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Belize~ The $90 Million Land Tax heist

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019. 10:12 am 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: The stroke of a politicians pen in Belize can make you or break you!

All investors in Belize are at the mercy of the broad discretionary powers of the politicos….they get to choose the winners and losers in the economy….such that advancement here has nothing to do with merit, ability and integrity; as prescribed in the much trampled National Constitution.

The decision of the Government of Belize (GOB) to write off $90 million in land taxes will mostly benefit large land holders.

The GOB reports that they collect only around $5 million per year in property taxes…hence $90 million accounts for 18 years of delinquency.

The GOB is known to chase down and harrass small debtors…but these big land holders are pampered and 18 years after, their debt is forgiven!

FAO claims that Belize total land mass is 2,275,353 hectares (5,620,121 acres)…..with 1,434,119 hectares (63.36%) owned by government….and 841,234 hectares (36.64%) owned privately. ~ Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010).

It is estimated that around 3,500 persons own 90% of the privately held lands…many of them absentee land owners.

This now common practice by the GOB is setting precedence…such that all debtors to the GOB can choose to remain delinquent for long periods…and by law, through LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION, defend their delinquency and even demand forgiveness in a court of law.

Common practice creates legitimacy…

This is the law of NATURAL JUSTICE….and no tax subject is superior to another in the eyes of the law.

In the face of this obvious misuse and abuse of ministerial discretionary power…one must ask: why did the GOB not decide to take back lands in liu of taxes owed? and distribute it among our youth and needy?

The public media needs to push their cameras and microphones into the faces of these status quo lap dogs and force them to explain how this $90 million HEIST serves “the best interest of Belize and Belizeans”?

If they cannot satisfactorily explain this, then they MUST cease and desist from proceeding with this daylight robbery!

This forgiving of $90 million land tax only serves to encourage speculative land holders…who have held these lands for many decades, mostly with little or no development….even though the laws of Belize require a development plan for holdings over 100 acres…which if breached, entitles GOB to regain title to those lands. This law has been used many times to “punish” small land holders who are not in favor with the politicos.

If the lands are exaggeratedly valued at $5,000 per acre….this $90 million could make 18,000 acres available for new owners….who would now be able to collateralize around $70 million of new investments…a spin off in the economy that could generate new wealth and growth…with broader distribution.

The young people of Belize, especially, needs to “punish” those politicians who make these kinds of decisions that favor 3,500 “not normal” folks over them.

All voters of Belize who do not own their piece of the Jewel MUST be determined to remove those politicos who are only interested in enhancing their personal elbow rubbing relations with the status quo establishment…and have no interest in the development of Belize and Belizeans.

All those voters who own a piece of the Jewel but are not getting their land tax forgiven needs to use the next election polls like a sharp anti-corruption machete….to cut all these “lambe culos” from office…and replace them with upright citizens who would be committed to urgently implement the BNTU/GOB agreement for UNCAC CICIB to become operational in the short term.

Land is wealth! Belize is wealthy!

The New Belize should have Zero tolerance for Corruption and Poverty!

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