Skip to comments.Tale of two small countries (Cayman and Belize are very similar. Yet, one is rich, the other poor)
Posted on 01/17/2012 7:44:28 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Cayman is rich, and Belize is poor. Why? Both are small Caribbean countries with the same climate and roughly the same mixed racial heritage, and both were English-speaking British colonies. Belize (the former British Honduras) received its independence in 1981, while Cayman is still not fully independent but is self-governing at the local level, with its own currency, laws and regulations.
Belize should be richer: It has a larger population than Cayman (345,000 as contrasted with Caymans 54,000). Belize has a much larger and more varied land area with many more natural resources, including gas and oil, and some rich agricultural land that Cayman lacks. Both have nice beaches, but Belize has the second-largest barrier reef in the world after Australia and also has Mayan ruins. Yet Cayman, with fewer points of interests, has done more to attract tourists.
Back in the early 1970s, Cayman was as poor on a per capita basis as is Belize today. Both countries had ambitions to be tourist and financial centers. Cayman succeeded and has about six times the real per capita income of Belize. What did Cayman do right and Belize do wrong?
Perhaps most important is that Cayman had and maintained a competent and honest judicial system, which gave foreign investors confidence that their property would be protected. Cayman also has a very low crime rate. Tourists and other visitors walk around freely day or night in Cayman without fear. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many parts of Belize, where crime is often a problem. In addition, many judges in Belize are poorly trained, incompetent and, in some cases, corrupt. These issues cause foreign investors to consider higher-risk factors for projects in Belize as contrasted with Cayman.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
We just took a cruise to Belize. I could see myself living there once I got used to being cheek by jowl with such abject poverty.
But then I realized I grew up in rural Arkansas near trailer parks, so deep poverty has always been part of my surroundings, and it didn’t bother me then. There will always be rich, medium and poor and REALLY poor everywhere.
My only fear is looking like a walking dollar sign to the locals.
Countries with rich natural resources are prone to corruption because to the elite who control the resources still make money and like being able to manipulate the system. Countries like the Cayman Islands have no choice but to clean up their acts if they want to go anywhere.
The Caymans are surrounded by water and sharks.
In Belize, perps can easily enter and melt away in to Mexico, or Guatemala.
Belize has several arguing ethnic groups, including refugee groups that came in the 80’s. The Caymans does not.
Government Corruption is rampant in Belize, and while it exists in the Caymans as well, it is high-dollar bankster-type, and not street-level.
thought I was moving to Belize.
Rand is a good writer and a solid economist, but, in this instance, he is far off his area of expertise — starting with his clear lack of knowledge about the beaches in Belize. As a homeowner in Central America — and a guy who has written about it for 15 years - I would suggest that he stick to providing expert assistance in helping the countries down there establish vibrant free market economies. We certainly don’t need to Caymanize Belize.
One protects drug smugglers, the other protects drug smugglers' money.
Article is dead on.
If you ever get the chance to hit the Cayman’s; do it. Feel free to explore the island, rent a cycle and tool around - beautiful island, friendly people, amazing scenery. It’s truly an island paradise.
Belize is great in the policed corridors near the ports - but you leave that corridor at your own peril. For example; if you rent a car and drive outside the city; and a man jumps out of the jungle in front of your car - in all seriousness ‘Run him over’. Stopping will likely result in your robbery, kidnapping or potentially your death.
Jamaica? If it were in my power to give Jamaica away, I would. 80% unemployment - poverty, crime, drugs. Unless your stay is in a barb-wire on top of a 12 ft concrete wall, with machine gun nests every 150 ft (as found at Hedonism and Sandals resorts) - you don’t want to go there. Armed border guards are the norm, for a reason. Rich tourists are easy prey. I will never return there, it’s just not worth the risk.
Cayman, the least attractive Caribbean island I have ever seen, has the advantage of a strategic location - very near to US. Hence easy for offshore banking, money laundering.
Belize just needs to convince Porsche to name their next model THE BELIZE.
They really don’t rent cycles on the island. But rent a car at Andy’s or Cico Avis and drive around. Seven Mile Beach is where it is at and the water of course.
Great Beaches and great diving. No mountains or inland water falls, but who cares. Hang on the beach and Dive! It’s the best island for this.
Could you elaborate, please? I've never been to either country and your opinion runs contrary to many of the others on this thread. I'd like to hear why. Thank you.
Could be. Not a diver. There are better beaches everywhere. And prettier, more interesting towns.
Cayman and Rotan are the only two countries that you don't see armed soldiers on the streets.
I am going to Jamaica in a few weeks and won't go anywhere, except were my tour takes me. The cruise line has built a new pier at Falmouth. I have been elsewhere in Jamaica, but this is my first trip to Falmouth.
Cuz Romney keeps his money in the Caymans?
I been thinking of moving to Belize, but I guess it would be a bad choice. What can the Belize citizens do to improve Belize?
Two things separate the vast majority of wealthy countries from similarly situated poor ones. 1. Rule of law. 2. Property rights. You really need look no further than those two things in order to be able to guess the relative prosperity of a country.
In 1997 my wife and I stayed at the Hyatt in Cancun for two weeks.
This was before the entire country of Mexico was overrun with drug cartels but it was getting started.
Some of excellent golf courses that we played at had armed guards walking the perimeter and it was not pleasant.
I went back to Cancun in 2008 for one night only and couldn't get out of there fast enough.
No more visits to Mexico for me.
If I want sunshine, I'll go to obama's home state, kenya.
Cayman doesn’t have any resources, and is too small and isolated to have the issues Belize (or Jamaica) has, so it can focus on the sections of industry (tourism, finance, shipping (none of which require much more than access to water and a complementary legal system)) it does without many complicating external factors. Seems to me that in terms of actual operation and practial possibility they’re not really very similar at all. I guess Richard Rahn was short on rent this month.
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