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Aug 28, 2017

Foreign Minister Bristles at Suggestion of Taiwanese Influence behind Visa Waiver Denial

The Chinese Disabled People Performing Arts Troupe arrived in Belize over the weekend and took to the stage free of cost at the Bliss on Sunday, as part of a two-night cultural presentation in the city.  But the arrival of the thirty-three visually impaired performers was not without controversy.  The Belize Chinese Association is up in arms since it had to fork out approximately sixty thousand dollars in expenses related to the visa fees, an aggregate cost that they expected to be waived by government.  When government refused to waive the bill, members of the local Chinese community began inferring that the Taiwanese Embassy may have had a hand in that decision.  So, was Belize’s decision influenced by Taiwan and was Foreign Minister Elrington involved in that decision-making?


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“As far as I am aware, what I heard stated by the Minister of Immigration, the substantive minister, is that there is no provision in our law for visa waiver, for waiver of the visa fee.  You see it’s a catch twenty-two, you waive the visa fee and then they will want a senate inquiry to find out why you waived the visa fee because you have no authority to do so in law.  You can’t win.  The minister informed the Cabinet that there is no provision in our law to waive it.  So what you wanted us to do?  You wanted us to break the law?  You are the first one that would take umbrage at that.  So we’re trying to be very proper and correct.  And let me tell you, the suggestion that the little bit of revenue that we generated from that activity is in some way going to hurt the Chinese community has to be ludicrous.  China and the Chinese community have more money than they know what to do with.  It’s not a question that they don’t have resources.  They have.  The Chinese community is perhaps the wealthiest community in Belize City, in Belize country.  So they can’t complain if they have to pay a few thousand dollars to help to pay for roads and the social services and the hospital bills and pay the salaries and the like.  Nobody wants to pay anything, I pay my taxes.  I pay my dues and I don’t complain.  Why should they be complaining about something as basic as that?  And if you can’t pay to come to the country, don’t come.  But don’t want to come to the country and then be griping over the fact that you are made to pay the legitimate taxes.  It doesn’t look good.  To my mind it puts a sour taste in my mouth.  I’m very disappointed actually by those people who are spreading that kind of rumor.”


The troupe of disabled performers is scheduled to depart the country later this week.

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