Archive for April, 2007

Public Debates About the UHS Guarantee: Opposition’s Point of View

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

The Prime Minister of Seychelles, Hon. Said Musa, provided an unlimited guarantee to the Belize Bank, for settling the $33 million debt of Universal Health Services (UHS). On this matter, political disputes are continuing between the ruling party (PUP), and the opposition (UDP). We will touch upon the position of UDP, whose leader, Hon. Dean Barrow, expressed his opinion about the case during a press conference on Monday, April 23. He exposed certain dubious aspects of the Belize Bank/UHS guarantee.

First of all, there was considerable public debate about the existence of such a guarantee, and the Government considered it too sensitive for public disclosure. The document was signed by Said Musa and witnessed by Francis Fonseca. The Financial Secretary Dr. Carla Barnett and Health Minister Jose Coye had publicly stated that they were not aware of or had not seen the document. Also, the guarantee is open-ended, meaning that the Government would take responsibility for any amount of debt of UHS.

Senator Godwin Hulse, who represents the private sector, visited Belmopan to take a look at the document. After gettting acquainted with it, he said that Belizean people must prevent their Government from paying that bill for Universal Health Services. After viewing the document, Senator Hulse particularly expressed his concern on clauses 3,9,10 and 16.

According to the opposition representatives, the Government cannot close the deal with the Belize Bank, without receiving legislative approval from the National Assembly for the guarantee and any debt payments. Senator Hulse points to the Constitution, according to which the National Assembly approval is required for the amounts to be spent from the public funds (the Consolidated Revenue Fund).

The ruling People’s United Party’s members are usually solidary in their position, however, in this case one member has already publicly claimed that he does not support any decision from Government to pay that private debt.

Investing in Property. Why in Belize?

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

It is not a secret that many Americans are increasingly interested in retiring to Belize. However, Belize attracts also lots of potential investors.

What does make Belize seem attractive to them?

First of all, it is the stability of the property market in Belize conditioned by the stability of the economy in Belize. The stability of the Belizean currency, which is linked to the USD, and of the political climate is also worth mentioning.

Another reason that makes investing in Belize appealing is taxation that encourages international business and investment into the country. Belize regulates the offshore financial services industry well.

Belize has become a massive tourist centre. The numbers of tourist visits to Belize are growing. It is also important that it is quite easily accessible from North America, Western Europe. Some also like about Belize the fact that many American celebrities have homes in this jurisdiction.

However, when talking about investing in property in Belize, property availability is definitely to be taken into consideration. Property in Belize specifically for investment purposes provides a vast choice for investors.

Property investment opportunities in Belize are numerous – they include residential retirement developments, commercial ventures such as hotel and resort facilities, off plan holiday home and residential property purchase, etc.

So, Belize’s real estate market is full of potential for investors from all over the world.

Government tightens Export Processing Zone Programme

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Belize implemented the Export Processing Zone Programme granting an international company Export Processing Zone status.

The Ministry of National Development and Culture signed an agreement with the investment company Pinnacle BST. In accordance with the agreement, this company gets Export Processing Zone status, which will allow Pinnacle BST to establish Information and Communications Technology operations in Belize.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Development and Culture, Hugh O’Brien said that the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Programme is implemented by Belize in order to attract foreign investments to other countries so that the investors will be given tax exemption privileges but Belize will have major benefits related to direct foreign investment, foreign exchange programme and employment.

O’Brien highlighted the terms agreed by the Government of Belize and Pinnacle BST that are constant with all EPZ companies. He noted that the agreement tightens up certain conditions, for example, makes specific reference of the employment of Belizeans. O’Brien also added that the Government will continue to strengthen the program in order to reduce the loop-holes and to ensure maximum benefits to the country.

BTL launches new Service for DigiCell Customers

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

The leading provider of communication services in Belize providing advanced and innovative telecommunication solutions for Wireline, Wireless and High-Speed Data Services, Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL), has already been discussed regarding the contract BTL signed with Lucent.

On March 15, 2007, the monopoly operator in Belize having about 155 000 subscribers announced its plans to launch its SMS to Email service.

This service is the 1st of its kind in the country. SMS to Email service will let all DigiCell customers to send text messages to any Email address worldwide – including yahoo.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc. To access this innovative service, DigiCell customers will be required to send messages to 610-MAIL (610-6245). Customers sending SMS to E-mail will pay only the standard SMS charge.