Saturday, January 31, 2009


lots and lots of anatomically correct dinosaur engravings on stones

AMERICAN CONTINENT carved stone finds, BLOWS THE HECK OUT OF DARWIN THEORY OF EVOLUTION ( over 15,000 carved stones found in Peru made during the Age of the dinosaurs )
( excerpt from Belize Culture Listserve )

Human history just blown to hell!

Thousands of carved rocks made during the Dinosaur era, over a 150 million years ago showing all manner of dinosaurs known to the carvers of those rocks at that time. Found in South America. (JURASSIC LIBRARY)
There is a private museum of collected carved rocks showing all the dinosaurs, the photos are on the web, museum owned by Bolivia Cabrera about 186 miles south of Lima, Peru in a valley near a place called ICA.

Tihuanaco Temple ruins on Lake Titica are dated back 13,000 years. The ruins are on Lake Tititica. The giant stone blocks are still left and were fixed together by giant iron stapels still good. Showing a technology of using iron back in that era. Most of the ruins were excavated and used for railroad beds and for a church in La Paz. The old time drawings of the early Spanish Explorer chronicals show this structure was the largest and oldest city structure in the WHOLE WORLD.

There is evidence of human habitation in Belize back in the last ICE AGE.

BELIZE BOND HOLDERS - an offer to buy at .20 cents


In the next few years, the current Belize BOND HOLDERS have a scheduled increase of 50% increase in interest payments. About two years after that, the interest rate is scheduled to BALLOON again another 100%. Belize is earning around $750 million a year, from which currently $250 million thereabouts goes to BOND HOLDERS as low interest payments on around $2 billion in BONDS. When the final interest rate BALLOONING comes into effect, ALL OF the Government Revenues would have to go to paying BOND HOLDERS their interest. The Government of Belize currently costs around $550 million a year to maintain. The Government Revenues of $750 million and in what the DAVOS economists of Switzerland predict, a deep downturn for 2009 and 2010 in the world economy, followed by a flat world economic outlook, indicate that Belize Government tax revenues are unlikely to grow very much for ten years. Therefore one can see with a $750 million revenue base for the government and over $700 million required in a few years to pay just the interest on the BELIZE BOND, something will have to give. My bet personally, is that current Belize Bond holders are going to lose their shirts.
That said; We have a request for $25,000 USA purchase of Belize Bonds by someone bid at .20 cents on the dollar. Local newspapers said the last average sale of Belize Bonds was at .32 cents on the dollar. Do any BELIZE BONDHOLDERS wish to sell this JUNK BOND? Contact Ray: Belize telephone 663 5580 if so? Perhaps we can facilitate a trade in this BOND.

"I am happy to say we do not own any of their bonds," said Daniel Hewitt, an economist with New York-based Alliance Capital Management LP, which manages about $163 billion in fixed income securities and has about $9 billion in emerging market debt. "We sold out because we realized they were going to default."

Alliance Capital owned an "awful lot" of Belize's international bonds and sold them all earlier this year before the bond price dropped, Hewitt said.

Belize's debt represents more than 90 percent of gross domestic product. Negotiations with creditors may be difficult, according to New York-based S&P.


Old style Mennonite farmers using hand labor and horses on very small homesteads.
Modern Mennonite farmers of Belize who use the latest technology.

small milpero farmer in Belize


by Ray Auxillou

The chicken industry has been built up by the Mennonite industry group in Belize to the point that today, chicken is the mainstay of meat consumption. The production of lean meat that is cheap, accompanied by the egg production, has become a major part of the self subsistence nature of Belizean agriculture. Agriculture teams are also targeting Guatemala, Salvador, and Costa Rica for marketing our agriculture products, in particular for exporting not only frozen chicken parts, but also for crops like beans and corn.
It has been several months since NEWCASTLE CHICKEN VIRUS swept through the Belizean countryside, but today, after various assistances in technology from foreign parts, the National Government of Belize has budgeted the $100,000 Bz ( about $50,000 usa ) for the appropriate equipments and medical assistance to fight NEWCASTLE disease of chickens in Belize. That equipment has now arrived and the vaccination program is to start in the first two weeks of February, 2009. The vaccination will occur from North to South, from Corozal in the North, to the remote Southern Toledo District and from the East to the West, from the Caribbean coast barrier reef islands, to the borders of Guatemala. The Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of this program. Major producers of chicken with large hatcheries, mostly the Spanish Lookout Mennonite Community are already vaccinating. But the big problem are wild chickens, and home chickens that are allowed to roam the backyards and countryside of isolated houses and farms. Many small homeowners keep a few chickens to provide themselves with eggs. Viral diseases are spread through the air, and so cannot be contained otherwise. Vaccination is believed to the answer.
The very small Government of Belize is putting considerable efforts into all forms of Agriculture, as the growing population of Belize is sustained during this world crisis, going on outside in the international arena, by our ability to be self supporting and to feed ourselves. Self sustainability is foremost as a priority, among the leaders of our government in this uncertain world. Our fledgling small agriculture industry is steadily expanding in technological means, skills and research abilities. The new crops for export are vegetables, vegetable processed products, red kidney beans, rice, and corn. These are slowly going to replace the uncertain old colonial mainstays of bananas and sugar.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also fielding marketing teams for our products seeking to export to our neighboring Central American countries for markets for our products. Mr. Canto of the Central Farm Research headquarters in the Cayo District was interviewed on local TV station, PLUS TV explaining the progress.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Schoolgirls of Belize
Mennonite girl of Belize

Girls of Belize!


Ray Auxillou, reporter on the economy of Belize.

photo - image Dean Barrow, Minister of Finance of Belize.


The Belize economy is going to be good for projections through 2009. This is due mainly to an infusion of macro spending infra-structure support, using $200 million Bz., of FOREIGN LOANS by the UDP Government. There will be a sort of mini-boom and by the end of 2009, we should see GDP rise by at least 1% for one year.
How much the government spending on infra-structure, for macro economic growth reasons, will actually be reflected in the longer term, say at least the last three years of the UDP term in government, will remain to be seen. Long term, we are building in recessionary corrections for following governments, who will have to revert to austerity measures and a tightened economic situation. In the series of BOOM and BUST cycles favored by Caricom style English, debt financing driven government economics, we are for this year at least, in a BOOM year in Belize. Sort of like the three years the PUP did the same thing, the political term before last, when they went on a three year borrowing spree.
Like the Eastern Caribbean CARICOM countries, that are reputed to be over extended in DEBT FINANCING, to the tune of 170% of GDP, Belize is also increasing the overall National Debt to GDP ratio, expected to be over 100% of GDP by the time the end of this fiscal year. Economic announcements are made by Belmopan in April. The goal in a well managed economy is a National Debt to GDP ratio of below 3% GDP.
The Banks in Belize are fairly stable and not over exposed on their real estate portfolios. Unlike the outside world, margins for real estate loans are high, collateral is usually based on solid valuations, at least in an expanding economy and population. The exception if any, or weakness in the real estate loan market, are the Government institutions, who traditionally make loans based on low false collateral evaluations. Bank liquidity seems to be adequate for the moment. We have to watch the EXPORT figures and TOURISM figures, to more appreciate how liquidity is going to be effected, mostly for the government tax revenues on an annual basis. Liquidity for 2009 should remain stable, despite some economic downturn in sugar and tourism revenues; but the high debt ratio is building in a DEEP DEPRESSION for the Belize economy, down the line at the longer term situation. Many are concerned about DEVALUATION again in Belize before the UDP leave office in four years, or shortly thereafter. Recently in Iceland, with the collapse of their government, because of their private banks investing too high a percentage of their funds in high interest, high risk mortgage portfolios ( gambling on financial swaps and bets ). Icelandic citizens saw their private public SAVINGS wiped out and the currency devalued 50%, and the story is not over yet in ICELAND. The government of Belize does not have insurance, or guaranteed bank savings accounts. Should such a DEVALUATION occur in Belize it would be more damaging economically, long term to the nation, than twelve category five hurricanes striking Belize in one season. Undoubtedly there would be massive migration to other countries. People would vote on UDP management policies with their feet and leave.
The Chinese community into grocery retailing are doing well, keeping profit margins fairly low and going for volume sales, with rapid rotation of inventories. The Hindu merchants are likewise doing well, because in their case they are concentrating on population growth and sales of household goods, that all young people need, as they start their families and proceed through life. While the sales may be slower, profit margins are very high, sometimes over 200% to compensate for lower sales volumes. The construction industry remains strong and will do so through 2009 and into 2010. Hardware stores are rotating the fast moving inventories about every 80 days. Steel re-bar and cement is being consumed on two week cycles. Tiles for floors on three month cycles. Being an agrarian society, Belize can revert easily to a former colonial life style of self sufficiency, subsistence and hunter-gatherer methods of survival, though it would mean in the case of a national debt caused DEVALUATION, in losing two thirds of our population to migration someplace else, for a more stable life style.
The fly in the ointment for the Belize Economy are the two political party governments, following a high debt financing policy, favored by CARICOM countries under the British style parliamentary system. Liquidity for the government revenues, despite a probable increase of 10% a year on average, will cycle downwards for the next few years, based on shrinking customary agrarian and tourism cash flows into the Belize economy. Some sort of breakthrough into light manufacturing is needed to increase export valuations and overall economic spending within Belize. The only export target so far, is the agro-processed exporting niche market. Some sort of manufactured items need to be made in Belize and exported also. Would such endeavors see government assistance, and or protections? That is a question most people feel not! The predatory nature of government institutional growth and expenditure costs is discouraging people from such endeavors. Both the government attitudes must change and that of people willing to try their hand at high risk experiments in light manufacturing.
The core of growth in Belize is controlled primarily by the high debt ratio to GDP. With a liquidity tax revenue base, running around $750 million to $850 million a year in revenues, for the remaining four years of the UDP term in office. The projections indicate that a depressionary cycle is in the offing, if not disastrous; because of the looming costs associated with the alleged SUPER BOND escalating costs eating up too much of the government revenues. Currently the SUPER BOND interest payments are consuming $250 million of government revenues approximately, and the government is trying to maintain costs within the $500 million figure. Alas, when the interest rate jumps 50% to $375 million a year, we are not going to be able to pay the interest. Shortly after that, the SUPER BOND interest rates are scheduled to double again to $725 million a year. Coupled with the twenty year loans currently borrowed during 2008, in the amount of $200 million and the UDP have announced more loans are in the pipeline. Spacing those existing loans payback over twenty years, means that payback would be roughly $500 million over twenty years, and this projects to an additional $25 million a year to pay. Manageable, if it was not for the SUPER BOND. Twenty years is a long time and that means four new governments taking five year terms, and if history is any guide, each of those governments based on our two political parties mean they in turn will be borrowing loans, or wish to during those four terms of office covering the twenty years. The only person that grasped the enormity of the debt financing crisis, was past Prime Minister Musa, who went on an austerity schedule for six years, which effectively cut the National Debt to GDP ratio from 127% of GDP to 76 % of GDP. The current government policies are shooting the National Debt ratio back up again and expected to increase once more over 100% of GDP, like the financially mismanaged Eastern Caricom island countries.
There is another option open to the Government, as a trader I favor this one. As the debt and economic crisis for Belize develops, as the SUPER BOND interest rates increase, the inability of the Government of Belize to handle the SUPER BOND LOAN COSTS will create a PANIC in the BOND HOLDERS, as well it should. Unable to pay, Belize is going to have to at some point go bankrupt again under current circumstances. The media are reporting that average price of the SUPER BOND was .32 cents on the dollar, when it was reported that Lord Ashcroft picked up about $17 million of the SUPER BOND. There are if I remember correctly, a couple of BILLION outstanding? As a trader and if I was the GOB I would go into LADDERING. This is a trading methodology and term. Get someone like Chavez to loan the money on concessionary terms and set up buy orders, every 10% down as the price of the SUPER BONDS falls from 32% on the dollar, as the economic crisis situation deepens. This will occur as the scheduled two interest rate increases come on line. Simply buy up the SUPER BOND on shrinking bid and ask values as the panic hits BOND HOLDERS. It is going to be a choice for them, of losing it ALL, or taking what they can get.
The devil is in the details. The details are that this government does indeed take in enough revenues to maintain and expand our economy, if they had no loans to pay.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Taiwan AID is going to aircondition Belize Parliament

Photo of Belize Parliament building in the capital Belmopan


Belize is a tropical country, so it is no joke to expect the hot air from a summers day, be able to cool down the House of Representatives when it is in session. This House of Representatives is much the same as a Congress in Republican systems of government.

Taiwanese Ambassador, His Excellency Ting Joseph Shih told the SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE Emil Arguelles that he was supplying a cheque for the funds to buy air conditioning for the building. Ambassador Shih promptly handed over a cheque for $40,000. Taiwan is constantly assisting Belize with both technical expertise, scholarships to University, trade trips and financial aid to the cash strapped nation of Belize . Without the AID from Taiwan , Belize would be in real tough shape. We as a nation are very grateful.


Belize Flag image photo.


I believe we have a local nurse in Hillview running for town council from the opposition PUP and the incumbent UDP Mayor and councilors stopped by to campaign today. One UDP councilor works for BTL the telemedia company and announced that BTL was going to put in a new radio wave system, with longer radio wave lengths and lower frequencies, for both telephone and internet usage, so that suburbs like Hillview and Santa Cruz behind the ridges in the canyons and little pocket valleys of the Twin Towns, would be able to get reception for both wall telephones and internet antennas. The system is supposed to be active by the middle of February, 2009. About two weeks from now. We will not hold our breath! -- As an update the wife went into BTL today, to sign up. BTL customer service denied they were putting in any such internet service and HILLVIEW definitely WILL NOT get any internet from BTL. The UDP Councillor gave out BAD INFORMATION even though he works for BTL apparently.

The incumbent UDP Mayor running for re-election said they were getting some public works equipment, such as a grader, roller and trucks for maintaining the streets of the Twin Towns. They didn’t say WHEN, but said the finances were coming mostly from Central Government, who have made FOREIGN LOANS for such things. In the meantime, on the way into town this afternoon, a PUBLIC WORKS GRADER was actually 80% along with grading of Hillview Avenue leading into our community. It has been about a year to the week, since last done. Surprise, surprise! Maybe because the TOWN mayor and councillors were campaigning here yesterday?

The TWIN TOWN BOARD elections are in March, so the campaigning is getting hot and heavy. We were visited by both UDP and PUP campaigners. Generally speaking we are in favor of the current Town Board, as they have been fairly responsive to requests for action, within the budget limits they have. There is one exception, in that if a Hillview resident runs for the TOWN BOARD we shall also vote for that person, as we believe our valley suburb on the slope of Green Parrot Valley needs a VOICE on the TOWN BOARD.

About 8 years ago, when the Hillview housing project was then a dozen years old, and barren of trees and shrubbery, with mud everywhere and vandalized government shell shocked houses, under the control of the Development Finance Corporation; we envisioned a future for Hillview, on the slope of Green Parrot Valley, on the edge of Santa Elena Town as a tourist village, like we have on Caye Caulker. We know from pioneering tourism on Caye Caulker back in the early 1960’s, that it takes a long time to get things going. Hillview today though, is quite nice, with lots of fruit trees, decorative shrubs, polite people and painted houses with additions and extensions being added as people can afford them. We already have a few small businesses located inside the community and are looking forward to accelerating the changeover into a tourist community. The timeline we envisioned back 8 years ago, was about 15 years for community development and we are 8 years along. We have our Falconview Adventure Hostel finished pretty much, this Spring, with beds for 16 persons and are currently debating what to do with another house in the community we bought to re-model. In order for Hillview to become a Western TOURIST VILLAGE MECCA, we need as the next step, to get 5 or 6 culverts installed at corners of streets that wash out during the rainy season, and also to get the streets here inside the community and entrance road up from the Western Highway, asphalt paved. We told the Mayor and Councilors campaigning of our village plans and asked for them during this time, when the Town Board and the National Government are of one political voice, to do these things as the community needs to progress. CULVERTS and STREET PAVING are the requests. The private sector will do the rest. This is called INFRA-STRUCTURE productive sector investment on the part of the two government entities. Which should be a priority on spending for creating future government revenues. We shall see what we shall see!

Sunday, January 25, 2009



The Cabinet Minister of National Security, Carlos Perdomo was elected to office in February 7th, 2008 and then duly appointed as Cabinet Minister for National Security by his winning party leader Dean Barrow, who had automatically became Prime Minister from the election.
Minister Perdomo accompanied by the Commissioner of our National Police, Gerald Westby Esq., arrived on the morning of January 22nd., 2009. The small detachment of police at the San Ignacio police department, a district headquarters, formed an honor guard to receive these distinguished visitors to our Western Belize area. The officer in charge of the honor guard was Sr. Superintendent Paul Wade. The police station has recently been refurbished and repainted with donations from the community of the TWIN TOWNS, merchant center of the Cayo district. The Belize Government is broke and operating on a recently re-newed, by the UDP newly elected government, using a deficit foreign loan borrowing budget operating system. So many government departments including the police are under funded. The government revenues are adequate on an austerity well managed budget system, but as usual with a new political party in power, they want to spend more than is available, so after six years of PUP austerity ( the PUP lost the election ) the new UDP government are putting the nation in increased foreign borrowing debt. Will this help policing? Very unlikely. Some $200 million of borrowed money is going to be infused in the productive sector infra-structure over this year of 2009. Mostly road repairs.
The Cayo District has a number of outlying small police stations, usually in smaller towns and occasionally in villages. The most frequent crimes are theft of goods left in cars by people shopping, some burglaries, hold ups by armed masked men of stores and businesses, drunken quarrels and machete and knife fights. There are a number of drug arrests, usually to do with marijuana, which is a back country sideline business for some farmers and these are usually caught by public tip offs, or road police check points search teams. Guatemalan bandits periodically, every couple of years, come through the jungle from over the border and set up a type of stage coach robbery road block, for people traveling in cars on back roads. These are normally dealt with, not by the police but by the small 800 man Belize Defense Force army, on patrols. There is growing cooperation between Guatemalan and Belize police forces and army personnel of both countries. Life in Western Belize is for most people, quite tranquil. Every few years some horrific murder occurs, which distresses the Western population and the cries for police action are loud and very vocal. Police response is usually swift. The methodology most favored, is to figure out who did it and then beat a confession out of them.
The police force of Belize is the inherited BRITISH COLONIAL MODEL and is distorted sometimes by whichever political party is in power, who use promotions as a seduction of the professionalism of the force to political victimization ends. Most policemen do not have high school diplomas and the methodology of police work, especially in rural areas is rough and ready. Torture, beatings and temporary incarceration over the weekends for a few days is common enough, if you read the complaints in the newspapers. There has been many attempts in the last few decades to lift up the evidence forensic gathering, abilities of the police, but to no avail so far, according to the newspapers. Witness intimidation is common. There is absolutely no success by the police to deal with the crimes of politicians, plundering the government treasury. Rarely if ever, do the police attempt such a thing, as the political party in power is their boss. Since the police fall under the control of the political party in power, as favored by the aristocratic Empire building British Colonial model, this is an unfortunate price to pay in the system we use. Most low level ordinary police work is fairly good and deals with the nitty gritty details of common, low class crime, by criminals and drunks. The crime of most annoyance, is opportunistic crime, not necessarily pre-meditated crime. Usually by thefts of equipment.
That said; you are safer in Cayo West than in Miami, Florida, or Denver, Colorado. For the circumstances, we have mostly ordinary crimes, and the police force is effective.
The two man inspection team of higher ups, visited the villages of Georgeville, Santa Elena Town, San Antonio town. Many of the larger villages and a couple of small towns were skipped.


Caves branch chess


The Western Belize Recreational and Agriculture Area of Cayo West, are holding the DISTRICT CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP for primary schools, on Saturday, March 14th. Runner up selection chess tournaments will be held for the Western section of the Cayo District at the Aguada Hotel in Santa Elena Town on Saturday, February 6th. The Eastern half of the 500 square mile Cayo District will be held at the Belmopan capital, Convention Hotel. Only 12 winners of the ALL CAYO DISTRICT CHESS tournament will qualify to represent our Western part of the country of Belize, at the National CHESS OLYMPIAD to be held in the Federal District of the Capital of Belmopan on April 25th, 2009. There are six districts in the nation of Belize.
The CAYO CHESS COORDINATOR is David Coombs. His email is: Check in time for all events are at 8 a.m. and the tournaments will start at: 8:30 a.m. There are no registration fees, but pre-registration is mandatory for both primary and adult players in the tournaments.
The Cayo District is a famous pioneering TOURIST area, and also famous for a growing agricultural production in Belize. The fledgling industrial manufacturing capacity of Belize is also found here, along with five producing oil wells. The Cayo District runs West to the border with Guatemala and South to the remote unpopulated Belize Alps, and the twin towns commercial center is found at the confluence of the Macal and Mopan Rivers, which join here to form the ancient Mayan river highway of the Belize River, down to the Caribbean coast. Population of CAYO DISTRICT is estimated at 120,000 people scattered in some towns and a lot of villages and small remote farms and cattle ranches. The population of the whole nation of Belize is estimated at 310,000 people, of which about 80% are under 15 years old, spread throughout six districts, in over 6000 square miles. The majority of primary schools are foreign owned, church built operated schools, with some financial assistance from the Government of Belize. The population of the capital BELMOPAN of the nation of Belize is about 5000 people, located in the Cayo District. Belize only has two paved narrow double laned highways. One highway runs from the Eastern Caribbean coast to the Western Guatemalan border and one paved highway runs from the Southern Toledo district of Belize, northward through the capital and port town, to the Northern border with Mexico. All other roads are dirt roads. The bus service is good, cheap, every 30 minutes on average, using CHICKEN BUSES, or USA manufactured imported yellow school buses, jam packed with second class passengers and sometimes freight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Photo of Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow.


I got a chance to see more of PM Barrow’s media conference at Radisson Hotel in the port town, down on the coast, on noon time television Friday. Too bad it wasn’t held in the CAPITAL, BELMOPAN of BELIZE, but then the coastal port town political system controls the nation of BELIZE, so the UDP don’t act like they believe in our nation as a sovereignty, but more like some kind of port town personal fiefdom.
There was a sort of fat guy sitting under some TV cameras asking most of the questions and he seemed to be well prepared. Unless he was a patsy submitting agreed political questions, appearing to lead the Prime Minister where he wanted to go? Up to now our Prime Minister has been practicing a lot of delegating authority to his Cabinet Ministers. So both as a Prime Minister and as a Party Leader he has given the rural public around the six districts of Belize, the impression that he is disconnected from nation building, and has not taken on the role of a dynamic strong hand at the helm, type of Prime Minister. This was his media conference, so one has to suppose he got a chance to prep himself for any public questions? At any rate, he acquitted himself fairly well, with an apparent grasp of any issues being discussed on our bz-culture listserve membership debating forum. I find his manner of speaking kind of disconcerting. He speaks so haltingly, hesitant and you can basically see the smoke coming out of his ears, as the wheels of the cogs in his brain are running through various answers to questions from the public, before he opens his mouth. He definitely is not spontaneous. I prefer ELRINGTON who will give you an answer rapidly, and even if it is right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter. The guy is rapid and efficient. Barrow’s verbal pauses are pregnant with apparent legal considerations rotating through the machinery of his brain. You can literally smell the brain oil burning in the gears. The results are well thought out and explained to the public though.
BARROW presented the JALACTE incident with the trespass of one Guatemalan squatter very well and explained how the government was not acting in undue haste. I can appreciate that sort of diplomacy, as it is sort of foreign to my own nature as a past ships captain, when you are not only responsible for the vessel, cargo and crew, or passengers, that you have already run through your mind the emergencies, disasters that can happen and have at hand an immediate rapid series of alternative responses in your brain, for all possible alternatives. In the time, when BARROW is thinking, and his ears are throwing out smoke, you could run a ship right on the reef. In the JALACTE container/house incident I’d have been much more rambunctious, but appreciate his more leisurely and contained approach to this incident. Not my way, but probably a better way to do it, the way the UDP government are doing it. I’d have just given the guy two weeks to move it, or gone in there and towed it away to Jalacte and impounded it. Probably my approach would have been the wrong approach and Barrow’s way is better? The video showed very pretty country down there? Must drive down and camp out and check it out sometime?
I felt on the ICJ Guatemalan Claim issue, he was saving face, sort of backing down. Which is okay and he did say that the Guatemalan President does not have a majority in Congress and probably unlikely to even get agreement to go to a REFERENDUM within the time limits. If they did call a referendum, we in Belize could vote NO! I got the sense that the UDP Cabinet were a majority for a NO REFERENDUM vote, but only BARROW and ELRINGTON, the two lawyers in the political party who are trained skilled dominant debaters, got so confused in the forest at watching the individual trees; they got lost and couldn’t visualize the big picture of the forest, so they were personally convinced at the time, in the nitty gritty, historical legal aspects, rather than the larger moral and ethical aspects, when they accepted the CLAIM argument query from Guatemala. Their legal training probably overwhelmed a CABINET of elected amateurs. It is my belief the way BARROW was wishy washy on the issue and his explanation, that there is now a change of heart in the CABINET. BARROW did go on in various “if , maybes, and buts” to leave one wondering. Sounded like an addictive gambler buying stock in the market just to keep the action going, when he should be in CASH and HOLDING pat. Lots of people gone broke basing decisions on HOPE and LADY LUCK!
Whether BARROW has a finger on the pulse of the nation and the nitty gritty details during the month, or weeks, as he appeared to have in this conference is still in doubt. Certainly he gave the public confidence in his leadership, the way he answered questions from the media at THIS conference. Considering the paucity of media conferences, it does leave one still wondering though, what is the story behind his leadership? Is he in command all the time, or only when he pre-plans a media conference and gets prepped? I’m convinced that for the most part, the seeming delegation of ministerial responsibilities by the Prime Minister is practicing, that all decisions can in the end, be attributed to the UDP CABINET as a whole by majority vote. Which means my area representative Rene Montero has to answer here in Cayo Central for how he votes on Cabinet decisions, if we can find that out?
My wife asked me about the economy and I told her BARROW didn’t really touch on that. There were so many excuses in the speech, using the lack of money for different things, I was left with the impression that the UDP has not planned out their budget last year very well. In fact, I know so! That said, the impression I have, is that BARROW is basing the BORROW and SPEND Keynesian historically failed philosophy he is claiming, is another sort of addictive gamblers choice. Based solely on HOPE ( wishful thinking ) and not on pragmatic dollars and cents. According to the Godfrey Smith article recently analyzing past Belize Prime Ministers, UDP Esquivel was a better Prime Minister than BARROW here is currently, on economical spending by the UDP. If Esquivel is being paid as an advisor by BARROW, then the PM is not listening. When you gamble you must know how to cut your losses, or hold your hand pat. The UDP under BARROW has failed to do those professional things. I’m not sure what the gamble is in this case with the economy and finances? It just seems a loser to me. With $750 million annual revenues, about $250 million of this revenue earmarked for the bond debt interest payments and a government costing $550 million or more. Coupled with a raise in that amount earmarked for the BOND interest payments by 50% soon, and another year after that or so, the BOND interest payments doubles again. When you look at that as a stock market bet, it is one you must turn away from and hold tight. The government revenues only will increase about $70 million for 2008 and probably increase by $83 million extra revenues in 2009 if tourism recovers. The JOKER in the hole is the possibility that more oil fields will be found and start producing, thus rescuing the UDP and all Belizeans from bankruptcy and those bad effects.
The borrowing of $200 million while going somewhat, for needed productive capacity infra-structure, can only be paid for from more borrowed money, unless something fortunate happens. A sort of gamblers choice to let LADY LUCK enter the equation. ( $200 million means it will cost us $500 million over a long term to be paid back ) I’m supposing he must know something about the possibility of increased oil wells and oil exports, rescuing the UDP fiscal management team, that we the public don’t know? That would be nice, but to gamble on LADY LUCK backed by HOPE, isn’t a professional gamblers way of doing things, or handling government loans via credit. Borrowing new credit cards to pay off old credit cards is not a proper financial policy coming out of the UDP Cabinet.
BARROW came out as a fairly good spokesperson leader in this media conference. Some of the things he said, reflected an attitude that was impressive for ethics. The UDP Cabinet solution to the GEGG / Niche contract argument was fair to the business community and restores confidence in the impartiality of government institutions. I’d be more able to judge the situation, if BARROW was having media conferences twice a month though, when you watched him handle surprise questions. Too many ambiguities here, with possible political party manipulation of the situation down in that port town. From the UDP point of view, I would say the media meeting of BARROW with the press was a success.
The thing is; the UDP Cabinet seem to be digging the hole to the Republic of China deeper, trying to go through the center of the Earth and get to their money that way? That hole is going to collapse on the people of Belize, is my own thinking. The way to get out of the financial borrowing hole is to stop digging.
During the PUP term, before last when they did the same BORROW and SPEND type trickle down economics, the PUP sold out the government revenues for my adult generation, my children’s generation ( they are in their productive 40’s ), my grandchildren’s generation, who are only now finishing up their higher education to go into the business place and my great grandchildren’s generation, government tax revenues are forced to go to pay interest on national debts. What the UDP are now doing seems to be a repeat of the PUP, except that the UDP are borrowing and spending the government revenues for my great, great, grandchildrens generation and great, great, great grandchildrens generation and so on. The government tax revenues on average increase about 10% a year through population growth. That means there are cycles within this average to achieve average government revenue growth, and it looks like we are on a down cycle for the next three or four years, unless oil finds increase, and oil exports take up the slack. This means on this down cycle, government revenues are increasing at a slower rate, perhaps 6% instead of 10% and not even estimating any future economic contraction when the debts become too high to maintain out of government tax revenues, and the UDP borrowing will not be met, causing a financial debacle either for this UDP final years, or whoever has the five year term after this. The debt payments are gobbling up more of our available annual tax revenues faster than we can expand our economy and revenues. Which sooner or later means bankruptcy.
The UDP BORROWING policy has serious minded fiscal people very worried. If Godfrey Smith’s recent article on the management characteristics of past UDP, PM Esquivel are true, I cannot imagine UDP financial advisor Esquivel would be going along with this UDP CABINET financial policies? It is certain BARROW is not paying Esquivel any mind, for the tax money we are paying him as an advisor to BARROW.
My own opinion on all this first year of the UDP, is that the UDP CABINET is GAMBLING with our Belizean Future tax revenues and simply not practicing proper fiscal planning and management principles that guarantee success. Unless a lucky oil find occurs, we are looking at bankruptcy again.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The guy on the right is Taiwan Ambassador Ting Jospeh SHIH. Photo on the left, but he is on the right viewing the photo.

Western Belize Happenings NEWS REPORT
by Ray Auxillou ( )

During the October river flooding and subsequent widespread damage in Belize of 2008, several Belizean bureaucrats were invited to Taiwan by Taiwanese Ambassador Shih, here in Belize to go to their island country. Once in Taiwan, the Belizeans were able to meet with a number of business people and politicians. Subsequently, around a half million Belize currency, of medical equipment was donated to Belize. This arrived recently in a container by ocean shipping. From the photographs on the television news here in Belize, there are all kinds of electronic specialized medical equipment, for diagnosistic purposes and applications during surgery and that sort of thing. The contents of the container were very impressive and nothing like these modern machines would be normally affordable by our much poorer Belizean economy. The medical equipment is going to the WESTERN REGIONAL HOSPITAL in the capital of Belmopan, in the center of the country of Belize. Belmopan our capital is in the CAYO DISTRICT, of our Western Regional agriculture, industrial and tourism recreational area, and possesses about half the population of the country in around 500 square miles. Mind you, with around 310,000 people, of which 80% are probably under 15 years old, we don’t have all that many adults in our nation.
The thing is; the constant and steady support with GRANTS and ASSISTANCE from medical equipment, agriculture programs, school feeding programs for poverty class children, budget assistance and emergency disaster grants; the country of TAIWAN, their government and people halfway across the world, are seemingly our BIGGEST DONORS and do more for the small nation of Belize, than the UK, the European Union, the USA, & Canada, in the form of financial and development assistance programs than all the others put together. The Belizean people are well aware that TAIWAN, strange as it may seem, has a big heart, compassionate people and the few immigrants from TAIWAN that have moved to this country of Belize are highly appreciated for their work ethic and high ethical standards. There are no words to really describe the emotional ties that bind the people and government of TAIWAN and the people and government of Belize. This small island country of TAIWAN, are making a BIG DIFFERENCE in the quality of life and our development as an emerging pioneering agrarian society. Ambassador Shih is the catalyst and driving force, for forging the strong ties between TAIWAN and BELIZE. Those TAIWANESE are darned GREAT PEOPLE mon!

Channel 7 News Report on television in Belize

Taipei Hospital Donates Medical Equipment
posted (January 21, 2009)

This afternoon Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize Ting Joseph Shih formally handed over a container with two hundred thousand dollars worth of medical equipment to the Ministry of Health. The equipment which includes portable x-ray and ultra sound machines were donated by the Tao Yuan Hospital in Taipei. They are the second half of a US$200,000 assistance secured by Health Minister Pablo Marin when he visited Taiwan in November. The first half was in cash but the equipment didn’t get here until Christmas Eve. It has now been unpacked and CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen says they will go where they are needed.

Dr. Peter Allen, CEO – Ministry of Health
“There are x-ray machines, ultrasound machines, anaesthesia machines, operating theatre tables, electrocardiograph machines to monitor heart and patient safety monitor machines for operating theatres and they will go to places of course where they are most needed to principally to the Western Regional Hospital. The Tao Yung Hospital in Taiwan along with the regional management team led by Pearl Ellis of the Western Regional Hospital created a twin relationship and so the Tao Yung Hospital is particularly keen on helping the Western Regional Hospital.

They can only improve the delivery of healthcare. One donation is never enough to do everything that we would like but they can help to improve and along with the other efforts of the ministry and our other partners, we intend to make sure that the people of Belize keep getting quality healthcare at an affordable cost.”

The Ministry of Health has another container of equipment and supplies waiting to be unpacked at its Central Medical Supplies Compound. It is from a group in Chicago and includes wheelchairs, beds, surgical instruments, and other medical supplies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



There is an old cliché, that says when you prepare for the worst, the worst NEVER happens! The outside world is already in a confirmed RECESSION now two years old and in Belize the effects are just starting to be felt. We seem to be running about a year behind the outside world schedule. That said, there is definitely a DEPRESSION coming in 2009 for the outside world and we can see vast industrialized economies, who are our biggest markets and sources of tourists unwinding into DEPRESSION.
It is something to do with psychology I suppose, but if our UDP CABINET prepares for the worst it probably will never happen. We lost a big chunk of our productive economy during 2008, which has been replaced by increased oil exports, even at a third lower prices. Tourism is going to take a big hit during 2009, the early visitor indicators show. Since tourism is one of the pillars of our government revenues, then that presupposes projections for general tax revenues for 2009 will drop drastically. It makes sense for our UDP CABINET to revise the projected government revenues for 2009 and 2010 downwards, from expectations.
What then are the WORST CASE SCENARIOS for our UDP CABINET during the 2009 and 2010 period, during the effects of the world depression?
Probably, the UDP CABINET should revise government budget spending downward a third? Since we are talking WORST CASE PREPARATION, then perhaps it would be smarter to drop revenue estimates by 50%.
We have had two hurricanes in ONE YEAR before, so let us estimate two hurricanes for 2009. At a cost of $150 million each in government costs.
We are getting more and more floods and have had two floods in one year, so let us throw two flood disasters into the WORST CASE SCENARIO pot, and plan for that as well, along with associated economic losses and costs.
ECONOMIC LOSSES FROM REDUCED TOURISM ACTIVITY looks like tourist revenues may actually drop over 50%, perhaps 75%? There is a lot associated economic activity with loss of tourism activity, in the general community.
Lastly but not leastly, with NEW reduced government tax revenues and lower expected local economic activity, then our fixed FOREIGN LOAN REPAYMENT SCHEDULES are going to effect the amounts of money available to maintain the government of Belize activities. For 2009, the $150 million borrowed in 2008 by the UDP Cabinet, can be spent and will create an articial blip on our GDP figure. It is not productive directly as a spending, but will create local internal economic circulation activity.

It looks like revising government tax revenues for 2009 and 2010 downward from previous estimates, by a third would be appropriate? This can be refigured in 2010 as projections and performance unfolds. We are not looking at rosy estimates of economic revenues here, but at what we consider to be the WORST CASE scenarios. This means the government budgets need to be re-adjusted to fit the revised situation as we MIGHT experience it. Go to it, UDP CABINET, do your job.
Generally speaking, it is times like these; that the National Debt looms more and more, like a chain and ball tied around our neck, as these FIXED REPAYMENT COSTS become larger in proportion to the much reduced expected available government tax revenues. We await with much interest the UDP Government delayed STATE OF THE NATION speech, for not only the economic figures the private sector needs for proper annual planning economic activity, but also the budget presentation for government size and activity. The question in my mind is; will the BARROW government prepare a budget for a DEPRESSION year WORST CASE SCENARIO, or will he let his civil servants prepare a budget based on more favorable, over optimistic artificial figures, as is usual, and which always get our governments in trouble.
The thing to remember is; if you prepare for a WORST CASE SCENARIO, the physcology of doing so, will actually prevent you from making stupid mistakes if these things happen and if not, then you end up looking like roses at the end of 2009 going into 2010 with a darned surplus in a GUARANTEED WORLD DEPRESSION YEAR. That is a pretty good economic and political outcome to be desired, I would think?



Obviously the coming World Depression is going to effect Belize in some way? What way exactly we cannot know. Since our currency is fixed to the US dollar, we essentially have a US DOLLAR economy, even though we print our own money in Belize. Our money is not tradeable on the international markets and is basically used for internal circulation. This gives our Belize dollars a certain strong validity for a country like Belize that is self-sustainable. The fact of our own money valuation is a STRENGTH. This presumes our politicians (the UDP party controlling the government of Belize ) has the SMARTS to control the size of government, be frugal and wisely spend the government revenues in a tight fisted manner, and more particularly, keep a strong rein on the money supply. ( printing of money )
Generally speaking, we are a country with a small population and can feed ourselves. To some extent, we can if needed, even supply our own fuel, from diesel made here and E-85 200 proof ETHANOL. We seem to be in good shape for a world depression? Some curtailing of the materialistic life styles might be experienced from importation of manufactured goods. Being an agrarian society, this is unlikely to really prove a hardship. Much of our population already live DEPRESSION style anyway. 20% of our population in my Hillview Community, of Santa Elena Town of the Cayo District, continue to cook using fire hearts. A system of wood boxes filled with sand, and the burning of firewood. This is a method used in the USA during the 1700’s and 1800’s but still used in much of Latin America. About 10% of our community do not use electricity, because they cannot afford the service and rely on kerosene lamps and candles as in colonial days, when our population was smaller. Cost is the factor here, versus incomes. There is going to be some hardship as our population has grown and in the larger district towns, water supply has shifted from the old pioneer days of creeks and rivers, water vats, for the collecting of rain water and in a few cases of water wells, to a National Water Service, supply of water via PVC pipes under chlorinated pressure. The BWS company recently exchanged my water meter, and my water bill has jumped 400%. So the cost of water looks like it will effect larger communities with newer housing suburbs, now relying on pipe water systems. We will probably in a depression, see a return to rain vats, which are still sold around the nation of Belize anyway and quite common.
The biggest danger in a world depression is the fact our nation is so small, the population also small, that economies of size and ideas and plans of politicians in our UDP Cabinet for spending, will tip the balance and send us into a situation where our internally circulated money becomes devalued, either through inflation, or devaluation. The latter caused by our Cabinet borrowing, of foreign loans. We have to watch our national debt to GDP ratio here! The massive borrowing in proportion to the size of our government revenues is a worrisome trend by our UDP Cabinet. They borrowed in our name $150 million during their first year in 2008. Against revenues of around $750 million and a debt load already crippling our government financial operations, with debt payment obligations of around $250 million this year, of those government revenues. Debt payments are scheduled to double in three more years because of BOND interest agreements. Financially speaking, because of the small size, vulnerability to outside disasters out of our control, Belizean governments live continuously on the knifes edge of fiscal disaster. One simple emotional, amateurish political mistake in handling our government revenues, can ruin us for decades to come.
That said, there has been some reason for HOPE in the first month of 2009, as I watched Attorney General, Wilfred Elrington, on television, tell Justice Conteh in a seminar meeting of magistrates, Supreme Court Justices and lawyers of the legal profession, that the plea by Justice Conteh for more money for the legal division of government is DENIED. In fact, the Attorney General, Elrington, went on to say the Government of Belize is not getting value for the money they are spending on the government legal justice system. Judges are careless, lazy and lax in submitting court case judgements in a timely manner, even as the majority of the court cases are simple ones, with rote solutions. I must say, Elrington has made some foolish mistakes, such as over the BRAND NEW GUATEMALAN CLAIM, be even considering going to the ICJ over it, but in that pronouncement against Justice Conteh and our legal system, he vindicated himself handsomely. Another good sign is the recent spurt in GRANTS coming into our government for various government institutions. I note here, the GRANT for $350,000 from the World Bank, for stricter financial controls establishment of the government purchasing system, which is a proper way to go for our small country. This is the correct path ( GRANTS ) to follow, in my opinion.
The danger to Belize in a World Depression is primarily in our money supply situation, the printing of money by our government and the possibilities of DEVALUATION caused by too high a National Debt load to GDP ratio. With the economies of the world rapidly shrinking and winding down, our own situation in Belize is primarily effected by reductions in tourism revenues. The possibility of people losing all their savings and our banks going into crisis is very real and we are but ONE POLITICAL DECISION MISTAKE away from this happening.
In a depression and particularly in a small country like Belize, the DEBT load causes many unforeseen conditions. Almost always causing DEVALUATION. Devaluation and Inflation our our biggest worries for our small nation. These effects can cause more ruin than a WAR, or invasion by a neighboring country, to our population and economy.
It behooves our academic intelligentsia to learn how to live in a COLLAPSING ECONOMY, which could happen in Belize, through just one or two fiscal, amateurish mistakes done by our Cabinet and Financial Minister. We do live on an economic knifes edge here, in such a small population. The BARTER system, and parallel market system is common to collapsing economies, rendered worse by amateurish politicians, mistaken policies. When the value of the government national money collapses, then barter takes over. I have some experience as a young boy in Vienna, Austria in 1945, a conquered city, in which for about a year, cigarettes were the barter system money. Soldiers could get cigarettes and six British cigarettes were worth about five Yankee cigarettes and 20 Russian cigarettes worth five British cigarettes and the French occupation forces didn’t even have their own French cigarettes but had to rely on the English and Americans to supply their occupation soldiers with cigarettes. Six British cigarettes bought me the use of a rowboat on the lake in Vienna for the summer and Fall, every day, for recreational purposes. You could buy a huge valuable stamp collection of hundreds of stamps for a pack of cigarettes and I remember my father buying a 35 mm minature spy camera, which shot photos through a button hole for a pack and a half of cigarettes, for example. The cigarette barter money system eventually was replaced in late 1946 by an Allied Commission issuance of plastic made money. You need something to value the exchange of different goods.
That said, if our academic intelligentsia feels the UDP CABINET are ruining our economic money valuation system internally in Belize, through INFLATION, or DEVALUATION, then they should know and study the effects of the DEPRESSION during the 1920’s and 1930’s in Germany. This was post World War 1. There are articles on the internet to assist them to study. To make a long story short, each village and town in Belize should then create it’s own system of barter, or money exchanged. A private business, or town council can print coupons after the Belizean currency collapses and becomes virtually valueless, like currently in Zimbabwe under Mugabe. Each community requires it’s own money and the most successful villages and towns in Germany, were those that made their own money system, separate from a central government authority. I remember the MARK becoming worthless, and the coins, like the Groshen useless. The national currency quickly becomes worthless as politicians tend to make many mistakes in times of economic stress. A local currency, or exchangeable coupon, for say the Twin Towns, allows people to buy food at the market, gasoline from the gas station, get your shoes repaired, within a very small tight situation in which people band together to help each other. BARTER is improved by having a common system of exchange on the local internal economy of a village, or town. In the meantime, the Central Government is usually declaring all bank notes and coins printed before certain dates worthless and your savings are so wiped out. The Central Government then goes on to print new types of money, which due to bad political policies also becomes worthless quite rapidly and this cycle is repeated. Our intelligentsia need to study this DEPRESSION phenomena of the barter system, that MAY BE required soon in Belize. In so studying, perhaps our politicians will also learn the basics of controlling money borrowing and spending desires they wish to get rich quick, or do things that cannot be done within the reduced fiscal circumstances. It pays to be PREPARED and the DEPRESSION is soon here, for sure, this year of 2009, I have no doubt. Learn how to deal with it, to minimize the effects on your local village or town in Belize. Prepare to lose all your SAVINGS and have the local banks get into trouble. When you are prepared NOTHING ever happens.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Justice Conteh of Supreme Court in Belize
Photo is Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General of Belize.

BELIZE JUSTICE SYSTEM INTERNAL FIGHT ( Two bantam roosters fight.) Elrington won!


The Supreme Court Justice, Conteh acting as spokesman for a room full of lawyers and connected government people in the legal system of Belize , gave a scathing report of the state of the legal system in Belize , against the UDP Government of Belize. The crux of the message he gave, was the legal system wants a lot more money to function properly from government revenues.

Minister of Justice, and Attorney General, Elrington came back in the packed meeting, with a flat announcement that there is no more money and that the problems lie not with the amounts of money, but the laxity of the Justices to deal promptly with judgements for court cases. Some of which take years. Attorney General Elrington went on to say that the Justices made more salary than he did as a Cabinet Minister, that they have brand new courtesy vehicles, fuel allowances, travel allowances and a whole host of PERKS. His summation was that the Justices were not delivering their jobs in a timely and expert manner. That in fact, they were a privileged lot in the government system, basically spoiled and not performing to the level they are paid. Attorney General Elrington, himself a Belize lawyer, said the government had been sending him around the British speaking Caribbean and to other countries of the Commonwealth, searching to fill government positions in the Justice system, but that the quality of candidate applications was very low and unsatisfactory.

The spokesperson for the legal system seminar, Justice Conteh for the group of Belize lawyers replied to Elrington, they had made a decision to render all judgements for courtcases not later than 90 days. Conteh was wishy washy though and hedged and hawed around that timeline with more excuses for their incompetent performance. However, Conteh went on to make a bunch of excuses and among which; was the failure of the Director of Prosecutions and the police to provide sufficient evidence for many of the court cases. He also mentioned the practice of witness intimidation, and fact, that murderers were being let free by the justices, because witnesses are afraid to give evidence. He said, something had to be done.

The public watched the proceedings on television and street talk later, gave way to suggesting a separate vigilante system for eliminating career thieves and murderers as a solution. Something similar done in rural Guatemalan communities. A sort of Los Pepes as in Colombia , but created in Belize , a secret society of vigilantes.

Belize belongs to a world wide English speaking Commonwealth legal system, fairly standard in many countries around the world and legal people often are hired to work in other countries with similar systems. In Belize we have quite a few legal lawyers that came to Belize to work in the Justice system from other countries.

Belize Central Farm Pilots Association will be holding their 2nd ANNUAL FLY IN

Long range Angel Aircraft, 7 passenger, twin pusher propellers, 1700 miles.

Photos of Cesnna 182 and a Maule, both of which were here for the 2008 FLY IN.

CENTRAL FARM SECOND ANNUAL FLY IN - for pilots and their planes. Breakfast available. Organized by Tom Wierum at the Central Farm airstrip.

--- On Mon, 1/19/09, Tom Wierum wrote:

From: Tom Wierum
Subject: 2009 Annual Belize Fly-In
Date: Monday, January 19, 2009, 7:14 PM

Hi all,
Its getting close, The now Annual 2009 Belize Fly-In, will be held a few weeks earlier than last years , hopefully we should have milder temperatures and less wind.
The new website is available at the following link Belize Annual Fly-In
It has information as well as a printable flyer, which I would appreciate you printing out a couple copies and passing on to fellow pilots and friends interested in aviation.
We will have lots to see and do. We are planning a piloting skill competition for those who wish to test your aviating skills. We have the organizer and judges in place for a spot landing competition, we are putting the final touches on the rules and procedures for this competition. Those interested can e-mail me for the rules.
We are looking for a sponsor for the event that will provide the trophies/plaques for the event. Please e-mail me if you would like to step up and be a sponsor.
Please RSVP by sending me back an e-mail if you will be flying in so we can plan the parking of the ramp better.
Again, please spread the word to your fellow aviators and enthusiasts!

Hope to see you all there.

Tom Wierum/ Central Farm Airstrip office and hanger.

P.S.: Tom said the server was offline but will be back up in a few days. This is Wednesday, so should be up by weekend. Got some photos on the blog now. The date set for the FLY IN is on February 22nd., at 10 a.m. You got any foreign fliers want to come down and join us all having fun in tropical Belize. Fly Down!



by Ray Auxillou, Jan. 20, 2009

A recent visit to our BELIZE DEVELOPMENT TRUST ( internet NGO of volunteers ), two very small, simple, hand applied, hydroponic research facility nurseries, located at Hillview Hacienda, home of Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel on the slope of Green Parrot Valley on the edge of Santa Elena Town in the Western Cayo District of Belize, enquiries by a fairly new USA immigrant and investor, sent to us for information by Central Farm Government Research Station, who wanted to go into Greenhouse production of vegetables; required me to sum up the state of the art in vegetable growing in tropical Belize, for him and his son.
The last book we printed on the subject, the FOURTH EDITION of the BELIZE VEGETABLE FARMERS BIBLE ), primarily for government employees and the University of Belize Agriculture College Library was a year ago, in January of 2008. We only published 20 copies which cost us $700 bz currency out of pocket each printing edition and sold only two. The rest were donated FREE to government institutions mostly. There has been some progress since then in the last year. In summary, the knowledge of how to grow temperate zone vegetables in the lowland tropical climate of Belize, is thus:
• Winter time vegetables should be planted late September. These vegetables require a temperature differential between the night and day temperatures to suit their biological clocks.
• Summer time vegetables can start to be planted late February, as our summer is two months earlier than that of Northern climates.
• The vegetables with tap roots do better than vegetables with shallow roots.
• Current emphasis is on testing and trying different varieties of seeds. We have done dozens of tomatoes and lettuce types of seeds. The best so far, in Belize conditions are the POLINA tomato and in lettuce the loose leaf variety of TROPICAL EMPEROR for commercial usage. Many seeds have different daylight exposure times than we have in the tropics. We have not yet been able to grow a ball head lettuce in Belize for example.
• Of paramount importance is preparation of SOIL. The soils of Belize are mostly CLAY, SAND, MARL, PEBBLES, etc. The amount of LOAM and HUMUS is minimal. The rule is; that you must change your soil to LOAM. This is done by turning over your CLAY for example and breaking it up into small pieces. Then adding things like; coarse WOOD CHIPS from the planer at sawmills. (Sawdust does not work.) Adding some kind of LIME, in our case, we use GYPSUM available in sacks from over the border, and at Juan Chuck Hardware locally in Western Belize Twin Towns. The best LIME is DOLOMITE LIME in remote Punta Gorda, “Belize Minerals” but they do not sell, or deliver yet to Western Belize agriculture area. There are many chicken growers with big operations at Spanish Lookout. Chicken manure is probably the best addition for fertilizer. Not too much, a tea spoon full, for each plant is plenty. We also add ashes from garbage burning fires for potash. The addition of all sorts of organic leavings, like grass cuttings, etc. are also beneficial to making CLAY into LOAM and you know it is good when the soil is crumbly and has worms in it. Adding CHARCOAL is recommended by Brazilian research, but nobody yet produces CHARCOAL in Belize. Clay clumps otherwise in rainy season, to a greasy brick like texture, unusable by vegetable roots. Fine sawdust does that too.
• Adding daily water eliminates growing seasons. We have found by three years of experiments, that you can plant weekly for commercial purposes, but this is too often, as the harvest time of plants tends to vary and spread out more. We would recommend depending on the type of vegetable planting, either monthly, or the earliest every two weeks.
• For greenhouses, there is as yet, no importer of thin feeder black plastic hose to connect from mainline water pvc pipes and to six inch plastic drip feeders for each plant. In commercial field operations, farmers have been using well water and flexible coils of drip feeding hose that is about an inch in diameter, with success. Commercial onion farming is now being done successfully with this method in the fields. Greenhouses require drip feeders if you are going commercial. We use a garden hose for our small experimental research operation.
• Hydroponic operations are being used. There must be 200 kinds of hydroponic operations of growing vegetables systems worldwide, but EBB and FLO, seem to pre-dominate? So long as you supply the nutrient and water for the vegetables you are using a hydroponic system, irregardless of the method. I have currently gone to plastic pot growing, using prepared potting soil, made of humus, wood ashes, lime, chicken manure, and compost tea made from organic decomposition. My only addition this third year of experimentation is to supply just the water. Adding nutrient does work faster though, to get results in a timely harvesting manner. We mix our own nutrients. We also use COMPOST TEA we make ourselves and works great.
• Greenhouses get hot in the tropics. The sides must be left open. The local available plastic rolls are not greenhouse UV protected and consequently between the sun and ultra violet light, the stuff tears up fast, about six months. Which is no good. Plastic roofing is used to prevent the rainy season from diluting the nutrients in ebb and flow systems. Shade cloth is available locally. It may not be necessary, but does keep birds out.
• Technically there is no season for growing vegetables, if you supply nutrient and water. However, we can qualify that, and say that during the rainy season, production will go down, when there are too many days of cloud cover and not enough sun.
• GREENHOUSE growing of vegetables is a controlled environment and you can get your vegetables off the ground, which eliminates a lot of bugs and pests. So far, we use water and coconut oil mix for bugs on tomatoes, and compost tea foliar spray for diseases. The only problems we have had, is with tomatoes in which after several months of re-planting continuously we got TOBACCO MOSAIC VIRUS, which wiped them out. THRIPS on tomato plants also gave us trouble. The water and coconut oil spray works, but has to be applied every two days for THRIPS. I’ve known of soil based tomato operations, that had trouble with APHIDS. In our compost tea, we usually add a bit of chicken manure in the mixing part.
• I am now on our third year of continuous vegetable growing, without stopping for seasons. We feed our family with vegetables several times a week. Our research has shifted to finding the most successful varieties suitable for local conditions. We welcome foreign donation of seeds to try. ( mail to: Box 276, San Ignacio, Belize, Central America. ( mark them FREE SAMPLES )
• Currently vegetable growing is an IMPORT SUBSITUTION situation. The country imports a lot of vegetables from Mexico and the USA. Expertise is growing rapidly and soon we expect MARKET GARDENING will become more sophisticated, better managed and applied properly, to lower risk. BUYERS, OR MARKETING is still a problem in most areas of the country. EXPORT buyers so far have expressed interest mostly in HABENERO PEPPERS and PAPAYA. There exist local exporters of both for these two. Potatoes are doing well by Barton Creek Mennonites and Orange Walk and Corozal Mennonite operations are doing well, in onions and partially so in lettuce. San Antonio, Cayo District farmers are doing well in MARKET GARDENING vegetables on a year round basis for the local TWIN TOWNS river market.

Toucan national bird of Belize found at Clarissa Falls, Belize

The TOUCAN is the National Bird of Belize. When I have tourists guests at Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel, I like to make sure they lunch and swim at Clarissa Falls, because under the thatch roof restaurant, they have two wild TOUCANS raised by the owner and one of them a real pet and much photographed bird, has broken the tip of the top beak and so must come to the restaurant from the wild, to get the fruit the owner slices up in bite sized pieces. This makes the visit to Clarissa Falls all the more memorable for that.

Galen University of Belize hosts 45 International students for the Spring 2009 Program


Galen University is hosting 45 FOREIGN STUDENTS from different lands in their Spring 2009 semester, STUDY ABROAD program. Galen University is located five miles from the town of Santa Elena, going East on the Western Highway, and is next door to the Government of Belize, Central Farm Research Facility and University of Belize, Agriculture College.
Galen University courses are in English and the University has relationships with US Universities for the accreditation of USA Degrees. This attracts students from South America, to practice their English and also to get USA diplomas and certifications. The degrees are done through Galen University ( a private University ) in Belize using DISTANCE LEARNING programs with Universities in the USA. Professors locally supervise and visiting professors come in to do exams and that sort of thing within their academic relationship. The University is an investment by a University system in GREECE.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Scarlet Macaw photos in Belize

It is January and on television we see and hear of blizzards and freezes in the USA and European countries. Here is a wild set of Scarlet Macaw birds here in tropical Belize. Mind you it was cold here in January part of the time too. I think it got down to 74 degrees farenheight once or twice and even in the high 60's once or twice. Eat your heart out you foolish people living in the North ( laugh! )

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BELIZE has many BUTTEFLIES that are unique!

The jungles of Belize have some wonderful unique butterflys. adventuring in Belize headquarters for the budget traveller.



This is a beautiful place to swim at the bottom of the FALLS. Makes you feel like a midget. One of the stops for our Mountain Pine ridge ALL DAY tour, run by one of our favorite tour operators. Never had a disatisfied customer yet.

Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel ( for news in the Western Belize Recreational Area
Covers our hostel in Western Belize and links to my daughter's hostel, TINAS BACKPACKERS HOSTEL on Caye Caulker beach.



Meeting of tourist operators, out WEST, mid January, indicates that EVERYBODY in Cayo West is experiencing a slowdown in tourism numbers. I thought it was only me, but apparently the district hotels and lodges are all in the same boat. We are getting a trickle of visitors into the Western Belize Recreational Area, but not much.

Those tourist visitors that are booking and showing up are doing so, with only a day or two notice. The longer term pre-bookers are not showing up at all. Fellow listserve members on the Belize Culture listserve debating group, of things Belizean that just visited, criticized me for not having enough signs on the back streets to Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel, to find the place. Will fix that over the next month at their insistence. Been kinda lazy in that regard. I figure any taxi will find the place, though mostly they steal our bus arriving guests, for their cousins and uncles rental places, if our guests make the mistake of going into San Ignacio market center instead of getting off the bus in Santa Elena Town, Exit 66 1/2.

TWIN TOWN BOARD STAFF ( San Ignacio ) are being alleged to have run a victimization campaign this past holiday season. Apparently, the TOWN BOARD people ( not sure who? ) were soliciting money for holiday drinking parties, (the business rumor mill is saying ) and San Ignacio business proprietors that refused to contribute the requested amount, ( $50 cash – no receipts ) were hit with traffic tickets for not wearing seat belts within the town of San Ignacio as revengeful punishment, if they refused, the next day. I drive myself into San Ignacio Town a couple of times a day for shopping and business and haven’t experienced it myself, but businesses located within the town, over on that side of the Macal River, are complaining they are being victimized for not contributing, when asked for specific donation amounts. ( extortion? ) Driving inside the twin towns usually occurs around 5 to 8 mph. You can’t go any faster, or get out of first gear. So stopping and starting and shopping is normal, without a seat belt, within the Twin Towns. The allegations being made on the gossip mill; are that the traffic wardens are being used, to ticket un-cooperative business people, who have been extorted for large cash contributions. Victims feel this is true, because they allege that; when they refused to contribute to a town board staff holiday drinking party. Their vehicles and drivers are being ticketed in revenge the next day, the ten ordinary drivers in line, both before them and after them, without seatbelts, were not molested are the allegations.

Whatever the truth, it is a dangerous precedent for either a political party, or the bureaucrats, to use the institutions of government for extortion, or political victimization. Many a small business was run out of business in the 18 SELF GOVERNING YEARS of George Price, because they were perceived to be vocal opposition political party supporters, using the institutions of government. Belize is getting to be a much bigger place and ordinary citizens are not as pacific as they were once, when the population was much smaller. Vengeance for perceived criminal injustice can result in more than just voting the politicians out of office as our population grows. We don’t need to go that route of corruption and violence.

Garbage pickup for us in the Hillview suburb of Santa Elena side of the twin towns, saw us go six weeks without garbage pickup. Upon complaining online, we got prompt town board service the next morning and in fact this week, we have had two garbage pickups in one week. Sort of FEAST and FAMINE. No complaints anyway from Hillview.

January 15th , 2009 has come and gone without a State of the Nation speech on the state of the Belize National Economy. Business people are unable to plan their year looking forward, for lack of economic data. The man who holds the position of the Minister of Finance, ( Dean Barrow ) also is the Prime Minister and the political party LEADER, or head of the UDP party. Some people suggest he is weak in the finance department, others say he is wearing too many hats. Whatever the truth, the public private sector cannot accurately make future business plans for 2009, without the economic data. This is supposed to be available end of every month anyway with new computer systems.

Current rumors are; the UDP Cabinet are worried about the mounting loans and debts? They are also spending too much. Guesswork for 2009 in the absence of accurate economic figures ( I hate guessing the economic numbers ) announced by this UDP government, is that the government revenues for 2009, will shrink to about $730 million Bz currency and of that $265 million is earmarked to pay INTEREST payments on old foreign loans carried forward. This interest amount is expected to jump 50% either this year, or next year, by escalating BOND requirements, and double the year after that again? Which would make existing inherited loan interest payments come to $400 million Bz, this year, leaving only $330 million for government, which is costing, a guessed at $560 million since the expansion of many projects and departments. ( e.g.: such as Building plans and permitting system, being hired for now ). Couple this with a further $150 million Bz, foreign loans made during 2008 by the UDP and will eventually have to ADD to our national foreign debt burden, making the longer term fiscal policy view, dismal in outlook for the remaining UDP term. The shame is; that our Belize government actually takes in enough annual revenues to make our nation self sustainable economically. The private sector do not know which way to turn without good prompt fiscal data, and are disappointed that the pre-election UDP rhetoric on “accountability, and transparency” are not being adhered to as promised. This was supposed to be a REFORM government of UDP.

On the other hand, as a UDP Cabinet excuse, we read in the Guardian political party newspaper this weekend, that the World Bank is contributing a $350,000 usa GRANT to further GOB institutional capacity in delivery and review of good quality financial information for the government. Primarily in the realm of procurement and government contracts. This Guardian article seems to indicate the Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow is not happy with the economic accounting system in Belmopan our capital. Since the previous Musa/PUP government used to keep us, in the private sector informed, in an almost instantaneous manner ( one week delay ) of government costs, via the newspapers, this new Prime Minister who wears that hat, also the hat of party leader and the top hat of Minister of Finance, does not seem to be able to MULTI-TASK , and seems to be inordinantly involved with government lawsuits ( his forte as a lawyer ), apparently ignoring economics all this past year, giving NOTHING in information to the private sector, our economic fiscal data of the nation and government. End of this 2008 calendar year, we want some numbers, even if they are a few percentage points off, so we can plan for the coming years business expectations in the private sector. Business trends for business forecasting are derived from the numbers. We need the trends more than anything for projections. Under the top hat of Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow is NOT doing his job, up to the quality level of the previous PUP fiscal reporting administration done by previous Minister of Finance, Said Musa.

The USA unemployment figures at 7.2% in December are expected to exceed 10% and maybe up to 14% by the next winter months a year away, during 2009 and how this overall, will effect our big TOURISM money earner in Belize , is meeting with a certain amount of fear. The USA recession is seemingly going into DEPRESSION, which will effect the whole world, including Belize . Our Belize government would be remiss if they do not plan for WORST CASE SCENARIOS. It is time to be self sufficient and lean out government costs.

Many Western Belize Business people are considering moving some of their savings out of Belize Banks and converting to Quetzals, a floating currency. The rising National Debt and fear of devaluation are driving forces here in Belize . Indeed the gossip mill has so much doom and gloom, we also are planning a trip to Guatemala maybe in March, to look over the situation with investing in that neighbor country. ( good excuse for a vacation anyway ) Diversification is king of economic security. The local gossip and speculation has us worried also. We are planning a trip to the Department of Alta Verapaz, noted for it’s scenic beauty. The area we are interested in over there, is 4,350 feet altitude, but has six months of rain a year. There are three Mayan old fuedal kingdoms still functioning in the area. It is getting a lot of internal Guatemalan tourism and growing. On the internet we see hotel prices there quoted at $70 usa per night. WOW! The Guatemalan government has been opening up all of Eastern Guatemala with new roads and improvements, and business potential on the EASTERN half in Guatemala is looking good for Belizeans, afraid of DEVALUATION in Belize . The new building permit system in Belize , is expected to double the cost of construction investment, here in Belize . Ourselves as a family, were one time interested in expanding into Caricom, particularly the British Virgin Islands, and Dominica , but without any internal CARICOM transportation systems from Belize , that idea seems to be a waste of time. Honduras has us afraid because of MS-13 extortion networks of criminals and Mexico seems to be collapsing with a civil war of sorts, between the Federal government and big criminal drug gangs. The USA has become even more fearful as an investment place, with financial collapse of their own projected, reported locally here by our economist Bill Lindo, for around April/May in the USA , by the Amandala newspaper. Where to go in the 34 American countries, for safety, security, safe business and safety of SAVINGS is the question? Belize is sort of safe in the sense of good police responses to criminality, but not from devaluation and predatory taxation and fines, which the rumor mill is forecasting from this UDP government. Will there be a flow of Belizean investors into Guatemala ? 2010 will probably tell us more, as events unfold.

Located in the Del Rio Plaza, downtown, all of the second floor has been converted and very well too, with a receptionists area, big street side verandah and big rooms with bathroom, tv, hot water, air conditioning and so forth. Rivals the San Ignacio Hotel up the hill and is charging $55 usa tax included. Good price and worth it. Serves a Continental breakfast and the Hindu restaurant is next door where we eat lunch every day after using the internet cafe downstairs.


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