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Aug 18, 2021

PM on Usher’s Comments and 2006 M.O.U.

Prime Minister John Briceño says Minister of State in the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Area Representative for Port Loyola, Gilroy Usher, called him to clarify certain statements he made on a morning show.  Usher said the stevedores at the Port of Belize Limited did not have the influence to challenge B.S.I.’s move to Big Creek because ‘colored’ and ‘Afro’ people are not organized. According to PM Briceño, Minister Usher did not intend for the stevedores’ current plight to become a racial issue.  He also clarified why cabinet decided to forego the 2006 M.O.U. between G.O.B. and Toledo Enterprises in favor of B.S.I.’s move to the Big Creek Port.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“It is unfortunate, and I want to make it clear, and I find it disgusting when anybody wants to make this a race issue, because it is not a race issue. And I think, Minister Usher called me and said in no way he was making it into a race issue. He was just talking that they need to get organized, like the Mayas and so. And that is fine. There is no problem with that. As a Cabinet, the decision was that this M.O.U. signed in 2006 was unenforceable. You can’t force a private entity to stay with one company because it costs more. You have to give that private entity the freedom to go somewhere else. It is as if they are telling you, you have to go buy at this store where the grocery bag will cost you five hundred when you could go buy it somewhere for a hundred dollars. That is the basic principle that is happening.  Also, we need to take into consideration it is not A.S.R. the transnational company. It is B.S.I. and the sugar cane farmer. Every dollar that is paid to load the sugar, sixty-five cents is being paid by the cane farmers, by five thousand cane farmers. And, the cane farmers are going through even a more difficult situation than the stevedores. And, they need to find how they could do cost saving measures. Now, we do believe as a Government we do have a responsibility to see how we can help the stevedores. And, we are working on that. So we have to find a way. We just can’t disregard them.”

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