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US President grants Belize a partial waiver on foreign assistance restrictions

It’s not the high worldwide ranking  murder per capita for Belize, nor the low murder conviction rate. But Uncle Sam is clamping down on dollar diplomacy in Belize. Belize is along a narco-corridor from South America to the USA and has had minimal effect on the drug trade but has managed to collect a few planes or their charred remains that have been used in the drug plane. But it’s how Belize has been dormant when it comes to human trafficking that is causing the USA to let us know in advance that it will punish, but only partially the country for its ineffectiveness in dealing with human trafficking. The United States has granted a partial waiver to Belize on foreign assistance restrictions even though Belize remains on Tier 3 in the U.S. 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report. This year, Belize was rated as Tier 3 since the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Normally, countries that are rated as Tier 3 are subject to specific foreign assistance restrictions unless the President waives those restrictions. The restrictions apply to non-humanitarian and non-trade-related foreign assistance, and to funds provided through international financial institutions, to Tier 3 governments.  The restrictions are intended to encourage governments to make more significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for combating human trafficking. However, President Donald Trump has granted a partial waiver to five out of 22 countries rated as Tier 3, Belize included. This was done on November 29th. Minister Of immigration Godwin Hulse commented on the matter.

Honorable Godwin Hulse: “The United States is going through their throws of changes with their President.We see that on the radio everyday and on the television everyday. Belize has done what it can do as a nation to try to stem this. I don’t know, it is their decision, it is their judgment but from where I sit our forces have been vigilant, we have done a tremendous amount of movement in immigration, everybody knows that and so it is unfortunate but it is what it is and I mean I am not going to ring my hand and say oh my goodness. We try to do our best in the country but I want to say that it is all of our responsibility as a nation. I do not know that we deserve to be in that category but it is what it is.”

Dalila Ical: Do you think it will hurt Belize in any particular way?

Honorable Godwin Hulse: “Any kind of marking down in any way or so always hurts a nation but we depend primarily on this country on our Agriculture which is doing rather well and we depend on our Tourism and I don’t see any dip in that and our relations with other countries are stable. Belize is a stable country and I think we will continue along those lines.”

The partial restrictions on Belize do not apply to funding by international financial institutions or to exchange programs for government officials. A release by the US Embassy states that “Belize received a partial waiver because it is in the national interest of the United States to support efforts in Belize to build capacity to stem human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, illegal migration, and other illicit trafficking to the United States southern border.” end of quote. The U.S. Department of State is reviewing programming in Belize to determine what will be affected by this determination.