Monday, November 14, 2011

BELIZE, new sugar tax proposed at entry points.


Every few years, the USA Congress votes generous price supports for a handful of agricultural, multi-millionaires. It is alleged this is for campaign contributions and other travel and other perks for said congressmen. There are those around the world, and particularly in the Caribbean nations, that complain about the sugar quota system in particular and the unfair trade practices. Not that it does them any good. Agriculture subsidies in the USA are big political business. Every year, Jamaicans, Dominicans, wet backs from Mexico and Central America, work illegally and semi-legally in the Florida Sugar industry. Agriculture supports need support from Congress. Campaign contributions are supposedly the motive the media watchdog reporters say.
What the Caribbean nations noted, back in the 1990´s before they got themselves more educated and organized in CARICOM, was that the USA sugar growers were getting a price that was double what their Caribbean sugar was paid, when allowed into the USA, on quotas. Political corruption is rife throughout all levels in the USA. Some South Florida cities have reputations for corruption, that would make Belizeans blush, like virgins; which is hard to believe after the MUSA administration years, though true. In both South Florida and in Belize, politicians have refined the skills necessary to negotiate a bribe. One outstanding example was Barry Bowen´s contribution of a million dollar cheque to the PUP for their campaign fund. In which in due course, about three years later, he received fifteen million in return as a tax write off. There are other such cases the media hint at, every national election.
The sore point for most of the CARICOM countries is the UNFAIR TRADE system represented in the USA by quotas, and agriculture price subsidies. Not to mention the strong arm tactics used on the Belize government, to pass laws, that involve trade and economic growth; which might be considered potentially competitive with USA manufactures and export markets.
On the Belize Culture debating list serve, we have a writer whose pseudynom is INNOVATE BELIZE. For the fun of it, here is a suggested innovation. How about a SUGAR TAX of .10 cents a pound, on every USA passport holder, entering Belize. With a weigh scale at the customs counter to weigh visitors and giving them a slip to pay their weight, times the .10 cents USA a pound. They take the slip for this SUGAR TAX ( it would not even begin to reimburse Belize for losses to UNFAIR SUGAR SUPPORTS in the USA ) to the cashier and pay the tax.

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