BELIZE CITY, Sun. July 5, 2020– Ever since Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) will be open for commercial flights to jumpstart the tourism industry, many Belizeans have taken to social media to object to the opening of the airport.
The objections were made by concerned individuals, however, and none of those objections had come from any organized group until now.
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) has voiced its opposition to the re-opening of the PGIA, especially given the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases that is taking place in the United States, where tens of thousands of persons have been testing positive in over 40 states.
The spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in some governors pushing back reopening plans, and some are even contemplating a second lockdown in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus that has killed over 120,000 Americans.
In a telephone interview this afternoon with the BPP Leader Patrick Rogers, we asked why the BPP is objecting to the reopening of the PGIA on the scheduled date.
Rogers told us that it’s only a few loudmouthed, elitist lobbyists who are clamoring for the reopening of the airport. “The Belize Tourism Board said it themselves, that it’s only about 300 big hotels that will qualify for its new gold standard,” Rogers remarked.
Rogers pointed out that none of the owners of these hotels will put themselves on the frontline.
Rogers said that we should not be discussing a date for opening the airport until we have what’s necessary to raise our level of screening and our level of testing.
“Mek we no di beg Taiwan for money, but for their level of expertise in handing the virus —the way they could have kept their borders open, but not to Chinese, because they know that is where the virus deh. We could open, but not to Americans,” Rogers added.
Rogers accused the Prime Minister and his government of having “tunnel vision.”
“We should be thinking about developing a national plan of survival. We should not even be at the point where we are discussing opening up until we are able to raise our level. And when we do open, we have to set aside countries whose citizens will not be allowed in until their numbers of the virus go down. You have to put restrictions on Mexico, Guatemala and the US, whose numbers are going up right now,” he said.
Rogers said, “I was trying to keep quiet in order to show solidarity, because nobody knows how long this thing will go on.”