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Prime Minister says ‘no’ to Port being taken over by Government, for now

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Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2022. 10:52 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceño said there would need to be a serious discussion about any possibility of the Government of Belize taking over management of the Port of Belize.

The question was brought up in the context of the recently concluded action that cost importers and exporters valuable time in unloading and loading containers with their goods forcing some to eat their losses or divert south to Big Creek.

The case of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) remains a haunting example, Briceño said: “Look at what happened to Belize when we illegally privatized BTL, a company that the former Prime Minister said was worth about $140 million ended up costing us $557 million and interest counting.”

He added that what the Government can do and will, is ensure that the Port is offering the proper services which they agreed to in their contract with the Government.

The $1.5 million compensation to the CWU does not absolve PBL of negotiating a redundancy package with the CWU for stevedores as it relates to the loss of earnings from sugar. It works out to about $1,000 per worker – far less than the thousands in lost wages CWU claims.

Regardless of the issue with the environmental impact assessment that has stalled construction of a cruise port by Waterloo Investments, Briceno said it was time the receivers started investing in the Port and operating it effectively and efficiently.

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