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Dec 18, 2012

BCCI says trade licenses hikes are too much; but the Mayor says it’s the law

Kim Aikman

Business owners across Belize City, including members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have been experiencing, in some cases as much as three hundred percent spike in trade licensing fees since the start of the month.  The Belize City Council, which is responsible for the collection of such revenue, says it has been in dialogue with the Mayor’s Association, as well as central government, to see how best it can implement the increase.  While the mayor’s justification is that the monies will be used to defray operational expenses and other municipal initiatives, the Chamber says that its membership was taken by surprise at the arbitrary increase which took effect in early December. 


Kim Aikman, C.E.O., Belize Chamber of Commerce

“Since the beginning of December we’ve had members calling in to us and notifying us that their trade license fees have gone up exponentially.  We, as a result of the several members that came in, we conducted a poll on all our members in Belize City and we asked four questions.  Did their fee go up?  By how much?  Was their property assessed for value?  Did they do any improvement to property?  The majority of the members didn’t do any improvement, didn’t see anybody come in to assess but their fees have been raised, some of them as much as two hundred and eighty-seven percent.  We then decided that we would compare both cities, Belmopan City and Belize City.  What we found in Belmopan is that there was a different method in assessing the trade license.  They have a range from anywhere between two to twenty-five percent, depending on the type of business that you have. We also did other investigations in different municipalities and found out that they had different levels of taxation.  So for us at the Chamber, we’ve been trying to find out how is the rental value assessed because, as you know, the act states that the trade license fee is a quarter of whatever your rental value is.  So we’ve been trying to find out how is the rental value assessed.”


While the taxes have hit the roof, Mayor Bradley told News Five that the City Council is enforcing the existing law pertaining to trade licenses.  According to the Mayor, business owners must pay twenty-five percent of their annual rental value in trade license but many small and medium level entrepreneurs have come forward to complain that their taxes are higher than what their businesses are currently grossing.  According to Mayor Bradley, his administration is simply trying to align businesses with the dollar amount that they should be paying in taxes.


Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“What we had done is that over the last four months we had looked at both the property, tax rolls and the trade license rolls and we had noticed that there were a lot of disparities between what certain people were paying and others and so what we did is for the trade rolls we just equalized it.  And so, some people will feel, in some cases as you have said, increase but that increase was in no measure to try to increase the revenue of the city council.  It may have that effect but what we try to do is we try to equalize the trade license rolls across the board so that everybody pays nearly as much and it near correlates to what the law says.  I had addressed this at several occasions, talking with the central government, talking with the Belize Mayors Association and the reality of the situation is, and what we really need to be talking about, is the trade license law needs to be amended because the rate in the law is too high.  The rate in the law provides for twenty-five percent of your annual rental value is to be paid as your trade license.  And the situation was that very few persons were actually paying the true rates and what we tried to do to eliminate any kind of unfairness is to apply the law consistently.  So if the law says twenty-five percent that’s what we try to do.  Everybody in the city, I don’t think that it’s a situation where we’re targeting any particular person or we’re doing anything to one particular business or to any group of businesses.  What we’re trying to do is we’ve been trying to mirror as much as possible what the law says we should be charging.”

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 “BCCI says trade licenses hikes are too much; but the Mayor says it’s the law”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    The mayor is a coward and scoundrel hiding behind the cover of the LAW. What good is any law if it doesn’t provide JUSTICE? It is clear that this trade license is a stupid, burdensome manner of multi-taxation of the people for services they already paid for. The businesses and Belizeans constantly pay for goods and services to Customs Department. The City Council receives subventions from Central government from these Customs duties . So why is the mayor taxing Belizeans again? Greed and theft? or just plain stupidity and CORRUPTION? This UDP government is inviting their hastened and forceful demise from political governance.

  2. Rod says:

    This is so that he mayor and his family can continue to go to chetumal and spend your hard earned tax money on more contraband what thieves this whole gov. Makes me want to vomit. Every one in this gov. The thief .Robin Hood in reverse the rich the thief from the po

  3. Rod says:

    Why is this mayor not in jail for contraband why why does his mean their are two separate laws in Belize one for regular belizeans and one for people in gov. This mayor and his family were caught red handed with contraband and none of them have even been charged much less put in jail why why belizeans why is this mayor and his family not in jail what a corrupt pm and gov. Every aspect of life in Belize is in the dirt box wake up belizeans unu the sleep with unu eye open march march pa dis pathetic and corrupt gov.

  4. Asshole Bradley says:

    The Chamber of Commerce should advise its members not to pay anything…..until the Mayor re-assesses the trade license situation.

  5. Jan says:

    Yes its the law but why he cant buy at the city for his Christmas dinner aha he hurry ran to free zone to buy his beer. What kind of example is this. Only in Belize.

  6. Storm says:

    The Mayor loves to spend, so he needs a bigger cookie jar. How much is sticking to his fingers is anybody’s guess right now.

    Since everyone was surprised about these fees, I’m curious whether any legal, public process was followed to triple them? Or has Mayor simply become a little Nero?

  7. Belizean Pride says:

    WHAT THE WHOLE CITY SHOULD DO IS don’t pay tax FOR THIS MONTH OF DECEMBER AND SEE WHAT THE COUNCIL GONNA DO, CAN’T CARRY EVERY ONE DA JAIL. This is ridiculous after people work hard for the income they have to pay gst, income tax, and high rate in trade license, workers, rent, light bill, phone bill, water and other like security, where in the hell will we prosper if it’s more expense than gain. Where going through hard time and on top of it he goes to buy where it’s cheap and commits contraband yet no accountability for his acts.
    over all you did some good deeds but you’re screwing up somewhere else mayor. open your eyes the more business the more money unless you want business to close so little income will be for the town council after this crap you’re doing.

  8. Whappy says:

    How else do you people propose that they get more revenues to pay for this Municipal Bond? of course, milk the people more. We are already at probably 30% unemployment in this county or more, so there’s pretty much not much more options. SSB has to get repaid as most of their monies comes from payroll taxes when people are gainfully employed. We are ALL on the hook for everything our government does or fails to do. Including City Council.

  9. Belizean says:

    The proof is in the details. He said it him self. The law is too high. That why previous council use discrrestion and place the tax at it peak. The mayor is just trying to make more money to ensure that the council and make all it commitments and still be corrupt as usaul. His proposition is that the people lobby the government to change the law, thus making him look as Thu he is just a good guy and will charge according to what the law say. He really think he is a geniuses… Becarefull of this guy belizean he has a strong ambition and a tricky look in his eye……

  10. Corruption says:

    EXTORTION, that is what it is, put lawyers in charge and that is what you get, they rob you legally. check the list for trade license and property tax on the city council website. of all the professional the lawyers make by far the most money and they pay the leadt on these taxes. these people have no business sense, they themselves were contrabanding the beer fot their chiristmas party, what you think the business will do with taxes, pass it on to the consumers in the price of their goods, so higher cost of doing business means higher prices, means less copetitive with Chetumal. so more business will close down and the mayor in the end will receive less taxes it is not sustainable, our economy does not operate in a vacumn. only lawyers are making crazy money in Belize and they have no idea of economics so we are screwd.

  11. reat says:

    what does trade license have to do with a business location that you are paying rent for ????????????????. get rid of this mayor. business people unite and take him to court.

  12. Eye in the Sky says:

    The government of Belize is run by losers who know nothing about business.

  13. Bear says:

    If the law needs to be amended because it is too high, THEN AMEND IT!

    What a foolish thing for the Mayor to say, as if he is helpless, his hands are tied.

    And if you want to equalize the taxes, equalize them LOWER, not higher.

    The whole process just demonstrates that Citco and Mayor Bradley are arbitrary and capricious in how they apply the law.

  14. Jones says:

    The minute you enforce the law, everyone in Belize bawling.

    And all they know to say is ‘corrupt this and corrupt that’

    I see Mayor Bradley as being the first really competent mayor Belize City has had for some years, so stop telling the man he corrupt.

    He’s done more in a couple of months than other mayor did in their entire term.

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