Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019. 2:23 p.m. CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.
By Richard Harrison: In 2017, Belize sent out US$200 million in remittances….and received US$90 million.
Of the US$200 million sent out….US$125 million was sent to Guatemala.
This is around US$312 per Belize citizen per year.
Guatemala remittances to Belize that year was US$0.9 million
A Guatemalan needs US$700 annually to meet minimal food and non-food requirements above poverty line.
Therefore 178,500 Guatemalans can live from the remittances received from Belize.
By comparison, they received US$9,287 million from the USA, or US$28 per US citizen per year.
In 2017, Guatemala’s military budget was US$262 million….therefore, Belize’s remittances account for around 50%.
The government of Guatemala’s budget for San Carlos University is around US$53.3 million…so our annual remittances can finance this premier university for 2.35 years.
The Guatemala government budget for Peten department is around US$30 million per year. Hence, Belize’s annual remittances…which mostly goes to the Peten region…is more than 400% of what their own government budgets for them.
Crecer Sano is the government of Guatemala’s answer to chronic malnutrition in kids under 24 months old…which is as high as 61% among indigenous people…in 7 departments most affected by this aspect of poverty…one of the highest in the world. They have budgeted US$100 million over 5 years…or US$20 million per year. Thus, the annual remittances from Belize can expand the reach of this poverty alleviating project by more than 600%.
Assad Shoman, the chief architect of the ICJ adventure…has been trying to sell the idea that there would be a “peace dividend”….giving not a single specific example….and his disciples have been stomping the campaign battlefield arguing that Belize “stands to gain….economic benefits…”.
Yet…none of the “yes to ICJ” campaigners can identify a single investor who is banging on Belize’s door, ready to rush in as soon as we agree to go to the ICJ. Indeed, some who are already invested here have voiced that they would leave if we were to lose to Guatemala.
The reality is that Belizeans are being fed only a narrow set of mostly legal arguments…in saturation advertising, indoctrination-propaganda styled “education” marketing campaign….with not enough information and debate on the economic, historical, geo-political, technical, human rights, social, cultural, environmental, geographical and other dimensions of the Guatemala claim over Belize.
The result is that the vast majority of Belizeans feel that they are not sufficiently informed…indeed confused…and thus not ready for such a big and irreversible decision on the April 10, 2019 date currently set for the referendum on whether Belizeans agree to submit the dispute to the ICJ.
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