The Bahamas International Securities Exchange conducted its first day of floor trading of local stocks on Friday last. No glitches were noted in the short session. Two member firms traded nine listed local stocks in the two hour session that lasted from ten to noon.
20 orders were entered into the system for about 2,300 shares. Colina and Fidelity are the two firms trading on the exchange. The International component is still being developed. This should be applied later in the year 2000.
The outlook for a Belizean Securities Exchange is bleak. The predominant problem is internal politics. The country's two parties are run by two gangs of townies controlled from the port town of Belize City, the old capital. Gangs in the port have become a real problem, from drug gangs, to street gangs, to political gangs running under the name of political parties. Because of the nature of colonial inherited population representation, the nation of Belize comprised of six districts is dominated by two gangs who fight each other for dominancy at the polls from the old port town of Belize City. The plunder of jobs, perks and other scams has been the rule under this system, of the nation's resources for a couple of decades.
Under the system, the townie run gangs have always relegated the productive areas of the districts to second class citizens. The nation has also had the Treasury Credit Card overused, by a system of government financing through foreign loan economics. The use of loans, spending in advance in 5 year cycles, to supply the port town political gangs with money has developed a system of pre-committed foreign exchange debt. Belize has never been able to develop a dollar economy, despite the theoretical fixed rate of $2 Bz to $1 USA. The use of foreign exchange permits, time consuming bureaucratic processes, paper work, foreign exchange exchange fees through the foreign banks and a ration system of controlled foreign exchange by the Central Bank, makes it almost impossible to create a Belize Securities Exchange for development.
In the Bahamas, D'Arcy Rahming, chief operations officer of the Exchange said they were just kicking their legs and excercising to see what problems there might be. It is good to see the Bahamas get into foreign and local, securities trading. With this comes the ability to raise venture capital for local development, instead of the more primitive restrictive loan philosphy.