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Jun 23, 2011

Prime Minister says Chamber of Commerce is narrow-minded

Dean Barrow

Negotiations with Mexico’s CFE will now take place under the auspices of Sir Manuel Esquivel to solve the energy crisis. But the local clash with the government and the Belize Chamber of Commerce continues to boil over. On Tuesday, the Chamber spoke out against the B.E.L. expropriation and on Wednesday, the government sounded off with its own fiery response to the Chamber. On his return, Barrow addressed the issues of foreign investor confidence and described the Chamber as narrow, inflexible, and driven by rank naked ideology.

Jose Sanchez

“The only criticism I’ve heard so far internationally is Standard and Poors saying perhaps we would be downgraded, conservative group called the Heritage Foundation giving similar comments and locally, of course, the Chamber of Commerce.”

Dean Barrow

“Well in terms of standard and poor’s, at least they are cautious saying only that a downgrade may occur.  We wouldn’t like that but basically the Standard and Poor’s ratings are cosmetic more than anything. When a country’s rating is downgraded, what it means is that if you are borrowing by way of bonds on the international commercial markets, then your borrowing  costs go up. We don’t borrow commercially, we only borrow multilaterally. So Standard and Poors, really and their rating is of no practical consequence. I’m saying that we really still would not want to see that happen but it will make no material difference at all if that does happen. The Heritage Foundation as you’ve said is a very, very conservative organization. I haven’t seen exactly what it is that they have said but I wouldn’t worry about that too much either. In terms of the Chamber of Commerce, I do worry because I believe that the Chamber of Commerce is being extremely narrow, extremely inflexible, extremely ideological. The sense I get from reading their release is that for them a nationalization can never be justified, a nationalization can never be proper. Well as business people with a modicum of sophistication and sense, they ought to know better. Our very laws provide for compulsory acquisition with respect to land. And all over the world, in any western style democracy, the concept of eminent domain, the concept of overriding and national interests; all these things make clear that the state employs as a legitimate policy tool, accepted—this whole question of nationalization or compulsory acquisition; once the public interest justifies it. The Chambers doesn’t seem to be quarreling so much because it is saying it doesn’t think the national interest justifies it; it seems to be saying that you simply are never entitled to compulsory acquire. That is, as I said, extremely narrow, extremely shallow. When they go of, in the way they have, the very investment climate that they say they are so concerned about is hurt more by their rant, by their outpourings than by anything else. And so I for one am extremely disappointed at the tact that they have taken. But the bottom-line is; I believe that the people of this country in the vast majority support what we did, recognize that this was a case of having to act to avoid a situation of imminent blackouts. That’s enough for me; there is never any way that you can please one hundred percent of the population. While the Chamber is an important group, I think the Chamber has been wrong footed terribly in this issue. It is very much in a minority. And I think, just like me, the people are beginning to wonder at this seeming inability on the part of the Chamber to be balanced, to recognize the complexity of situations and the seeming inability to be driven by anything other than rank naked ideology.”

We’ll have the Chamber’s views on the mudslinging later in the newscast.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “Prime Minister says Chamber of Commerce is narrow-minded”

  1. Belizean Public says:

    Barrow talking real sense!

  2. I Have Awaken says:

    I watched, I believe late last week or earlier this week, Mose Hyde’s interview with Dean Barrow (he does not command the respect of Prime Minister anymore, sorry) and this man scoffs at just about everything, he is comfortable with everything, and everyone is narrow minded and wrong, in his mind. What a condescending, pompous human being; Barrow seems to be a smart person, however he does not seem to be a scholar of history, for that high horse will throw him so hard, in the near future, that he will scurry in a hole like a scared, manged dog. Dean Barrow, don’t be afraid, make sure you consume as much material things as you can, for very shortly those material things will consume you.

  3. crazy says:

    Thats why belizeans suffer. Not beacuse he can talk well and give a good speech makes him a great individual. it is obvious that he is seeking for his own interest. Who in Belize know how to run a company like BEL? No one. FORTIS and their board tells Belize what to do and someone follow on through. My point is that belize is in a world of trouble and like always the people will suffer it through and eat the cost.

  4. EMS says:

    Unfortunately, it is very sad that most of the average Belizeans, do not have a clue of the arrogance and play on the ignorance of the populace that PM Barrow pulled off coupled with global economical consequences and negative financial ramifications the GOB will have to deal with for the forcibly expropriation of BEL, which was hastily conducted in a shroud of secrecy by PM Barrow and his cabinet of yes men. The negative economical implications will affect every tax paying citizen of the jewel, in the long run and not a single Belizean will benefit from this except PM Barrow’s cronies, and political lackeys. In short rates will not go down and services will not increase an iota. IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES.

  5. Fairman says:

    As much as I want the rates to go down, I don’t see how that could happen right now with the huge debts by spiteful Fortis. The people out here know what is happening. Present Belize is not like the past when one can just print a fancy but false propaganda and people just believe it because there is no other source of information.
    Only when you allow the big sharks to swallow all your fish that you suffer the painful consequences. If we the people continue to look out for our best interest, we can survive.
    Yes, PM Barrow uses the English language very well but we don’t look at that, we look at what he is doing for Belize. If he has a secret plan that will negatively affect the people through BEL, he will go just like Fortis. Secrets do not remain secrets forever, especially with the economy.

  6. javier solis says:

    I agree with the PM: the chamber serves no useful purpose than to talk and talk. You can see the arrogance on their faces when they proffer an opinion. Did they suggest a solution? What if we had faced the defaults and gone into complete blackouts? How would that have affected their import/export sector? They should be investing the millions they have hoarded while the country suffers. Demagogues!!

  7. Roy Yates says:

    Javier solis, here you go again with your limited sound bight. Its people like you with so little knowledge that causes this man to get away with the foolishness that he has been dong to the country. Answer this question for me Javier: Why did Mr. Barrow waited until he took over BEL before he asked the Mexican for grace period and higer credit cealing? One of the best way to control when not by sound reasoning, is by fear. Javier, find out how much money Belizeans spend in Chetumal yearly, and see if you can put that in Diplomatic context when it come to Mr Borrow slight of hands that he just pulled off.

  8. Lucas Black says:

    “S&P’s ratings are cosmetic”. Is he for real??!!! We borrow “multilaterally”. When the debt becomes overwhelming, the multilateral agencies will set conditions we will be unable to bear!!! Ask Greece! An S&P ratings carries far more weight than anything Barrow could ever say. Who will pay for this massive debt incurred?? The least painful option, sad to say, was to take the inevitable raise in electricity rates. Now we will end up with both rising electricity rates and higher taxes!!! And where the hell were the regulators?? They have BEL’s audited financials. They should have seen this coming a long time ago!
    We in Belize, need to read things for ourselves rather than constantly soak up b.s.!!

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