While the P.M. had to respond to many burning issues, his quarterly opened with news about the economy. The Statistical Institute of Belize is still preparing the official data but the P.M. gave an outline of the state of major industries. The oil industry is pumping more barrels of oil and preparing for oil well number five at Never Delay. The P.M. noted that loans from CABEI for four point eight million U.S. for the Jalacte Road will create more jobs. And during the last quarter a major worry was the state of the sugar industry which suffered a setback with malfunctioning turbines. Well, the PM reported that sugar could not be sweeter while there was also an upsurge of overnight tourist arrivals into the country.
“Tourism is clearly on the rebound. Tourism is growing again in Belize and since we have identified tourism as a principal motor of economic development in Belize, this is very welcomed news to Belize. What the records show is that with respect to overnight visitors, there was an increase through the Phillip Goldson International Airport alone; there were two thousand one hundred and twenty-three visitors between January and March of this year as compared to January and March of 2010. Altogether, there is an overall growth in overnight tourism in the first quarter of this year of a little bit in excess of three percent—three percent increase, three percent growth in the tourism overnight sector in the first quarter of this year. The other major pillars of the economy: agriculture; certainly in terms of exports we’re doing well. We’re also about to complete a very successful sugar crop. In recent memory, the ratio, the tones of cane necessary to produce a ton of sugar is just over eight when in previous years it had been over ten approaching eleven; that sort of thing. So despite the hiccups and certainly after the bailout that Central Government provided to BSI, despite the issue with the factory turbines that you know about, this is going to be a successful crop year for the factory and principally for the sugar cane farmers of Belize.”