We need ingenuity to get out of this :Belize’s Senator Salazar

During the Senate Debate on the National budget of Belize, on 28 April 2021, Senator Aldo Salazar stated people need ingenuity, not excuses.

Belize: During the Senate Debate on the National budget of Belize, on 28 April 2021, Senator Aldo Salazar stated people need ingenuity, not excuses.

He stated, “We don’t need excuses. We need the ingenuity to get us out of this.”

He pointed out, “Speaking of maintenance of falsehoods, I must address the issue of what I call the “blame Barrow fallacy”. You would think Dean Barrow caused COVID-19, the way you guys are blaming the former Prime Minister for this.”

“Let’s take a look at it. This Prime Minister, in his budget speech, made a point that the economy was firmly in recession (or words to that effect) already in 2019 and, of course, this was the fault of Dean Barrow.”

“Well, that is NOT true. I need to remind you that in 2019, the entire global economy was in a downturn and our neighbours who we compare ourselves were also in a downturn. I don’t compare ourselves with the Central American republics because they have very different economies from ours. I prefer to compare us with tourism-dependent nations in the Caribbean which are more similar to us,” said Salazar.

On this, he further added – “And it is not me saying this, you know. This was according to a 236-page report published by the United Nations. And let me tell you what that says. This is from the Economic and Social Affairs section of the United Nations. And, in a report issued in January of 2020, which was before the pandemic took hold, it said that in 2019 the global economy recorded its lowest growth of the decade, falling to 2.3 per cent as a result of the downturn.”

“In fact, according to that same report, 2019 saw the slowest global expansion since the world financial crisis of 2018-2009.”

Salazar quote from the UN’s report: “With growth trending down in virtually all economies and flowing in all geographic areas except Africa”. If you look at our fellow Caribbean Countries, Barbados was in recession, worse than Belize. Jamaica also had an economic downturn. St Lucia has a similar size GDP as ours. They were in an economic downturn. St Vincent was in an economic downturn.”

“Grenada was in a downturn. So, when you say to me that in 2019 our economy was already in a downturn, that’s one thing if you take it in a vacuum. But when you look at the fact that this actually was a global trend, then the truth starts to emerge.”

He further added, “The other thing that is being perpetuated here is that Belize has suffered more at the hands of COVID because of Mr Barrow and the UDP. As the PM puts it in his speech, we were among five of the world’s most impacted nations, among the worst in the world at 13.3 per cent decline.”

The Caribbean Development Bank stated in a release on March 2 of this year, that on average, its 19 borrowing members saw a GDP average decline of 12.8 per cent, with the majority registering a double-digit decline in GDP as a result of the pandemic.

“Hardest hit,” and I’m quoting, “were countries with significant tourism industries, such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada and Belize,” cited Aldo.

Aldo concluded by saying, “So, you see, Belize is NOT alone. It is true that what we have before us is a dire economic picture. What is NOT true (we need to pick sense from nonsense) is that this was as a result of fiscal mismanagement, because we are in the same position as other countries in the region.”