Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2021. 9:09 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize’s Prime Minister John Briceño said Belize Belize’s economy is on the rebound with agriculture and tourism leading the way.
“We’re doing better than the IMF predicted, better than anybody predicted,” said Prime Minister John Briceño on Love FM’s Morning Show on Wednesday.
“We inherited an economy that was in a mess,” Briceño said.
“We inherited a country that had close to 30% unemployment and probably another 20% underemployment. We inherited an economy that contracted by 14%. We had a government that was burning $1,000,000 a day, more than what we were earning,” said Briceño hitting at the past government.
But now, the tide is turning said the Prime Minister.
“We’re starting to see signs that the economy is picking up. I believe that the Statistical Institute of Belize is going to make their announcement either at the end of this week or early next week and we will show how the economy is bouncing back much quicker than what anybody expected, much quicker than what the IMF predicted.”
Briceño said agriculture has been instrumental in turning things around praising Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai for his tireless work.
“When we look at agriculture, Minister Mai has been doing an exceedingly good job. He has pushed agriculture in every aspect,” Briceño said.
“This year our vegetable farmers had the best season they’ve ever had simply because we said we’re going to eat what we grow and we’re going to grow what we need. So, when we have tomatoes, no tomatoes are being imported. Our cattle farmers managed to export a record number of cattle into Guatemala and now we’re over into Mexico.”
The Prime Minister said that Guatemala is buying pork meat, chickens, and eggs from Belize.
“Pretty much everything we can produce, they’ve been buying. And we’ve been doing the same thing with Guatemala.”
Prime Minister Briceño said that now Belize is exporting chicken to the Caribbean but we’re still fighting for them to be able to buy our sugar.
“CARICOM is supposed to buy all our sugar but because of the games that have been played over the years, they import sugar from elsewhere without paying the high tariffs that they should be paying,” he said.
Prime Minister Briceño said that since tourism is also bouncing back, his government is positive that Belize is going to get out of this problem through our economy.
“We have to grow the economy, we have to create jobs, we have to create opportunities. Tourism. Look at tourism,” he said.
“As it is right now, tourism is between 85 and 90% of where we were in 2019, and the projections are that if we continue how we’re going we would be at about 115% by the end of this year, over 2019.”
He then praised Tourism Minister Anthony Mahler and his team.
“Anthony and his team have done an excellent job. I mean they have revamped the BTB (Belize Tourism Board), ensured that BTB spends money on projects and programs and not on themselves.”
He said they are talking to the different airlines getting more of them to fly to Belize and those who already do to increase their flights.
He referred specifically to Alaska Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, American, Delta, Southwest, not to mention United.
Then, he made reference to the call centers.
“The BPOs, the call centers, they have been growing exponentially under the PUP. We came in to work, not to complain, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re starting to see the results,” Prime Minister Briceño bragged.
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