Statement by Hon. Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Budget Management,
Investment and Trade at GOB/IDB Press Conference

20 October, 2000 - Belmopan
The following is the statement by Hon. Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Budget
Management, Investment and Trade, and Belize's Governor to the
Inter-American Development Bank, at the Government of Belize/IDB Press
Conference held on Thursday, 19th October, 2000 at the Radisson Fort
George Hotel, Belize City.

On behalf of our Prime Minister, our government and the people of
Belize, we welcome IDB's Executive Director Edgard Guerra to Belize.
Mr.Guerra has always done a good job in Washington for Belize, but his
speedy response and special sensitivity to our needs after Keith have
set a new record for even the IDB. Edgard you are a true and valuable
friend of Belize.

Please convey our people's appreciation to President Enrique Iglesias,
Regional Manager Miguel Martinez, Division Chief Richard Archie and all
of the other officers, executives, and directors who all took out the
time last week to be briefed on our misfortune and our Recovery
Management Strategy (RMS). The fast track approval of the Emergency
Reconstruction Facility is a concrete manifestation of their
understanding of the urgency and confidence in our RMS.

The Government's RMS can be categorized under five headings-. -

1) Restructuring our fiscal program and balancing monetary policy to
meet the reconstruction demands for speedy economic recovery within the
framework of our commitment to keep the Belize dollar strong and the
stock of Central Government's external debt below 60% of GDP.

2) Positioning all of Government's resources to best respond to the
needs of citizens and the economic generators of Belize.

3) Constantly monitoring the after effects of Keith to avoid any adverse
effects on our citizens' health, safety or general welfare.

4) Strengthening the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)
by programming for lessons learnt and then transcending them for better

5) Formalizing with blue ribbon endorsement the Official Damage
Assessment Report for international distribution leading up to a meeting
of international donors in Washington under the auspices of the
Inter-American Development Bank working together with the World Bank.

Working this five-point strategy together "in a planned and programmed
manner" can return us to the high economic growth recently experienced
with its corresponding opportunities for a better quality of life for

Our dear Belize has received a hit that was not expected at this time.
Yet with God's help, we have been fortunate. While initial damage
reports are over $500 million Belize, with the proper inputs most of the
damage can be quickly repaired. The commercial banks, the Development
Finance Cooperation, the Small Farmers and Business Bank, Credit Unions,
Building Societies, and Insurance companies are all working together to
expeditiously provide these inputs. Beltraide has announced its special
attention and ability to assist. With the continued spirited rebound of
the Belizean people and the excellent response of the international
community such as the IDB here with us today, this recent test of our
resilience can make us a better and stronger Belize. We ask that God
continue being with us.

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