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Creating an Environment for Investor Confidence

Creating an Environment for Investor Confidence
February 02
08:21 2019

By Nefretery Marin

Foreign investment is a vital source of external capital for our Country; especially in these times of economic struggles and insecurities.

Like I have said before – Belize has very good potential. We are strategically located for trade & commerce not just in Latin America and the Caribbean but also to the United States and the world.

Our language and natural resources are extremely attractive to investors.

Investors are watching us in hopes that we can carve the corruption out and start expanding on industrial production incentives and rebuild our investors’ confidence.

This is where Belize’s regulatory framework should come into play, and where the role our politicians play as policymakers is crucial for our economic survival.

Our leaders must have a plan for how to unlock the supply of finances from both institutional and industrial investors. Our embassies and consulates must play their part in facilitating these investors through innovative and informative events hosted at their embassies abroad; encouraging bilateral and multilateral partnerships around the world.

Attracting investment, however, is only the beginning of this effort: sustainable investment depends as much on the quality & quantity of investment proposed as on the legality and clean intentions of the investment. Policymakers must plan benefits for our people through employment, growth of domestic enterprises and industries, education exchange and technology transfer.

Because of recent mismanagement and conflicting interests involved with certain investments that would have otherwise been excellent examples of such – Belize has a lot of fires to put out and making up to do before we can regain investor confidence.

The whole Ashcroft mega-scandal could have been avoided if it were not so politically charged and if attorneys and politicians from both major political parties had not super-charged their interests. In all Ashcroft’s investments in Belize, he used political muscle and we, being kept in the dark, unknowingly allowed it by keeping these politicians in office.

Belize’s entire future is now darkened with paybacks, fines and court fees and it continues to be a black eye for Belize as far as potential investors go. In this instance, we must bring Ashcroft back to the table to renegotiate his interest and his future in our country. At this point we must understand that the leaders we elected have married us all to this gentleman, and as love affairs go, we need each other and must negotiate from that solid marital ground.

Another such scandal and indeed injustice, happened with the Sanctuary Belize fiasco. Because of very high-ranking political involvement and blatant conflict of interest through political favours and recommended law firms to well-intentioned innocent investors, people were hurt.

These investors from Sanctuary Belize fell in love with our country and wanted to make the jewel their home. They lost their life savings for a Belizean dream that was never realized.

These are wrongs that affect people’s lives and their families; wrongs that must be righted as soon as we can take the corrupt politicians out of the equation of our future and usher in better leadership under a brand-new Government.

Like these two examples, there are many other attempts at investments that went very wrong because of political kickbacks, bribes, interference, conflict of interest and what’s worse, political manipulation of our judicial system.

The danger with not charting a new path, is that we will remain with a stagnant economy, low wages for our people but very high wages for politicians, lack of jobs, a criminal and corrupt environment, pitiful health care, low standard education and worse, a risky national security platform; all these ills have been keeping good investors at bay.

We must all do our part to change our country. The best service we can do for Belize and its people is to hold fast to our integrity, stand up for what is right, and STOP repeat offenders by not re-electing any of them.

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