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Apr 25, 2012

Economic History of Belize; From 17th Century to Post-Independence

As part of book week activities, an important piece of literature was launched today. It’s “The Economic History of Belize; From the Seventeenth Century to Post-Independence” authored by Victor and Barbara Bulmer-Thomas. The book takes an in dept look at Belize’s economical development over three and half centuries and offers and understanding of the failures and successes that brought the country to where it is today. While it features extensive research and analysis, the book is not written only for economists, it is easy to understand. Authors, Victor and Barbara, were not present for this morning’s launch which was hosted by the Belize Book Industry Association. But Nigel Encalada, the Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Research, which supports the BBIA, gave News Five a preview of what The Economic History of Belize is all about. 


Nigel Encalada, Director, Institute of Social and Cultural Research

Nigel Encalada

“I don’t think there’s a more important book that has been published in Belize in recent times. The Economic History of Belize looks at the historical context for Belize’s economic development, rise and fall, if you want to use that concept. Of course, most people would know about the logwood industry, the mahogany industry, but it also looks at some of the other key developments that occurred. For example, Belize becoming an entrepot, meaning a place for the import and re-export of goods into the region. At that time, Belize was extremely successful. Then it sights after the depression, the fall that occurred form the depression. It then looks at—from there it moves on to the nationalist period, efforts to diversify the Belizean economy and then looks at the period after independence and looks at some of what the authors explain to be some of the failures in light of challenges for economic development, given the fact that we were now an independent nation. But from an analytical standpoint, the problems that existed during the colonial period still exist today, even in terms of the structures that govern our country; the world structures where there’s a lack of human and technical resource, we are still subjected to the importation of that technical skill. So then it raises issues in our education system, it raises issues of whether there is a comprehensive strategic plan for Belize’s economic development. One of the other issues, and I think the book opens with the whole thing of our very identity. The writer talks about through the process of elimination and deduction, they derive and conclude that the name Belize was originally a Mayan name. Now this has been addressed on several occasions by other persons. But two things come to mind; one, if the Peter Wallace story wasn’t true, then that was one hell of a story. But subsequent to that, what it does is that now it will for historians to dig further in light of what Barbara and Victor Bulmer-Thomas have uncovered or deduced to confirm or challenge that conclusion that they have made.”


The book, which was published by Cubola Productions, was on sale at the launch for twenty-four dollars each and will be available at all major book stores by the end of the week. Encalada recommends it to anyone from high school and up.

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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