But there will have to be many more compromises. That's according to the Belize Chamber of Commerce which today called a press conference to warn against the push and pull between G.O.B and the unions that threatens to capsize an economy that's already listing in deep waters.

The interview followed a non-comital press release from the Chamber that urged both sides to "urgently settle outstanding issues." Here's just a portion of the stark warning from chamber president Marissa Longsworth - which she shared in a Zoom conference.

Marissa Longsworth - President, BCC
"One of the major concerns that we have at this point of time with the actions that we're seeing occurring both from the end with the unions and from the end with the government is that we are coming to an unavoidable or seemingly unavoidable impasse which can be very damaging for the country, it can be damaging as we look at matters to do with how we fast track economic recovery and for the business community, that is really the biggest concern. We understand that parties will have differences and when I say parties, I mean different entities will always have differences but the ability to negotiate and come to peaceful resolution so that we are all in it together as we move forward is just as important in trying to ensure that whatever path is taken has all stakeholders putting in 100% of their own effort and energy to see common goals come to reality. The conclusion of the press release in its last sentence was that the BCCI remains ready and willing to assist in the mediation of such settlement. We see it as important for there to be possibly some other perspective inserted into the situation at this point in time. Obviously, the negotiations instead of coming closer to a meeting point somewhere in the middle are actually going in the opposite direction to extreme tangents of opposing views. The problem with that is that if we can move ahead with such strong opposing views the ability for the government to move confidently without there being protests or barriers to actually bringing the plans to light or bringing developments out the way that they intend for it be. Unless there is some amount of confidence and trust in that relationship what's going to end up happening is that we will face consistent obstacles along the way as it relates to how the actions for ultimately for the betterment of the country are received by all the stakeholders. And it's for that reason that having seeing and watched and listen and observe for quite a while, that the negotiations are not coming to a consensus point. It became the chamber's perspective that we have to take a very proactive approach in saying okay, maybe there is a need for objective, unbiased person or entity to be a part of the negotiation process to get to the point of some amount of settlement."

BNTU President Says It's A Lose/Lose With Wage Cuts

We asked Elena Smith about the release from the BCCI and she said that either way the economy will be affected whether it's through the protests or the salary cuts. But she did agree that the two parties need to come back to the table. She is hoping that the government will agree to continue negotiations in good faith and to seriously consider the unions' recommendations. She also hopes that GOB would be transparent with its own proposals.

Elena Smith - President, BNTU
"It will continue to hurt the economy because if they are insisting on cutting salaries the way they are then this will continue to impact our economy. You cannot expect to fix something over night that took so many years to get to this point. It's unfair to have the Belizean people believe that with all of the complaints that they have made when they were opposition, of all the things they cried about because things need to be different, now you expect that by cutting my salary you are going to be helping the economy? You are going to be making it worse, so it simply means that more of us will now fall into the poverty category now. I agree with BCCI in terms it's not going to be good for the economy but at the same time you cannot expect that the workers will just give up and say because it is not good for the economy I will let you do me what you want to do to me, so I will let you give me a longer bukut because it's not good for the economy, that's not how it works. We are equal partners and as such, since they are saying we have been having good faith discussions, then come back to the table and let us finalize these matters, put everything in writing, make them clear that everybody can have a full understanding of what it is that you are offering, not just telling me that the bank will have 5 million dollars but give me those details. You are telling me that my teachers will get data package through BTL that is going to be good for them, tell me what you as the government are offering to me."

Unions Will Hold Strong

The NTUCB President, Luke Martinez, also weighed in on the release. He agreed that the economy is suffering but said it will continue to suffer once corruption is not dealt with. He also insisted that the unions will hold their positions against the salary cuts until they reach a solution suitable for both parties.

Luke Martinez - President, NTUCB
"It's a pity the government is failing to realize that the longer we stay in this deadlock, it is going to have an effect on the economy. If we decide that we are going to shut down this country, it is going to cost the government more than the 80 million dollars that they are trying to get from us, so we need to defend, we need to defend our salary and ensure to continue to insist on the government. Let's take a look on our plackets, we're insisting to stop corruption. When we stop corruption and we're serious about stopping corruption, then we don't need to be at this point. I agree with BCCI that we must go to the table and ensure to implement measures that will benefit everybody."

Channel 7