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Jul 20, 2011

Chamber says it intends to work with government

By a vote of sixty-one to thirty, the Belize Chamber of Commerce ratified a resolution on Friday July fifteenth calling on government to respect the rule of law and that in respect of compulsory acquisitions; persons must be quickly and adequately compensated. That resolution was hastily rejected by the Prime Minister.  With uncharacteristic brevity, the PM responded on Tuesday that if the concerns were a pre-condition for the Chamber to work together then “we have a problem.” Well, less than twenty-four hours after the PM’s response, the Chamber sent out another missive, this time clarifying that it did not lay down any conditions and that in fact it has always sought to work  “hand‐in‐hand” with the Government. It clarifies that the business community clamored for proper adherence to the rule of law based on the judgment issued by the court and the specific actions taken afterwards by the government as well as its handling of the acquisition of the Belize Electricity Limited (B.E.L.). Says the release: “These three acquisitions in two years have far reaching implications for the investment climate. Therefore, even though the Government sees these actions as nationalistic, investors see a climate filled with doubt, instability, and uncertainty and therefore require reassurance that the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in our nation’s Constitution will remain in place.” We also note that Nomura, a global investment banking and securities firm, has also been following the acquisitions of Telemedia and B.E.L. In its July report, Nomura points out that government’s recent moves are not positive since a small country like Belize, needs all the private (local and foreign) investment it can get and that a more transparent and friendly investment climate is crucial for such an endeavor. The reports advices that the Barrow administration should release an explicit declaration of principles explaining how it plans to address the nationalization issue going forward. It says “that further uncertainty about its plans may have a damping effect on private investment in Belize. Since the resolution comes from the primary advocate for Belize’s private sector, we think the government should give it proper attention. A failure to do this would not only be myopic, but plain counterproductive.”

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7 Responses for “Chamber says it intends to work with government”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    I hope the Chamber is not feeling intimidated by Barrow. If you do , then just think about about all the businesses that have failed and how the economy has remained in its depressed state and making nice with a dictator is anathema to capitalistic democracy. Remember dictatorships are ephemeral. So the lesson to the Chamber stay strong in your committments to the business community and to the people.

  2. confused says:

    If I was the leader of any country and I am approached by foreign investors, I would send them to the private sector. Do not come to me asking for special guarantees so that you can invest. If you want to invest, then invest at your own risks. If you are too timid to do that, then simply go elsewhere. In that case you do not meddle with government in the first place and government dont meddle with you afterwards. Strictly private sector to private sector. Only interaction with government is to PAY YOUR TAXES.

  3. Justice says:

    They have no choice otherwise they will be victimised.

  4. baan-ya says:

    What the PM is saying is – “The Government runs the country, not the merchants’! It’s as simple as that! Do you think the Chamber is concerned about the common on the street? The reality is that for years and from the beginning of Bzn history, the business community (merchants) have always dictated what happens in Belize. Why do you think Bz is so unproductive. Most of what we consume is imported and the merchants keep cashing in. Things are slowly changing!

  5. Roy Yates says:

    Confused, excuse me, you are confused. I’m involve with placing investment packages to Asset Managers and Wealth Management groups, so i do have some experience and insight when it come to cross boarder investment. Any investor that is worth his/her salt, look seriously at the laws of the country that are contemplated for investment. Many governments give concession to investors to attract their investment. Panama down the coast give twenty five years tax break on real estate developments, and they are attracting billions of dollars, Don’t take my word for it, go there and see the mega high rize buildings that are been built.

    Someone took me to task the other day when I stated on this forum, that I know of a potential One Billion dollars that was seriously considered for investments in Belize, that is now on ice as a direct result of the fiasco with Barrow’s take over of two companies. Its not that he nationalize them, but how he did it. One of the key components when it come to foreign investments, is the repatriation of at least the capital investment. In this regard Belize is handicap because of low foreign reserve, but there are ways to overcome such handicap by implimenting certain hedge contract. When the autmophere is pleasant for negotiation what seem to be impossible is swept away and result in possibility.

    Further, why is the Belize government affraid to open up to real investment banking industry? The government is acting like a bad jockey on a good horse that he is affraid let go and mixing it up on the track for good position. Too many inexperience and petty minds incharge of running the country. LIVE TO LEARN AND LEARN TO LIVE FOLKS.

  6. confused says:

    I stand by my comment. High rise buildings do not feed the poor nor educate the illiterate. In these so called developed countries the gap between the filthy rich and the very poor is growing exponentially. Simply speaking- trickle down economy DOES NOT WORK. You want proof? Look at your once might neighbour to the north. How much of that tax cut to the very wealthy trickle down to the poor in U.S.?

  7. Roy Yates says:

    Confused, You are a typical Belizean that is stuck in one gear. Ask any Economist what would be the economic effect if Three hundred million USD would be infused into the Belize economy? Knowledge is power, Case in point, when Royal Bank of Canada closed down in Belize the bank Charter was practically given away. The person that got it did not know what to do with it, and so Lord Ashcroft took it over, knowing how valuable an old grandfather banking charter is, and the rest is history. He did the same thing with the old telephone company, and from what I’ve read, he had turn the phone company into one of the best in the region. Now there is the big fight over taking over the company. If Borrow and the people around him knew what to do in the real financial arena, he could raise the funds to buy out the company in a professional manner. Where there is no knowledge the people perish; as stated in the Bible.

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