Monday, September 15, 2008



by Ray Auxillou, Sept. 14th, 2008

The debate over the effect of the EPA by CARIFORM and CARICOM countries in the Caribbean and the subsequent sovereignty effects on Belize, came to some startling conclusions. What we found out in the sugar industry, is that basically the sugar industry controlled locally by Belize Sugar Industries owned by local native sugar growers was working excellent from the viewpoint of local national sovereignty, self sufficiency goals. The fly in the ointment was in marketing, in which the dominant largest part of the sugar sales was by the old colonial International Corporation of Tate and Lyle. The history of sugar in Belize was the successful wresting from the control of TATE & LYLE a foreign International Corporation of the United Kingdom, now a part of the European Union and turning it over to local land and productive ownership. The only drawback is the large marketing share by Tate & Lyle as majority buyer of our sugar, in which what is otherwise, a good diversified beginning in world competition. The only suggestion offered by the study, is that marketing by BSI should start searching for substitute markets for the European Union accessed by Tate & Lyle. Perhaps we should be marketing to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Calcutta? Certainly sovereignty means we must diversify away from the EU. Currently, the USA, three Caribbean countries and the local internal market for sugar are beginnings.

The study of the effects of the Economic Partnership Agreement ( EPA ) through the banana industry in Belize turned up a startling conclusion, which had very little to do with the marketing arrangement and more to do with local CABINET policies on immigration. The Banana industry in Belize is basically an IRISH multi-national operation owned by the FYFES Corporation. We do have 7 small local banana growers riding like ticks on the back of the foreign owned FYFES Corporation operation, but in comparison to the Sugar Industry, the effect on local Belizean national economic growth and sovereignty independence, of the much smaller banana industry locally is dismal, if not counter productive to the medium and longer term goals in which we should be heading, for self sufficiency and independence from outside foreign sources. There are some very ghastly studies on the internet which claim that the Belize Banana industry is the worst labor situation in the banana producing region of this part of the world. Through Fyfes we are tied like Siamese twins to the ACP negotiations for the EPA, the European Union wishes to impose on us.

The setup is strictly colonial imperialism, albeit done by a multi-national corporation system, based on steady supplies of bananas, banana variety and subsequent foreign corporate exported profits.. What we need in Belize is a change to the Fyfe operation of bananas in Belize, which has been done by past Belizean governments in decades past, that was done to Tate & Lyle in the sugar industry. Which means a method of switching total local ownership of operations to a WORKER owned land system and FOB ( Free on Board ) collecting and shipping system as done by the BSI growers owned sugar system in Northern Belize used as a template. We did not quantify the economic effects of the Banana industry to Belize government revenues. They are however obviously minimal? Our problem in doing research was hampered by the cost of telecommunications, the excessive cell phone system charges in Belize. After we spent a half a day salary, calling around for detailed information for just between 12 and 25 minutes, we could afford to do no more. That was about a half hour of talk time. Obviously telephoning costs in Belize needs to be corrected? What is needed, is that farmers who are banana workers, OWN the land on which they grow bananas. To do this a coordinated effort by Central Government, needs to be implemented.

The situation is hampered by the BLACK port town control of the political system and current outcries in the port media, against demographic changes by reducing black coastal populations leaving for Western industrialize countries. The banana workers are mostly Mestizo Honduran citizens who come to Belize as temporary permitted workers. Obviously a government campaign to give these people naturalization and citizenship with Belizean passports is needed, to make them stakeholders in Belize agricultural development. With citizenship and subsequent land titles of the banana growing lands in plots, the banana growing system would change and bring more taxes and revenues to the Belize government, which in turn would change the dynamics on how the country economically grows. The sugar industry shows this works.

Immigration into Belize, is a sore point to the racism practices by the BLACKS of the port communities, particularly the hotbed of political scandal and control of the politics of the nation of Belize, the major port town. Their BLACK segment of the nation is shrinking, due to emmigration flight to cities of the industrialized world. Nor do they culturally seem inclined to developing the national agriculture or industrialized future of the country of Belize. They seem to want to be a city of salaried government clerks? Unfortunately for the nation of Belize, the control of central government by the port of Belize City, racist black population, is holding back our sovereign development and self sufficiency, and increasing our revenue base. Lately, this is most notable with cries of the port media to control immigration by Mestizos and Mayan ethnic cultures into Belize, without which economic development would grind to a halt..

We are experiencing the same effects to the detriment of developing the CAYO DISTRICT out in Western Belize. Many of our campesino immigrants are unable to get land titles after years of trying. Lost files and bribes are the most common effects complained of. There is a discriminatory policy practiced by the government, in excessive government fees and costs, both for land ownership and for permanent residency, naturalization and citizenship. For the poor immigrant, the cash flow fee problem is insurmountable, until the second or third generation, leaving uncertainty in it’s wake and slowing down economic growth.

The immigrant to Belize is building this country, just like many other Commonwealth countries have experienced. In Belize, we find the retiree type immigrant from Europe, South America and North America with an income flow, can set themselves up in a break even type, cottage style, small business within five to seven years. With the illiterate type of campesino type immigrant, particularly in industry and agriculture, the growth aspects of the immigration takes longer, about 15 to 40 years to accomplish any effect on the economic growth of Belize. The reason is that first, the poor illiterate immigrant has to survive at very low wage scales. This makes land ownership and naturalization citizenship goals very important to them. Current policies are not helping, but hindering this national economic growth process. The children of these immigrants are the ones who are building the small cottage family businesses, that are boosting the economy and making the taxes to support a larger government. Sometimes, it is the children, of the children, of older immigrants to Belize; who are becoming the new business leaders, investors and through slow growth from savings, pooling of cash resources, importation of newer technology, and pooled family capital investment. It takes time in years to acquire and test the market place, experimental ideas, with subsequent losses of savings, in the learning process, to make money from business. The ones that are doing it, are second and third generation, roots-born in Belize, Mestizos and Maya citizens. Their parents may not be educated, or bi-lingual, but their children and grandchildren are; thanks to our English speaking school system. Another problem effecting economic growth; are Creole speakers teaching dialect, instead of International English, to immigrant bi-lingual and tri-lingual children born in Belize, in our schools, speaking an alternate language at home. Most Belizean children in Western Belize have to be bi-lingual and often tri-lingual.

No comments: