BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 14, 2019– Today marks day 24 of a partial shutdown of the US Government, which is affecting some 800,000 federal workers, many of whom are still working without a paycheck, while some have been furloughed.
Closer to home, the Belizean staff at the US Embassy in Belmopan has begun to feel the pinch of working without getting a paycheck on payday.
We called the Embassy today, Monday, to find out how many Belizeans are employed there and are affected by the shutdown, but the person who answered our call said that they have been instructed not to provide any information.
Therefore, we are unable to ascertain how many persons employed by the US Embassy in Belize have been furloughed, or have been working without a paycheck since the shutdown started, a little over three weeks ago.
Apart from payments to its local staff, however, it is reasonable to assume that the Embassy is unable to pay for other services in the country. The shutdown, therefore, is having an economic impact in other sectors in the country.
The row in Washington has been triggered by the Republican President Donald J. Trump, who wants the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives to approve almost 6 billion dollars to fund a wall at the US Southern border with Mexico.
President Trump had pledged during his campaign that “Mexico will pay for the wall.”
The Democrats, who took over the US House of Representatives earlier this month after making historic gains in the November 2018 US midterm elections, are not budging from their position that they will not fund the president’s border wall.
So the shutdown is continuing, with no immediate end in sight, and the president had said earlier this month in a meeting with US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that the shutdown could go on for months or even years, until Congress provides the funding for the border wall.