On Thursday, Leader of the Opposition [People’s United Party (PUP)] Honorable Johnny Briceño was on a working visit in San Pedro Town. As part of his visit, Briceño addressed the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce (ACCC) at the Blue Water Grill.
According to Briceño, the country is in a recession based on a number of factors. “We did not come to this point solely as a result of the global economic crisis, but […] all factors played a significant role in the erosion of investor confidence in Belize,” stated Briceño. His comments came after Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the nation in his quarterly report that Belize would experience a projected -3% growth; the worst the country has seen since its Independence.
As it relates to the tourism sector, Briceño stated, “an industry that provides one in every four jobs and over 600 million dollars in receipts totaling 25 percent of GDP is also experiencing a significant decline. Arrivals were down by 8.6% from January to July and with August, September and October traditionally being the slowest months in the business then the next report that comes out will definitely be worst.” He explained that what is worse is that “there seems to be no plan to get us out of this mess.”
In addressing the issue of crime in San Pedro, Briceño stated that, “we have to seriously address crime on San Pedro. We need to fight crime and improve public safety. One of the first things we need to analyze is the prime causes of crime which is poverty. This means that we need to invest more of the taxes that San Pedro generates back into the island to address the issue of poverty and crime.”
While Briceño pledged his support to the Chamber, he ended by calling on the members of the Chamber to join those who believe in the potential of Belize and play an active role in the meaningful development of Belize.