Editorial

Editorial

People and nations all over the world who have seen and experienced oppression of one kind or another take their inspiration from the American Declaration of Independence, a brave postulation on human rights which states that men and women have the duty to resist oppression which denies them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The demand from British billionaire Michael Ashcroft that the people of Belize should pay him $60,000,000 of accumulated interest on a loan of $30,000,000 has sparked righteous indignation because the loan was made in secrecy, without the knowledge and consent of the House and Senate.
Those who feel that Belize is morally bound to carry this huge debt on its back are like the loyalists at the time of King George III, who would rather yield to servitude than take any action which would brand them as rebels, disrespectful of legal and constituted authority.
Independence from the British Crown in those days was unthinkable to many who shuddered at the thought of saying “No” to good King George.

Similarly in Belize, the idea of our National Assembly saying “No” to the Caribbean Court of Justice seems like contempt for legal authority and has filled some people with a deep foreboding.

But the order of the CCJ, that Belize must find $90 million to pay the Belize Bank for a loan which was concocted in secrecy, without the authority and consent of the National Assembly for a private investment project, is not much different from the tyranny that so upset the Founding Fathers.

The principal and interest from this loan, for an investment to build a private hospital, has the potential to wipe out much of Belize’s hard-earned foreign reserves, thereby exposing Belize to a devaluation of its currency.

Without being disrespectful of the authority and prestige of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Belize National Assembly acknowledges a higher allegiance – loyalty to the people of Belize, who would feel oppressed and abandoned if the Government of Belize did not strive to soften the blow that has fallen upon us.

This is not so much a matter of political expediency as economic sanity. A devaluation of the Belize dollar at this critical time in our history would ruin Belize’s economic prospect for the future and send us back to the Dark Ages.

Belize can and will manage this debt, onerous and unjust as it is! But we must have a memorandum of understanding setting a lid on the galloping interest accrual.
This is not a subject for the CCJ. It is a matter for negotiation between GOB and Ashcroft, the Machivellian genius who got us into this mess in the first place by demanding a Government guarantee which he knew was illegal and unconstitutional.

This economic dilemma of ours is not a matter of UDP vs PUP. We are confident that if there were a change of government tomorrow, the new Leader of Government would not be able to persuade his cabinet to saddle the country with $90 million of unrecoverable losses without a determined resolve to reduce the interest charges.

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