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Jun 2, 2020

Open the P.G.I.A.

The prolonged closure of the P.G.I.A. is resulting in the sustained hemorrhaging of many businesses in the tourism sector, the supply chain, those that are not directly tied to the travel industry.  Across the region, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and Saint Lucia are beginning to opening up their airports in June to allow for international arrivals but Belize still does not have a fixed date for the resumption of operations.  According to Senator Mark Lizarraga, a hard decision will have to be made to proceed with the reopening of the P.G.I.A., despite the risk of COVID-19.


Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“If you look at countries around the world, their ability or their decision to open, in great part, is based on risk-reward and in great part they take foremost into consideration, I believe, the capacity of their healthcare systems.  Perhaps we are being very conservative because we don’t have confidence in our healthcare systems.  I mean, we’ve only had eighteen cases and we’ve had two deaths, but that number is a high percentage.  Now let us say, for example, one percent of those people that get infected will die and the whole of Belize gets COVID-19 at some stage or the other, are we prepared to lose four thousand people?  Are we prepared to lose four hundred people?  That decision, I think, the people will have to make at some stage.  I certainly understand and I empathize with everybody that wanted to see the tourism market open.  My business, I’m sixty percent dependent on tourism and probably more so because of all the people that work, I’m talking directly.  So I understand the people that have been laid off because they have no income.  I understand that fully.  I understand the many business people that risked all that they have, invested in businesses and took that chance to get into that field.”

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