Features — 12 August 2017 — by Neri O. Briceño
The Asian Bukut

For those who have been messaging, texting and emailing me questioning what is my issue with the Asian population in Belize and why I continue to attack them, here is my simple response. First of all, nothing that I have said and written is not factual. Two, I have said nothing racist, discriminatory or prejudicial against Asians as a people and a culture.

Let’s not confuse or muddy the issues. If you Belizeans who are so bent on defending a foreign interest would put as much effort in defending real Belizeans and the nation, the country would not be in the deplorable state it is in today. I have no problem with any race of people and would not unilaterally dislike any race or culture. As a person of Garifuna heritage, I have felt the sting of discrimination, prejudice and racism and it is something I would wish on no one. However, in case you have not realized it, hardworking, middle class Belizeans have now become third class citizens in their own country. For all purposes there is little if anything we can leave for our children and grandchildren because it has all been gobbled up by the connected, the political elite, the politicians, the corrupt businessmen and foreigners. Some, mind you not all, of the Asian community, with the help and support of our own politicians and the “blind eye” policy of their embassy, are key in making this happen.

If Belizeans do not do something and rather quickly, we will have no country left for us. My problem is with the policy of our Asian partners. Until Taiwan ceases to continue to feed corrupt after corrupt regimes in Belize with no accountability for the monies they donate, then they will be part of the problem and we must not rest until this changes.

On March 14th, 2014, the former Guatemala President, who served from 2000-2004, pleaded guilty in a New York Federal Court to money laundering conspiracy. Reuters March 18th, 2014 is quoted as saying, “US prosecutors had accused Portillo of laundering tens of millions of dollars that they said he embezzled from the Guatemalan government, including $2.5 million from Taiwan’s embassy in Guatemala intended to buy books for school libraries. Portillo said the $2.5 million wasn’t intended for libraries at all, saying instead that they were ‘illegal payments from Taiwan.’ Portillo also said ‘he received five cheques for $500,000 from Taiwan government from December 1999, just before he became president to 2002 in exchange for diplomatic recognition.’ Knowing the funds were illegal. Portillo said he agreed with others including Guatemalan bankers to carry the money to the United States and deposit it into bank accounts in Miami and Washington to conceal the source. Some of the money from Taiwan was then transferred to an account in Europe he said where it was disbursed into accounts with different financial institutions in 2005.”

If this is the way that Taiwan conducts business to secure diplomatic relationship and the extent to which they will go to have it, then ask yourself if in corrupt-ridden Belize this has never happened? With Belize having a history of politicians who will literally sell their souls for money, there is little doubt that the nation may have also been the victim of this type of behavior. Only the Taiwanese can answer that question.

Taiwan and Mainland have one thing in common and that is the preservation of their own interest. While on the one hand Taiwan will exalt the importance of their relationship with the nations that support them, the fact is that Taiwan maintains these relationships only in its importance with them. They definitely do not see these nations as equally, as is evident with the $60 million that was given to Belize versus the $650 million that was promised to our aggressive neighbour to the west and south, Guatemala. If this does not spell inequality of importance then nothing else will.

Since its inception, Taiwan has been losing allies to China from a high of 71 countries in 1969 to a low of 20 in 2017. Most of these losses have been because of promises of more financial assistance from Beijing but some have been because of the dissatisfaction that some smaller countries receive versus more developed nations. It is no secret that Panama and Guatemala are bigger gems in Taipei’s crown than is Belize. With Panama’s recent departure, Guatemala is now the largest, most populated and most internationally influential nation in their sphere. Now consider this: the US, our own mother country, and now Taiwan, a country that desperately needs our support, considers Guatemala more important than us. Still think Belize is doing a fine jobs with its foreign affairs? Chew on that, Belize.

It’s all about the people!!!!

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