BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 30, 2022
Following Cabinet’s announcement that it would be deferring fees for local entertainers while consultations continue, the United Democratic Party is demanding that the Government of Belize throw out the entire Trade Licensing Reform Bill. In a press release issued on Monday, the opposition party stated that Cabinet’s decision only addresses one of many issues surrounding the bill.
“Entertainers make up just a fraction of the thousands of small business owners threatened with a sentence of death by taxes from this overreaching bill,” said the release.
According to the UDP, the Government of Belize is more concerned with “saving face” than they are about protecting the small businesses, like food stalls, fruit peddlers, and online stores that saved the country from economic collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The party also noted that, combined with inflation, the newly proposed taxes would lead to the financial ruin of many small business owners and entrepreneurs.
In an interview with local reporters this past weekend, Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño stressed that, while fees for entertainers would be deferred—a decision made after several performing artists voiced their concerns at last Monday’s House Committee Meeting—the Government was not planning on doing away with the entire Trade Licensing Bill 2022.
“The village roadside peddlers, food vendors, online sellers, landscapers, couriers, seamstresses, fruit stall owners do not have the organization to unify and make presentations in the formal legislative process. However, their survival is no less important. They do not have the platform, microphone and amplifiers of those in the entertainment industry; however, their concerns are being registered loud and clear in the streets,” added the UDP.