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Dec 3, 2018

John Briceño Says G.O.B. Needs to Address Human Trafficking

John Briceño

Last week we reported on the US Government’s decision to cut non-humanitarian aid and non-trade assistance to Belize. United States President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum which listed Belize as one of several countries that has failed to comply with minimum standards of international human trafficking regulations. As a result, aid to Belize will be cut for the 2019 fiscal year. The memo states that the sanction will be in place, “until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the Act.”  And as you heard in our newscast on Friday, Minister Godwin Hulse came out batting for G.O.B. when we asked him about the issue. He said that G.O.B. has done what it can to address the issue. Today Leader of Opposition John Briceño said that it is obvious that G.O.B. has not done enough to remove Belize from a tier three classification on the human trafficking list. He says that he is concerned that if the issue is not addressed more areas will feel the pinch.

 

John Briceño, Leader of Opposition

“I am disappointed that they would do that our country and also disappointed that our Government has not been giving the necessary attention to address the issue of human trafficking. It is what you call modern day slavery and we have to put all our efforts to ensure that we can not only curb but stop human trafficking in our country. But, the concern is especially or us in the north, as you would know or most people would know that presently the United States buys about twelve thousand five hundred tonnes of sugar under preferential price and that helps to prop up the price that cane farmers get for the sugar cane that they deliver to A.S.R./B.S.I.  If the US Government were to stop that preferential market of the twelve thousand five hundred tonnes that they buy from us, it is going to have a direct impact on the twelve thousand plus farmers in the north that it will continue to take the cost of the ton of cane ever lower and can create even more harder times for our farmers in the north.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“We’ve heard the AG and even some Ministers of Government say that they have done everything they [G.O.B.] could have done to address these concerns of human trafficking?”

 

John Briceño

“Obviously they have not. I don’t think that the U.S would want to be spiteful and say let’s spite Belize and give them a tier three rating so that we can call them out. It is obvious the Government has not done or has not been doing enough and they need to do more and they need to do better to put all our efforts to stop human trafficking in and to stop use Belize as a transit unto the U.S.”

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