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Apr 27, 2020

PM Weighs in on Livestock Drama

The trade of livestock between Belize and Guatemala has been described as informal, but today Prime Minister Barrow flatly referred to the under-the-table industry as illegal and a business that, for all intents and purposes, can be used for money laundering.  While thousands of heads of cattle remain in the country as a result of the prohibition causing farmers millions in losses, PM Barrow says that Guatemalan authorities have also indicated that they will not be proceeding with the informal trade, but that both governments should meet to formalize a trade agreement that includes cattle and other livestock.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Why do you keep calling it informal?  It wasn‘t informal, it was illegal.  It was illegal and as I tried to explain to the Leader of the Opposition, it‘s illegal with this possible result.  Now that the Guatemalans have said, no don‘t do it, we will in fact get after you, I suppose diplomatically if you do.   We would certainly get after anybody in Guatemala who seeks to continue that trade.  Apart from the fear of a diplomatic incident, there is also, it strikes me, the element of money laundering that would be involved.  We would be enabling money laundering because money laundering is what you obtain from proceeds of a crime and what you then put in your bank account.  And money laundering, you know, is not confined to a particular territorial jurisdiction, that‘s international.  So if we sought to accompany or clear the livestock owners to take the cattle to the border so that the Guatemalans can come and get that cattle, we would be enabling money laundering and we would, ourselves, those who got involved, be possibly guilty of money laundering but you don’t even have to go that far, the Guatemalans have said, sir, we will not continue to turn a blind eye, this trade must not happen.”

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