Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cheap airfares to Belize from the USA FALL off season


Cincinnati, OH $234 RT Includes all taxes (American)
Seattle, WA $380 RT Includes all taxes (Continental)
Dallas, TX $246 RT Includes all taxes (Delta)
Houston IAH, TX $306 RT Includes all taxes (Delta)
Newark, NJ $351 RT Nonstop flights, Includes all taxes (Continental)
Chicago O'Hare, IL $458 RT Includes all taxes (Delta, US Airways)
Atlanta, GA $223 RT Includes all taxes (Delta)
Boston, MA $380 RT Includes all taxes (Delta, US Airways)
Orlando, FL $366 RT Includes all taxes (Delta, US Airways)
Washington National, DC $340 RT Includes all taxes (Continental)
Washington Dulles, DC $346 RT Includes all taxes (Continental, Delta, US Airways)
Philadelphia, PA $326 RT Includes all taxes (Delta, US Airways)
Charlotte, NC $338 RT Includes all taxes (Delta)
Detroit, MI $349 RT Includes all taxes (Continental)
Denver, CO $360 RT Includes all taxes (Continental)
Tampa, FL $366 RT Includes all taxes (Delta, US Airways)
Salt Lake City, UT $245 RT Includes all taxes (American)
St Louis, MO $249 RT Includes all taxes (Delta)
Cleveland, OH $355 RT Includes all taxes (US Airways)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


BIG ROCK FALLS superb swimming hole in the Belize foothills and theMountain Pine Ridge

Swimming at Big Rock Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge, on an all day trip around the lower Belize Alps.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



One of the problems when we switch politicians in Belize , is the need to teach them a bit about economics, budgeting, borrowing, and the longer term effects, from what we call CAUSE and EFFECT of public policy decisions, both at the CABINET level and at the area representative level. Many politicians are either academically uneducated, or rely solely on gut instinct and leave the worrying about money to spend, up to the PARTY LEADER, who usually holds tight the keys to the government revenues and the TREASURY.

In the outside world, the effects of interest rates, foreign loan borrowing, credit use, immediate gratification for area representatives, concerned primarily about their reelection chances and image, can be absorbed by the larger economies of scale in the very short term. For the outside world, improper policy decisions can take three or four years to work out, the unexpected UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES on the public and market place. In Belize , our National Economy is often only the size of a small town in either Europe, or the USA . Maybe not even as big as a University, or Community College system. Here in Belize the policy decisions by both, either the local area representative, or the CABINET as a whole, or even by the individual in charge of the keys to the TREASURY can have much more RAPID results in such a small economy. We don’t have to wait YEARS like large countries outside, to see the results of wrong policy making decisions. Area Representative CASTRO’s lagoon bridge comes to mind. The CAUSE and EFFECT of this expenditure occurred within six months or less. The newspapers have pointed out this week, it was $4 million of our scarce revenues, blown away on a whim.

Our politicians need to understand the CAUSE and EFFECT of their financial policies. The results will be felt usually within three months. If they are wrong, they effect the future of the political party and the nation, in the same year. In the outside world, things like wrongful policies that are causing the current RECESSION to become probably a WORLD DEPRESSION are postponed for years sometimes. Here in Belize that is not so. A wrong financial policy decision can be felt in Belize within one year, and often in less time than that. We are already in the seventh year of our PUP caused RECESSION and there is at least seven more years to work our way out of it.

That is why some time ago, we recommended the new UDP government put in place by LAWS, some sort of budgeting policy based on percentages, or ratios, to govern spending by the government, the party, the CABINET, the area representative and the Finance Minister / Party Leader. For example our National Debt to GDP ratio is about 82% of GDP and should be under 3% of GDP. Our corruption ratio is 17% of GDP and needs to be lowered, or factored into annual budgets. We had suggested the GST monthly, or quarterly tax revenues be used, to allocate the amounts available to be used for the following six months, or year. Sort of a rule by law and spending controls. We cannot allow gut reaction and personal emotions, or pressures from the electorate on area representatives, to get things done for some local pet project, influence how the government spends money, under the care of the PARTY LEADER. Who may have his own problems with internal fights within his or her own party while in office.

Already we see the UDP were not financially ready to manage the tax revenues of the country on a self sustainable basis, even though there is enough money to do so; properly managed to a system of ratios, percentages and laws. The way we do business in Belize has to change to a more academic, structured type of money management fiscal system. The small size of our nation requires that the emotional aspects of how we spend our government revenues be regulated in a more coherent policy manner. We are continuing to look at our government, that is fiscally unprepared, at the CABINET and Finance Ministerial level. That the fundamentals of leaving something in reserve for the unexpected like Hurricanes and floods, or any other emergencies, be prepared and planned, in a logical sane manner. Infra-structure is required, repairs and replacements must be maintained, disasters and emergencies should have budget allocations in reserves. We need to change from broad wishful emergency knee jerk, planning type operations, to a different system, set up to govern, quarterly and perhaps monthly on how we spend our money. Think of every conceivable thing that can happen, check against your priority lists of things to do and budget accordingly. The amounts government can spend by department, in proportion to some guideline like the GST revenues, or something like that. Always budget something for emergencies like right now.

Let us manage our country properly and become wealthy, ALL OF US !

Certainly there should be workshops and seminars for politicians on CAUSE and EFFECT. You could start a series of such workshops based on logical planning, on the future depression effects of foreign loan borrowing and the detrimental cost effects this has, a few years later, by causing a dampened recessionist economy lingering years into the future. Instead of building from strength to strength by controls on spending allocations. We must do things by increments.

Our problem in Belize is our small size. What takes years to occur in the USA , happens in months in Belize . Our elected representatives need to understand the cause and effect of interest rates, foreign loan borrowing, size of government and costs, priority lists, budgeting and allocations and even the making of lists, to divide up the available money in proportion to what is available any given month, or fiscal quarter. Educate them, run some seminars and workshops. We can manage our country a lot better, if we TRY!



By Ray Auxillou, Oct. 26, 2008

The Reporter Newspaper had an article on the Toledo District wherein Cabinet Minister Eden Martinez gave his opinions on Tilapia production and food trade with the ALBA Venezuelan Trade Organization in the Toledo District, accompanied by His Excellency the Bolivarian Ambassador of the Republic of Venezuela to Belize, His Excellency, Omar Valdeviezo. The meeting was held in the coastal Toledo District capital of Punta Gorda, population about 5000 people.

The article quoted the Venezuelan Ambassador as saying; ALBA the Bolivarian Venezuelan inter-American trade organization would like to trade Belizean oranges, sea food and other food commodities of Belize, for oil. We currently get oil, gasoline and diesel in Belize from Venezuela, on a down payment, with deferred payments at low interest costs over many years, for the balance. Theoretically we pay something for oil products from Venezuela, but our government economy is actually supported in large part by Venezuela and Taiwanese grants of foreign aid. Whatever we pay for oil, comes eventually from Venezuelan grants in a roundabout way. We rob Peter to pay Paul.

The Honorable Ambassador, His Excellency, Omar Valdeviezo clarified the ALBA Trade Organization being promoted by Venezuela, in his talk in Punta Gorda town. From what I could understand of the Reporter newspaper article and quotes of His Excellency; ALBA TRADE is a BARTER system of trade and not as he is quoted, a DOLLAR VALUE for DOLLAR VALUE system of the capitalist world.

There has been some debate about the ALBA Trade Organization here in Belize, but little is known about it here. There are no details. Nobody in government has a copy of the ALBA TRADE ORGANIZATION membership contract. We were surprised earlier this year, when the Honduras President declined to receive and recognize some Ambassador ( I believe it might have been the USA? ) on the basis of one of the clauses in the joining of the ALBA TRADE Organization, which required membership to include political unity in foreign affairs dealings. Since this would, if true; conflict with CARICOM Belizean foreign affairs contracts, the matter was dropped in the public eye. The local centralized port town media never followed through with investigative reporting, for expanding productive capacity and exports of Belize with ALBA. Our port town media concentration, were notoriously derelict in chasing our economic trade improvements as newsworthy subject matter. Which is one of the reasons we have started our International readership electronic newspaper on the internet, WESTERN BELIZE HAPPENINGS! In Western Belize, the home of most economic production in Belize, we need our voice to be heard.

In the HEARTLAND of BELIZE, farmers, producers and processors are interested in the ALBA TRADE organization; particularly as a MARKET for food products of Belize. What nobody in the Cayo District can figure out, is how to do the TRADE with ALBA? How does one freight perishable food to Caracas? How do you pay for internal shipping and container costs, by whichever freight or airline? How would a farmer, or processor get paid?

A preliminary exploratory step was taken some three months ago, with the first step of establishing a CARICOM AIRLINE out of Belize, with one small initial twin engine freight and passenger plane, which could experiment and explore the commercial trade possibilities with Venezuela. A letter of interest and participation was sent to the Venezuelan Government through His Excellency, the Venezuelan Ambassador and also to the UDP Cabinet of Belize. No acknowledgment of receipt of the queries was received, nor any replies from either the Venezuelan Embassy, or the UDP Cabinet. The airplane was subsequently sold to somebody else. We could however order one from the factory where they build them. Some sort of direct transportation is necessary and the key to any trade with Venezuela. We guessed that the non-interest on the part of Venezuela was; they wanted to deal with our government and not the private sector? Our government did not show interest, because in our political party get personally rich governing system, without a bribe, or piece of the action, Cabinet Members of the UDP likewise were not interested, that was our guess?

Trade with Venezuela is desirable. Costs of freight and other internal costs of transportation are a problem on a BARTER system, based on a government to government basis. Our government does not have the capacity to govern properly, because of the HUGE National Debt. We are in our seventh year of either a BELIZEAN RECESSION, or economic DEPRESSION; depending on your viewpoint. The previous PUP created economic downturn is expected to continue for at least another seven years. Asking our government to establish a TRADE system on the BARTER model with Venezuela is obviously an impossibility. We do not have the capability in bureaucrats to do this, nor the cash flows in our government. Our system of government bureaucracy is heavily party hack infested, which means nine to five work attitudes. This means we do not get good value for the dollar in commercial efficiencies.

Since Venezuela is a socialist country, based on controlling, or owning the means of production and Belize operates as a capitalist free enterprise system, with the government operating as a predator through taxation of private enterprise. Any trade, or barter system in food production from Belize and export to Venezuela runs into the problem of how private enterprise producers get paid and when? The private sector has the capacity to organize the barter trade, but the costs and money factors are difficult to resolve. Nobody in his right mind in Belize would trust the Belize Government to pay them on time, or even eventually, and nothing can work without the lubricant of cash. Lots to think about here for a system of BARTER trade with ALBA under their proposed trade system. It is a market that has Belizean entrepreneurs in the HEARTLAND OF BELIZE salivating with desire to expand into. But how? The government to government restrictions placed by ALBA are insurmountable probably?

Saturday, October 25, 2008



The official inflation rate for Belize this year 2008 up to November has been quoted at 9%. This means the official inflation rate has increased on a rising curving graph, above that of the bank interest rates in CD’s or savings accounts. The net result is that the Belize currency is losing purchasing value and there seems no way to keep paper money as a savings investment within Belize.

The inflation rate for imported goods is over 60%. This has resulted in people investing in construction as a means of securing the value out of the paper currency being issued by the government. In Western Belize, there has been a steady construction growing industry for the past seven years that I have personally observed. Hardware stores and construction supplies have been doing a good business in Western Belize. Investors realize that imported construction materials keep increasing in cost and something built in construction real estate today, is worth more than the actual paper money of Belize. The rising inflation rate of things, particularly on locally produced goods, will probably see more people investing in construction projects. Paper money rapidly becoming worthless. Dairy herds of milk producing Holsteins seem like a good investment, as there is a national shortage of milk products. Pigs are always in short supply. There are a number of export opportunities for food products from Belize to sell abroad, both to nearby countries around Belize and to Venezuela who are predictably developing food shortages common to socialist countries, when the nationalization of mid-level businesses, removes the profit incentive to growth. The need inside Belize here; are the knowledge of cottage industry sized processing machinery sources and the skills training dissemination of how to do these product packaging processing food things. Dissemination of such knowledge is a big problem.

The main shipping port in Belize City down on the coast, run by Luke Espat is killing the exporting to Caribbean rim countries like Venezuela, exporters of bulk commodities out West report, because of high charges for passing small 20 ft containers from the gate to shipside.

( quoted at $500 usa per 200 yards on the dock, done with your own truck ) Would be exporters are exploring ways and means to utilize alternative shipping ports, like Barrios and Cortez, or even the Pacific coast. It could be lightering of containers by barge from Salt Creek Estate, or similar places, could cut costs of exporting for Belize investors. A way of reducing exorbitant shipping costs must be found. Smaller freight vessels maybe? Shallow draft and private docks?

The loss of value of the Belize government printed money is of serious consequence to development and it may be the world depression will even reach Belize, as inflation attacks and destroys our economy. We can look to Zimbabwe for lessons on alternative living examples of survival. A parallel black market, barter systems and such; look to be coming in vogue here in Belize.

The solutions to local inflation rates within Belize are well known, but ignored apparently by the new UDP government. Slow down the printing of money, ( money supply ), control the debt to GDP ratio, which has been going the wrong way this year of the new government, increase foreign reserves and lower interest rates for loans. Local inflation is caused by political decision making of the CABINET. It is a question of spending and priorities based on the political needs required by a political party machine. We are not yet as bad as Zimbabwe in this regard. Imported costs and the higher inflation of these incoming goods are out of our control, except in the realm of customs duties. Now that the EPA has been signed by our Prime Minister, imported food processing machinery technically should be cheaper from Europe with no customs duties on European imported goods. The trouble is, they do not manufacturer cottage industry sized machinery. India looks to be a possible source, though their metallurgy is poor. South American countries manufacture a lot of such items, but for some strange reason, our Belize foreign office, does not favor importing goods from South America and even the tourists from this area are prohibited by old last century colonial policies.

We need as a country to be moving a lot faster in the political and bureaucratic adjustment to world conditions than we are doing. Excuses are a dime a dozen!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flood report for Cayo District on Thursday Oct.23

We are seeing some SUNSHINE today!

Macal River at Hawksworth bridge in the Twin Towns. The water level still high, but about 20 feet below the bottom of the bridge. The low bridge is still somewhere we believe, deep underwater in that brown mess of water. So the river is going down, but slowly. I would estimate that it will be Monday, or Tuesday before river levels get back to normal. Barring any more rain.
City Council for the twin towns in Cayo West are picking up garbage in the downtown areas and looks like they are filling potholes with marl for temporary patches.
The central government are going to need to do a quickie rough job on the whole country, for November grading streets and dirt roads, which is most of the country and undoubtedly will have to do it over again in February after the torrential January rains. Then it is all over for the Spring and Summer months.
Prime Minister Barrow will tap the Emergency Funds for about $7 million, all he says the government can afford to do. He says, NEMO ( Emergency management team ) will come first, to help distressed families with submerged houses, or damaged houses. And rightly so, good choice!

update on Western Belize Electronic newspaper for the International readership

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



Santa Familia and Calla Creek were also heavily hit by the flooding, not only Bullet Tree. As was shown on the tv news channels last night, all that could be seen from the air, for example in Calla Creek, were the roofs of single story dwellings --- the second floors of two story homes.


On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 1:22 PM, Ray Auxillou <> wrote:

BELIZE FLOOD REPORT # 2 , Dec 21,2008

By Ray Auxillou

The storm system, which produced so much rain over Belize and Guatemala seems to be moving North and is up along the Mexican coast near Bahia Ascuncion this Tuesday morning. The storm even shows an eye in the center, on the satellite pictures.

LOVE TV seems to have dedicated itself to be the National Flood Emergency center and they are on television and on the internet for foreign listeners abroad. They can be found at: Usually there are two people taking calls from people around the nation of Belize, via cell phones, into the flood emergency reporting desk. They speak CREOLE a local coastal dialect so may not be understandable to a foreign audience. Nor do they clearly enunciate their spoken words, often mumbling unintelligibly. They should have streaming video. Our Emergency committee people made up of civil servants assigned to the NEMO government agency for disasters and emergencies has been reporting through this emergency desk. The people are doing a really good job. Questions and answers are being relayed to appropriate personel, through calling the lovetv emergency flood desk. Most of the country are listening and watching events. This is live reality reporting as it happens. On the ground, the police, NEMO bureaucrats and many, many, hundreds of volunteers all along the river bank communities are organizing and carrying out rescue efforts. Often under the leadership of a village council elected chairman. The biggest shortages right now seem to be bottled drinking water and food supplies. Some livestock have been lost. Downstream today, the lower Belize River communities are being advised by radio and cell phone to evacuate their livestock to higher ground. The flood crest seems to have passed Belmopan junction right now. There is only around ten inches of water over the Western Highway, Roaring Creek, single lane bridge at the junction to the capital Belmopan. Police are on both sides directing traffic and vehicles can pass. Albeit, the wheels are half way under water.

Bullet Tree Falls seems to be the only village community that has a sour note. Some of the houses have been submerged and many residents fear to leave and are short of food and water. The reason is that Bullet Tree Falls has been plagued with small groups and individuals, that are supposed to be either CRACK ADDICTS, or ALCOHOLICS and even they though periodically are sent to jail for stealing, when they get out of jail, they return to a life of crime as their career livelihood. Reports of houses being burglarized after people have been evacuated are coming in to the news desk. There is no police presence available at the moment. Human resources are stretched thin, from government departments.

Elsewhere in the country and all along the flood area of the Belize River, the NEWS is all good, of good minded Samaritans, helping and organizing to clear bridges, help those injured or in distress and otherwise coming together in a manner that makes one proud to be a Belizean and brings tears to my eyes, when the stories are relayed by cell phone from far and wide. The run of the Belize River across the width of the country is about 75 miles as an airplane flies, but about 200 miles along the banks of the winding river. The flood crest is moving steadily Eastward to the coast and is taking a long time to recede after the crest passes. This is due to the huge area in Guatemala which is the feeder and cachement area for the flood water pouring into Belize through the Mopan River.

The good news from CAYO DISTRICT area; is that the flood waters are going down slowly. Iguana Creek bridge across the Belize River from the Western Highway to Spanish Lookout, is still under water and cannot be seen, but this morning it was reported that a stop sign on the submerged paved road, had appeared above the water level and from this marker, it was estimated the flooded river area was down about three feet. I'll be traveling into Santa Elena and San Ignacio from Hillview about midday and see what is happening there. ( The Macal River was down about 10 feet, but still high on the city side.) The Macal river had been dropping yesterday already though. It was still high at the time, and about four feet under the high Hawksworth steel bridge. I would think it would be lower today. It hasn't rained much here overnight, though right now we are getting a strong heavy rain shower. From the satellite photos on television we are only getting the tail end of the storm as it moves north.

Longer term and immediately, we are probably going to see some cholera cases, as the flood waters are polluted with cattle dung, septic tank waste and that sort of thing. The medical people need to have in supplies to treat cholera. River bank farms and communities are going to have a lot of cleaning up to do and repairs. Some people have lost everything. Building along a river bank is beautiful living most of the time, but houses need to be built at least up on 14 foot posts above the ground for such things as floods. Floods don't come as often as the cold or a flu, but you can be sure they will come periodically. Just one of the prices one pays for living in PARADISE. The land of eternal spring. Would we move to another country, the answer would be NO!

Wednesday Oct 22 nd midday update:

Just passed over the Hawksworth steel bridge, the old one lane English Colonial installed bridge that joins the twin towns across the Macal River. The water hadn't really dropped that much since the last 24 hours. Only now it is about 10 feet below the bottom of the Hawksworth bridge itself and that is six feet lower than 24 hours ago. Still high and one supposes the Macal River is blocked by the Mopan River coming from Guatemala with their longer flood period of coming down stream. The Low bridge cannot be seen as it must be under 20 feet of water at least? It is about a mile from the Hawksworth bridge to the junction of the two rivers, where they form the new Belize River.

The politicians are on the radio. I only heard a bit of the odd long winded speeches. They are promising aid to those families who have had their houses submerged from NEMO stocks whenever the flood recedes and people can get in there.
I would think that the major thing the government can plan on doing, is getting the Public Works Graders out and running over all the roads and streets in the effected areas. Particularly the whole Cayo District. Going to cost a bit in diesel fuel, but the streets up our way are in bad shape as many mudholes have turned into gullies on streets, from vehicles getting stuck in the mud up to their axles and having to be pulled out. I would think those roads and streets under the flood itself would be in worse shape. Things will have to dry out though. Doesn't look like the flood is going anywhere soon, for at least another week.
If the access roads and streets are graded, then a lot of the recovery can be done by people themselves. Trucks and buses running again in to the remoter areas will enable supplies to get in for repairs and recovery.

Monday, October 20, 2008



• FOREIGN RESERVES: Foreign reserves should be A MINIMUM of 3 x GDP, ( three times value of GDP )


• PILLARS OF PRODUCTIVITY: (Government budgeting-encouragement )

• Light manufacturing exports (16.5%),
• import substitution ( 16.5% ),
• agriculture- processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural products-niche brand name gourmet foods and other products ( 16.5% ),
• unique technological exports ( 16.5% ),
• generic drug manufacturing ( 8% ),
• financial services for foreigners ( 9% ),
• tourism (10%),
• tropical products and scientific research (3% ).
• Aviation maintenance and manufacturing ( niche services )(4%)



• AGRICULTURE DIVERSITY AND FOOD SUPPLY: Self sufficient food supply for two years storage.

• MEDICAL SERVICES: Government and private sector combination.

• ELECTRICAL ENERGY: Self sufficiency independence.

• VEHICULAR FUEL SUPPLY: Self sufficiency independence.

• TRANSPORTATION HUB: Regional & International airline HUB services.

• AVIATION: Maintenance, repair and manufacturing hub.



Foreign Reserves: Failure
Cost and size of Government: Failure
Pillars of productivity: Failure
National and Foreign Debt Ratio: Failure
Disaster Emergency Fund: Failure
Agriculture Diversity and Food Supply: Failure
Medical Services: Success
Electrical Energy: Failure
Vehicular Fuel Supply: Failure
Transportation Hub: Moderate
Aviation: Below Average
Population Limits: Success



by Ray Auxillou

There has been a video showing on Bayman Cable in the Cayo District, this evening, taken by compliments of a plane ride from Central Farm. We had actually seen them flying overhead this morning when the sun was out. The video was over an hour and covered from Belmopan westward, to the Guatemalan border and over much of the agriculture areas bordering the rivers feeding into the Belize river. It will be edited into a shorter version for the Love FM, News Program on Monday. International readers can watch the video by streaming internet news service out of Belize. The rivers are deep brown with silt, flowing rapidly in the main channels, but sort of still and quiet like a lagoon, where they have flooded over the banks for a mile or more in places.

What we saw and the reports coming in on television, in the Western Cayo District, are that there has been extensive flooding. Bullet Tree village is underwater. Calla Creek, Santa Familla and many small village and rural communities are flooded. From the plane flight video, we could estimate roughly 200 buildings, homes and businesses, mostly in remote farms, are either completely submerged, or partially submerged. Crop losses look to be roughly $35 million dollars. Fruit orchids and corn and RK beans and some vegetables.

The hydro electric dams have been topped and water is pouring over the top of the dams, to conflicting reports of up to 14 feet higher. The dams are on the Macal River. The Macal River itself is being backed up at the junction, where it joins the Mopan River coming in from Guatemala forming the head of the Belize River. The Mopan is heavily flooding, more so than the Macal River. The two rivers join in San Ignacio Town, to make the Belize River, that runs across the width of the country, to the Caribbean Sea. In San Ignacio town; of the two bridges crossing the Macal River between the two cities of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the low bridge is completely submerged and has been for several days, and previously it was covered for about ten days. Traffic is being routed in spurts across the Hawksworth Bridge, first one way, then the other. These bridges are only one lane bridges and we probably need a new, very high, six lane bridge in the near future and a by-pass highway around the twin towns. Traffic jams are very bad in the one way narrow mule train streets of San Ignacio..

The water has risen to cover Constitution Park, which is the little park and band stand, near the bus and Savanah taxi stand, centrally located in San Ignacio. Most of those ground floor stores in that central area of San Ignacio Town have at least a foot of water in them. Before the hydro dams on the Macal River, San Ignacio regularly got TOP GALLON floods that did that, but we haven’t seen this for about 15 years, now the dams had been built.

The Mopan River starts in Belize, way down south, a hundred miles away in the southern Belize Alps, separating the Toledo District from the interior highland jungles and flows into the Peten District of Guatemala. This Guatemalan Peten used to be wild jungle, home of the ancient Mayan Feudal Kingdoms, sparsely populated by remote Mayan communities in the jungles. No longer, as abut 30 years ago, population was being moved from the Western Guatemalan highlands into the lower Peten and some 5000 square miles of Peten jungles of my youth, have been cleared and made into ranch pastures. The Mopan River winds through this area and there are many branch rivers feeding into the Mopan River in the Guatemalan Peten area. The Mopan River comes back into Belize at the Melchor de Menchos and Benque Viejo border and flows to our twin towns and joins with the Macal River, draining the more Northern and Eastern Belize Alps. These two rivers then cross the width of our country as one new river called the Belize River, winding to the East, exiting by the port of Belize City on the coast. The deforestation of the Peten in Guatemala has contributed to faster moving water drainoff, along with massive erosion of limited top soil. This draining of the Guatemalan Peten basin into and through Belize is now changing past flood patterns and causing whole new areas that were once unknown to flood, to be in flood zones. These new flood zones in Belize, have not yet been mounted on the internet, by GIS mapping data in Belmopan our capital. The flood crest takes about three days to reach the coastal towns, villages and the port of Belize City. Population explosion needs this flood zone data via internet and GIS.

People who are old, remember back as far as Hurricane Hattie in 1961 and say the floods have never been as bad as this one. The major cause is deforestation of the Peten jungles.

The subject of loss of top soil in Belize along the river banks has been discussed, debated and written about for some 30 years, but no five year, port town controlled national government has ever passed any preventative progressive legislation. The major idea is to create a 500 yard wide, barrier of woods along river banks and prohibit cutting down of river bank forests. Tax relief could be given to property owners to encourage them to do this. Thus making wildlife preservation corridors as well as holding back scarce soil erosion. Perhaps this political term under the UDP, the political party in power will revisit this subject of loss of soil, by erosion and flooding and make some much needed legislation? The Western Highway has cut off Cayo District from the rest of the country. Reports late Sunday night indicate the Roaring Creek bridge is flooded over, by twelve feet of water, at the Belmopan junction, and San Jose Succotz western highway and Benque Viejo Town going to the Western border has also been flooded in two places, cutting off transportation into Guatemala. The bridge at the Guatemala border is also reported to be under high flood water. Spanish Lookout and the farms throughout the HEARTLAND OF BELIZE, the biggest mixed farming,agricultural area in the country, heading north through Orange Walk and Corozal Districts is also reported isolated. Schools throughout the Cayo District have been shut for Monday and probably through Wednesday, announced by the Ministry of Education over the radio and television, as the Metrological Office is reporting two more days of rain, for Monday and Tuesday.

NEMO, the government Emergency Committee are working and have been evacuating people from flooded houses and small farms and communities. These people are being installed for the time being, at the ITVET Community College system in San Ignacio. Mr. Chan of DFC bureaucratic fame, has been giving a telephone report from his position on the NEMO committee Sunday night, over the local Bayman Cable television station. He lives in San Jose Succotz. NEMO was active on Sunday, mostly with immediate areas that could be reached and are not totally cut off by the floods, accessible to evacuate anybody that wanted to. There is considerable assistance being given by many local volunteers to submerged house people along riverbank flooding. Reporters have been doing fly overs with assistance from tourist ultra light TRIKE aircraft and a Cessna from Central Farm, municipal airstrip for the twin towns. There has been no report from Chaa Creek Jungle Lodge and the grass airstrip there, with many planes, we presume, had already flown out to Central Farm municipal strip on Friday past? One doesn’t want your plane bogged down in wet grass and mud. There was a helicopter overflight we saw from our house in Hillview on the slope of Green Parrot Valley going along the Belize River valley water course on Saturday, we presume that was ASTRID helicopter charter?

We phoned Phylis over at EK TUN Jungle Lodge, high on the jungle clad wall of the Macal River Gorge Sunday night. She reported she was fine, but out of food supplies for her and her watch dogs. Her swimming pool had 10 feet of Macal River flood over it, she had reported earlier, by e-mail to the Belize Culture List Serve on Saturday and she cannot get in and out of her Lodge. The dirt track along the river to her place would be deep under water right now and she is on the opposite slope of the Gorge. I wonder if her landrover was parked there. If so it is under water AGAIN! Let us hope the famous troop of Howler Monkeys in the Macal River Gorge jungles are doing alright. The river is up about 70 feet high in the Macal River Gorge at her place. Phylis’s jungle lodge is still higher than her swimming pool about another 20 feet. Her jungle tourist lodge and Jane Beard’s home about a mile and a half from Santa Elena Town, on the Cristo Rey road are reported otherwise okay, but running periodically on portable small diesel generators right now, as they do not have BEL national electric grid connections, due to the high charges for running electrical lines into those properties. BEL wants something like $50,000 to run several poles and an electrical power line to Jane’s home on the Cristo Rey road, about a 1000 feet, so she has to do without the BEL electrical grid. This despite the many new subdivisions being cleared and plotted all through those hills and valleys. The solar battery banks at both places are otherwise dead, as there has been no sun for two weeks, with low cloud cover, due to the local convection, during the rainy month of September and October. Mostly October this year, which is better than in September, which normally accompanies passing hurricanes off shore. Jane Beard is in London, on a training course for the British High Commission trade office, while my brother-in-law Gustavo Pinzon is feeding the watch dogs and playing night watchman sleeping over there. Jane has her Permanent Residency, as she is retired in Belize and Gustavo awaits his Permanent Residency. A check last week at Belmopan immigration, showed his file was stuck in the police department someplace, for the last five weeks. Our Belize bureaucracy rivals that of India, another Commonwealth country, for obstacles and slowness. Good job he checked last week before the flood cut us off from Belmopan. Word is that; Immigration will charge him a $100 a month while he waits for the bureaucracy to process his application. That could take years one would think?

Gale and her husband, USA expatriates in their mid 70’s from Oregon in the USA, were due to arrive by plane Monday, for installing a wooden cabin, prefabricated by Reimer at Spanish Lookout. That will have to be postponed for two weeks I’m sure, as their property is somewhere around Bullet Tree Falls village, which is temporarily flooded. Spanish Lookout Mennonite community shopping is inaccessible right now. With the housing crisis in the USA, Gale and husband, were never able to get their capital out of their home by sale in the USA, as the housing mortgage market had collapsed. So, retirement funds are tight. They are stuck, holding a home in the USA they no longer want, preventing them from moving full time to Belize and starting a farming business. Janet a Mennonite widow, famous for her yogurt at the Macal river, Saturday market and her many daughters are still milking their 32 holstein cows, early morning and evening. They live lower on the Cristo Rey road below Jane, alongside the road, which is dry.

The water in central San Ignacio Town was lapping below Maya Walk place and the German restaurant. The shopping mall with the French Bakery is flooded to one or two feet. All of these places are downtown, central San Ignacio Town.

As I edit this piece this Monday morning, waves of rain pass over every 30 minutes, making a loud drumming noise on our tropical, corrugated galvanized zinc roof, for our Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel hammock room verandah. We rent dormitory bunk beds and furnished apartments, with bathrooms and kitchens. Our place is a FOUR STAR HOSTEL otherwise. We have no University and College age guests, this being the dead FALL three month OFF season. Our construction finishing work on two new furnished apartments for winter rentals is held up also by the rains. Our lettuce crop in our organic hydroponic nursery is growing great though. We were hoping to shop in Flores in the central Peten, Guatemala, this coming week, but doubt the condition of the Peten road will be any better than our dirt roads in Belize. Though still better than my memories of pushing my old VW camper bus across flooded rivers in the Peten of my younger years. At least there is a dirt two lane road of sorts now. I can remember when the Guatemalans built that road and big D9 caterpillar bulldozers could get half buried in mud. We can’t find flat clip on lamp shades for overhead protruding 75 watt ceiling bulbs, or 200 thread bed sheets here in the twin towns stores, for our two new rental tourist apartments, being prepared for winter visitors. We were also planning a vacation trip to El Salvador in November, by the mini-bus through the mountains. Lets hope the rainy season abates in a few weeks and things dry up. The trip is through back country mountain roads in Guatemala and Salvador, to save time. Undoubtedly going to be a hair raising trip.

It is 6:30 a.m. and the nighting gale birds are chirping and singing their beautiful songs, on the branches of the orange tree outside our hammock room window, while the flowers are blooming like crazy in the window shutters, with all this rain. The birds wake us with song and close the evening with very loud songs. Everything is okay with the world here. Even though there are rain showers, lowering cloud cover, it is a fine day for the rainy season. With a pot of water on the butane burner, to make some nice hot morning tea, with a tot of local rum, some local raw flavorful and healthy brown sugar, a bit of imported condensed milk and a dollop of fresh local raw bees honey in the tea; my hammock, a book, the cable tv and warm weather, all is right in the world. I would rather be here than anywhere else I can think of, reclining in my living room hammock. It is warm and peaceful, relaxed and comfortable. Certainly I do not envy people living in anxiety and fear, in places like Iceland, the USA and European countries. Those foreigners seem to always be living from one crisis to another. Nope, things are great here in Western Belize, despite the temporary floods.

Saturday, October 18, 2008



There was some encouragement in the newspapers this week, with various tales and articles of the investments being planned by the Belize UDP government into the productive agriculture sector. The meeting went over two hours at the round table. While the initial response to the UDP announcements were positive. The conclusions reached after two and a half hours, was that it will come to naught. Many reasons were given for a negative outlook. Three come to mind immediately, as I sit here at the computer.

1) The first issue was the cost of taking a container from the fenced gate at the port to the ship side by Luke Espat port authority monopoly. It was quoted as $500 usa, which must be paid in foreign exchange. There is no service offered for this fee. You do it yourself with your own truck. The lifting aboard is free if the freighter has cranes working, but there are add on fees, if the port has to do it. This was reported to the meeting.

2) There was the issue of exporting. Apparently if you deal in commodities in any volume, you have to have a license. Said license requires you raise you value added sales price to the buyer in the foreign country, a minimum of 25% to give to a bureaucrat, for the Cabinet Minister, who is reported to be a get rich quick Cabinet Minister. ( don't know who that is? ) We didn't discuss names. Due to political sensitivies.

3) Oil refinery producing diesel in Shipyard is not making money and probably will quit, it was said at the round table meeting. Prices quoted at $7 Bz a gallon for locally refined diesel and $4.50 if you buy imported Mexican diesel. The problems were explained to me, but I forget the technical details. Other than I vaguely remember something about an EXCISE TAX. Don't remember the details, as I'm getting old, and not to alarm anybody at the meeting, I didn't take any written notes. Plus the original price of crude was set at World Price and there was no TWO TIER system in place to give locals a better price for the original crude from BNE, or some associated front company, before doing the refining or something like that?


One other item, when BELTRAIDE came up in the open export orientated discussion and I have no personal experience with Beltraide, other than they never answer any mails, or give a response; so personally I just gave them up as a useless political department for employment of political party relatives and hacks at taxpayer expense. I always hope my opinions are wrong.
Anyway, I did ask those who knew BELTRAIDE people; if I wanted help in finding a market for BELIZE ALPS chocolates confectionary, if they would be helpful to ask? I had read somewhere in political articles, or government propoganda, that was a function of BELTRAIDE. We don't have the internet service in our part of Santa Elena Town and have NEVER been able to get it. So a market, or exploring for a niche market for chocolate confectionaries is very difficult to find for us in the boondocks of Cayo District. The answer was rather an expression of negative disgust. Rather unanimous; of a useless bureaucratic albatross department. It was a relief to have my personal conclusions confirmed at the round table and know I was not alone in this opinion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BELIZE joins with Guatemala over border Mayan ruins of EL PILAR

Guatemala - BELIZE. The Mayan City of El Pilar was first mapped out by archeologist Anabel Ford in 1983. Anabel Ford had been working in the Mayan jungle since 1972 as a researcher from University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB. The Archaeological site El Pilar straddles the borders of Belize and Guatemala.

Now the initiative to turn the site into a peace park will become a reality. A Memorandum of Understanding between Guatemalan officials and UCSB will be signed on the 22 of October in Santa Barbara. Guatemalan dignitaries Hector Escobedo, director general of the Directorate of Cultural and Natural Patrimony in Guatemala; Erick Ponciano, director of the Institute of Culture and History; and Vilma Fialko, coordinator of the Project of Archaeological Site Protection of Petén will sign the Memorandum as representatives of the Guatemalan Government.

The El Pilar Peace Park Initiative is a collaborative research project on both sides of the Guatemala and Belize borders. The signing of the MOU marks the 25th anniversary of Ford's discovery of El Pilar.

Several organizations dedicated to the preservation of archeological and cultural heritage will participate, Exploring Solutions Past ~ The Maya Forest Alliance, MesoAmerican Research Center at UCSB and Institute of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, ISBER.

After the signing of the MOU, an exhibit focusing on El Pilar will continue through October 31. The exhibit includes maps of El Pilar, the Maya forest, and the forest garden, and wall-sized panels that feature photographer Macduff Everton's images documenting the research of El Pilar.

Anabel Ford explains that El Pilar at its most vibrant, the period from A.D. 600 to 900, had a population of more than 20,000 people who lived in a mosaic landscape of city homes and gardens. This contrasted with areas of forest reserve and agricultural fields, such as present-day traditional Maya forest gardens. Today, El Pilar is at the heart of a 5,000-acre archaeological reserve linking Belize and Guatemala and celebrating the culture and nature of the Maya forest.



By Ray Auxillou

Belize has two rainy seasons, which are September and October and also December and January. Belize also has a dry season, our summer which is April and May. May, being the hottest month of the year.

Right now we are getting a lot of October rain. The two rainiest months are October and January.

Planting usually is encouraged for natural tropical crops, done in the two rainy seasons. We do get lots of isolated showers most of the year and we could describe the weather as being ETERNAL SPRING. Though from April through August, the weather is the warmest time, with April and May being the hottest DRY SEASON.

For vegetables, the temperate zone seeds must be planted between September and February. The summer months require more summer, or tropical type vegetable seed varieties. The difference is mostly to do with the biological genetic triggering mechanism. Summer vegetable seeds have a very minute short space between their requirements for day temperatures and night temperatures. Otherwise vegetables that are for the wrong season, which means the period when there is a marked increase between day and night temperature for the winter crops, will spiral out of control, if planted and grown during the summer season. There is another problem in that seeds from Northern latitudes have a different biological day time exposure. Usually around 18 hours, whereas in the tropics, the day time exposure is timed biologically to about 12 hours.

The weather during the FALL rainy season is based both on the Hurricane season, when passing hurricanes can drop lots of rain, or local convection. Local convection is caused by the tilt of the EARTH as it wobbles and the tropic zone is readjusting, finding a new latitude, either side of the equator. The place of greatest centrifugal force, while the planet spins. The shifting of the Gulf Stream, a warm river of water in the Atlantic Ocean passing through the Caribbean Sea, moves it’s course early in the Spring/ Summer season toward Belize and retreats Eastward during the FALL season. Water temperature differences, combined with the centrifugal force of the spinning planet, create pathways through the atmosphere for the transfer of heat and cold between the Artic and tropical equator.

Natural plants have evolved to fit their needs to the rainy seasons primarily and somewhat along the difference between night and day time temperatures. Some tend to blend between seasons and can ripen and bear outside the parameters of the major rains. There is little difference between the day and night temperatures from March through August. The temperature stays fairly constant and does not shift enough at night, to turn off the biological growing switch. They require different imported summer seed varieties for farmers to work. Plants that have other means of turning off the day and night growing systems, or a very hair trigger switch to distinguish when they should metabolize the sugars they produce through photosynthesis.

The controlling factors for planting crops are the supply of water. Either you gear to the natural rainy seasons and grow two crops a year, or you regulate your water supply mechanically and plant all year around. The next determining factor will be the seed variety chosen by the biological mechanism dependent on the temperature range of tolerance, between the day and night temperatures. There has to be a biological temperature thermostat switch inside the seed, to tell the plant when to stop feeding for 12 hours. Most winter varieties of seeds require a marked difference between day and night temperatures. Otherwise the biological triggering mechanism will turn them on, and they spiral into non-stop growing, 24 hours a day.

The FALL rainy season of September and October are usually local convection. As the Gulf Stream retreats Eastward from the coast of Belize and the Great Barrier Reef , the water temperature changes slightly. Temperature differences between the sea and the land, create a rainy season based on local convection patterns. Huricanes coming in from the Atlantic and Africa also bring rain from along the equatorial belt of the Atlantic ocean . The rainy season found for December and January is different. The planet Earth has tilted to maximum tilt in the wobble as it spins and the transfer of cold temperatures of the artic to the tropical zones starts to occur. In Belize , we get what are called Northern Fronts, coming from Alaska and the Baring Sea . These fronts move south as the FALL/WINTER season progress and the earth stops the wobble, while spinning and reverses, to tilt the other way. Northern Fronts usually stall out around Nicaragua . They have enough force to go as far as the Southern USA in August and September, but by October these cold fronts are reaching into Central Mexico and even Belize . By late December and all through January, these cold fronts move down to Nicaragua . They are accompanied by a wide belt of rain, roughly 70 miles wide, which can take a few hours to pass over Belize and followed by dry clear and very cold weather. Temperatures in Belize can drop to the mid 60 degrees farenheight during this month and sweaters and jackets come out for the population. Northers as they are locally called, last anywhere from three days to ten days at a time. Heat transfer for the planet occurs in the late summer/FALL months in our Northern hemisphere from the Caribbean to the Artic, in the form of hurricanes. This heat transfer reverses in December/January from the Arctic Ocean to the equatorial Caribbean belt in the tropics, by cold Northern Frontal weather waves.

Maximum temperature daytime differences in Belize occur in January, the coldest month, and May the hottest temperatures. Usually the lowest temperature is around 64 degrees farenheight and the highest temperatures can occur in May over a hundred, with many days of ninety degrees. These May high temperatures play havoc with the farmer growing vegetables. They also effect seed germination, as seeds germinate around sixty eight degrees farenheight and performance falls off, as you go outside the needed temperature range. Most seeds will not germinate over 80 degrees farenheight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008



We have now three apartments for rent. Normally they are an annex of FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS ADVENTURE HOSTEL, for University age youthful world travelers and adventurers, we rent them in tourist season by the night, week, or month.
It has been decided that from our first apartment, which turned out very popular, that we completed two more apartments and are contemplating renting them for a block of six months to people who are escaping the cold of northern climates. If you would like a more economical rental deal, then a six months prepaid rental for just $2000 USA, would secure any six month block of time you wish. You can probably split the time and share it with relatives or friends.
We are located in the foothills of the Belize Alps and are a 100 house village, mostly civil servants, on the slope of Green Parrot Valley. We have fine views over our valley and also across the wider Belize River Valley to the Yalbac Hills. This is a rural suburb village of Santa Elena Town, which is part of the TWIN TOWNS, which includes San Ignacio Town.
The area has a steady low key tourism industry, built around the Mayan temples found here, underground caves and day trips up into the more remote Belize Alps. There are assorted things to do, along with attractions, like horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking the rivers and a small artist colony into Mayan pottery and oil painting artists. For more information check our website at: http://folkmusicfl.tripod/adventuresinbelize/
The major thing it is warm and the climate is one of eternal spring. Our summer is during April and May.

For apartment photos, take a look at:
We will have up photos of two new additional apartments by Xmas. They are just being finished. You can walk to the center anywhere in the twin towns in 45 minutes. Taxis around here are about $4 usa. There are car rentals. Most of our economy is based on agriculture and includes, cattle ranching, citrus orchids, regular Mennonite type mixed farms, small scale dairy farms and such things. There are spas, VERY EXPENSIVE luxury resorts ( $2000 us a night ), jungle lodges and that sort of thing.
As a base, our apartment is wonderful, you can go and explore the offshore Barrier Reef islands, which can be more expensive and come home to your apartment in a more low key type foothill affordable atmosphere. There is no rush around here. Do it today, or do it tomorrow.

Alma Beliceana Marimba Band of Succotz, Belize.

This is a photo of the oldest and youngest Marimba players in Belize at the Maya Mountains Folk Music Festival in Hillview, Belize. This festival is no longer held and the oldest player died at 93 years old. The young boy is now in a high school band.

Saturday, October 11, 2008



This is a typical cement block making machine is Belize. Usually a three man operation. It has a steel mold. This one is a deluxe variety, with a hopper to feed cement. The smaller ones, usually are hand fed cement with a shovel. The wood pallets in the back ground carry three cement blocks and as the machine vibrates the cement to settle it, the block is then lowered onto the plywood piece, which can carry three blocks. Then two helpers who mix the cement by hand and also carry the plywood with three blocks over to the outside yard for drying and curing for three days. Production varies between 200 and 300 blocks per day. There are probably 2 dozen such cement block machines to be found in the seven districts of the country of Belize. This is the cottage level type of business which is typical of Belize, with a population of 315,000. Most of the workers are casual day labor in the construction trades and they tend to shift from job to job.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Extract from the Belize Culture List Serve
to join: send a message to In the body of the message put subscribe There should be no footers, or signature files as the autoresponder will kick you out.


I’m looking forward to the first UDP budget speech in January or February. If they stay conservative, things will be okay. I doubt there will be much change in the economic numbers though. The only difference is going to be that 2009 will see more government revenue and thus the ability for a better budget spending and saving plan for 2009. Belize is actually in perfect shape considering; to become a solid conservative managed economy and country, the envy of a all the Caribbean . I doubt the National Debt will change from roughly $2.25 billion. I do expect the debt to GDP ratio to have become a bit worse because of the needless foreign borrowing this year. That seems to have stopped, so it probably will not be too bad. A hinderance to good governance, but understandable because of the needs of politics and party braggadocio for their UDP first year in office. GDP growth I expect to be about the same, around 1.6%. It might shrink a little, or grow a little, but more or less the same this year. I don’t really look for much change in this number until 2010 if the UDP can keep a lid on government spending. Nor do I expect the outside world to impinge too much on consolidation of the economic situation in Belize , whatever is happening out there in the outside world. The biggest factors effecting Belize are the European Union, EPA sales pitch and threats. Also the effect on tourism, which I expect to be minimal. There is a problem with the growth of Airport Departure taxes world wide. This can be detrimental to tourism. For economic growth we do need a concentration on making products for export. How would you foster the chocolate industry and locate markets? Is there a chocolate market in China ? It would seem so? How do you teach college graduates to be entrepreneurs?



My daughter Sharon and family, living in Homestead , Florida , are off for the long Columbus Day weekend, yachting in the sailboat Columbus Day Regatta, which goes from around the Coconut Grove Yacht Club to Elliot Caye. Over there, hundreds of boats anchor in the lee, in the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay and you see nude sun bathers, lots of boat hopping and drinking of beer for several days over the long weekend. Big long weekend party restricted to people with boats, due to distance over Biscayne Bay . I wonder if there are any yacht crowd left in Houston ? They usually sail and race out to the Oyster shallow bar in the middle of Galveston Bay and party for the long weekend.

Last night, here in Hillview of Santa Elena Town, on the slope of Green Parrot Valley , I was up in the hammock on the third floor of our hostel annex and enjoying the sunset. It was a lot like FALL months, with the turning of the leaves in Canada , before they drop from the trees. Down here on the other slope of Green Parrot Valley , the trees were bathed with Golden Sunlight as the sun disappeared behind the ridge from where I was reclining. The leaves of the trees were all the colors of a FALL season up in northern climates. Russet, brown, auburn come to mind as colors. After it got dark of course, the leaves turned green again. Even across the eight miles or so to the Yalbac Hills, across the Belize River Valley , ending at the TWIN TOWNS, the slopes of the hills and trees over there were covered in the golden sunlight, brown, yellow and different colors. What was particularly beautiful was five acres of corn tassles just down the hill from us along the edge of the Western Highway . The golden tassles were rippling in the colors of the sinking sun. It was a really beautiful moment in nature out here in Western Belize . One looks at the fear and panic in the so called civilized world and is humbly grateful for rural life in Belize .