The Minister of Culture spoke about the state of affairs for NICH â€" and to put it plainly, they're broke. According to Fonseca, NICH has not been able to generate any sort of revenue and their staff has been on indefinite pay cut. These dire conditions have led once dedicated staff to walk off the job.

Hon. Francis Fonseca - Minister of Education & Culture
"NICH is absolutely out of any source of revenues, I think you know under NICH's umbrella, we have 14 archaeological parks, we have the Houses of Culture, we have the Museum of Belize, the Government House, the Goldson House in Belmopan, all of those come under the umbrella of NICH. Before COVID we had about 225 employees now we're down to about 168, this is even before I became the minister. The staff at NICH has been on 50% pay since March of last year. The rangers who are on the frontline protecting our national assets at the parks, they are on 80% pay. Very difficult and challenging situation. No revenue."

Jules Vasquez
"Up to recently people have been laid off from NICH. Retrenchment is a UDP word, minister."

Hon. Francis Fonseca
"It's not retrenchment, we just do not have the revenues so many cases, Jules, we talk to people and we say listen, you'll have to continue with 50% pay and some people choose to walk away and say we'll try our luck somewhere else. So, it's a combination of those things, but NICH has no revenues."

NICH has also laid off staff, with a most recent round of layoffs last week. The original compliment of over 200 staff is now down to just over 150.

Channel 7