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Mar 12, 2020

Supplementary Allocations and Additional Funding for COVID-19

Dean Barrow

A budget for the upcoming financial year was tabled in the House last week. But government is now looking at international partners for funding to deal with the imminent threat of COVID-19.  But according to the Prime Minister, the government will find ways to source resources given the gravity of the situation.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The original ask from the ministry was for slightly less than a million dollars.  We understand that is as it were, the first tranche.  Whatever it takes within obvious limits, government will find the resources.  We have already explored the possibility of funding assistance from external sources and there is a component within a particular project funded by the World Bank: the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project.  We can trigger that immediately for a million U.S. dollars.  There is also a facility that the World Bank has generally chartered, you don’t access that until you have your first case and even then the concentration is on the poorest of the poor countries, not people that have, not countries that have graduated beyond a certain point.  But while we clearly are going to take all the help we can possibly get, while we are actively going to seek out that help, I am here to reiterate that locally, government will find the resources needed to properly equip the Ministry of Health team and to do whatever is necessary.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“There seems to be a timeline of mass-gathering events ahead of us which would include Easter and the National Agriculture and Trade Show and if we’re forecasting a bit further, the general elections.  Should there be an outbreak of this particular virus in Belize during the next few months, what do we do in terms of addressing these particular gatherings?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“As I said, this was a position I came to after the discussion in Cabinet, from now we ought to be discouraging mass-gathering events, but we’re not imposing any ban.  I’m sure you all listened very carefully to the Director of Health Services, while ultimately it’s a political decision, if you’re going to be guided by the approach the good doctor, as an expert, has set out the time has not yet come for us to in fact officially begin imposing bans.  I understood the doctor to be talking about when you have one case, when you have community cases, a cluster in a particular community, when you have a wider spread.  So there are three stages and it seems to me that we are only in the preliminary stage.”


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