BELMOPAN, Tues. Oct. 19, 2021– Cabinet met on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, and one of the foremost topics discussed was the progress the country has made in its vaccination efforts. Cabinet was informed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness that Belize has now become the second most vaccinated country in the Caribbean — with 47.37% of the population (203,819 persons) having received at least a single dose of one of the four vaccines being administered in the country. Roughly 165,542 persons, or 37.4% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
According to a Cabinet brief issued after the meeting, the Cabinet was further informed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness that Belize has more than 245,000 vaccines in stock — enough to continue vaccinating Belizeans at a steady rate. The ministry indicated that a total of 29,508 Pfizer vaccines, 90,800 AstraZeneca vaccines, and 114,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently available.
Additionally, at the Cabinet meeting, Cabinet approved the Ministry of Health and Wellness’s proposal for an amendment of the Public Health Act to allow for both a Director of Public Health and Wellness and a Director of Hospital Services at the ministry. The Cabinet also gave the go-ahead, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health and Wellness, for a representative of the KHMH Workers Union to be added to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Board of Governors.
The Cabinet also inched Belize closer to finalizing the cancellation of the $1.1 billion-plus Superbond. In satisfying all relevant provisions, Belize will be able to enter the Blue Bond loan agreement, which would facilitate payment of the Superbonds at a discounted 55 cents-on-the dollar rate. Those provisions included the passing of the necessary National Assembly resolutions and the Blue Bond Loan Bill.
The Cabinet also agreed to introduce legislation that will bolster the juvenile justice system. This new legislation will remove status offenses through a repeal of the Certified Institutions Bill, as well as amendments to the Families and Children‘s Bill, and the Juvenile Offenders Bill. These amendments will also result in fuller compliance with the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It will transform Belize’s juvenile justice system from one that criminalizes children for status offenses to one that recognizes the unique vulnerabilities of children and provides them with the requisite protection, services, and care.