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Nov 11, 2011

BAHA awaiting decision from EU on List One Status

Belize lost its List One status with the European Union a few days ago for not submitting its required annual residue plan which monitors for chemicals. The fate of two containers of shrimp heading for the EU is not known. The delisting translates to huge financial losses to the aquaculture industry, which has been on a downward slope since 2007. In 2010, six thousand tons of shrimp were exported, compared to the twelve thousand tons that were shipped out in 2005. Exports have been cut in half in five years and the delisting by the EU will result in more pain in the pockets for the shrimp farmers. A meeting was held in Belmopan this morning between the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) and the shrimp farmers. BAHA’s Deputy Director of Food Safety, Dr. Miguel Figueroa, gave News Five the update by phone.

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa, Deputy Director of Food Safety, BAHA

“We’re still temporarily out of the list, we’re delisted. The meeting was just to inform shrimp growers about the situation, what we have done so far to try and see how to remedy the situation.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what has been done so far?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

Miguel Figueroa

“Well, we submitted—we have met with the EU support delegate in Belize. We have met with him on two occasions and we submitted all the relevant documents that they are requesting. Every year we get a reminder when the time comes to submit our annual residue plan and results for the previous year. So we received a reminder on July twenty-fifth. The fourth of August we submitted all the documents. We sent it through email and we sent it through DHL so it was kinda surprising when we got an official notification from the EU on the third of November stating that we had been delisted because we didn’t present the annual plan. So what we did is we gathered all the—because we had all the files saved—so we gathered all the information that they wanted and submitted it to the EU delegate here so that they can forward it to the people up there in Ireland.”

Delahnie Bain

“And this was the—the plans for 2010 and 2011 were missing?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“It was the results for 2010 and the plans for 2011.”

Delahnie Bain

“And is it customary to send it by DHL when we have an embassy in Brussels?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“Yes. We have an embassy in Brussels and we submitted—through them we submitted also the copies.”

Delahnie Bain

“And that was done from August and they still couldn’t find it?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“That was done in August and… yeah, fourth of August we submitted all that information.”

But was there inefficiency and bureaucratic bungling? From what we are told, the documents were submitted in August, which would put it five months past the due date. Dr. Figueroa says that all that’s left to do now is to wait for a decision from the EU, but two containers are already on their way.

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“The actual due date for submission is the thirty-first of March. Every year that’s the deadline, apparently. But since couple of years back we have been waiting—they usually give us a reminder.”

Delahnie Bain

“So, now that the documents have been resubmitted do you have any idea what happens now?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“Waiting. It’s just to wait now and see what transpires. We’re waiting.  We submitted that information and in the last two days we got another email stating that they need some clarification on certain points in that plan. That was submitted yesterday—actually the same day they asked us we submitted it gain. They needed some clarification on the plan and on the results and we did that so now we’re waiting on them to see what’s the status.”

Delahnie Bain

“And in terms of the exports that we’re missing out on right now, what kind of losses are we looking at?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“Apparently there are two containers that left Belize. These containers are from—if I’m not mistaken—Royal Mayan. They sent two shipments so those shipments are on their way.”

Delahnie Bain

“So if those shipments are on the way and we’ve been delisted and those shipments arrive, will they be sent back?”

Via Phone: Dr. Miguel Figueroa

“Well, one they could send it back or two, the buyers can decide to ship it to another country.”

Since Belize has lost its list one status it is now considered a non-cooperating country. As to the ban, it is not known when and if it will be lifted.

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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8 Responses for “BAHA awaiting decision from EU on List One Status”

  1. Lindsay Howard says:

    Just another example of bureaucratic laziness and inefficiency – too bad the bureaucracy doesn’t ever feel the effects of its own actions – the effects are always inflicted on the public.

  2. mustard says:

    yep, they bungle alot of things. lol

  3. konkretum says:

    The ban is a good thing, businesses need to lose money this is the only way that Belize learns from his mistakes.

    This ban should be a wake up call for Belize. As usual nobody is responsible.

    The deadline for BAHA to report ti EU, was end of march, as usual nothing was done,till they got a reminder 25th July and then at the 4th august to report was send over. This is 5 month late and they not even ensured that the report was delivered.

    It was the right decision to ban Belize and the Government should start to take responsibility and replace the BAHA director.

    The shrimp farmers should pres charges against the BAHA, or took the matter in their own hand, as long the government is not reliable at all.

  4. Be Real says:


  5. CEO says:

    Be Real your mentality is exactly why our country is lagging! My friend there are deadlines and timelines terminologies that Belizeans only read about, but they are real and the rest of the world function by them and when you miss a deadline you usually get fired.

    As your name you need to Be Real!

  6. Earl Grey says:

    Somebody… PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THIS HAPPENED????????????????????????????

  7. landi says:

    CEO no need to attack Be Real, He is expressing his opinion and he has a right to do so. If I should become sarcastic like you I would say that comments like yours reduces the will to participate as you are so smart you know every darn thing.

  8. analyst says:

    Another cause for further reduction in GDP. We need to adhere to deadlines like other countries especially since we are small in size and our export trade is miniscule. Compliance is necessary. It’s ironic that BAHA has not adhered to the deadline when their job is ensure compliance and make risk assessments. And what of our embassy in Brussels? Why are we paying over $800,000 in personal emoluments and the necessary checks cannot be made at least?

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