Monday, January 26, 2009

UDP holds convention to present slate

On Saturday night, hundreds gathered at Central Park for the unveiling of the United Democratic Party's plan of action for Belize Rural South. Along with the seven candidates, present were Prime Minister Honorable Dean Barrow, Area Representative for Port Loyola 'Boots' Martinez and Area Representative for Belmopan, John Zaldivar. Flanked by PM Dean Barrow are Elsa Paz and her six councilor candidates
PM Barrow takes the podium to address the crowd

Candidate Nano Guerrero makes his speech

The UDP 7 plan to 'keep progress alive'
Hundreds of supporters showed up. Super Furia was on hand and provided live music whilst the congregate took advantage of the $2 beer that was on sale. Read more on this in Thursdays edition of The San Pedro Sun.

MORE local news......

Jill Holly performs in Benefit Concert for Holy Cross

A well known international American artist performed during a fundraiser event at Wet Willy’s on Friday night. The event was conducted to assist the San Pedro Holy Cross Anglican School.
The fundraiser feature musical presentation from internationally known female musical artist Jill Holly from US. Jilly Holly is famous for her folk-rock songs and is renowned songwriter. During each presentation there were many raffles and prizes. Read more on this story in Thursday's edition of The San Pedro Sun!

Prime Minister Dean Barrow presents plan

“In approaching this first press conference for 2009, it was necessary to reiterate a message of hope and a plan of action. I thought this would provide an excellent forum to be made use of, to announce the $5 million dollar immediate Belize City plan and the contours of the fiscal spending - the public sector investment package that we have been able to secure from our external partners, which will provide the stimulus that is necessary.”

Held at the Radisson Fort George, Honorable Dean Barrow presented his quarterly press conference. Referring to the great economist, John Maynard Keynes who preached a doctrine that suggested you avoid or deal with a recession by running deficits and borrowing when the economy slows, because private sector investment just won’t be enough, Honorable Barrow commented, “We’re all Keynesians now,” quoting former US president Richard Nixon.
“In order to get us through the externally imposed constraints, we can and certainly will borrow ‘concessionally’ from the international financial institutions,” he said.

The financing is made up of:

(1) $60 million already approved by the Inter-American Development Bank, CABEI (Central American Bank for Economic Integration) and OFID (OPEC Fund for International Development) for tourism and solid waste management projects;

(2) $30 million from the Caribbean Development Bank - $20 million for the revived Development Finance Corporation and $10 million for the Belama drainage project and the improvement of the Northern Highway, from Belize City to Haulover, which is to be transformed into a 4-lane highway. Barrow said GOB would try to persuade the Social Security Board to lend DFC more funds, in the region of $10 million;

(3) $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank for infrastructure rehabilitation on the Western Highway, at places like Mile 8 and 11 which experienced major flood damage;

(4) $30 million from the World Bank, which has revived lending to Belize, Barrow said, due to GOB’s good housekeeping seal of approval – funds for 6 municipalities, $5 million each, primarily for streets, drains, landscaping. Those funds won’t be available until around the third quarter of the year, said Barrow.

(5) $20 million grant from the European Union for road infrastructure in the north of the country;

(6) $20 million from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund, chartered by Trinidad & Tobago president, Patrick Manning;

(7) $10 million, without conditionality, from the International Monetary Fund, for balance of payments support as a consequence of flood damage; and

(8) $10 million from the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI) for the Social Investment Fund and the BNTU.

“That then is our version of the stimulus package that, of course, so very many countries in the world are resorting to,” said the Prime Minister. “This will increase employment, pump money into the economy, and create the rising tide designed to float all boats, even at a time of recession.”

Westernhaven damage assessment completed

Westerhaven cargo ship crashed into Belize’s reef two weeks ago and our colleagues at 7NEWS has been reliably informed this evening that the ports navigational investigation on the grounding of Wsterhaven is complete. The determination finds that the ship and its captain Fritz Schroeder were negligent, and as such, activates section 29 of the Environmental Act which would allow the department of environment to charge the ship’s owner – three (3) times the damage.
In this case that’s roughly $30 million multiplied by three which amounts to $90 million. Of course that is what the law says but more than likely – a settlement will be worked out with the ship’s owner.
The Department of Environment and the Fisheries Department are still tallying the true damage and we are told the Department of Environment is finished with its assessment. A final figure should be decided upon by today.

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European Union parliament studies Economic Partnership Agreement

A committee of the European Parliament has started deliberations on the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, between the Europe Union, EU and the Caribbean.
The liberalised trade deal was signed last year amid much recrimination in the Caribbean.
In his draft report on the EU-Caribbean agreement, the Scottish Member of the European Parliament, David Martin, stated that he saw no reason why the EPA would not work.
But he highlighted the need for a critical assessment after five years if it is not working.

Chavez signals to Obama

The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has welcomed suggestions that the new US administration now headed by President Barrack Obama might be ready for better relations. But President Chavez stated Washington must make the first move. In a newspaper article, President Chavez stated that the US would be greeted with open arms if it was the first to unclench its fist.
In his inaugural address, President Obama said his administration would be prepared to extend a hand to America's antagonists around the world if they were prepared to open their fists.