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Sep 30, 2016

Chamber Reserves Judgment on Motion; Supports B.N.T.U.

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said it will review its options in light of today’s successful motion in the Senate. However, in a statement issued just before news time it remarks, “A thorough investigation is necessary, and any special select committee which is shackled by terms such as those in the motion passed today or with the limitations indicated by the terms of reference is unacceptable, and extremely concerning. Our national patrimony is important to all Belizean citizens, regardless of party affiliation, and as such, requires our strongest vigilance and involvement in its protection.” According to the Chamber, its senator had been advised to support the Opposition motion. That motion would have denied the government a majority but, in its view, contained more thorough terms of reference for the designed committee. The Chamber also announced its support for the Belize National Teachers’ Union following meetings between their senior leaders this evening. According to the Chamber, it supports cost-saving measures to reduce strain on the revenue, but not retrenchment as that would stretch the private sector even further to create jobs caused by sudden mass unemployment in the public sector. The BCCI says it also supports stronger efforts to capture revenue being lost through tax evasion, but will not support any measure that results in overall tax increases under the current economic circumstances. The Chamber also reiterated its support for other reform measures such as the activation of the Integrity Commission, the restructuring of the Public Accounts Committee, the appointment of the thirteenth Senator and the signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. On the Integrity Commission and UNCAC issues, it is working directly with Government to get those matters dealt with more urgently. But the business group did not budge much on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, which it continues to claim would have a severe impact on employers, inclusive of small enterprises, and would therefore jeopardize jobs and income generation in general. The Chamber has linked up with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize to develop a bill more to its liking and promised to share its revisions to the bill and commit to working out the way forward.

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