[saymaListserv] The Troubles in Belize: What's Going On There?
jhminshall at comcast.net
Sat Apr 30 15:36:38 JEST 2005
Dear Friends, This is a followup to my cryptic
message a few days ago to please hold our Friend
Judy Lumb, and Belize, Central America, in the
Light of the Holy Spirit. Janet Minshall
Apr 28th 2005
From The Economist print edition
Why they pulled the plug on a misgoverned country
FOR much of the past fortnight, Belize, a small
English-speaking country in Central America, was
technophobe heaven. Phones, internet and cash
machines stopped working for days and power was
briefly cut after staff at BTL, the telephone
company, were locked out. The prime minister,
Said Musa, blamed saboteurs. The trade unions
blamed Mr Musa, and told him to resign. As
looters smashed shops in Belize City, a man was
killed, 27 were injured and 100 arrested. The
teachers' and civil-service unions called
strikes. Fortunately for Mr Musa, most of their
members preferred not to miss payday.
Phones were more or less working again this week.
But the respite may be brief. Belize is
struggling with a public debt as big as its GDP.
Much of it falls due this year. The country's
credit rating has plunged, so new borrowing is
onerous. After earlier strikes, the government
backtracked on austerity measures. Most Belizeans
are not keen to make sacrifices; they believe
that Mr Musa has landed the country in its
present mess. An inquiry into the Social Security
Board heard of public money lent unwisely to
The biggest problem is the phone company. Lord
Ashcroft, an Anglo-Belizean who was once
treasurer of Britain's Conservative Party, owned
a majority of its shares until 2003. After
sniping over regulation, the government bought
him out. It hoped to sell his shares to
Innovative Communication, a company based in the
US Virgin Islands. The two are now in dispute.
This month, a Miami judge slapped a $50,000 a day
contempt judgment on Belize-big money for a
country whose government's total revenue is less
than $800,000 a day. Perhaps Mr Musa might prefer
it if his people cannot talk to each other.
Copyright © 2005 The Economist Newspaper and The
Economist Group. All rights reserved.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the sayma