Monday, September 7th, 2015. By Charles Leslie Jr.: After its independence in 1965, they pushed for industrialization which attracted significant foreign direct investment (FDI).
These initiatives were headed by Goh Keng Swee (second Deputy Prime Minister) and Albert Winsemius, an economist. Now having a highly developed market economy, surpassing their peers in terms of GDP per capita, its economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, and most business-friendly in the entire world.
The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom alone has ranked them as the second freest economy in the world. Now pay close attention here: According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, they are consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, standing beside New Newland and the Scandinavian countries.
They attract a large amount of foreign investment due to its prime location, skilled workforce, low taxes, advanced infrastructure and corruption-free environment. Do you know which country I am talking about? It is Singapore, which was the capital of the British Straits Settlements, a Crown Colony, before their independence in 1965.
I have heard Belizean politicians, on many occasions talk about Belize cannot do certain things because we are a small country. Did you know that Singapore is about 31 times smaller than Belize? Their current land area is 277.3 square miles. Belize has 8,867 square miles.
WHAT DID SINGAPORE DO TO ACHIEVE THEIR FEATS? It started with a great leader. Who realized that he needed someone who knows how to develop a country properly, thus he hired a well-known, skilled economist for the job. An economist who made sure that the state led the drive for industrialization, where the country actually makes/produces things.
They made sure that their nation’s economy remained free, innovative, competitive and business-friendly. Last but certainly not least, they made sure that they signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, where Singapore stated that they take a very serious view towards corruption, and ensure a low corruption rate in the public and private sectors.
They closed with saying that they strongly support international efforts to fight corruption, and they demonstrated this support by becoming a signatory to the UNCAC on November 11, 2005, ratified on November 6th, 2009 (coincidentally November 6th is my birthday and 2009 is my daughter’s birth year).
What have our leaders, under the PUP and UDP, done since we got our independence on September 21, 1981? Basically, the complete opposite of what Singapore did, and the contrasting results are dauntingly obvious.
Our leaders were/are men who had no real vision; surrounded themselves with men based on the spoils system and nepotism instead of merit, thus creating a government and economic environment filled with nothing more than greedy, corrupt, two-bit, petty hustlers.
THE RESULTS ARE: We don’t have a functioning Public Accounts Committee or Integrity Commission, we have not completed signing on to UNCAC, thus no one in government is being held accountable and responsible for their misdeeds and illegal acts, and this has directly affected foreign direct investments where credible investors are staying reluctant and we are attracting investors that only give a few jobs and ask for all sorts of accommodation agreements securing their profits first, profits which does not stay in Belize.
Our leaders under the PUDP have borrowed and spent over 4 billion dollars, yet half of Belizeans are still living in poverty. Our health system is a shame, where we had 13 babies died in less than a week and rats are eating the rest, and no one in charge seems to care.
We have an education system that cannot properly educate our children and when they do graduate they can’t find a decent job. Violent crime, such as murder has now risen to the # 5 spot in the top 50 causes of death of Belizeans.
We keep importing more and more junk that is making us sick and killing us consecutively via heart disease, diabetes, stroke, prostate cancer… Even though we have enough arable land to feed ourselves, the Caribbean and Central America.
We don’t create anything and this is reflective by the ever growing trade deficit, when we are filthy rich with natural resources, yet all our raw resources are sold cheap and some other country add value to it and sell it at a premium price on the world market. We cannot continue this madness, people.
We cannot continue to let these petty, pathetic men with no vision, continue to govern this country, men that are nothing more than two-bit hustlers whom have robbed this country blind for the past 33 years, enriching themselves at the expense of you and your children’s future.
WHAT YOU CAN DO? Belize can do much better, and in a very short period of time. All we need is for you to vote for men and women with vision; who are not beholden to the bipartisan monstrosity that has become known as the PUDP.
Men and women whom will focus on creating the right economic policies that will give the private sector a level playing field, attract real foreign direct investment and drive industrialization, which will allow you social justice where you will experience equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities, and grow this great nation of ours the right way.
Let me tell you a little secret. Once we start growing this nation the right way, Guatemala will not be able to mess with us the way they have been, and we will ultimately eradicate their ridiculous illegal claim, without a shot fired and without any damned ICJ. It all starts with proper leadership, underpinned by merit.
WHO ARE MAKING GENIUNE EFFORTS TO GROW BELIZE WITHOUT SELLING OUT OR COMPROMISING? · Wil Maheia of the People’s National Party (PNP) and co-founder of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), have made great efforts to bring national and international awareness to our borders and thus our territorial integrity. ·
The Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) have been persistent with teaching Belizeans about corruption and its devastating effects, and have taken precedence in starting a national tour to educate Belizeans on why you shouldn’t vote to go to the ICJ, and giving options other than going to the ICJ. ·
The Belize Unity Alliance have formally joined the forces of the PNP and VIP, and soon other individuals and groups, and our goal is to be an enabling body launching a national political party, which will have true proportional representation for the people,
and putting up a formidable challenge to have seats in the House of Representative where we can make obsolete the PUDP doctrine that has caused so much harm to this nation and you, the Belizean people. Remember Conorquie.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Belize Media Group.
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