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Jul 5, 2021

Tracy Panton Calls For Enforcement of Fishing Laws

Tracy Panton

About two weeks ago we showed you a group of angry fisherfolk who want G.O.B. to repeal Statutory Instrument fifty-seven of 2021 which was gazetted back in May.  According to the fishermen, they were only recently made aware that the Minister of Blue Economy Andre Perez signed the new S.I. which amended the Fisheries Regulations to reverse the ban on permanent residents to obtain commercial fishing licenses.  With the adjustments to the Act, the permanent residency card is now accepted as form of I.D. for the application process.  Going forward, the regulations state that license will not be granted to an applicant unless the applicant is a Belizean by birth or naturalization or a permanent resident.  During Friday’s House Meeting, Area Representative for the Albert Division Tracy Panton made an appeal on behalf of the local fisherfolk to which Minister Perez responded.


Tracy Panton, Area Rep., Albert Division

“As you know, in the Albert Constituency we have three clusters of fisherfolk; smaller communities – we have fisherfolk from the Yabra community; Albert Street and Regent Street West just a little above Mike’s club. And while I fully recognize that we can’t infringe on the rights of Belizean nationals and permanent residents, their rights to work in the fishing industry, when the SI 57 of 2021 was enacted back in May, the fisherfolk advised that there was no consultation and no advising of them that this S.I would be brought into force. They also recognize, because we have had this conversation that Belizeans have the right to work, but the reason permanent residents were excluded previously was because there was a great deal of illegal fishing being done by neighboring countries of Honduras and Guatemala, in particular, so the appeal member of Rural South is for greater enforcement and surveillance be done in terms of who is fishing in our Belizean waters. They have described to me that some key species are already endangered, the Nassau Grouper, for example was pointed out. So, that is my appeal on their behalf.”


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy

“We have a responsibility to provide equal rights to those who are living here legally and I think the fallacy that you are coming by pitching this presentation you made just now is that we are confusing giving license to permanent residents who have Belizean families; Belizean wives, husband, children, confusing it or mixing it up with illegal fishing. This is not to be confused, let’s make that clear. Illegal fishing is occurring that is true more so in the southern areas by Central Americans. But we have to make it absolutely clear that we must not confuse; as per records of the fisheries department, there was no kind of consultation as well and because of a rush and mad dash for political expediency you went ahead and declared it illegal – only Belizeans – because there was a mad rush as well to pass political legislation for the illegal gill net ban which is a good thing but there was no consultation but with this S.I we are just fixing things and making things right. For the record, at the fisheries department there were only forty registered fisherfolk who had permanent residency.”

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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