Trade Licensing Bill Sent Back to Committee
In yesterday’s Senate meeting the Trade Licensing Bill that seeks to begin taxing business in the rural areas, was referred back to the committee after several errors were cited on the document. Prior to referring the matter back to the House, a debate was had on the issue where the opposition cited multiple concerns. Registering some concerns was UDP Senator, Beverly Williams.
Beverly Williams, Senator: “If we go directly to the act, Madam President, section three it says “to allow the local authority to regulate the conduct of trade in it’s respective jurisdiction.” and then switch all the way to section 45, and I know my colleague here will enjoy this one. It says that the local authority will regulate but in 45 it says “the minister may make rules regulating and prescribing the procedure on appeals.” there’s the appeal but it is for the minister. Section 19(4) “not withstanding subsection one a business licensed in a village shall pay a flat fee to be made by regulations.” This bill Madam President is speaking directly to the Caye Caulker Village Council and I believe it’s also being piloted in the Cayo district. A flat fee and I don’t want Caye Caulker to think I’m targeting them but even in the Cayo district so this flat fee will go to these high rise hotels that we see in Caye Caulker and the peddlers on the ground will pay the same fee that they pay ? That’s what it says “it shall be a flat fee.” “business licensed in a village.” Caye Caulker is a village.”
Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay, also spoke on the trade licensing amendments, conceding to the errors in the document, whilst explaining the necessity of the Bill.
Eamon Courtenay, Senator: “The intention of this legislation is to empower the local government both at the town and city level as well as the village level. Additionally the intention is to give them a fairer and more consistent stream of income. This is a commitment that made by the government in Plan Belize. It is clear that there are a number of errors, sections that are cited that need to be corrected. Senator Herrera and Senator Williams raised some issues of policy which can possibly be looked at and considered and therefore Madam President we on this side have agreed that the bill should remain in committee for consideration and possibly amendment before the question is put and therefore Madam President I ask that the bill be sent to committee.”