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Belize’s Sustainable Economic Growth

Belize’s Sustainable Economic Growth
April 13
07:45 2019

By :Nefretery Marin

Prime Minister Barrow’s vision for infrastructural development was ingenious, visionary and well needed. His investments were well planned out; I have always commended him on this.

The only misfortune was the mass and entrenched corruption. He failed to chop off its ugly head…maybe the machete was too rusty by then. Whatever the reasons were, the Belizean people were shafted again by the kickbacks, bribery and cutting angles of these contracts; resulting in a very poor economic performance from the Government of Belize for the past decade.

Our political leaders deserve credit for their successes. If there were any to credit them for. There has been attempt at reforms, except that they have been to create advantages for political leaders and their cronies; not much done to strengthen the foundation for our future economic growth.

Both our bordering countries have had impressive economic performances over the past 10 years. The border towns of Chetumal, Mexico and Melchor in Guatemala have both grown faster and delivered greater gains to their citizens than Belize. Belize has failed in industrial growth; it has failed in agriculture and has been stagnant in tourism and education.

We have a very weak diplomatic team and have failed miserably in military defence investment. In this regard, Belize is like an abused wife in danger but complying meekly, without realizing that she is losing market share and could well find herself facing an unexpected crisis, totally unprepared to manage it.

The fact that we simply do not have the numbers for global competition on any of our exports, means that we must find new markets, new value-added products and invest in processing / packaging plants.

We must find manufacturing and assembling companies from new quarters like China, Mexico and Germany and court them to invest in Belize. We have many favourable circumstances that will be very attractive once we etch corruption out. Belize is the bridge to the United States. We are a bilingual nation of the two major languages in the world (English and Spanish). Our soils are fertile and we are rich in water; we take these for granted, yet the world lacks them.

Though the risk of political and economic unrest is knocking at our doors, we are not fully there yet. Now is therefore the time to set out a strategy for the future. It is much better to enact political reforms, contributing to an assertive diplomatic stance with simultaneous investment in our defensive hardware and industries. This way the growth of the country is parallel, and we can negotiate with our neighbours from a position of strength when times are good, rather than to try to respond unprepared in the midst of crises.

To face the reality of Belize’s economic and political weaknesses and to help shape our thinking about how and along what lines to develop our economic future, we must be very careful of our selection of future leaders. We have all witnessed the quality of leadership and planning that comes from legal and greedy minds. Those grave mistakes must never be made again if we will develop Belize into its fullest potential in all industries while we do our very best to protect and safeguard our natural resources for the benefit of all our people.

True development will only happen in working diligently to curb corruption. No development will be sustainable under the claws of corrupt weak leaders.

It is urgent that we recognize economic development and education to be a matter of national security and we must give them the same kind of priority that we will give to our military matters. We must establish an elite economic and military plan and then implement policies for optimization across the board.

Mexico has adopted policies to continuously raise the level of sophistication and technology of their export industries. They have developing indigenous capabilities and companies; they have done this by putting their people first and protecting their already established industries. Their movement to higher ground, however, came in the form of an assertive anti-corruption Government, with a populist platform.

We must do all we can to achieve sustainable economic growth by means of a clean government, little corruption, high quality and reasonably well-paid civil servants, high rates of saving and investment, low inflation, quality infrastructure and a high emphasis on education, health care and military strength.

Belize must work more closely with Mexico in all areas of industry, trade, tourism, education and military. We must finally take our rightful place in Latin America and be fully recognized for our geographical and cultural assets rather than our colonial past.

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