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Mar 25, 2020

$150 Bi-weekly for Laid-off Tourism Workers

Carla Barnett

Belize’s economic performance in light of the existing crisis is very poor and it will take months for the country to rebound from the doldrums of COVID-19.  Gross domestic product, or GDP, will undoubtedly plummet as a result of the massive economic shock.  Exacerbating an already dismal situation is the fact that many in the tourism industry who are tonight jobless will only be receiving a very small percentage of what they were making during the peak season.  Doctor Carla Barnett informed during this afternoon’s press conference that on average, laid-off employees will only be receiving a hundred and fifty dollars bi-weekly.


Dr. Carla Barnett, Financial Expert

“So that’s in a nutshell where we are.  What does this mean in terms of GDP growth?  We don‘t know yet, we just know that it‘s bad.  We know that it is at least a minus four percent on the GDP; we are talking a decline of about four percent.  It could be as high as ten percent, depending on how long and how deep this goes.  We are talking about four hundred and fifty to five hundred million loss in our foreign exchange earnings.  That‘s the reality and I am putting all these numbers out there because I want people to understand that it is a very difficult situation.  Sometimes I hear people say, why are we worrying about the money?  We need to worry about the people who are going to get sick.  Well we need the money to address the issues across, including first and foremost dealing with the health situation.  So we have to look at how the economy is going to be recovering from this.  Now, let me talk a little bit about how the relief for employees, the people who have lost their jobs, how that is going to work.  Chris and I have come up with a series of recommendations that are intended to ensure that the system is fair, that the system is equitable, that those who need to benefit from it can have quick, easy, convenient access, that those who ought not to benefit cannot get what they are not to get out of it and therefore what we are seeking to do at this stage it looks like it will be a hundred and fifty dollars every two weeks.  It‘s not a lot of money, we‘re not seeking, we cannot replace people‘s incomes but we can help to relieve the stress in terms of meeting basic necessities.”

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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