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Apr 14, 2020

NAVCO Demands Village Councils Be Included in COVID-19 Food Distribution

The National Association of Village Councils is demanding that village councils be included in the distribution of food under the COVID-19 assistance programmes. Sabido says that villages and communities are clamouring for help that is taking too long to reach them. He says that he and other chairpersons have received an overwhelming number of calls from persons living in the rural areas who have not been able to get help. Today he says that the government’s efforts lack organization and calls for the inclusion of village councils to get things moving.  Over the weekend, NAVCO issued a press release and addressed a letter to C.E.O. of Human Development Judith Alpuche, to which she hasn’t yet responded. He noted that his letter was acknowledged by Minister Carla Barnett and another representative of the Ministry of Local Government.

 

On the Phone: Javier Sabido, President, NAVCO

“As you know rural communities, we make up more than fifty percent of the population of this country and we are around two hundred villages and communities in Belize. We are the majority and I believe we need to be heard and be respected, as well. That is why we at NAVCO demand that chairpersons countrywide be taken into consideration by being part of the team when providing food assistance rural communities.  Chairpersons were elected by the majority of the people in their villages and communities. Secondly, the chairpersons in the communities know the people living there and thirdly they know the persons who really need it, especially the vulnerable and elderly persons. So, that is why we are demanding that our chairpersons be taking into consideration when providing food assistance for any government department, whether it is through NEMO, Human Development or Ministry of Health, or whosoever – that our chairpersons be contacted.   We don’t agree on the process that they go about getting this food assistance. We are facing a pandemic; a national crisis. We cannot put our people in the process of getting IDs, number of IDS, where they work and this and that. Most of our people need this assistance. Corozal Freezone shut down almost a month ago; the tourism sector closed about a month ago also. We at NAVCO demand this process be as fast as possible. Government needs to get its act together and get more organized. I called human development and up to day they haven’t started with the distribution of food assistance; this is really ridiculous. We are in a national crisis.”

 

Here at News Five, we have tried reaching Alpuche over a week and a half ago to get an update on how the food assistance, pantry and boost programmes are working during this time but our requests for interviews have gone unanswered. We reached out again today but we still haven’t heard back. 


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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