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Sep 17, 2020

Cross-Border Trade and Activities Happening in the South

Wil Maheia

We’ll have more from the B.P.P. later in the newscast, but Maheia also spoke on the low number of COVID-19 cases in the Toledo District, where there are nine positive persons.  While that low number is good news for the district, there is still concern about cross border activities in light of COVID-19 restrictions.   Maheia says that locals in border villages are still moving across the border to go into Guatemala for a number of reasons, including trade.

 

Wil Maheia, Deputy Leader, B.P.P.

“There has to be activities happening between the borders. You have like in Jalacte, San Vicente, Ottoxa, Dolores, Poite – all those people have Guatemalan cell phone. The government has done nothing to try and put communications with those people. So you have like over one hundred cell-phones in those villages. They charge their cell phones every day and they have credits – where is the credit coming from? There is not a Tigo or Guatemalan cell phone office on the Belize side, so they have to go on the other side.  You can’t tell people today that they can’t use your phone and they have an active phone. You have the people of these villages – they are growing their rice, corn, beans, cacao, pepitos and Marketing Board is nowhere to be seen to buy these people’s things.  The cattle is still going across the border. If the government was serious, they would set up buying centers in these villages so that they could sell their things to Belize. Why is it that these people will take a bus on bad roads for an hour or two to Punta Gorda when they could just walk across the border fifteen minutes away and sell their things. They are humans and if we are not doing anything to facilitate they will do what they have to survive.   You go through these Maya villages and everybody is wearing their masks so they are very conscious of what could happen. So, wearing masks is really helpful. I was at the checkpoint the other day and the guy told me that the CEO told him that he has to buy his own hand sanitizer. He can’t go and patrol the border because he has the oldest vehicle in the fleet and with the worse tyres. So, he sits there without patrolling. And you still have two or three buses that are making daily trips from the border to the Stann Creek district and who are those buses carrying? So, I think that for right now the people are doing their part by wearing their mask and God is with us.”


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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