Small tourism stakeholders who need financial assistance to get back on their feet and have complained it is taking too long to receive the help from the Ministry of Tourism. While some of the funds have been disbursed, many more applicants are still waiting. Minister of Tourism Anthony Mahler gave an update on that initiative following Monday's launching of the WIT Turneffe project. He says there is a vetting process that must be followed for funds to be released. He said those who have been waiting should receive their funds next month.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism, Diaspora Relations

"In March or so, I had a conversation with one group of people outside of the Tourist Village and I told them that we're working on a grants program - a matching grants program through the IDB - the Sustainable Tourism Project. That's one of the final components of the project. This process through the IBD has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated. As you know, the IDB process can be tedious, so from discussions with them and the industry, I said okay I would go back to the Board and try to get some additional funding to kinda provide a bridge financing until the IDB money is ready. I did so; I got it approved. IT has to go through a process for you to access it. It's not a free-for-all like the past administration did where Mickey Mouse and Minney Mouse got grants. Not under my watch! It has to go through a process. And that's what we're doing right now until September when the IDB monies should be available. It's not a free-for-all. And it's not just for people outside of the Tourist Village. It's for the entire country. It's a Tourism Matching Grants Program, and so if you're a hair braider or a small resort owner down in Hopkins (Village) you can access the program."

Channel 5