2019 was a tough year for Belizean small businesses to survive. As small business owners, we have to feed our families with income from the business; hence, we have no choice but to make hard business decisions to be able to pay our recurrent bills, which include utility bills, water, light, rent and labor of employees.
We barely survived in 2019, and now for 2020, January and February, the two toughest months of the year, harder measures had to be put in place. Strategic management had to be exercised, and the only days on which we made a little money were on the 15th and end of month paydays. Both monies for the two pay days were used by my business to pay the light bill, water bill, and rent for the establishment and to feed my family.
On the 21st of March, a week before the end of month sales. I received an order from Government to close my business, along with several others in the country. So, I have to pay the light bill, water bill, rent and salaries, which will not be possible because my business is closed.
Where in God’s name will I get the rent, which is due shortly; and the money to pay my light bill, as well as my salary from which I feed my family? The light bill will still be there, because I have a stock that needs to be cooled; if not, it will perish.
Rent, and payment for electricity and water for the establishment are due now and I have not made enough money to cover the fundamental expenses.
For the light, I understand that the company has to pay for electricity, so that bill must be paid. For the rent, I understand that the Prime Minister has at best said that he will rely on the conscientiousness of the landlords, an idea that I beg to disagree with. The landlord will want to know for how long, which nobody knows.
Of all the cases, many will not get favorable responses from their landlords, and will end up being ejected and their whole life’s work will disappear before their eyes, a most insensitive idea for a solution.
On this premise, my appeal and the appeal of many business owners who pay rent, goes to the Leader of the Opposition, who, based on my understanding of his narrative, spoke of “more help to small business owners.”
I know that as Leader of the Opposition, you have access to lawyers who can structure a more forceful language to landlords so that they become aware that the system (oversight committee) is looking favorably for their cooperation in regards to the rent situation of the small business establishments.
Opposition Party leader, if you can structure that kind of language which will help small business owners who have this same rental problem, I and the hundreds of small business owners will be extremely grateful to you.