Prime Minister Dean Barrow has dismissed the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry concerning dialogue over the Petrocaribe program which the Chamber has strongly opposed in its current format.
They wrote the PM on May 14, 2015, asking for respectful and serious dialogue, but speaking after the House meeting, the PM said he had not been formally requested for a meeting with them and suggested they were “playing the fool.”
But the Chamber points out that it represents the businesses and employers who make up the largest block of taxpayers who will pay back both Petrocaribe and other loan arrangements.
It adds, “Most disappointingly, it erodes the fabric of public-private dialogue, which the BCCI has been faithfully and diligently trying to weave with the government.”
The Chamber cites the release from Moody’s which last week affirmed Belize’s debt profile status while noting that credit risks could potentially escalate by 2017-2018 due to higher wages, social support, debt service and utility nationalization compensations. PM Barrow has been similarly dismissive of this, saying that he “knows what he is doing.”
The Chamber cites the current situation in Greece is instructive in demonstrating the social stress occasioned by debt restructuring. It says, “While the business sector’s calls for transparency, accountability, adherence to the rule of law, and good governance may be trivial in political calculations, they are critical to our nation’s social and economic well being.”
The BCCI concludes by saying that it remains committed to public-private dialogue provide that dialogue extends to ALL issues, which impact our nation’s development.
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