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Jun 18, 2019

Sargassum Task Force Working on a National Plan

The Sargassum Task Force, which is a public-private committee charged with the responsibility to lead mitigation and adaptation measures to address the impact of Sargassum on four tourist destinations, says that to date almost three hundred properties have benefitted from hotel tax relief and ten properties took advantage of duty exemption for sargassum management equipment. The B.T.I.A. is a member of the Sargassum Task Force. Executive Director John Burgos says that while properties have gotten help, they are still working on a national plan to try and find the best solution to this growing problem and that they are hoping for even more government support.

 

John Burgos

John Burgos, Member, Sargassum Task Force

“We have been working diligently as one of the leading members of the Sargassum Task Force. What we saw in October, November, December and January, the Government awarded certain support and initiatives to the private sector. There were some tax exemptions, for the hotel tax exemptions so that those taxes could be used for the removal and clean-up of beaches. There was also the opportunity for you, if you were thinking a little bigger and you recognize it as a long term investment, if you are going to bring in any equipment that will be used specifically for sargassum removal then you were gonna be given duty exemption. This program was made available to four key destinations with coastal areas; San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Hopkins and Placencia. We are still trying to develop a national plan right now and Government has said it is willing to invest some funding, once we can kind find where they can invest those funds to address the sargassum issue. What we have been finding out is that it is not a one solution fits all. So, that is where we are right now. We are going to be doing some pilot tests to see what is gonna work and what is not gonna work.   The main thing right now is that we have presented the government, the Ministry of Tourism and the Belize Tourism Board with a white paper stating some of the recommendations that we would like, We want them to expand the tax relief; we want them to expand the duty exemption and we would like for them to secure and provide more financial support for the clean-up campaigns. So, we are waiting for them to give us what that response in the very near future. I know that tomorrow we will be getting some feedback on the white paper.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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