Belize Rural South Area Representative supports 2021-2022 budget: what's happening in BRS

On the last day of the debate on the proposed 2021-2022 $1.03 billion national budget by members of the House of Representatives on Friday, April 23rd, Belize Rural South (BRS) area representative the Honourable Andre Perez stood up to support it. In his presentation, he discussed how the budget will assist his Ministry of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and what is ahead for BRS, including Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The minister took the opportunity to speak about the community task force formed recently in San Pedro involving several government departments and members of the private sector. This critical step took place at a community forum in San Pedro Town to discuss the challenges of COVID-19 and prepare for the full re-opening of the tourism industry. The force will be holding its first meeting on May 4th to discuss how to move forward. The creation of this group emphasizes the importance of working together, something San Pedro is known for doing.

On behalf of his Ministry, Perez said they recognized the need to make fiscal adjustments as there is a decrease in the financial resources available to carry out their operations and programs. "We know that it will be imperative on our part to be innovative in seeking resources through available external sources," said Perez. He said that the Blue Economy goal is to increase the Gross Domestic Product by taking advantage of the aquatic resources and spaces to generate economic activities in an environmentally friendly manner. Perez added that his Ministry must be recognized as a vital drive to recover the Belizean Economy. "Our fishing industry continues to contribute significantly to the Belizean economy through export earnings and employment," he pointed out. According to him, the value of the fishing export in 2020 was estimated at BZ$43.5 million. The fishing sector reportedly provided direct employment to 3,188 licensed fishers, thus the importance of this sector within the Ministry of the Blue Economy. Perez said that the budget through the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute would help in developing a five-year Blue Economy strategy and plan to boost productivity through a maritime sectoral plan. "This will be the blue bridge for the development of the management of our aquatic resources," said Perez.

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