Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where have all the good businessmen gone?

Everybody is doing the hustle. It is becoming harder and harder to find a business doing an honest trade in Belize. When I say honest, I mean from top to bottom, from under invoicing at customs, to selling goods that are not defective or expired, to not paying the proper taxes.

Let me first begin by saying, there are business people out there running THOROUGHLY legit operations. I am one of them. But being in the circles, I can tell you the vast majority are running rackets at some level.

The struggling businesses are the legit businesses. Those whose owners are driving fancy rides or are jetting off to ski in Aspen, or building gigantic seaside mansions are operating, at the very least, on the shady side of law and profiting handsomingly doing so.

I can list example after example of containers coming in for stores that are declared as going to a church, or of stores selling refurbished goods as new, or fry chicken shops declaring $915 in sales for the month. I have seen them all with my own eyes. You report the offense and nothing gets done.

In fact, I once reported a company I do business with for GST infractions. You know what happened..somehow I got audited the next month! Needless to say I lost the company's business as well. In the end the legit business got hurt. 

Our system and our social structure does not reward honesty. We look up to the folks driving range rovers who we know haven't worked a honest day in their lives. Our politicians (BOTH parties, lest I get accused of being political :^) are at the very least complacent in enforcement. I believe that it has actually become socially acceptable to be crook.

In days gone by I used to hear folks complain about Mexico and how it was mordida this and crooked that. Well boys and girls...right now we are worse.

It is time to clean this up and you can start by setting the example in your own daily lives. Buy from those who are clean, support those who are struggling and punish those who flaunt the laws.

Lets support higher standards in our lives.

1 comment:

Democrates said...

I agree with the crux of your argument here; (very bi-partisan too!) I think the more feasible solution to this problem is your point on better oversight. Asking businessmen to place ethics before profits is futile. Similarly, there is little hope for a paradigmatic shift in the collective reasoning of society i.e. "Buy from those who are clean, support those who are struggling..." People will always seek out the best deal. However, implementing stricter laws that ensure the obedience of laws could facilitate such an improvement over a poor small-business environment.