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Dec 30, 1999

Y2K Council says all is well

There is less than a day and a half to go before we witness the end of the Twentieth Century and worldwide, people have been making preparations in anticipation of any major Y2K catastrophe. In Belize a Y2K Advisory Council has been established to ensure that all of Belize’s major sectors like utility companies, financial institutions and critical government departments are prepared for any problems that may arise. On Friday, the council will hold its final meeting with Ralph Fonseca, the Minister in charge of Y2K preparedness. According to Fred Hunter Jr. the council’s project coordinator, all of Belize’s major sectors are Y2K compliant. Hunter says for several weeks they have shared information with managers of all the entities concerned as well as keeping the public informed. As part of the council’s contingency plan, a command center will be set up at the Central Bank Building in Belize City to monitor the situation and address whatever problems may occur.

Fred Hunter Jr., Project Coordinator, Y2K Advisory Council

"We’ll start on the evening of the thirty-first and I guess we will be there until the morning unless we will need to be there longer. But particularly we do not expect any major disruptions.

What we will be doing, well from the morning of the thirty-first as the first day change starts to hit Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and the republic of… actually the Republic of Kiribati will be the first one to experience the day change, but the cities, the first major cities will be in New Zealand and two hours later we will be getting information from Australia. And by nine o’clock in the morning we will have reports from Japan which has major and heavily automotive cities, so we will be starting to get a picture by then."

Q: "Who will be at the command center?"

"We have a list and we will be there on a rotating basis. The Minister has said that he will be there and particularly Mr. Alvan Haynes, he is the project manager for the Y2K Project; he is the technical person and he will be there and myself. We will also have representatives from NEMO, the National Emergency Management Organization, probably one representative from the Police Department and from the B.D.F. We will have people coming in
and out from the technical, the computer experts are from B.E.L., B.T.L., WASA and probably somebody from the University College of Belize."

Hunter says it is not necessary to withdraw your savings from the bank or to buy extra food or fuel. Ironically there are reports that a number of people from the United States have deliberately come to Belize to escape what they believe will be a massive catastrophe in the industrial world. To those people we can only say welcome, but we sincerely hope you are wrong.

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