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Prime Minister ‘dismayed’ by opposition to lengthy SOE extension but contemplates relaxation

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dean barrow pm of belize

Posted: Monday, April 27, 2020. 7:36 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister Dean Barrow admitted to being a ‘a little bit dismayed’ by the actions of Opposition representatives Cordel Hyde and Julius Espat today despite winning a 60-day extension of the current state of emergency.

Nonetheless, he concedes that there is a coming degree of relaxation of regulations – approved by the National COVID-19 Oversight Committee, supported by the National Task Force which will review the planned regulations with that view.

The Committee, Barrow notes, has effectively taken over the duties of Cabinet. It next meets Wednesday after the Senate’s meeting on Tuesday.

Like many national leaders, Barrow has the final decision on when and how to reopen the economy. Belize faces a fifty percent cut in recurrent revenue, of some $400 million, and taxes are not being collected including the General Sales Tax and taxes owed to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

In the case of the latter, it was originally left off the list of Government departments listed in Schedule 2 to Statutory Instrument 55 as not ‘an essential service.’ But it has now been added and the office, which was closed today, is expected to reopen as early as Tuesday.

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