As the anniversary of our independence draws near, I always contemplate the future of Belize. Firstly, the economic future looks weak, and there is evidence of social decay.
Regardless of which party is in power, their economic policies and practices seem based on political expediencies. For example, the Super Bond of over a billion dollars is managed for the benefit of the party, not the nation, by both the PUP and UDP administrations.
There is no way we should be paying tens of millions annually, without any principal payment. We have spent over $300 million in servicing our Super Bond, but the principal has not decreased by $1. This benefits the political party in power, not the nation, because they have more money to win voters with, but in the long run, the taxpayers pay hundreds of millions.
Although this is an international practice that benefits politicians and bond holders, it is not prudent. Every successive government will increase taxes because our national debt is growing at $3.601 billion, or 93.6 % of GDP. We have a trade deficit, so debt servicing comes from taxes.
On the social front, when I walk around and see police and BDF soldiers everywhere, I know we are living in an unjust society that targets petty criminals and leaves the big fish to do as they please. Since I was born, never have we convicted a big fish who brings in the guns and drugs.
I write to help us as a nation to understand that all is not well, and that we are heading in the wrong direction. If we deny reality, we will continue down the road to ruin. This is beyond party politics. This is about moving toward inclusive development and moving away from neoliberal practices that both the PUP and UDP employ.
Our national anthem says we are the land of the free, but we are on a road to serfdom — economic slavery.
Brian E Plummer