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Aug 3, 2020

Legislations Passed In Preparation for Reopening of P.G.I.A.

Even as there is a spike in the number of cases, government is preparing for the reopening of the Philip Goldson International Airport on August fifteenth and the soft reopening of the tourism industry to international tourists. Today, four bills were introduced and passed in one sitting.  The Electronic Transactions Amendment seeks to promote the development of the legal and business infrastructure necessary to implement secure electronic commerce, while the Immigration Amendment seeks to expand the duties of immigrants entering Belize. There is also the Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Amendment, which empowers the minister to make regulations in the interest of public safety, public order, and public health if there is a threat or outbreak of an infectious disease. The Quarantine Amendment authorizes the minister to declare the whole or any part of Belize to be an area inflicted by, or under the threat of an infectious disease. These pieces of legislation were designed to better protect the public and prevent an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus after the airport reopens. The Opposition People’s United Party, however, believes that the government missed crucial factors. 


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores

“I believe Madam Speaker this piece of legislation falls short in terms of setting out the procedure of how it is that our immigration department will deal with a foreigner once he has landed because it says here that he will be refused leave to land but as you know in a very practical sense the plane would have already landed in Belize, the individual would have presented themselves at the immigration front desk and it would be until that point that they inform that they do not want to take the medical test. And so the question arises Madam Speaker what happens then?”


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It is therefore simple and facile on his part to suggest that the immigration amendment doesn’t go far enough and that it displays some huge omissions because there are no provisions made for what happens in the event that somebody is refused permission to enter. First of all you most know that is not something that is unusual you know. Minister will tell you immigration officers refuse people to enter all the time. You are exposed, your nakedness. Your slip is showing.”


Kareem Musa

“And I don’t believe that w should look at these three pieces of legislation in isolation. As I said it seems inevitable even with all that is going on around us that we have made up our minds hell or high water that we are going to open the airport even though in the great United States of America they have seen the highest number of cases ever and it only keeps climbing by the day. Why is it Madam Speaker at other countries in Europe for instance? We were told that there was going to be a geo-bracelet would go on your hand and they will track you no matter what part of the country you are in. I’ve been told that that geo-bracelet is still not in country and won’t be here until the end of September. Are we ready?”


John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“Why are we concentrating only in brining Americans into the country when right now we have a massive problem with Covid-19 in the United States? We have countries like the Bahamans, I think even Barbados that have closed their doors from allowing American tourists from coming to their country. We should be looking at other areas; other places bring people from Canada, from Europe. We have been talking about that my good  friend from San Pedro but again they want the easy way out.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Both he and the leader of the Opposition suggest there is a lack of preparation because the bills that we are looking to pass don’t go far enough. You look at the Quarantine Act for example. That tells you what will happen to people who refuse to comply with the lawful orders given to the by authorities. It makes provisions for what you do for them. It makes provisions to which quarantine place you are going to put them. So read the thing. You see, he is playing the fool. Again he is being dishonest.”

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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