REPORT #271 May 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Tegucigalpa, Honduras:
The Government on May 18th, 2000 in the Republic of Honduras decided to downsize the cost and size of Government growth. The goal to reduce the Foreign National Debt. There was a massive layoff in the public sector as part of a general effort to cut spending. Finance Minister Gabriela Nunez did not say how many people were let go, but indicated that $3.4 million was made available to pay off LOANS.

Also on Thursday, President Carlos Flores ordered the dismissal of nonessential employees and those who earn less than $308 in 45 days. Additionally, the government ordered the elimination of 60 percent of all vacant public posts and froze the remaining 40 percent. Overtime pay will be cut by 15 percent.

In Belize however, borrowed money continues to be spent like a water tap that is broken in the open position. All and sundry of Belizean bureaucrats and elected representatives are travelling around the world to "make talk" conferences. While an argument can be made for attendance at such events, the real goal is to just sightsee and enjoy a little 'official' paid tourism at the expense of future taxes. Belize being such a small country and with limited things it can do and a government cash flow more or less meandering around an exponential average of $280 million Bz currency a year ( $140 million USA), continues to blow money using Treasury Foreign Loan credit cards, like there will be no tomorrow.

The choices open to Belize for building the economy are fairly limited, and all these foreign travel conferences of dubious value in any sort of productive nature. Nothing that couldn't be done via e-mail, or a chat room conference discussion.

The PUP party government are hoping a boost in tourism income flows of foreign exchange will recoup the outflows of borrowed foreign loan spending. In addition acquaculture is expected to grow steadily year by year in foreign exchange earnings, if the industry does not get hit by a hurricane, or imported viruses. This will hopefully offset a nose dive in sugar cane earnings. A new internet gambling EPZ at Burrel Boom should also increase foreign exchange earnings, though as of yet, no one has explained how taxes will be collected on a world business that will probably be banking in other countries and through subsidiary IBC's and Trusts of different tax havens.

The most that can be expected and this is substantial, are 250 high tech computerized jobs. On the other hand, if the Burrel Boom EPZ is expanded and server space reasonably priced along with cheap internet connections, it could serve as an incubator for a growing world wide tech e-commerce industry, that will at least provide more jobs, if not taxes. Certainly technical services and level of educational competence will increase with the demand.

The biggest problems facing Belize are still; the Foreign Loan Debt, which hangs over the country like the Sword of Damocles, the growth of government in an expensive inefficient centralized model of autocracy, and lack of a national government run by geographical equal six district representation.

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