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Dec 24, 2010

Government Embargo against Channel 5 to be lifted

Both this station and government have agreed on a way forward to resolve a two week impasse. On December seventh, the government imposed a ban preventing ministers and more than twelve thousand government employees from giving interviews to this station. On the local scene, it was met with disapproval by many quarters including the political parties, non-governmental organizations and ordinary Belizeans. The censorship was also opposed by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union and international groups such as the Committee for the Protection of Journalists and The Heritage Foundation. But Channel Five and the government each held their positions until today when Channel Five’s CEO, Amalia Mai and Prime Minister Dean Barrow sat down and discussed a way out. The discussions were frank and cordial and a number of issues were cleared up. Following the discussions, the Prime Minister said he will recommend that normal relations be resumed with this media house.

Dean Barrow

“It was a very useful, very constructive, very cordial meeting. I have agreed on the basis of the discussion we had and on the basis of the CEO Mai’s assurances to me. I have undertaken to, at the first cabinet meeting in the New Year, which takes place on the Tuesday of the first working week, ask cabinet to agree to the resumption of normal relations with Channel Five. I will take the position at that meeting that this should be done. I only don’t say that we can do it immediately because I do have to get the support of cabinet. But you will see from what I’ve said that it was a very, very constructive meeting indeed.”

Jose Sanchez

“Regarding the government program, will it be aired on Channel Five?”

Dean Barrow

dean barrow

“Which government program?”

Jose Sanchez

“The weekly program was mentioned in the previous release?”

Dean Barrow

“Yes, indeed. The CEO has made it clear that that is not a problem.”

Jose Sanchez

“Was there anything that was proven to be wrong within the previous relations?

Dean Barrow

“Well, Miss Mai is, as you know, a very accomplished diplomat and Miss Mai would not in a normal course concede any fault. And I don’t think we want to belabor that particular issue. Let us just say that while we also insisted that we thought, or we saw fault, we have agreed to move on. And there is a commitment on both sides to operate on a basis of mutual respect and on the basis of fair and balance coverage on the part of Channel Five which is indicating that it is not going to do anything to compromise its position that it is a professional operation, a professional outfit that will be guided by a commitment to the canons of the journalism profession. So, I am happy with that and as I said, I am perfect to recommend to cabinet, that we resume normal relations.”

Jose Sanchez

“When resumed, should we maybe see more of you perhaps even on the Five Morning Show?”

Dean Barrow

“Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. Clearly as we go along, I’m sure Miss Mai will be looking to see that I keep my word and I will be looking to see that she keeps her word. But I feel that we’ve both spoken and acted in good faith at this meeting. So, nothing is ever completely trouble free, nothing is ever without differences of opinions; nothing is ever without different points. But I believe that we will move forward ultimately on this basis of mutual respect.”

All the told, the PM gave his assurances that he will get the support of Cabinet to lift the suspension on this station. We’ll have his take on the freedom of the Press in Friday’s newscast.

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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14 Responses for “Government Embargo against Channel 5 to be lifted”

  1. BELIZE GUY says:

    I’m sorry but are we in North Korea or a free and Democratic country called Belize. I forget. This Prime Minister insist on treating his vote into office as an entitlement as opposed to a position to serve his citizens. Our Belizean traits and characteristics say we are passive and will grumble about things we disagree with and thats as far as we will go, we need to grow horns and start demending our rights under this regime. I guarantee they will not enjoy a second term in office..Bullies and Crooks.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    How sweet…. All this love & mutual respect at Christmas time. Jose, sharpen that pitchfork, I’m sorry, just dust off your microphone & keep them on their toes… Merry Christmas.

  3. rootsman says:

    Since when does a dictator needs anyone’s support to help him make a decision? Sure did not seems like the decision to place the embargo on channel 5 was done with cabinet support as abruptly as it was, so why now the need for cabinet support to remove it?

  4. Oscar965 says:

    Barrow and his administration cannot undo what has been DONE. The UDP will in the “history books of Belize” be known as the party who in 2010 tried to stomp down on the “freedom” of the people of this great nation. I think by now, Barrow and his ministers have had time to see the consequences of thier actions. The meeting between Barrow and Mai is the best way to “save face” with not only the Belizean People but the entire world who IS WATCHING!!! The UDP is hoping that the people will soon forget this issue…that you bet on….all in all the pictures show a smilling Barrow and Mai..but if we could peel off those smiles and really see what was behind aye aye aye…

  5. Mary says:

    I totally agree with you rootsman.

  6. true bzean says:

    rootsman stfu, we are all happy that channel 5 will eventually b able to get the news they need to spread.

  7. PELICAN says:

    I just love that picture. Don’t they look sweet??? After all it is Christmas!! Kudos to Dean he is a gentleman, he met with Amalia. Esquivel never did Member how he felt rattled by Amalia!!!

    On a serious note… Glad things worked out. Freedom only means one thing – FREEDOM!!!

  8. rootsman says:

    true bzean, I wish that you would understand that this never should have happened and Mr. Barrow has no right to take such actions against the press, yes we should be happy that channel 5 will hopefully be able to carry on normal relationship with GOB but we cannot just lay down and play dead as if though nothing had happened, if so it is sure to be repeated.

  9. Earl Grey says:


  10. chabelli says:

    poor judgement i am shocked or should i????????????????

  11. check it out says:

    Free Speech is an essential part of democracy.. put back the Billboards now. so we can pay homage to our ROYAL FAAMLY


    It would have been very interesting if one UDP official had gone against Senor IDI AMIN BARROW and gave an interview to Channel 5. We would have been very much entertained to see how that would have played out.

  13. Carlton says:

    Prime Minister Barrow has the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of the government’s relationship with Channel 5. This is not censorship. However , the Prime Minister also realizes the importance of the media in a democracy. A balancing act which the PUP cronies are trying to use for political gains.

  14. EL CHE says:

    The belize government like any other government ar not a private club,though in belize thats how the pup and udp run the government.belizeans need to know everthing government do.every deal they sign,how the tax money is spend,how much tax a belizean pays on a galone of gasoline(no ones know how much tax government charge in a galone of gasoline in belize)how about that for a so called democratic and free country?bu the way this belizean lawyers as politicians run belize,belize will soon be another VENEZUELA.or is it now,but in a minimal start?

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