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National Unity in fighting Coronavirus

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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020. 9:09 am CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Delroy Cuthkelvin: With this global crisis dubbed COVID-19 (A.K.A Coronavirus) testing the resolve of the most developed nations, and its imminent arrival here posing a daunting threat to a developing country like Belize, it goes without saying that effectively addressing it calls for national unity and resolve at every level.

Answering that call today was Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow who held a nationally broadcast press conference this afternoon with the Ministry of Health. Having outlined a comprehensive national strategy, the Prime Minister soberly but confidently remarked, “I want to close on a note of re-assurance. I want to ask everybody to remain calm. I wish not to be facile, not to be simplistic, because I cannot underestimate the looming danger. But neither can I sell short our ability to get through this. At a time such as now, Government is called upon to be the nation’s guardian, and each of us is called upon to be the other’s keeper. It is together, therefore, that we face this crisis; it is together that we will address this crisis; and it is together that we will overcome this crisis. Belize will emerge; Belize will rebound. God bless Belize.”

Sensing the existential nature of the threat and the need for national unity, Prime Minister Barrow had earlier invited Opposition Leader Honorable John Briceno to co-chair a high-level group to guide the national response, something the Prime Minister indicated at his press conference. And in that same spirit, Opposition Leader John Briceno later issued a statement indicating he had fully accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation. Briceno’s statement reads as follows:

“I have accepted the invitation by the Prime Minister to co-chair the high-level working group in good faith. We are undoubtedly facing a national crisis, not just a health crisis, but an economic crisis, a social crisis, a crisis of the people. We stand always prepared to work in service of and act in the best interest of the Belizean people. I look forward to a constructive process in which our ideas, plans and proposals to manage this impending crisis will be fully engaged and reserve our right to raise issue with any instance where the people’s interest is not duly served.”

This kind of bi-partisan commitment bodes well for the outcome of our national strategy to address this global crisis, and it is fully in line with Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow’s remarks earlier today at his Press Conference: “It is together, therefore, that we face this crisis; it is together that we will address this crisis; and it is together that we will overcome this crisis.”

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