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Sep 16, 2022

Chamber of Commerce & Industry Explains Concerns About One-off Holiday

The business community remains optimistic that a recent request made to the Ministry of Labor regarding Monday’s public and bank holiday, will be resolved amicably. On Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Valentino Shal responded to a letter written by the President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry in which concerns were raised in respect of wages to be paid to employees on September nineteenth. That date, as many are aware, has been designated as a one-off holiday in observance of the Queen’s funeral. While the chamber acknowledges the significance of that day across the Commonwealth, it is worried that business owners will find themselves in a financial bind where the payment of time and a half is concerned. In the C.E.O.’s letter, it was stated that there was not sufficient time for consultations to be held with Cabinet and the Labor Advisory Board to discuss the request made by B.C.C.I.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Marcello Blake, President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Marcello Blake

Marcello Blake, President, B.C.C.I.

“Our request really is one, we acknowledge that in fact the day being observed on Monday is one that the Chamber can support and does support, but we look at it that that does come with a cost because it’s now a holiday, a national holiday.  And so, if you look at your Labor Act, there are sections that speak to national holidays and what must be paid to an employee.  So automatically, time and a half comes into effect.  What we’ve done is ask that the ministry considers the waiver of that time and a half because it is allowed under the act, Section 119 to allow for the exempt to be done by the minister and allow for that day to be paid at regular rate.”


Isani Cayetano

“There was a response from the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Labor, nonetheless. How satisfied are you guys, if any at all, with the response given, I guess with respect to the timeliness of this request?”


Marcello Blake

“I don’t think there was sufficient time given for us to lobby as actively as we wanted to, but what we did is that we have written the letter and the response isn’t what we would want. It’s definitely not favorable for the business community and we continue to advocate through different corridors to see if we could get a positive resolution for the business community.”

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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