BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 15, 2017–Data from countryeconomy.com revealed that in 2015, Belize had received US $74.6 million in remittances from the United States.
Remittances refer to money received in payment for goods or services, or monies simply sent by friends and family members from one country to another.
Guatemala remittances to Belize amounted to less than a million dollars
While the United States had sent the most in remittances to Belize, they were seconded by Canada, with approximately US $3.2 million and then Mexico with around US $3.0 million.
Next in line was Guatemala, which accounted for around US $0.9 million in remittances to Belize.
Astoundingly, however, remittances from Belize to Guatemala was almost US $100 million.
In 2015, Belize sent a whopping US $95.3 million to Guatemala, while that country continues to have an unfounded claim to our territory.
Guatemala was seconded by El Salvador, which received remittances of only $US 22.8 million.
In third place was Honduras, which accounted for US $16.9 million and then Mexico at $8.6 million.
The total remittances Belize had received was approximately US $84.7 million, while it sent almost double that amount, or US $161.4 million abroad.
When we spoke to economist and co-host of the KREM Sunday Review, Bill Lindo, he told us that Belize was the only country in the world to send more remittances than it received.
According to him, that deficit adversely affects our foreign exchange reserves. He claimed that one reason why Guatemala received the most remittances from Belize is that Guatemalans officially accounted for 11,590 of the 163,000 persons in the labor force.
However, he noted that this number falls far short of the actual number of Guatemalan workers in Belize and revealed that, according to unofficial data, there really were approximately 36,000 Guatemalans in the Belize labor force.
Those Guatemalans, he claimed, work predominantly in the agriculture sector at cheaper rates, reducing the employment prospects for locals.
Another reason why Guatemala received the most remittances from Belize was because they remain our second largest trading partner.
Products sold in Belize are largely imported from the United States, with Guatemala being our second largest source of imports. In relation to Guatemala’s unfounded claim, Bill told our newspaper that the Guatemalan government doesn’t need to invade our land; they have already strategically positioned themselves to impact our markets.
According to him, the remittances sent to Guatemala represent legal money passing through the banks. However, he claims that illegally gained money is also being sent to our neighbors to the west and south.
According to Lindo, this is a problem that may never go away.
Since this 2015 report, countryeconomy.com has not published any more data. Countryeconomy.com is a western-based financial agency that provides macroeconomic data of as many countries as possible. We have been told locally that their data is aligned with data provided by the US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website.