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Dec 7, 2017

Chamber & N.G.O.s Say Pay Up, Too; Unions Want to Meet

As promised last week, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has responded in stinging fashion to Prime Minister Dean Barrow on the matter of the Universal Health Services fiasco. It repeats its insistence that Belize’s laws and political system need to be strengthened to prevent any administration from running roughshod over Belize’s finances. But it states its disappointment, not only in the Prime Minister but in Leader of Government Business and former Chamber president Senator Godwin Hulse for, “unleashing such invective upon the B.C.C.I. specifically for its unwavering support for the Rule of Law as an essential part of our democracy… your reply and his comments in the media regarding the B.C.C.I. make no reference to our call for legal and institutional reforms necessary to prevent or minimize any possibility of recurrence of what we all agree is a “rotten deal” against the Belizean people.” As regards the threat to potentially raise taxes to help pay for the debt, the Chamber repeats that an effort to capture lost tax revenue from evaders, an equally strong and concentrated focus on development of an enabling environment for economic growth and a revisit of the cost-saving measures recommended in 2014 would prove sufficient to avert such. In related news, the Prime Minister was somewhat kinder to Floyd Neal of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, who requested a meeting with him last Wednesday, December sixth, to address various issues. Citing a busy schedule, the P.M. proposed potential meeting dates with the N.T.U.C.B. executive of December eleventh, next Monday, in Belmopan at the Cabinet Room, or on December thirteenth, Wednesday, in Belize City, likely at the Biltmore Plaza. And in one last piece of news on UHS, today the Belize Network of N.G.O.’s weighed in, calling on government to seek dialogue on how to pay up while reiterating respect for the rule of law and the need for government oversight. The Network writes that, “The burden on the Belizean taxpayers and people must be minimized as much as possible while we still honor the decision of the C.C.J.”

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