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Jan 17, 2012

Economic comparisons on Belize and Cayman

There are many articles written about Belize internationally, some good and some not too good, and some we report on. This past Monday, the Washington Times published an article that takes a comparative look at two countries: Belize and the Cayman Islands. The writer draws parallels between the two and then draws conclusions on why Cayman is rich and Belize is poor when both are small Caribbean countries with the same climate, similar mixed cultures and both were British colonies. According to the piece by journalist, Richard Rahn, Belize should be richer since it is the bigger country; it has a much larger population and more natural resources such as gas, oil and agriculture. The Jewel is also said to have more points of interest, including the second largest barrier reef in the world and Mayan ruins. Still Cayman’s per capita income is about six times that of Belize. That, Rahn says, is because Cayman has maintained a competent and honest judicial system as well as a very low crime rate. Those factors have boosted confidence in foreign investors and tourists. It goes on to say that the regulatory environment in Cayman is largely free of corruption, which is not true in Belize. Rahn contends that the problem is one of poor governance. He writes that; “If Belize would clean up its courts, fully protect property rights and adopt the best economic practices of its competitors, it could quickly become rich.” It is also noted that the latest Index of Economic Freedom ranks Belize as the seventy-seventh most economically free country out of one hundred and seventy-nine whereas Cayman would likely be in the top ten if it were large enough to be ranked. Belize is also ranked all the way at ninety-three out of one hundred and eighty-three countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business project.

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16 Responses for “Economic comparisons on Belize and Cayman”

  1. Liberty and Freedom says:

    Unfortunately this article is completely true. Belize has the resources and work force and to become a leader in Central America and the Caribbean. Many well educated Belizeans leave the country to obtain higher salaries and better opportunities abroad. Most Belizean employers do not encourage an environment of creativity and leadership ability.

  2. babbi says:

    The scholarship of this article questionable The author make many assumption with no citations or empirical evidence. He states that Belize judiciary is corrupted and Cayman was not how can this be when both countries final appeals ended at the same court (Privy Council). if there is no corruption in Cayman island way has British Foreign & Commonwealth Office conducted several inquires into corruption in the island’s government. This why he writes for the Washington Times and not the Post

  3. I Belize it says:

    Having honest, educated and competent citizens is the key. Unfortunately in the recent survey, only 5% of Belizeans see corruption as the biggest problem facing the country. Corruption is a mindset, an attitude, a way of doing business, not just crime in the street, a disrespect, a disregard to being decent and civilized. Get used to being poorer if we don’t figure that out and correct it.

  4. BelizeanCaymanian says:

    As a Belizean living here in Cayman for the past 13yrs, I fully agree with what Richard wrote in his article. Cayman gave me so much opportunities to learn and offered me the training skills I needed to get to where I am – unfortunately that was what I was missing in Belize. Belize is so blessed in many ways and I often wondered why instead of getting better it just keeps getting worst. Invest in our young people Belize, we need to be creating opportunities for them. If we have a look at what our young people are today, we can see where will be if we continue down the same path.

    Belize will always be my home, I hold her dear in my heart. Given the factors Richard mentioned, raising a family in Cayman has become my only choice.

  5. Peter says:

    Of course he fails to point out that 1. Cayman is still a British colony. 2. It’s smaller than San Pedro in size and therefore has a minuscule infrastructure to build and maintain, and 3. The cost of living is getting to be out of reach for even middle class Caymanians, who can’t affort to own land or a house. We could experiment by focusing on San Pedro only and creating another Cayman, but then what do we do with the other 8 thousand plus square miles that needs to be developed?

  6. Sammich says:

    I’ve visited several other countries in the Eastern Caribbean (St Maarten, Grand Cayman, Turks & Caicos) and this article speaks volumes. Some of these islands import everything, they produce nothing and they still look better than Belize. They have better roads, better infrastructure, and a solid economy. Leadership and direction is what Belize sorely needs. Yes, we can point fingers and try to blame all day, but without solid leadership the country will continue to lag. I could not believe how much Belize has to offer and smaller countries are beating it out in every category. We can do so much better.

  7. Louisville,Ky says:

    In my humble opinion, I don’t think from an economic stand point Belize should be compared to Cayman. Reason number one and probably most importantly is the fact that Cayman is where all these wealthy and questionable business people hide their ill gotten gains, thus boosting the economy of that nation.
    Next thing is that because of the unfounded and illegitimate claim to Belize by Guatemala, this country has to maintain a defense force which puts tremendous strain on an already burdened economy.
    With a population of under 50 thousand and all that revenue at their disposal, it should come as a surprise to no one that that Island nation enjoys a higher standard of living than the inhabitants of the Jewel. And I can go on but I’ll just leave it at those two reasons.

  8. Still British says:

    “The writer draws parallels between the two and then draws conclusions on why Cayman is rich and Belize is poor when both are small Caribbean countries with the same climate, similar mixed cultures and “both were British colonies”.”

    The Cayman Islands are a British Dependent Territory, they are still British. Had they chosen independence they would be in very same position as Belize (and Jamaica). Investors entrust the Cayman Islands due to the British oversight of laws established there, the same cannot be said about Belize. Per example, Jamaica was as prosperous as Singapore in 1962, the very same year they became an independent Country.

    The Dependent Territory and Independent Territory comparison should also be well noted.

  9. blackberry says:

    Main reason is that Cayman control it`s immigration. One cannot enter Cayman without a return ticket and work permit is almost impossible. Try that belize.

  10. CEO says:

    I agree that the two countries may not be the best two to compare because of all the differences notwithstanding the conclusion drawn is accurate and much can be gotten from this. What the survey said even the common man on the street already know this. Even our own government does not have confidence in our local courts because every judge was a political appointment with not much oversight. Even Barrow did not want them to review the decisions of the legislative.

    If there was better governance even with all the other bagage that comes with being part of the mainland would fade. We just need better leaders and a judiciary that is truely independent of the legislators. Much needs to be done but who is willing to do it?

  11. Earl Grey says:

    THIS IS LIKE COMPARING APPLES and ORANGES…..neither here nor there…WASTE OF TIME!!!

  12. Initiate! says:

    yeah, its not the best comparison at all, and I strongly agree and see Peter’s point.

  13. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    It’s no rocket science and very obvious Belize is a dirty little corrupted country with leaders that have no shame in their behavior and thinking that they are so smart and fooling the people, the two parties are like a tag team they complain about each other but do nothing to change anything while they are in power.

  14. RedBwai says:

    Cayman vs Belize?? where is the comparison in that??…doesnt sound like a fair fight to me…Cayman is way smaller than Belize yes, they have a smaller population yes, they have more wealth than Belize economy wise yes..etc etc.. The question to ask is how and why does Cayman have this over a country like Belize?? What keeps Cayman’s economy afloat is not its tourism…but its Cayman’s economic tourism that has it in the position its in right now. Cayman is known for its offshore banking system…it has plenty of banking institutions where by many foreigners go to deposit huge sums of monies from highly questionable sources without being asked how or where those monies were derived. These depositors usually use these offshore banks as a way to evade penalties and taxes in their home countries…in orther words its a way for them to cover their tracks…paper trail wise…most of which are ill gotten gains as was mention in a previous comment. What makes it all the more enticing is that those monies are held in the Cayman’s are out of their countries jurisdiiction…so if the courts or the government freezes your assets…in your home country you have nothing really to worry about. Belize is alot of things…we are a third world country for goodness sake…we are still backwards in plenty of ways…we have to plenty to learn ofcourse…we are still a nation evolving since we gained independence…all this shouldnt keep us from aspiring to be a country like Cayman…it should rather inspire us to be even better a country than Cayman could ever be….

  15. Excuses-Schettino Style says:

    Can’t compare, APPLES and ORANGES, because comparing fruit makes no sense from any point of view, everyone knows they taste different so that is all that needs to be said.

    So let us compare Belize to Zimbabwe and Haiti to feel good. But then Luxembourg is not a British or French colony, 500,000 population, 1/8 the land, people are not worried being shot dead for no reason, being robbed when buying a pack of gum, and people make 15x more per person than a Belizean. Or the Netherlands, multi-ethnic, 2x more land, 48x more people, try Wikipedia for the rest of the stats. WHY???

    Ignorance is a waste of time, or is it that knowledge is a waste of time?
    Let’s not try to figure how to make things better.
    Criminals and corruption are the way to get ahead in life. Proven fact in Belize.

  16. Joseph says:

    After reading about government corruption, poverty, and the level of crime in Belize I am having second thoughts about relocating there. By the sounds of it I might be better off in Detroit.

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