Friday, November 28, 2008



The Honourable Rene Montero, Belize Cabinet Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries gave me a phone call late Wednesday afternoon, about another personal matter and I took the opportunity to ask him about the ALBA TRADE proposals with Venezuela. He said, that the Cabinet and other officials had a number of talks with the Venezuela Ambassador, but that the Cabinet was not too enthused with the ALBA trade prospects. The major reasons Rene Montero gave, was the difficulty of transportation. He used the high cost of ocean freight between Belize and Caracas, Venezuela as an example. He did not mention the exorbitant costs of port loading fees in Belize, which has the private sector exporters outraged. Over the phone we did not get into the nitty gritty details about whether this would be a government to government thingy, or prices for goods, and methods of payments, or getting money for export entrepreneurs and food processors who would like to gear up to a solid Caribbean market flush with cash oil money. Venezuela being a socialist state, these type of countries and governments are very corrupt normally, ruled by a party elite, and it is difficult to deal from the private sector viewpoint with such corrupt governments, unless you were a similar type of state with an entrenched elite ruling party corrupt class. We would like to hear more nitty gritty details proposed by the Venezuelan Embassy, so the private sector entrepreneurs in Belize could judge for themselves. Rene did advise me there was an agriculture department show on the radio on Sundays. Never listen to the radio, as reception is not too good out our way in rural Western Belize, so disappointed in that. Told him we mostly get our government information from the port town weekly newspapers, which are mostly yellow journalism, dealing in scandals ( real and imagined ) in crime, politics and sports. We do catch the occasional television news flash in the evenings, which we find interesting.

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