Lord Michael Ashcroft’s Contributions to Belize during COVID-19

by Tanya McNab

Lord Michael Ashcroft is no stranger to Belize, and has been a major investor in the country. Between 1998 – 2000, Ashcroft was the Belizean Ambassador to the United Nations, and has been involved in a wide range of industries throughout, funding educational and charitable projects in Belize. At the onset of COVID-19 in Belize, Lord Michael Ashcroft, who has been weathering the pandemic in country, was the first private donor to contribute substantial funds to Belize’s relief efforts.

Having spent two weeks in the country prior to lockdown and personally witnessing the shift in Belize’s socio-economy, Lord Ashcroft contributed BZ$10 Million via Belize Bank to the national effort against COVID-19. Announced March 25, the Lord Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund covers a multitude of areas in need, starting with medical supplies for hospitals in Belize, The Police Department, The Nurses Association. Mr. Lyndon Guiseppi, Executive Chairman at Belize Bank Limited, was appointed the custodian of the contribution, and will disburse monies on behalf of Lord Ashcroft.

The Ministry of Health largely benefited from a donation over BZ $1,200,000.00 worth of medical supplies that were much needed to combat Covid-19. This included 15,000 PPE Kits, 5,000 Medical Goggles, 5,000 Medical Shield Masks, 2 Housing Units, 14 Ventilators, and 1 PCR System.

Feeding programs were also at the forefront of needs that were assessed. Thousands of Belizean families received food packages that were donated and allocated by the Lord Ashcroft Covid-19 relief fund. Funds were granted to feeding programs managed by the Belize Red Cross (BZ $500,000.00) in Belize City, The Anglican Diocese (BZ $60,000.00) with the “Mission Feed Belize” program, and Hope Haven ($BZ $100,000.00) on Ambergris Caye.

Ambergris Caye is a special place for Lord Ashcroft, who has had investments on the island for many years. In 2018, his son, Andrew Ashcroft, set out to build San Pedro’s most modern and contemporary resort development – Alaia Belize.  Branded by the Autograph Hotel Collection by Marriot – a collection of hotels that brings the art of storytelling to life by hand selecting hotels that are rich in craft and character, design, architecture, and unexpected back-stories. Construction of Alaia Belize is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 and an opening on track for the first two months of 2021. Despite slight setbacks due to COVID-19, Andrew Ashcroft’s ALAIA project continues full steam ahead.

While countries all over the world are fighting this deadly virus and finding ways to cope with the economic ramifications, Lord Ashcroft’s contribution continues to assist Belize, since the fight is far from over.

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