Saturday, December 19, 2009



A set to debate; in this past week parliament between the past ex-Prime Minister, Said Musa acting in the role of Leader of the Opposition and the current reigning Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, both economically, intellectually, disadvantaged lawyers by profession, highlighted the problems our political pirate, two party system of crooks and opportunists has led us into. We are said to owe more than we earn as a nation!
The Belize National Debt cycle goes on. Following political expediency, rather than logical self sustainable financial practices, the current Prime Minister ( PM’s usually are also Finance Minister as well ) has continued the practice of debt economics. Borrowing the future, to pay for the political present. The arguments are that we must maintain our infra-structure and the World Recession slashed economies around the world. Belize was no different and our economy crashed to minus 3.5% GDP the newspapers say. We have negative growth if such a thing is possible? The situation is getting worse and the debt lag is now running out about 40 years current estimates say. Biting the financial bullet is not in the interest of any political party, even if it does make good economics for self sustainability. Outside of a change in our political system, there is no real solution.
In the Parliament debate between the past Prime Minister and the present Prime Minister, some home truths were stated in the newspaper reports. We do not as of yet know our current National Debt to GDP ratio, but it is running between 82% and 120% of GDP. The borrowing has not stopped one iota under the new political administration. To be said in favor of the administration; is that our recession has not adversely effected the civil service, or the private sector too much. Growth continues in the private sector, albeit at a slower rate. Unemployment is manageable and even reasonable, fed both by FOREIGN LOANS and GRANTS for various departmental services. The most useful being; that in the field of agricultural research and teaching. We badly need some GRANTS in the fields of light manufacturing technology learning, food processing for exports and in the field of teaching marketing to our young people, to diverse areas of the world. Most of this is Private Sector led and until we get high speed DSL internet throughout the productive nationwide rural areas, to enable entrepreneurs and innovators; not much change is going to take place. To make a change in the economy you must enable the private sector to do research and development through nationwide internet availability. Our people are smart enough, but lack the basic tool to make a difference. Grant money fed to the bureaucracy is usually squandered and wasted on administrative bureaucratic limited costs. Grant money fed directly into the PRIVATE SECTOR is proving the most productive and useful.
In the raucous debate between the Parliament Prime Ministers, both old and new, it was pointed out that the current government, operating on a tax base around $650 million a year, will have to find over $200 million a year between 2019 and 2029 to pay off current past debts. The government is running costs around $500 million a year and has been able to expand this past year due to the infusion of GRANT monies for special projects. Annual interest payments on our National Debt are running $65 million a year and will jump to $92 million a year in interest by 2012, or in around 18 months. The previous 1 BILLION in debt incurred under the past PUP administration under former Prime Minister, Said Musa; is projected to pay back under the Bond restructuring about $3 BILLION in costs over TIME. The two term past PUP administration saw a free-for-all of greed and incompetence. Secret deals, shady practices, outright larceny, corrupt deals, plain outright theft and embezzlements were the perceived norm for that PUP administration. The criminal atmosphere and wild west atmosphere practically destroyed public patriotism. Perhaps these are the perks expected under our parliamentary two party system, which finds piratical opportunists and criminals running for political office? The current administration of UDP have mostly had minor scams and con games, but for the most part can be attributed to ordinary human nature in a political system of piracy based, on self interest from opportunists and crooks that run for political office. Outside of the current Prime Minister loading his nepotistic government, with family, relatives and party hacks; control of the corruption that ran totally wild and unchecked under the past PUP administration has been reasonably effective. There is a general sense of public approval that the worst of the perceived criminality of the past administration is meeting with checks and balances. For want of any organized third party, it is most likely the current UDP administration will get re-elected.
Somehow we need to free up the PRIVATE SECTOR to grow and export. Government services are currently inadequate in certain departments and wasteful in others. There is an inordinate amount of government money resources spent on the political base of one port town, the seat of most area representatives, tax revenue trough, gold mine 5 year earning term. The electoral divisions have been designed not to be representative on an equal population distributed basis, but to suit the aspirations of political opportunists from this hotbed of greed and crime in artificial electoral vote numbered divisions. We simply have too many politicians feeding off the tax trough, particularly in the coastal port, the old colonial capital.
All that said; the policy of the current UDP administration is holding at bay the worst of the effects of the World Recession. We approve of the GRANTS coming in, but deplore the further FOREIGN LOAN borrowing. My approval doesn’t mean anything to anybody, one way or the other. Here in Western Belize, the Cayo District, the productive PRIVATE SECTOR, business is pretty much going on as usual. What we want has already been mentioned. Internet service to rural parts, whatever incentives can be generated to encourage business growth for new entrepreneurs and innovators, and for the government to encourage exporting and manufacturing by a “hands off” policy. Leave us the private sector alone and we can build this country. Quit trying to squeeze taxes, permit fees and licenses, out of things not yet developed properly. Encourage us, not thwart development with too much bureaucratic red tape. The administrative attitude has to change to SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE. Resolve the problems being bureaucratically encountered by innovators and the public citizen in general Remember this is a partnership, if we the public sector succeed, then you get to keep your job in the public service. You don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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