BELMOPAN, Belize – Belize prime minister, Dean Barrow, insists the promises made by members of the G20 group of nations have not been fulfilled.
Speaking at an official ceremony to mark his country’s independence celebrations, this week, Barrow claimed: “We heard encouraging rhetoric from the G20 earlier this year. But their promised assistance to small countries has turned out to be somewhat of a Barmecide feast. The new money that was to help us overcome the crisis, that was to come our way via the regional development banks, has not materialized.”
The prime minister added that in reflecting in the years since the country’s independence on September 21, 1981, Belize continues to face a serious setback due to a combination of world circumstances, natural disasters and “the legacy from insane commercial borrowing and corrupt political spending, has resulted now in national problems of unprecedented scale and circumference.”
He added that the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on the country’s government revenues, on tourism, on construction, on commerce, on agriculture add to the country’s poor economic state.
However, the Belizean leader said that there is some hope since there are great strides being made in the field of education; the new investments in teacher training and the certificate course in primary education to upgrade classroom pedagogical skills. He also referred to the subsidy program to first and second form students, and the quantum increase in school places all over the country, but especially in the impoverished south.
Prime Minister Barrow also received a loud applause when he announced that a new Fiscal Transparency Law will be introduced which will make provisions for stiff penalties and jail time for politicians and public officers caught trying to make off with the people’s money. “As we have recently demonstrated, this government will go to all lengths to improve our corruption-fighting infrastructure and pursue official wrongdoers,” he added.