I have heard several commentators make strong assertions about the state of the public finances and public debt, that have caused me to pause. Commentators have suggested, for example, that government is “borrowing at an unprecedented rate” or that the debt to GDP ratio has risen to “unprecedented levels”. These assertions tend to be made without providing the supporting evidence and, having been involved in finding solutions to the fiscal and debt crisis of the mid-2000’s, I know that these comments are not based on accurate information.

A lot of information on the Belizean economy is available on the internet at the websites of the Central Bank of Belize, the Statistical Institute of Belize, the International Monetary Fund and other institutions and I encourage anyone interested in informed discussion, especially public commentators and opinion-makers, to peruse these data and to arm themselves with accurate information, so as not to inadvertently mislead the public.

I am sharing some charts that I prepared on the evolution of Belize’s public external debt using data that is available on the Central Bank of Belize website. I show this evolution in relation to the governing party in office, since much of the public discussion is along political party lines. I believe that this can be a healthy discussion; but for it to be a positive contribution to debate on public policy, it needs be grounded in accurate facts.

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