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Jul 6, 2017

B.C.C.I., B.T.I.A. to Dictate Composition of Economic Development Council

Mark Lizarraga

There was near-unanimous support for the establishment of the Economic Development Council, which advises the Prime Minister and the Government on economic and business issues. The Bill calls for ten members – five from the Public Service and five from separate areas of the private sector. Business Community Senator Mark Lizarraga asked that, to guard against future issues of differences between the sectors, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Belize Tourism Industry Association be given permanent seating on the Council. Former Chamber President and Senator for Business Godwin Hulse, who now leads Government business, sought to re-assure that the bodies would get to secure membership on the Council through their nominations. He also allowed that other key sectors like labour could eventually get seating as well.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“As the law currently reads, Madam President, the fact that the private sector representatives shall be members of and nominated by organizations that are validly registered, is a step above the original wording that was proposed, we agree, because the original wording was even more ambiguous than the language we see before us today, so we acknowledge that there was a movement upwards – not far enough. But choosing to be recognized organizations still can only nominate. The absence of a clause regarding the organization’s appointments, Madam President, that nominations need not be accepted, even from organizations like the B.C.C.I. or the B.T.I.A., whose membership already features, by the way, prominently on the Council – Senator Duncan, I’m sure, will remind us of this fact because he sits on the Council; he’s a member of the B.C.C.I.; I think we have four members of the B.C.C.I., Senator Duncan, already on the Council – yes. So why, Senator Duncan, then not mention the mother of the child in the birth certificate? The mother of the child?”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“Banking and finance – Banker’s Association. Tourism – B.T.I.A.; where else are you going to get the nominee from for tourism? B.T.I.A. You go to distributive services, where do you go? B.C.C.I., which other organization represents them? Agriculture? Now agriculture we’d have a little difficulty because you don’t have an umbrella organization as such – you have banana growers, citrus growers, shrimp growers, rice association, grain growers association and you have confusion so where will you go? (Points at Lizarraga) because they are all members of the Chamber. Exports, which organization represents exports? Chamber! And you have to go to the organization; it says they have to be members of the organization.”

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