By Benjamin Flowers: Opposition Member Tracy Taegar Panton is questioning the Government of Belize’s level of public consultation on the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill after it was announced that the referendum on the Bill would be “put on pause.”
Prime Minister John Briceno announced this morning that government would hold off on holding the referendum, after a meeting Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Chris Coye recently met with representatives of the banking sector. During that meeting, banking reps raised concerns about the impact that revenue earned from the sale of marijuana could have on corresponding banking relationships, with banks abroad.
Following the announcement, Taegar Panton took to Facebook to raise concerns about the Prime Minister’s explanation for the delay of the referendum.
“It fails me after the government’s ‘extensive’ consultation on this new growth industry that they failed to consult with the Commercial Banks? Without protecting the integrity and viability of our corresponding banking relationships Belize will not be able to import or export goods and services,” Taegar Panton said.
The cost of the referendum, an estimated $5 million, was also cited as a major concern, given the severity of the economic times.