Saturday, April 18, 2009

PM Barrow interviewed at Summit of Americas along with Foreign Minister Elrington


By Ray Auxillou

Apparently Belize had two media television houses represented at the Summit of the Americas . I saw on Friday night, interviews with our Prime Minister Barrow and Foreign Minister Elrington.

Our PM Barrow was acting in dual capacities. As head of CARICOM and as the Prime Minister of Belize. The interviews overlapped these dual duties.

The big thing that struck me, was the fact that BARROW was saying more or less, that both Belize and Caricom were looking for the ‘meat in the bun’ when dealing with OBAMA of the USA. He went on to explain that right now there were two trade acts from the US Congress involving both CARICOM trade and Belizean trade and we were allowed to ship duty free a small list of items to the USA . He wants these agreements to be enlarged and expanded in general. As far as both Belize and Caricom go, the exports from our area to the USA are so slight that they do not even make a blip on the charts of the US Economy. Yet to us in the Caribbean , on our export and economic data graphs, those miniscule things loom large and mean work, employment and tax revenues to our economies. Our populations and production for export are so small as to not even be equivalent to an ordinary large city in the USA .

Barrow went on to explain that speaking for CARICOM, that the bank doing the most lending here in our Caribbean region was the IDB, or Inter Development Bank. He did not explain who the shareholders were, or how it was capitalized. But he did say that the region populations and commerce and trade requirements had so grown since it was first formed, that the IDB really needs to be re-capitalized to the tune of another $180 Billion usa currency, in order to serve the original purposes for which it was designed. I’m only guessing, but presume Northern hemisphere industrialized countries own this bank?

The next item on the CARICOM agenda to deal with; was the OECD and the G 20 who are obviously using the tax havens of the Caribbean as RED HERRINGS and scapegoats, to lay off blame for the world financial crisis caused by the USA and European bankrupt trade in risky derivatives. There may be one or two billionaire tax dodgers in tax havens, but the propaganda and exaggerations put out by the USA and European media and G 20 group are not at all representing the FACTS, but distorting the truth, in what seems to be a WAR of ECONOMICS of the G 20 to create a monopoly and weed out competition from the three major tax havens in the Caribbean. This is obviously a propaganda war and media blitz by the G 20 in this war for MARKET SHARE of the Financial Services industry in the world. The total financial services industry market share in the Caribbean region puts us in FOURTH PLACE in the world and the G 20 group are going to attack, and attack again, and attack again our competition, in what for us is a type of industry we can do with our small populations and modern telecommunications. We have little to compete and survive in the world otherwise, and the Financial Services industry is an important part of the revenues of the Caribbean governments with such services. This is OPEN WAR by the G 20 and can we find a way to fight back is the big question? They control the flow of money around the world through Belgium and New York . CARICOM is calling for moderation in what many in the ALBA GROUP of the AMERICAS call Imperialism. This found a sympathetic ear from other American countries on this continent.

The financial crisis in the world created by the USA and European financial service industry, has created a PANIC and a loss of 2/3 rds of the Tourist Visitors and loss of revenues to Belize in particular, but to the CARICOM countries as a whole. There has been a FREEZE on Belize Tourist Board statistical reporting for the last six months, as the Government of Belize does not want us tourist operators to know how bad it is. At the moment tourist operators are cinching up their belts and holding on, thinking maybe they are isolated, and their tourist markets are wrongly aligned. It doesn’t do us any good to have our own government freeze tourist statistical reporting, by the BTB. The private sector cannot plan ahead, or re-orient their advertising unless we have statistics.

It would seem our PM Barrow has matured over the last year, and I put it down to the long preparatory work for the April 2009 Budget exercise. Barrow seems to have learned a lot on finances and economics and is talking more sense than when he came to power a year ago. Back then he was obviously an amateur filled with idiotic ideas. In his television interview at the summit he showed his capacity as a Quick Study and now holds an impressive grasp of the nuances of finance. Maybe, the next four years of the UDP management might come out better?

Foreign Minister Elrington came out in his interview, more in control and careful of his words. He also has matured over the past year. He is becoming more of a statesman. I kind of liked that.

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