Monday, June 15, 2009

BELIZE GOVERNMENT REPORT CARD SLIPS FROM 44% TO 38% FAILING GRADE

BANKRUPT UDP BELIZE GOVERNMENT HAS EXPENSIVE IDEAS!
UDP REPORT CARD SLIPPED FROM 44% TO 38% THIS WEEK

In the ongoing raging debate within Belize about how to build the economy and raise revenues for the government, being held in the many newspapers, mostly from the port town of Belize City. The government of Belize dominated by a Caribbean orientated, intellectual CREOLE African style mind set, nearly ALL of which, most similar CARICOM countries themselves; have proved themselves over the past 45 years, to be wildly unsuccessful at managing their own financial situations. Our UDP government continues on the road to worse bankruptcy, bereft of ideas on how to stimulate economic growth. The Debt to GDP ratio continues to grow again. Not since the first term of the past MUSA led PUP has this situation arisen.
While the debate on development problems, in the newspapers from the port town of Belize City rage on only occasionally; we can only note the continued GROWTH of the size of our Belize government, in an era of declining GDP and tax revenues. There is also the matter of the GROWTH of foreign loan borrowing as a UDP national policy, in a time when we cannot handle the national debt we currently have.
From a personal viewpoint, I consider these policies ( growth of government and growth of national debt ) of the UDP CABINET, as expressed by advertisements and announcements in the local port town newspapers, to be counter productive to the growth of the economy of Belize. These UDP are like drunken teenagers with Mommy and Daddy’s credit cards, gone wild on loan borrowing sprees. I take this position in the public debate and offer this opinion piece, to more or less, try and dump a bucket of cold water on those elected and empowered to act on behalf of the nation as a whole. We need you to stop reacting and start thinking of better ways to do things, in this UDP CABINET, with the resources you have. If you can’t pay for it from our revenues, you can’t have it. That should be your policy.
It has become obvious, that while the lawyer led political party governments of the past fourteen years have been great for political aspirant law firms to enrich themselves with consultant fees, foreign business retainers, from persons seeking politically advantage, government court cases and other legal titles for what we the public see as BRIBES and CORRUPTION. There is obviously a voting population grouping in our coastal port town, that swear by the smartness of the legal profession, as our version of Bollywood lawyers conduct SOAP OPERA court cases, with nightly television news of; ‘ he said this, or he said that ‘, and the lawyer battles, legal interpretations and minutia and court cases roll on, only enriching the law firms, but doing nothing for JUSTICE, or for developing our economic capacity.
From the viewpoint of the rural districts, who are the PRODUCERS of Belize, from which all government revenues flow, we think this is all poppy show and has nothing much to do with developing the national economy and everything to do with enriching politicians at future taxpayer expense. These lawyer led governments are simply not judged to be run by any basic business sense, in a profit and loss, risk taking manner. The lawyer led governments have seemed to be pretty dumb when it comes to building the foundation of a solid economy for Belize.
The port town media outlets ( television, radio and newspapers ) also seem estranged from reality and common sense. There are little or no questions about development ideas put to the Prime Minister by our press, while Barrow acts as a vague party and GOB press announcer. Barrow himself seems out of touch with his Cabinet Ministers and their portfolios, other than a disengaged commentary, that indicates other than the weekly Cabinet conference when Ministers make a sort of summary report, he knows nothing more and could seemingly care less? You can tell the media are discouraged, unable to get any sort of meaningful responses out of our GOB Press Officer, the party leader and Prime Minister, and have pretty much given up investigative reporting. Management styles differ with individuals and so Musa hands on style of keeping the public informed, with constant reporting to incisive investigative cutting questions with both style and response, led to a much better understanding among the public of the thinking of Government actions. This Prime Minister Barrow has held the media at bay, with his lack of understanding of the dynamics of development issues, particularly involving individuals and their aspirations. If you don’t ask him something about legal and court cases, there is pretty much no sense in asking him anything, and one can see the frustration among press and television interviewers trying to find out what this UDP Government is doing, or planning on doing, or the difficulties they are facing in seeking development ideas.
Each week, sees intellectual schemes justifying the borrowing of more foreign exchange money by this port town controlled UDP government. There is the $30 million dollar tourism development loan financed project, which reads like nothing more than sweetheart deals, skimming of loan money opportunities, without so far, any discernable legitimate practical productive explanation for the borrowing and spending of $30 million borrowed dollars, for any person using common sense. This week, both the GUARDIAN newspaper, belonging to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Party Leader announces, and the independent merchant importing BUSINESS orientated newspaper the REPORTER have articles, of the latest foreign loan borrowing. In this case it is $6 plus million loan, from our new loan borrowing source, Central America. Talk about being facey, we no sooner join them in Central America and start hollering, gimme DOLLAR, like a swing bridge hustler! The UDP government trot out the usual platitudes and rationalizations for the loan. Something to do with fighting poverty. If I had a $1 for every time a politician in Latin America and the Caribbean mentioned that poverty rationalization, I would be rich. On the other hand, if every poverty fighting loan borrowed from foreign parts were divided up by the government of the day, to actually give to the rural alleged poor people, we would be inundated with millionaires in Belize. Nobody would be poor. The UDP government want it to create more bureaucratic programs to deal with the alleged POOR of Belize, they say. Actually they are creating government jobs, more debt and allegedly increasing falsely, our GDP ratio. Not to mention, that this $6 million is probably going to pay existing bureaucrat salaries because of a cash shortage. This rational for the loan leaves us in the districts with a sense of SHAME before our needy Central American brethren. Barrow as Finance Minister should have got the money from Treasury Bill issues internally. There is no valid productive rational being offered to us, for a foreign loan this way. If it was a bridge, or a paved highway link through the Toledo South to link our transportation trucking exports with the main highway systems of Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador, you could accept it. Fighting vague poverty programs as a rational, just shows how this Finance Minister is treating us citizens as idiots. Either that, or he and the Cabinet are really is as bereft of ideas as we suspect.
The newspapers from the port town, continue to advertise new jobs in government, as the demands from intellectuals and government insiders seem unable to stem the cacophony tide of pleas for more and more money, to fund more and more wild cat ideas and schemes. None of which seem grounded in actual productive export endeavors. These in turn are creating new government departments and bureaucracies, burdening the taxpayer with more questionable jobs of necessity; while in the meantime, many of the existing government departments are so poorly managed and cash starved, we cannot get good public service for the most normal things. Many of the older pilot, ad hoc programs, initiated to deal with emergencies, in the meantime, are sprouting roots and branches and leaves as they become entrenched in the cost of running a Government of Belize. One example in the Reporter newspaper is the job for a NEMO DATA INFORMATION MANAGER. Can we really afford this luxury in a period of high national debt and declining revenues? Is it immediately necessary? Is it PRODUCTIVE for future revenues. Can it be postponed for four years or so?
Our GDP ratio is going to look good at the end of this year, but it is all FALSE. Built on the quicksand of more foreign loans, increasing the National Debt of Belize over 80% as an increasing debt to GDP ratio and the creation of jobs to build new government bureaucracies, or expanding the bureaucratic fiefdoms of entrenched powerful Ministry CEO’s, with grandiose plans, which we the nation cannot afford.
An elected government is supposed to be able to keep the growth of government in check. The failure of the UDP CABINET to do this, means our elected representatives are not doing their jobs properly. From a personal viewpoint, we need to improve the public service and functions of our existing failing government departments, before we continue to build more bureaucracies. If you can build a bureaucracy that is GRANT FUNDED I have no problem with that. But adding to the NATIONAL DEBT to do so, is pure incompetence and BAD leadership. The UDP CABINET is looking pretty bad for leadership ideas. Cabinet Ministers with portfolios are supposed to be safeguarding the nation’s purse and controlling the bureaucrats and making them more service orientated and efficient, with less cost. The report card for the performance of this UDP government is rapidly going lower and lower, from an already failing grade. (slipping from 44% to 38% this week )
PM Barrow, the captain of this national policy ship does not seem skilled in government. Oh he has the basic understandings, but nothing pragmatic or workable. In political matters he is successful, in personal wealth, he positioned himself to acquire fees from foreign investment, making him rich. His idea of sitting still and let the PUP commit party suicide, giving him the government by default was successful. Hardly a plan of genius. Most uneducated campesinos had already figured that one out, before he did it. It is in the matter of developing Belize, as in the skills necessary from risk takers, like businessmen, that PM BARROW falls short. He does not seem to have any ideas, or a clue on how to proceed with development. Perhaps it is time to re-visit an idea of the BELIZE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES ( found on the internet ) from twenty years ago. Let us copy Switzerland and rotate annually the position of Prime Minister/Finance Minister to an internal CABINET ELECTION every December. Maybe one of those in the CABINET possessing a successful productive business background, could become Prime Minister and Dean Barrow could become Party Leader, or party WHIP as they call them. Hard on his ego and pride, but the nation needs better leadership than we have now. Barrow with his retirement plans in 3 ½ years and focus on legal things, could at least design the law and have it passed to make this annual, Cabinet elected, rotating Prime Minister post, our new government operendi. That at least is something he knows how to do. Sort of anyway?
What is disturbing, signified by smiling Barrow, our port town hustler with his hand out to Central American countries in GIMME DOLLAR mode, is the fact that the MEDIA are not projecting the balance of this year financial crisis expected and asking insightful questions of this Cabinet. Probably the Cabinet are simply just waiting for the axe to fall, rather than plan ahead. Barrow is successfully hiding the situation through lack of monthly statistical updates. I miss the MUSA management style. Crook, swindler, double crosser he may have been, but at least he tried to do things and faced the daily problems head on and kept us citizens in the loop, while he sat in the hot seat. Yet behind the UDP scenes one can sense disaster looming through the coming late FALL and XMAS months. Will the UDP lay off 400 government workers this Xmas for shortage of money and lack of management pre-planning skills? Will the borrowed over $200 plus million be enough to straddle the revenue shortages expected? It does not take a genius to understand that with a falling GDP and production incomes, there is already a shortage of cash in government, due to get worse as the year progresses. The short summer Tourist season seems okay so far and will give a temporary boost. The next winter tourist season though is projected to be a disaster due to the winter effect of the flu pandemic recurring in expanded mode, cutting air and cruise ship traffic again. One can only hope we do not get a flood, earthquake, or hurricane strike. One keeps looking for government cut backs in preparation for a very hard expected Fall and Winter season for government revenues. What we see is government expansion, more spending and more borrowing. The policy of this UDP Cabinet leaves me dumbfounded. Where are the plans, the setting aside of RESERVES, the cutbacks which should already be in place in preparation for the late FALL and WINTER hurricane of government financial revenue shortages? Why aren’t the port town media projecting for the coming revenue shortage hurricane and asking leading questions? At least this would start this Cabinet thinking in emergency mode. Maybe then, if we planned properly, we wouldn’t maybe have to fire 400 workers at Xmas?

1 comment:

martha said...

Hi,


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Warm Regards

Project Grant Team

http://projectgrant.info
Hi,


• We have just added your latest post "BELIZE GOVERNMENT REPORT CARD SLIPS FROM 44% TO 38% FAILING GRADE" to our Directory of Grant Programs . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory for getting a huge base of visitors to your website and gaining a valuable backlink to your site.


Warm Regards

Project Grant Team

http://projectgrant.info