Archive for August, 2008

Tax Administrators hold conference in Belize

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

In the end of July, the 20th General Assembly of the Caribbean Organization of Tax Administrators (COTA) met in Belize for a 4-day conference.

The 16 Caribbean countries including Belize were represented at the conference to share ideas and experiences as well as to develop systems for improving and modernizing tax administration both regionally and locally.

The 20th General Assembly was inaugurated on July 21 with an address by Mrs. Marilyn Ordonez, Assistant Commissioner Income Tax, Belize Income Tax Department. She marked the significant importance of the relevance of the theme of the conference “Building Efficient Tax Administrations Towards Promoting National and Regional Development”.

The following countries were represented at the conference: Belize, Antigua, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Guyana, Turks and Caicos Islands, Haiti, Montserrat, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

House of Representatives debates constitutional amendments

Monday, August 25th, 2008

August 22, the House of Representatives debated three bills.

The most significant of them includes the widely discussed constitutional amendments that were proposed by the Dean Barrow administration more than 3 months ago. The new legislation proposes changes to citizens’ private rights to petroleum, minerals and accompanying substances. It also discusses rights to the constitution and powers of the Senate. The law covers a 3-term limit for an individual holding the Office of the Prime Minister; the recall of House members; the reconstitution of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; the Belize National Coast Guard Service’s inclusion under Belize’s security services; and the termination of the Auditor General for not producing a timely report to the National Assembly.

Other bill that was debated was the Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill. It features a new surcharge on petroleum companies, the premier one being Belize Natural Energy. This will allow the Government to levy a windfall tax on receipts from crude oil sales above USD 90 a barrel.

The third debated bill was the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill.

Belize Bank pays USD 10 million

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

It has been discussed that the Belize Central Bank issued a directive to the Belize Bank to return to the Belize Government the sum of USD 10 million donated to the people of Belize by the Venezuelan Government. Recently, it was revealed that the Barrow government has finally managed to get back USD 10 million from the Belize Bank.

On August 8, 2008, the check from bank president, Phillip Johnson, was personally received by Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington.

It should be noted that Johnson faced arrest if the outstanding amount were not paid by the bank.

To retrieve the money has been a vital task for the Barrow government, which wound up spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight off court litigations that were imposed by the Belize Bank in order to keep the money.

Now, the Barrow government has to say what it is going to do with the USD 10 million in its account.

Tripartite Body launched by Ministry of Labour

Friday, August 15th, 2008

On August 14, 2008, the Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development held the Inaugural Meeting of the Tripartite Body.

The meeting was held at the George Price Center in Belmopan City, and the appointments were made in partnership with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize.

Representative for the Employer’s Organizations, Ms. Kim Aikman expressed her commitment and support to ensure that both workers and employers can collectively enjoy the full potential benefits of the tripartite body.

Ms. Dorla Staine from National Trade Union Congress of Belize also pledged support in the Tripartite Body and emphasized the need to work towards further protection for workers and to improve the workers’ benefits in a safe environment.

Minister of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Gabriel Martinez, indicated that the Tripartite Body’s existence is important and outlined a series of workshop planned by the Ministry in order to embark upon in the areas of Labor legislation, Labor Policies, Trade Union Rights among others.

The members of the Tripartite Body were officially introduced by the Minister.