Last night we told you that US President Donald Trump has determined that Belize, among other countries, will get their "non-humanitarian" and "non-trade" financial aid cut. That's because Belize is among the nations that they've labelled as tier 3, meaning that from the US Secretary of State's perspective, our country, among other nations, is doing the poorest job of trying to combat human trafficking.

That decision was made public yesterday via a memorandum that the President issued to the US Secretary of State. The memorandum reads, quote, "I determine that the United States will not provide non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance to the Governments, until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the Act." End quote.

As we told you, the decision also targets 16 other countries, and the list includes only 3 countries in the America's: Belize, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

This morning, the press caught up with Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse at another event in Orange Walk, and he was asked about this penalty that Belize is now facing. Here's how that conversation went:

Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture
"The United States is going through their throes of changes with their president. We see that on the television every day. Belize has done what it can do as a nation to try to stem this. I don't know. It is their decision, it on their judgement. From where I sit our forces have been vigilant. We have done a tremendous amount of improvement in immigration. Everybody knows that and so it is unfortunate, but it is what it is. I am not going to ring my hand and say oh my Goodness, We try to do our best in this country. But I want to say that it is all of our responsibility as a nation. I do not know that we deserved to be in that category, bit it what it is."

Reporter
"Do you think this will hurt Belize in any particular way?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture
"Any kind of marking down in any way or so always hurts a nation, but we depend primarily in this country on our agriculture, which is doing rather well. We depend on our tourism and I don't see any dip in that. And our relations with other countries are stable. Belize is a stable country and I think we will continue along those lines."

This evening, the US Embassy in Belmopan sent out a release on the decision of President Trump, and they focused mostly on the temporary waiver that has been given to Belize in this very same memorandum from last night.

Their press release says, quote, "President Trump on November 29 granted a partial waiver to Belize from U.S. foreign assistance restrictions for those countries rated as Tier 3 in the U.S. 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report." End quote

Their referring specifically to the part of the President's memo to the US Secretary of State, which says quote, "I determine that a partial waiver to allow International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) related to FMF with respect to Belize would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States."

That basically means that the US Sanction is bad, but the waiver softens the blow somewhat. The US Embassy Press release stresses, quote, "Five countries, including Belize, received either full or partial waivers. The partial waiver for Belize will facilitate continuation of programming to enhance the ability of the Government of Belize to combat trafficking in persons, interdict illicit narcotics moving through its national waters and crossing its borders, and address other forms of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, thereby reducing threats to the national security interests of the United States."

The Embassy says the U.S. Department of State is reviewing programming in Belize to determine what will be affected by this determination.

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