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Apr 6, 2016

BELAPS Launched Today

A new online service known as the Belize Electronic License and Permit System was launched today. The service will provide efficiency to expedite the work of the ministries of agriculture, fisheries, forestry and environment on the internet. According to officials of the ministry, it is the first phase in establishing a Forest Information System. But not all kinks have been worked out, but the ministry believes it is the future of E-governance. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belize Electronic License and Permit System, BELAPS, is an online application process for licenses and permits issued by the fisheries and forestry departments.  The purpose of the internet-based procedure is to expedite, as well as improve the management of resources within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment.  BELAPS was officially unveiled this morning in Belize City.

 

Gaspar Vega

Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries

“It’s demonstrating our commitment to improve service to our stakeholders, the people that do business with government.  It cuts down on cost and [allows for us to] be able to conduct business in a more transparent manner.  With today’s launching we start the registration of applications because once you apply online it will have a certain time that you applied.  So we will know when applications come in, whose application comes in first.  It will be most cost effective for the stakeholders, they won’t have to be running to Belmopan or to Belize City where the different administrators are.  They will be able to do it if they were on a different business trip to the U.S. or to Mexico they would still be able to follow the application from there.  So I think it is just starting a new era like Mr. Windsor said, that doing business with government will be much easier.”

 

For the Belize Forest Department, BELAPS is only but a first step to creating an overall Forest Information System.

Wilbur Sabido

Wilbur Sabido, Belize Forest Department

“BELAPS, for us, is one of several elements in the system which will enable us to be more effective in delivering quality service to our partners but not only in the forestry sector but for those in commerce and trade.  I must say that BELAPS is still a work in progress.  As we move forward together in using the system I am sure that we will identify new ways for making it more efficient and easier to use.  In the coming weeks we will be working alongside CITO and the users of the system, you to assist you in becoming familiar with the system or to re-familiarize yourself with it and to clarify doubts and to remove fears because I’m sure we’ll have much of that.”

 

Established in partnership with the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund and the Central Information Technology Office, the system is aimed at making life much easier for the public.  Does it however, affect the role of the minister?

 

Gaspar Vega

“No, I don’t think that for me personally it will have any effect.  I think it will relieve especially the administrators who would deal with the licensing and the permitting.  It will relieve them of that rush like, you know, sometimes like for Fisheries, at the beginning of the year or at certain time of the year we have big rushes.  I think that it will assist the administrators in not dealing with that rush and at the same time assist the private sector in not having to come and waste a lot of time on Tuesdays and sometimes coming from far places like Fisheries; we have people from Sarteneja, coming all the way from Sarteneja to Belize City.  So I sincerely believe that it’s the way to go.”

 

Seconding that notion is Mauro Gongora of the Fisheries Department.  BELAPS, he says, is a huge advancement for the work of the agency.

 

Mauro Gongora

Mauro Gongora, Belize Fisheries Department

“It’s a huge milestone for the Fisheries Department as we have been working arduously along with the technical experts at CITO and with the Embassy of Taiwan to accomplish this very important goal for us.  We are happy at the Fisheries Department to join other government departments, including the Forestry Department in this case, and I’m sure that in the future we’ll have many other government departments joining us on BELAPS.  In the use of an electronic system and as it relates to fisheries, where our fishers are primary stakeholders and members of the general public would be able to submit an application and obtain fishermen licenses and export permits for fish and fisheries products out of Belize.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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