By Richard Harrison: Belize will celebrate its 36th anniversary of Independence this September 21, 2017.
The country has been governed by the PUP for 17 of those years…..and by the UDP for 18, which may reach 21 years if they serve their current 5-year term.
The pool of people with financial and economic experience and training is rather small…hence many of the same names appear in the roster of senior financial advisers and managers of the Belize economy….some having served both the PUP and the UDP.
The economy is in shambles….THE PEOPLE SENSE A HIGH LEVEL OF ECONOMIC INSECURITY….but the people of Belize do not know of any plan, based on consensus and numbers, to fix it.
Indeed, the financial gurus in the high offices pretty much huddle in dark corridors and basements….cooking up their magic…which only they know what goes into the stew.
The names that would appear at the top of the financial and economic pyramid are those who have held the high offices of Minister of Finance and of Economic Development….Personal adviser to the Prime Minister….Financial Secretary….Governor of the Central Bank…CEO’s of the Ministry of Finance and those of Economic Development.
These would be the likes of George Price, Manuel Esquivel, Said Musa and Dean Barrow, whom have served as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Each of these have structured their economic and financial teams to suit their own agenda.
Some of the names that would appear in the big league financial and economic management teams of the past 36 years would be: Ralph Fonseca, Jorge Espat, Mark Espat, Jose Coye, Erwin Contreras, Nestor Vasquez, Joseph Waight, Hugh McSweeney, Carla Barnett, Keith Arnold, Sydney Campbell, Glenn Ysaguirre, Joy Grant, Louis Zabaneh, Christoper Coye, Marion Palacio, Ian McMillan, Michael Singh, Douglas Singh, Michael Peyrifette, John Mencias, John Avery, Yvonne Hyde, Tracy Taegar Panton, Ambrose Tillett, Colin Young, Amparo Mason.
These are the people who together are responsible for having held the highest offices that managed Belize’s finances and economy from Independence until now.
Only three of these people are known to have started, own and operate legitimate businesses in Belize….most are career public servants and/or political cronies.
They all stay aloof and out of the public lime light….none of them are involved in any public/institutional discussion or debate…and appear only now and again with short scripts on the media…none of them have drafted nor presented any comprehensive plan (or portions of one) to make the Belize economy more competitive and productive…and to put Belize finances on solid and stable ground anytime soon….at least none that the public has seen and was able to dissect, analyze and critique.
But they are all very confident men and women…they must think they are doing a good job….because they stick around like furniture in those offices for many many years….and seek to regain those offices when they happen to lose them.
The one thing they all have in common is they all work for Michael the Archangel…either directly, or indirectly…..they all tremble in awe at his presence….and readily dance to any tune he chooses. Belize currently has one boss man….who pretty much directs both of the major political parties and their policies that pertain to the management of the finances and economy of the country.
After 36 years of Independence: Belize has the lowest level of literacy, the highest level of school drop outs, the highest level of unemployment, the highest level of teenage pregnancy, the highest level of poverty, the highest level of violent crimes, the lowest level of conviction and incarceration of violent criminals, the lowest level of GDP growth, the lowest level of real income growth, the highest level of corruption, the lowest level of competitiveness and productivity, the lowest level of export growth, the lowest level of investment growth, the lowest level of growth of private sector capital, the lowest level of ease of doing business, the highest cost of living, the lowest level of credibility and respect in the world, the highest rate of pimp off of Belizean assets and birthright, the lowest level of security and safety within sovereign territory.
Belize needs to hear more from these important people….their ideas and plans should be public knowledge…they should pass the test of public review, analysis and critique…they must be forced from obscurity into the light.
If Belizeans continue to allow those that manage its finances and economy to operate from dark corridors and basements….where they are their own authors, dramatists, critics, judge and cheerleaders….then people should stop complaining….because this is one of the primary things that allow for the finances and economy of Belize to be highjacked for purposes other than to serve the best interest of the people of Belize.
When your financial and economic managers cannot clearly define what is the destination….the strategies, policies and plans they recommend to get there….in black and white….with continuous monitoring and assessment to increase successes and reduce failures…then all you have is a bunch of self-serving, self-righteous and egotistic people….a far cry from the kind of leadership that Belize most urgently needs….and Belize must expect to continue in the direction of the past 36 years.
This is an invitation to all the existing and potential financial and economic gurus of Belize…..let the people hear more about your ideas and solutions for Belize’s finances and economy….in black and white….stop pretending to be all knowing and almighty….because the evidence of the last 36 years clearly shows that you are not.
If your ideas and plans cannot see the light of day….and stand up to public and peer scrutiny….then get out of the way.
Let us make it so that the best plans rise to the top and get implemented….let us put the best people in place to implement those plans.
LONG LIVE BELIZE….FREE, SOVEREIGN AND PROSPEROUS!!
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by RichardHarrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.
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