Best Possible News From Belize
Two interesting pieces of news from my trip to Belize to host last week’s conference in Belize City.
The first one is exciting for anyone who spends time on the Belize mainland. The roads are being improved… well, at least the road from the airport to the city.
In addition, a bypass has been built just before you reach the city making it possible to access the Western Highway without having to brave city traffic.
Of course, Belize City traffic is nothing like, say, Panama City traffic. Still, a shortcut is a shortcut, and, traveling in Belize last week, I appreciated this one.
Road funding is also said to be in place or coming for improvements to the Hummingbird Highway.
Now if they could find the funds to pave the coastal highway, that would be really good news, as it would cut the drive time from the airport to the south of the country by at least an hour.
The road is so bad that rental car agencies in the country tell you not to drive it in one of their cars. If you do and you get stuck, they ain’t coming out to help you.
I suggested making coastal road repairs a priority, for whatever my two cents is worth, to the Belize government ministers who participated in our conference last week.
The Second Best News From Belize
The other piece of news of note from Belize is the level of debt the country is dealing with right now. Discussion last week included speculation that the Belize government might try to address its debt issue by changing the current 2-to-1 peg between the Belize dollar and the U.S. dollar (to, say, 3 Belize dollars to US$1)… or maybe by allowing the Belize dollar to float.
I’m doing additional research and will report further on the probability of either of those things coming to pass.
Meantime, the talk at last week’s conference had some attendees wondering about what the effects might be on foreign investment in the country, specifically on real estate investment, if the Belize government should decide to adjust the 2-to-1 U.S. dollar peg.
The simple answer is: likely none.
Real estate in Belize is priced in U.S. dollars. If the exchange rate between the Belize dollar and the U.S. dollar were to change, real estate prices would remain the same. The only way real estate prices would be affected would be if properties began trading in Belize dollars. As about 95% of all real estate transactions in Belize involve foreigners, I don’t see that happening.
What about money in an international account at a Belize bank?
International bank accounts hold U.S. dollars or other hard currencies, not Belize dollars, so these funds would be unaffected.
Anyone with a local account holding Belize dollars would be affected.
Therefore, right now might not be the best time to be holding a large amount of Belize dollars unless you have a short-term spending need for them.
Meanwhile, Belize is Belize.
My wife Kathleen Peddicord introduced me to this country nearly 20 years ago. Big picture, nothing much has changed here over those two decades. If you’re a fan of Belize, as I am, that’s the best news possible.
Belize remains a land of friendly, welcoming, open-minded, and fiercely independent people. I’m fourth-generation Arizonan. Fiercely independent works well for me.