There has been a lot of discussion on how the recent collapse of major global economies has triggered an economic meltdown around the globe. In Belize, depending on who you speak to, the response is varied. But there is no getting around the fact that natural disasters, budgetary shortfalls, and loss of revenue from many fronts, have been impacting the treasury. We have already reported in this newscast of a decline in visitor arrivals as the tourism sector feels the impact of the U.S. economic downtown and there have also been reports of layoffs in other sectors. But our attention was drawn today to two reports on the forecast for the Caribbean. In the first ECLAC, the Economic System for Latin America and the Caribbean, forecasts that the weight of the economic crisis will be felt the most by the lowest income households in Latin America and the Caribbean more than any other group. It predicts high unemployment and lower remittances in 2009. The other is from the Caribbean Insight which carries an in-depth report of what governments are doing throughout the Caribbean to assist their economies. In Jamaica, the government has unveiled a major economic stimulus package which includes tax cuts, duty exemptions, and millions of dollars in loans. The package targets the tourism, small business and manufacturing sectors to provide relief and stimulate the economy. Another case in point is Barbados where the government has “received assurances” of airlift from British Airways and of Virgin Atlantic and it is waiving fifty percent of all interest and penalties from those who are in arrears on VAT payments. The point is that in Belize we are yet to hear of any measures from Belmopan to confront the economic downturn.

Channel 5