Is Mike Singh Out of Tourism?

[Linked Image] The month of September is coming to an end, which mean that the tourism industry is headed into its’ slowest month of the year, October! History has shown that hotel occupancy is the lowest in the month of October and most hotels usually close for renovations. Low hotel occupancy means low tourism receipts and low tourism receipts mean that the economy of Belize struggles! Such is the importance of tourism to the socio-economic development of Belize.

With tourism so important to Belize, it truly amazing that after 2 ˝ years into this UDP Administration’s that the current leaders in the industry are still trying to devise the necessary strategies and policies that they hopefully will spur growth and development in a sustainable manner.

Compounding the incompetence in the tourism organizations (Ministry and BTB), the on-going war that has been raging for months now between Minister Manuel Heredia and his CEO Mike Singh seems to be in the twelfth round. Insiders say that the riff has gotten so bad that Mike Singh will not return as CEO when his contract comes to an end later this year. Whether it is a case of the Minister landing the knockout punch or Mr. Singh is tired of pulling the Minister’s foot from down his throat, it is critical that this government gets its act together for the best interest of the country.

Singh No Fool!

Mike Singh is known to be a shrewd businessman, he and his brother the Minister, has helped with the financing of the UDP in their election bids. For this reason, it can be expected that Mike Singh will not enter into the private sector fully, but will remain with the government. There is already speculation of the creation of a new post (Investment Ambassador) or something like that is being created for this UDP crony and high roller. Imagine that, Mike Singh responsible for fiscal incentives and concessions! With Mike Swift and Roberto Harrison on their way out of Beltraide, one wonders what the relationship will be like between Allan Sharp the current Chairman of Beltraide and the narcissistic Singh! Sharp a former member of the now defunct ACB is currently the Chairman; however his contract comes to an end later this year. It will be left to Erwin Contreras, the Minister responsible for Beltraide, to figure out whether he can live with the likes of Singh, someone who has been referred to by some of his contemporaries as nothing more than “hot air.”

With both external and internal investments at an all-time low, the concern expressed by industry experts is how will this UDP government turn things around in the middle of their term with an entirely new structure and management at Beltraide? With this level of incompetence within crucial departments and ministries, how can the Prime Minister tell the Belizean people that Belize is on the right path? When he was appointed CEO, Mike Singh was talked about as the savior for the tourism industry and 2 ˝ years later there is nothing to show that he saved tourism. His claim to fame is a 30 million dollar project being funded by the IDB that was negotiated for by Anthony Mahler and the then Minister of Tourism, Honorable Godfrey Smith.

Growing the tourism industry and the ability to attract new investments are critical to the development of Belize.

Live and let live