REPORT #349 July 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The report on International Banking and Economic Impact on South Florida, says 102 International Banks, both domestic and foreign owned, reached a record $40 billion in foreign deposits this year so far. Miami International Banks with salaries alone of $487 million about a 300% increase in the last ten years are accounting for a good piece of it. Thousands of people fleeing from the uncertain situations in Venezuela and Colombia are flocking to Miami, buying apartments as investments, or bolt holes. Even dirty money is flowing to Miami. The Caribbean is much tougher to deposit dirty money than in Miami. The problem with Venezuela, is the new would be dictator, Chavez. Everytime he talks about Castro, or the Imperialist USA, more middle class professional money flows out of Venezuela. Despite record oil exports, the records show about a $4.6 billion capital flight from Venezuela.

The Warlord of one third or more of Colombia, Marulanda, head of FARC, a bandit army based on kidnapping, extortion and the protection rackets is responsible for the capital flight out of Colombia. He recently announced that anyone who has $ 1 million in assets has to give 10% to his FARC, or possibly be kidnapped. Last year Colombian capital flight was about $700 million. It has gone up substantially since then. It is going to be a much dirtier war in Colombia for the next two years, as the Colombians wait for the promised helicopters to be built with the AID money approved by Congress.

Cayman and the Bahamas are getting some of this professional capital flight in deposits, but Belize is getting none. Miami is getting a huge piece. Foreign deposits in 38 Foreign owned banks in Miami area have grown to $12.4 billion this year alone, from last years record $10.6 billion. The bulk of the money belongs to ordinary business people and professionals seeking to protect themselves from political trouble. Dirty money usually goes to New York more than Miami.

Realizing all this, it is just amazing that the PUP party haven't got some technical advice and an advisory committee to study how they can make Belize and the local banking industry a great place for these fleeing professionals to store spare emergency money, to invest in, or seek Belize as a second home preferable to Miami. There must be certain things we can do, legislative wise to make the Belizean banking and investment climate a friendly one?

Changing the way we govern, to a government by legislation, rather than Ministerial bribes, favoritism, or decree might be one way. Encouraging the development of domestic Belizean banks with new capital requirements set to an expected scale of business might be another. The PUP just don't seem interested in going after foreign business! The talent pool is too small in the port town, and they lack the ability as a party to tap human resources in the districts.

E Commerce and the internet seems to be the way for small business's in Belize to double or triple their volume and incomes. With the internet, locals with a web presence can tap volunteer sources of technical expertise via the discussion groups. It also puts them directly in touch with niche markets and those that are interested in the subject materials they are selling. One thing local small business need to be doing, is doing business with each other in Belize. This is where it starts. The internet and e-commerce is the icing on the cake.

You can walk the streets of Shanghai, Bejing, Hong Kong, or Canton or anywhere else in China in safety. China is not lawless Guatemala, or what seems to be lawless Belize.

If Belize were to declare effective January 1st, 2001, that anyone caught dealing in drugs like cocaine, heroin, or crack; would be shot within weeks of arrest and their organs donated to foreign hospitals for transplants, I believe the result would be elimination of drug dealing in the major crime causes of drug criminal activity.

Within two weeks you get a bullet through the back of the head at the local hospital and let your body do something useful in this world. If you are going to have a drug campaign against crime, you have to mean it.

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