minister is saying that those discussions started under your administration is that true sir ?
Dean Barrow, Former Prime Minister of Belize: “I don’t recollect that at all but again we come back to this business of his seeking to find shelter under the last administration. It doesn’t matter whether there were discussions. I don’t remember any such discussions. I spoke to your colleague from Krem yesterday evening and I was told that he said indeed the last administration was proposing to grant the tariff increases but the elections intervened. Well that has to be a lie because as I reminded your colleague, just before the elections was when my administration was once more in conflict with the people who are if not owners certainly the receivers of the port and the administrators of the port. That was when there was the huge fight with the stevedores and the Christian Workers Union and that was when I went public and said I am looking at the possibility of nationalizing that port, taking back that port if this matter between the receivers and the CWU is not sorted out. In that kind of a climate I would never have been talking at the same time about granting the administrators of the port, the “owners of the port”, any increase in tariff. Nonsense.”