Tuesday, February 24, 2009


overweight people growing in Belize


The obesity study carried out for the past three years in Santa Elena Town, of Western Belize, by Belize Development Trust volunteers, reveals nothing really startling.
Obese people are ADDICTS. They must both eat and have something to chew. Their will power capabilities are low. The more you eat, the more you desire. A vicious reinforced cycle.
The study showed that TWO CUPS of food per day, were adequate and would keep a person in good health. The upper parameter would be THREE CUPS of food in a day. More than that in the amount of food consumed and you would gain weight.
Some side issues of the OBESITY study, showed that it was QUANTITY and VOLUME of food that mainly created OBESITY in Belize.
It did not seem to matter if you ate twice, or three, or even seven times a day, so long as the QUANTITY and VOLUME of total food eaten was no more than two to three cups in size.
Side issues were health, and in this regard were important and those TWO CUPS of food should include five different types of food, to make sure your body received the essential vitamins and minerals in the minute quantities provided. Your body is simply an organic machine.
There was ONE EXCEPTION to the rule regarding the QUANTITY, OR VOLUME of food you ate per day and that is if you eat fresh vegetables, or fruits, you could eat as much as you wanted. This is because they were mainly water.
Processed foods mostly imported, were for the most part BAD for you. Soft drinks were bad for you and almost guaranteed to give you cellulose and a rubber tire around your waist line. Distilled bottled water tends to leach out necessary chemicals and minerals the body needs to function properly. Tap water worked fine in the study.
DIABETES is increasing in Belize, and the current increase for the need of DIALYSIS treatments were complications of eating too much food in quantity. Coupled most often with processed foods. Kidney problems were also complications of things that you drink. Juices should be alternated with fresh water.
The ADDICTION to food in large quantities is aided by SMELL, TASTE BUDS of the tongue and mouth. The need to CHEW something. Recommended as alternatives were BEEF JERKY and CHEWING GUM to satisfy the chewing drive the ADDICTION to food instigated.
The study was not done by a CLINIC, or the MEDICAL PROFESSION, but by lay person volunteers on a pragmatic, empirical scientific basis. The proofs were found by loss of weight and increased agility and health by the volunteers who lost weight. The subject of exercise training was tried many times. Indeed it is probably a secondary key component of tackling OBESITY. Exercise alone was found not to work, UNLESS you first controlled the amount of food entering the body, to keep it functioning normally.
The major conclusions of this study, found that QUANTITY and VOLUME of daily consumed food were the most important parameters. People are eating too big a plate of food it was found. Restaurants were serving too large portions, more than the body could use.
Working meals were found to be a BANANA breakfast. SOMOSA, TOSTADA, GANACHE for lunch and something very light, like soup for supper. Snacks of vegetables and fruit worked well to fight the craving of eating ADDICTION. Beef Jerky chewing and chewing gum were found to be excellent aids between meals to reduce the size of the stomach, satisfy the cravings of smell, chewing, taste buds and to reinforce the necessary WILL POWER.


Mules carrying corn over frontier, from Belize to Guatemala to sell.
Guatemala and Belize map


Excellent video on television this past week, by Channel 7 news on the news on Friday night. With dry season coming on, it showed the trade between farmers of Jalacte area of Toledo District and the neighboring village on the Guatemalan side of the border. The trade is mostly corn going out and it showed a Belizean farmer taking four hundred pounds of corn on a two pack mule, freight system, climbing up and down the hills and track through the beautiful hilly countryside, to the village on the other side of the OAS boundary zone. The video showed the labor involved in picking milpa corn cobs by hand, carried home. Using a tump head band traditional carrying system, for both man and woman, then to the village and then beaten on a rack with a stick to collect the kernels in a blanket or cloth. The subsequent corn was put into 100 lb sacks. These farmers then loaded corn on a mule and trekked ten miles across the frontier to sell it to a buyer on the other Guatmalan side at the trading post. The market is insatiable as there is not much milpa done in the Peten. Most of the land is in cattle, for the Guatemala City market and local populations require corn to live. The Belizean farmer gets .25 cents Belize per pound and can sell all they can provide. Farmers on the Belize side then buy their necessities, in manufactured goods from the Guatemalan trader, to take back home to Jalacte and surrounding villages on the Belize side of the remote frontier. There are no border fences, immigration posts, or anything like that.
Looked at from the viewpoint of port city people in Belize, this is a hard life. Quite the contrary, it is a seasonal life for the farmer. He grows his own food, builds as big a house as he wants, dependent on the communal labor supplied by his fellow villagers and lives in comparison to a port city lifestyle, a much richer family life and existence than they do, who live the more materialistic lifestyle of Belize City. A shortage of money is not a disastrous thing, as it is in Belize City were all daily functions work on money. There may not be much money involved, but you only need money for materialistic things, sometimes a novelty processed food item, like a soft drink, or luncheon meat or something different like that. Rubber boots, machete, tools and files are most common. Though I notice that the Belize side of the frontier, the villagers had cell phones, from Guatemala and which worked from the microwave cell tower servicing the village on the Guatemalan side. There is no comparable telecommunications service in the communities on the Belizean side of the border. On the Guatemalan side, they had roads to their farms and electricity as much as they needed from powerful transmission lines. Not so on the Belizean side of the border. If you are in range of the Guatemalan microwave tower you can get internet, telephone, television and all the modern things. On the Belizean side none of that is possible, except through the Guatemalan system.
The arrangement is that families on the Guatemalan side send their children into Belize to Punta Gorda for schooling, mainly to learn English, so they can be tri-lingual and have a better chance in life. Also for some reason, the land being given over to pasture for cattle on the Guatemalan side, there is little farming going on like in milpa and no free jungle land available on the Guatemalan side. On the Belizean side there is a lot of jungle land to be used for milpa and new generations can live and raise families, building their house out of bush materials as big as they want, or need free of charge, except for labor and a few bundles of tying wire. The Guatemalan side, trading store, is more of a trading post for basics and the sale of the extra corn not used for personal food on the Belizean side. Many Belizean farmers had cell phones. Using the Guatemalan cell phone system of course, you cannot get service on the Belize side of the border from our communications monopoly. Obviously our frontier Belizean milpa farmers are living very well and have enough money to pay for some gadgets to raise their life styles.
The scenery was very beautiful, the thatched wood homes simple, old fashioned, but denoted a very comfortable and pleasurable way of life. I think our frontier with Guatemala is going to get a lot more rural Belizean settlers very soon, for this simple but excellent country life style. The reason is the advantages of modern services from Guatemala and trade goods, accompanied by a ready market for corn and beans in Guatemala. A small milpa farmer on our Western frontier can live a darned good lifestyle. KUDOS to Channel 7 for this informative video.


Map of Caribbean
President Chavez of Venezuela, revolutionary and socialist.

Well this now announced WORLD DEPRESSION sweeping around the globe, our little satellite EARTH, rushing around the sun in our solar system, on it’s elongated orbit, is in a turmoil like fire ants, stirred with a shoe, or stick. All the world television news is of DOOM and GLOOM. In the USA, fellow Democrat ex-PRESIDENT Clinton gave some suggestions to the new Democratic President OBAMA, to cut back on the DOOM and GLOOM rhetoric and sound more positive. Obama was fueling the fire of what does not have to be, making his excuses for poor performance early. Since CLINTON was successful during his office term, one can only hope OBAMA listens. As Churchill once said, there is nothing to FEAR but FEAR itself. ( at least I think it was him? )
On the local note effecting Belize. Our major FOREIGN AID assistance from TAIWAN seems to be in some jeopardy, as their manufacturing society on that small island is contracting like a house of playing cards that started toppling from a puff of wind. Taiwan economy has contracted some 12% the news say. The unemployed numbers are rapidly rising in the millions. PM BARROW has announced our foreign aid assistance in budgetary assistance from TAIWAN, has been cut back to $25 million Bz a year, for only four more years and then must come under review. I hope they keep the agriculture foreign aid assistance stuff going here in Belize?
On the other hand, our FOREIGN AID guy in socialist VENEZUELA, President Hugo
Chavez, has managed to pass a democratically run referendum correction, amendment, to change the Constitution of Venezuela, so he can run for the Presidency every term for the rest of his life. Chavez is on the way to being PRESIDENT FOR LIFE, like Fidel Castro did. That aside, a lot of the things that Hugo Chavez is doing, are now looking VERY GOOD, particularly now European and USA society is collapsing from GREED and extremist CAPITALISM. Last week, Chavez NATIONALIZED the STANFORD BANK in Venezuela, to protect Venezuelan savings from being transferred out of the country, by USA litigation and lawyers. The world wide STANFORD BANK has turned out to be some kind of pyramid scheme, with branches world wide. There is no Stanford Bank in Belize thank heavens. CANADA says they are having no problem with their economy, or fiscal world problems. Their bank regulatory system handled the USA, zero payment down mortgage debacle well and any bank purchases of what turned out to be a pyramid scheme of mortgage bundling from GREEDY capitalism run wild and uncontrolled did not effect CANADA. They are very strong.
All that said, it looks like we better start developing Venezuela as an economic trading partner and assistance in technical things. Even if right now it does not seem very practical. For all his socialist rhetoric over there, CHAVEZ is looking more like an angel and the USA is looking like some kind of declining dumbkopff? Obviously, we need to get some kind of direct shipping and airplane transportation to CARACAS as fast as possible. BOONE PICKENS oil and gas expert, is advising the USA big shots in the USA government, that the price of oil per barrel is probably going back up to $75 usa a barrel by the end of this year. Right now it is $35. He also said South America is way ahead of the USA in development of Natural Gas, 18 wheeler transportation trucks, which saves loads of money, foreign exchange and the use of natural gas driven heavy transportation systems. He says the USA needs to copy many of the South American countries conversion to natural gas, which is plentiful. Belize, Guatemala and Mexico all have abundant natural gas supplies. Though Belize seems to be burning off their energy in flares, from what I’ve heard and read here? Not sure what the problem is, here in Belize. There has been quite a bit of pickup truck conversions. Going to check it out and get more details as to operating and savings costs.
It also looks like we should turn to CANADA for foreign aid and economic and technical advice, more and more. They are doing well as a country and if you are going to learn anything from anybody, you obviously should be going with the winners, not the losers. So, the emphasis in our Belizean foreign office, should be on VENEZUELA and CANADA. Probably we should close the Washington Embassy and open it in Ottawa? The Persian Gulf and Oil countries seem to be holding their own economically. They’ve taken some financial losses, but apparently are well diversified to weather this world Depression storm, hitting planet EARTH.
The old cliché, or Chinese proverb “MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES” seems to be effecting planet Earth as we spin, hurtling through space. All in all, Belize is not really in too bad a shape at all, compared to everybody else out there in the bigger world. Our foreign debt in Belize currency seems to be actually around $1, 300 million, or a billion and a third. That is a quarter or so less than estimates have been run on. We await official budget statistics from BARROW. We need more DEBATE in the UDP. Particularly the CABINET members. BARROW and ELRINGTON seem to have monumental EGOS and need to be confronted more by their less educated, but wiser rural practical political colleagues in debates. Our rural CABINET members need to get into the tussle of opinions more over there in Belmopan, or the RADISSON hotel, or wherever our UDP government is headquartered these days?
Robber BARON, Lord Ashcroft is diversifying out of Belize, the media are quoting him, and moving his interests over to oil based Trinidad or something. He wants a better set up, foreign exchange available locality. Be sure to give him his ball and bat, when next you see him, the game seems over? Seems like both BTL and Belize Bank are declining in effectiveness in the nation of Belize? In the Toledo District and along our Western frontier, Belizeans are getting better service out of Guatemala than here in Belize. I still think our Government of UDP should be asking for a GRANT from GUATEMALA and get them to build a road connecting Big FALLS in the Toledo District to the Peten highway system. Pronto! We need to cut that transportation distance in half, currently via Flores/Santa Elena, central Peten, from Benque/Melchor frontier through the Rio Dulce. That will BOOST our economy a whole lot, because of shorter legs and transport savings for our fledgling exports. Might as well bring in the Guatemalan telecommunications system as extensions, to serve us rural Southern and Western parts of Belize too, while you are at it. THREE FLAGS just opened a new big department store in Santa Elena town and it took one and a quarter years of building to do it. They now have THREE in Western Belize. Santa Elena Town needs a bus station, an ATLANTIC BANK building, new Town Hall, as development slips over the Macal river onto our side.
Well that is enough bilious talk and gratituous advice for this Monday morning. Have fun, life is short, as Mick Flemming of CHAA CREEK told me at the Central Farm airstrip AIRPLANE Fly-in, Sunday, when I admired his new TRIKE ultra light, 81 hp, Rotax 912. What a nice fun play toy. Wish I could justify one of those as a play toy. I’m envious. I’ve got too much SCOTCH genes in my blood though. I think I’m extravagant when I buy a $5 vegetable soup and steamed rice at the Hindu restaurant, instead of my usual lunch of $1.25 Somosa and $1.25 ginger flavored lime juice. Or $2 tostados for lunch and a $1 juice in the bank section of San Ignacio down town. Silvia and I are off to COBAN, Guatemala and Lenquin Tuesday, to see the condition of the road there and look at Hotel, or hostel building opportunities. Check out the Guatemalan bank CD interest rates. The Guatemalan economy is another strong country in this world of turmoil. Belizeans are moving into Guatemala for the opportunities to diversify and expand. Economic conditions seem very favorable. Belize is becoming very regulated and restrictive by comparison, by Belizean investors talk, who are now invested over there. Belizeans also invested over on that side are very encouraging with their experiences from the last few years. Most of the newspaper reporting from our port town of Belize City seems erroneous and totally wrong. They have some sort of fixation, or phobia about Guatemala.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009



Xununtanich, Clarissa Falls and Cahel Pech tour - $22 usa
Caracol pyramids interior day trip -$75—$85 usa

XIBALBA, the ATM Cave expedition to the Mayan
sacrifical underworld— all day trip- $75—$85 usa

Horse back riding Mopan River, ferry and climb to Xununtanich hilltop temple ruins by horse. - $40—$75 usa

Belize Alps foothills, Pine Ridge day trip— $40—$60—$75 usa depending on tour guide, or tour operator.

Barton Creek Outpost cave canoeing—$60 usa, or use FREE swimming hole with swinging ropes from trees.

TIKAL all day round trip $135 usa, ( all inclusive )

Ultra Light Trike flying over Belize River Valley—$$75 -$100 usa

Guanacaste National Park swimming hole—$2 usa by bus.

Blue Hole Cenote National Park Swimming Hole

Crystal Cave and Petroglyphs - $75 usa

White water kayaking Mopan River -$60—$75 usa

Canoeing pristine natural Macal River Gorge - $20 usa

Canoeing and hiking $70 usa

There are many more attractions from slate carving, music lessons, painting art lessons, archery, Mayan pottery making, wine making, zip lines, cave tubing, ETC.

Hillview, Green Parrot Valley, Santa Elena Town ( tel: 663 5580 )


Fortis of Electric business

The major reason is that our bureaucrats and politicians are fiscally unsophisticated.
What is happening is that FORTIS is supposed to be a MANAGEMENT COMPANY handling our electrical supply and transmission grid, which facilities be owned by the people of Belize. For this management service, Fortis gets to keep any profit they can get out of the system of management. Usuually such a utility service gets a guaranteed profit, or an average profit.
What seems to be happening to me, is that our government has misunderstood the role of the utility management company concept. I may be wrong, but not far wrong. Fortis appears to be running like a for profit company BUILDING ASSETS, not for the citizens of Belize through our Government ownership, at the expense of Belizeans for its own wealth accumulation. As the years pass, the infra structure in electricity is owned by FORTIS, increasing their wealth, which can be sold in the future for gargantuan profits, in addition to the profits they earn from managing the electricity system on an annual basis.
From all appearances, under the PUP, FORTIS owned everything. This makes FORTIS a different kettle of fish in the style of a company building assets. The reason the PRICE of ELECTRICITY is high, is that FORTIS is forcing CUSTOMERS to build the electrical supply and transmission grid system. This in a PRIVATE for PROFIT company, would be the second long term profit in VALUE of the ASSETS, besides the ANNUAL PROFIT ( management fee ), Fortis is guaranteed for management services.
A PRIVATE for PROFIT company would be re-investing PROFITS to build ASSET VALUE. In the case of FORTIS up until this year, the price of electricity has been set artificially HIGH to the Belizean customers, to pay for expansion and investment in the system. We are paying for asset expansion with population growth, and higher electricity rates, not for increasing government wealth, but for increasing FORTIS wealth. If Belizeans owned the production of electricity facilities and the transmission grid this would be acceptable. But if FORTIS owns these increased expanded assets, then FORTIS should be paying for the increase in VALUE of the ASSETS out of their profits. The most glaring case I can remember is the HYDRO DAM in which Musa gave it to FORTIS for $1 for fifty years. The cost of the dam is being born by the Belizean consumer of electricity, yet it is a FORTIS asset which can be sold off in the future to another buyer, which FORTIS has been hinting at lately. If FORTIS owns it and can sell it, then FORTIS should be paying for it out of their profits. As any PRIVATE for PROFIT company must do in business. Not the Belizean consumer of electricity via higher electricity rates.
This then raises the question of LOANS, borrowed to expand the infra-structure. If LOANS are used, and the cost is passed through to the customer in higher electricity rate costs, then the asset value of the loan investment belongs to the Government of Belize representing the citizen consumer. Or it should, but does not appear so?
The way I understand the media presentations on this subject, is that FORTIS owns the increased transmission lines, generators and so on. FORTIS cannot OWN these things, if they don’t pay for them out of their PROFITS, we the customers do. This is after all a Government alleged owned UTILITY.
The Government of Belize have to decide what is actually owned by FORTIS available for sale to another buyer, and what is owned by the citizens of Belize, paid for by FORTIS management services. This needs to be divvied up and straightened out before FORTIS calculates in the short and long term, which is most advantageous to their private for profit company system. To be able to sell our production and transmission assets paid for by our higher electricity customer rates, since the PUP gave away the store apparently, lock, stock, and barrel. Who would handle such a sale, or transfer of assets and management and who would get what, from such a sale is the question? Or say, the return of the DAMS to Belize in 50 years after they are depreciated, the asset and EARNING CAPACITY of for instance the HYDRO DAMS. At some point in the fifty years, it is going to be worth more to FORTIS to sell those dams and transmission lines to another foreign outfit, than to lose them as an operator, keeping the profit from them. There will come a time of diminishing returns for FORTIS, in which; what seems the current setup, to be a period in which selling out will be more advantageous than operating the electric utility for FORTIS.
I’m not going to get into loans and depreciation and management fees here. That requires a more detailed study. The essence here is that something is very wrong in the way the MANAGEMENT CONTRACT is operating between FORTIS and the Government of Belize, representing the citizens, who ultimately should own these assets and their value worth, for which the citizens are still paying through artifically high electricity rates.
You the PUC should be figuring this out and correcting the situation on the value of assets, investment by loans we are paying for in rates, or out of Fortis profits per capital re-investment expansion for eventual private corporate resale, as a methodology for our public utility. There is something smells about this whole thing the way the PUP organized this electric utility ownership for Belize.


Dean Barrow, Finance Minister and wife.

It is widely believed that the DRAFT BUDGET is not very encouraging and thus in order to not effect the outcome of the TOWN BOARD elections around the Nation of Belize, which have become partisan and political party orientated, in imitation of the National Elections, the DRAFT BUDGET has been postponed, so say a new announcement by the government. The UDP wish to win the TOWN BOARD elections nationwide. It seems the proposed draft budget originally announced for Feb. 27, might have had an effect on the Town Board Elections?
Government watchers are looking at the DRAFT ANNUAL NATIONAL BUDGET keenly and expectantly. What reserves are allocated for a HURRICANE, or FLOOD disasters is a curiosity. A minimum of $150 million is expected to be held in reserve through November this year, for the unexpected environmental disasters outside of the ability of government to predict.
Another big item to watch is the National Debt to GDP ratio. The National DEBT rose during 2008 and the GDP fell during 2008, but by how much, is the question and what effect this will have on the many GDP ratios used to judge the economy of Belize? This ratio is a government management skill indicator. When it drops, the government is doing the correct things and when it rises the government is making bad mistakes. Confusing things, is the mix between the CALENDAR YEAR ending Dec. 31st and the FISCAL year which runs from APRIL to APRIL. The new UDP government has cancelled monthly, quarterly and annual calendar year reporting of economic statistics during 2008. This new UDP government has been keeping SECRET the monthly reporting of GDP ratios of the economy, used by the private sector business people, as done by the previous PUP administration. This has caused consternation and much complications in private sector bank transfers, planning for foreign exchange purchases and set asides and other re-investment factors. Private Sector planning has reverted to the old Colonial systems of uncertainties and inability to do quarterly and short term planning for lack of statistical information.
Projections for the 2008 Calendar year were about $800 million in government revenues. Due to two floods and various bulk commodity industry losses during 2008, the new estimates are about $40 million lower for government revenues, estimated at $760 million. The private sector awaits the actual figures with interest? Mainly because no change in annual revenues is expected now that a WORLD DEPRESSION is under way through 2009 and probably part of 2010. The future forecast for government revenues is expected to level off at $760 million thereabouts, annually, for the remaining 4 years of the UDP term in office. We are in a down phase of the average cycle of government revenue averages.
The cost of government is of special interest. Government will have to run around $430 million in total annually, during this world depression for 2009; so efficiencies in the budget are expected to be announced. 2010 forecasts project increased cuts in government size and spending needed. The new UDP government is not yet prepared to implement a monthly departmental grant system, tied to GST collections as a ratio, for various government departments and units. ZERO budget balancing is still but a dream under this UDP. This means a continuation of wild politically created swings in the economic projections and money management by the Finance department. The $200 million expected inputs from new foreign loan borrowing spending will keep the economy flowing for taxation revenue through 2009, but will not really foster any expansion in government size and costs. Should the UDP expand the government size and costs, then this is going to wreck any future economic projections.
The amount of government revenues and foreign exchange circulating in the system is going to put hardship on the private sector it is believed. During 2010 next year, the interest rate on the National Debt in foreign exchange is going to increase by 30%, due to a balloon payment interest schedule from 4 ¼ % to 6% interest. The actual amounts of interest and foreign exchange to be needed by the government, is of great interest to the private sector business community. This will effect private sector business decisions for 2009 through 2010 government fiscal year. What the actual interest payment amount will be is of paramount interest to the private sector, as the fallout from these payments indicate the fluidity of the foreign exchange availability on the black market, foreign exchange currency system, to pay for private sector imports. The probability is that for the balance of the next four years of the UDP term, there will be a savage tussle to control foreign exchange availability. The government to pay the political foreign debts, against the need by the private sector to keep the economy running.
Inflation figures monthly are needed and whether or not we can get these is going to be a curiosity? The danger of a DEFAULT on the foreign debt will become more clear by late April, after the final budget is reached. A first minor crisis point will be reached somewhat in 2010, but expected to escalate in 2012, to a complete DEFAULT on foreign bond obligations, or a new restructuring, to bring interest rates on the 20 year bonds down to 2% to 3% interest. An amount the country can handle. Projecting out mid term for 2010, 2011 and 2012 will thus effect private sector business expansion planning. Mostly to see if the UDP react with fiscal panic and start increased taxation in desperation. This can be counter productive. The struggle to control foreign exchange, is also going to be bigger than before, going back similar to the 2005 period.
The problem facing the new government is not tax collections, which are relatively big and efficient already, but fiscal management skills. During the world depression now unfolding, what could be glossed over as amateur night, can no longer be ignored and the level of fiscal management skills is becoming increasingly dominant and important.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Tom Wierum at his Central Farm airstrip hanger, serving the Twin Towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena in Western Belize.
The 2nd ANNUAL Fly In is set again for this Sunday at Central Farm Airstrip, February 2http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif2nd. For pilots and plane owners, family and friends to fly in and socialize. Food will be available and a Bowen & Bowen tent for beer and soft drinks. The general public is NOT invited again this year. This is a small intimate gathering and social event for flyers of airplanes. To kibbutz and swap flying stories, hairy lies and such and admire each others airplanes.
The Aero Club of Guatemala City will be e-mailed later this week, but probably too late to get them here for this 2nd Annual Fly In. Next year perhaps? We are still in the organizing and experimenting stage, with the FLY IN format for here and learning as we go along. Building tourism in the aviation field is an uphill battle, against inexperienced people and bureaucrats who do not understand the nature of such things here.
The AOPA pilots association of Belize, will be holding a meeting. Items to be discussed are:

1. Switching the home made Belizean Form for AOPA filling out used by our Aviation Authority, from the local form, to the International AOPA form, to be standardized for international private plane visitors.
2. There are so many complaints over the past year to do with the International Airport practices of entering and leaving the country on the weekend. We brought this up last year, but the UDP were just coming into power and didn't know how to organize and run the country. They are better organized as a political government now, after a year in office, so there is some hope that the CABINET can be influenced to improve things at the International Airport.
3. Two of the things are: the AOPA form changeover needed. The second thing very important is the current practice of charging private pilots entering and leaving the country on a Saturday and Sunday, $240 dollars, for overtime service. This is unconsciouble, as the staff are on duty for regular airlines anyway and this is a normaly 24/7 service. Or should be. The problem is excacerbated by the need of a tour guide ( $50 usa ) to show visiting pilots how to move from one bureaucracy to the other scattered all over the International Airport facilities, to get the necessary stamps and get signatures on their forms. Half the time, the person cannot even be found, as he is someplace else gossiping, or outside talking to a sweetheart on the cell phone, or something. This should be a 20 minute process. Nobody in the UDP had enough experience last year to take notes and tend to this private aircraft business over this past year, but the AOPA of Belize is going to get more aggressive and seek help, not from the administrative bureaucracy, but from the CABINET in an oversight capacity, to get the civil service moving. We need to modernize pilot services and streamline them in one location. Already the private aircraft travel forums on the internet are warning private pilots not to fly into Belize on a weekend. Pilots are angry. The latest Bronco vehicle costs more than most small airplanes and nothing like this is charged at the Mexican border, or Benque for private cars.
4. What is needed is ORGANIZATION and perhaps a year later, from when this problem was first presented to the new UDP government, it might get done soon? The different people, customs, immigration, Baha, Health and others who need to sign off and stamp forms for private aircraft, should be organized so they are ALL in ONE OFFICE, "along one counter", and a queue of entering pilots just move down the counter dealing with one bureaucracy after the other, in one room, like in Mexico. The entry and departure services need streamlining to International Entry point standards if we are going to build private aircraft tourism. Belize is not a friendly place yet for this.
5. The THIRD ANNUAL FLY IN is expected to be bigger in 2010, and we are going to promote strongly the TOURIST AIRPLANE OWNERS MARKET from Aero Club Guatemala City. There are over 500 planes in their private aero club up there. It is the biggest private plane club in Central America. Cancun fliers are also interested in flying down to our BREAKFAST and FLY IN event. Many of which fly down to the Rio Dulce for weekends, in their hillside weekend houses and fishing with their boats.
6. The problem for NEXT YEAR, ( 2010 ) is going to be arranging a government officer, representing Immigration and Customs, to enter private aircraft to the FLY IN at Central Farm airstrip. He or she would be needed for one, perhaps two days, from the Benque border station. The two hundred extra flying miles to the coast of Belize is out of the question. We hope to enlarge the Central Farm airstrip FLY IN event, to USA visitor tourists, by private plane also. Which means more hotel rooms and restaurant meals sold in the Cayo Western Regional Area.
7. The potential to make a big event in 12 or 15 years is there. What we need is an educated and cooperative government to make it work. Tourism progress comes in increments year by year.
8. If you have a plane and wish to attend on Sunday, please notify TOM Wierrum at: primebuilders@btl.net tel: cell 610 1924 at Sterling Freight at Central Farm Airstrip.

This year the general public is not invited, but possibly for next year in 2010? This has to be discussed among pilots. There are a lot of costs involved, with bathrooms and security, that have to be considered, once you go outside of the small gathering, of Belizean plane owner pilots and friends. Plane people understand airplanes, hangers and such, but the general public do not.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Lans Sluder traveling in Belize

Many travelers would like to divide their time between Belize and Honduras. Others want to take advantage of cheap flights into San Pedro Sula and then move on to Belize. While Belize and Honduras are geographically not far apart, the problem for a long time has been that travel between the two countries is difficult and time-consuming.

Belize-Honduras travel connections are improving, but they remain less than ideal.

There are two weekly boats between Belize and Puerto Cortes, Honduras: D- Express leaves from Placencia on Friday morning (check in at 9 a.m.) and the Nesymein Neydy from Dangriga on Saturday morning (check in at 8:30 a.m.) D-Express returns from Puerto Cortes Monday morning and Nesymein Neydy on Tuesday morning. Cost is US$55 each way. To confirm times, etc. for D-Express check with the BTIA office in Placencia -- email BTIA@placencia.com or call 501-202-4506. For NN try 501-522-0063 in Dangriga. You could also check with Mundo Maya Travel in the Marine Terminal in Belize City, 501-223-0457 or email mundomayatravels@yahoo.com, as they'll make reservations and sell you a ticket.

There are other options.

You can bus or fly to Punta Gorda and take one of the three daily water taxis from Punta Gorda to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala (three different outfits – Requena's, Pichillingo and Marisol -- with departures at 9:30, 2 and 4 respectively, around US$20--$22), and then from there make your way by shuttle to the border and bus to San Pedro Sula. This is your cheapest option.

Another option is to fly from Savannah (across the lagoon from Placencia, with connections from other points) on Maya Island Air nonstop to San Pedro Sula. Fare is US$163 -- not sure if Maya does their cash discount on this flight or not. The web site suggests the flight is daily, but it's not -- email or call Maya for the current days they fly (www.mayaislandair.com ).

I believe, but haven't checked recently, that Atlantic Air is still flying three times a week -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- from Belize City (BZE) to San Pedro Sula. Fare is in the US$150 range.

Another, fairly recent option is a weekly shuttle van/bus from Belize City to San Pedro Sula. It leaves Belize City at 6 a.m. Saturday from the Marine Terminal and is supposed to get to San Pedro Sula at 6 p.m. that same day. Cost is US$60 one-way. Check with Mundo Maya Travel for tickets. Email mundomayatravels@yahoo.com or call 501-223-0457.

The other option is to take public buses from Belize's western border at Benque Viejo through Guatemala to Honduras.

Note that the above prices don't include exit taxes and fees. The exit tax by boat from Belize is US$3.75, by land US$18.75 and by air up to almost US$40 if flying out of the international airport. Guatemala and Honduras also have exit taxes.



Look for coming articles in the USA magazine called PARADE MAGAZINE and MOTORBOAT YACHT MAGAZINE. Janice Chapman ( Editor in Chief) of Parade Magazine with a circulation of 32 million traversed Belize in January, traditionally our worst cold, rainy month of the year. They were hosted by Tropic Air, Mata Chica Resort, El Pescador, Elvis Kitchen, Cotton Tree Lodge, Lamanai Outpost Lodge, and Island Ferry Sea-duced of Belize. Their traverse mostly covered Ambergris Caye and the Great Barrier Reef. They also covered the South and North of Belize, but apparently did not explore Western Belize Recreational Area due to limitations of time.
Writers from Power and Motor yacht magazine were here in late January and the editor Patrick Sciacca and Marketing Officer Melecia Banks came to see the Belize waters. The magazine has a circulation of 159,332. They also did not explore the Western Belize Recreational Area, but concentrated on the Barrier Reef waters and islands.


Bank Street in San Ignacio Town, Belize

Teaching human values of community help was done at Sacred Heart Junior College ( High School ) with the sponsorship of Mr. Luis Puga, Mr. Oscar Puga and Mr. Obed Contreras. A fund raising dance was held at PLANET OKIS in Benque Viejo Town near the border town with Guatemala. The three businessmen mentioned above helped with hosting and advertising the event. Entrance fees for the dance were collected by Mr. Keith Westby, a Math Lecturer at the San Ignacio Sacred Heart Junion College and by Ms. Judy Vasquez.
The DJ LEXUS provided the music. Contests, prizes and surprises were part of the evening. HANNAH’S RESTAURANT favorite of the tourists, for a wide menu and inside décor supplied a prize. The funds were to assist the CALLA CREEK PRIMARY SCHOOL. There was a need to replace books, a very big expense to local people, the materials and school supplies lost during the October Great Flood of 2008. A & R store in Santa Elena Town offered discounted prices for most of the school supplies. Mr. Hugo Salazar a student of the High School, promoted the values and mission of this fund raising community, self help program.
A Canadian visitor, a SNOW BIRD tourist, Mrs. Isabel Osbourne was staying at Martha’s Kitchen and went back to Canada, returning in November with materials and funds collected from the Great White North, to help our primary schools hurt by the October flooding here in the Cayo District. She then donated her time at the Cornerstone Foundation. For a tourist she worked hard, sweltering in the hot kitchens at the Cornerstone preparing meals for their primary school feeding program for poverty children.
The lessons being imparted to the community and students at Sacred Heart, were to be socially responsible citizens, and promote values, excellence, innovation and productivity in our Western District Recreational Area, Cayo District of Belize.



Teaching human values of community help was done at Sacred Heart Junior College ( High School ) with the sponsorship of Mr. Luis Puga, Mr. Oscar Puga and Mr. Obed Contreras. A fund raising dance was held at PLANET OKIS in Benque Viejo Town near the border town with Guatemala. The three businessmen mentioned above helped with hosting and advertising the event. Entrance fees for the dance were collected by Mr. Keith Westby, a Math Lecturer at the San Ignacio Sacred Heart Junion College and by Ms. Judy Vasquez.
The DJ LEXUS provided the music. Contests, prizes and surprises were part of the evening. HANNAH’S RESTAURANT favorite of the tourists, for a wide menu and inside décor supplied a prize. The funds were to assist the CALLA CREEK PRIMARY SCHOOL. There was a need to replace books, a very big expense to local people, the materials and school supplies lost during the October Great Flood of 2008. A & R store in Santa Elena Town offered discounted prices for most of the school supplies. Mr. Hugo Salazar a student of the High School, promoted the values and mission of this fund raising community, self help program.
A Canadian visitor, a SNOW BIRD tourist, Mrs. Isabel Osbourne was staying at Martha’s Kitchen and went back to Canada, returning in November with materials and funds collected from the Great White North, to help our primary schools hurt by the October flooding here in the Cayo District. She then donated her time at the Cornerstone Foundation. For a tourist she worked hard, sweltering in the hot kitchens at the Cornerstone preparing meals for their primary school feeding program for poverty children.
The lessons being imparted to the community and students at Sacred Heart, were to be socially responsible citizens, and promote values, excellence, innovation and productivity in our Western District Recreational Area, Cayo District of Belize.


Belize National Chess Tournament
St. Barnabas Primary School chess club.

The Chess Tournament had two aims. The first to select the 12 best chess players at the Primary School level ( Grades 1 -8, or to Standard 6 in our local educational system ). These 12 players would enter our Western Recreational Area District competition and also to introduce our new beginners in CHESS, to the experience of TIMED tournament match playing. The idea is to have a lot of FUN, but also socialize with children from schools in other areas of our Western District of the Nation of Belize. We have many different ethnic groups in our part of the country. Our area is growing rapidly with both local and foreign immigration into the area.
The International program “SWISS” was used to decide the pairings of players. The program is used internationally and gives a ranking to the players. There were 45 students competing, ages from 5 to 16 years. One interesting thing to learn is that after the first THREE moves by each chess player, there are 119, 060, 679 million possible moves left in the game.
Time clocks were used for the competition play. FIRST PLACE was Eric Lee from St. Andrews Primary school. SECOND PLACE was Anthony Hulse, also from St. Andrews Primary School. THIRD PLACE was won by Tishay Nunez from Bishop O.). Martin Prmary. Most schools in Belize are run by human organized religions and subsidized about 80% by the Government. Religious schools are a big business in Belize. Anybody can start a school.
12 year and over competition had FIRST PLACE by Jamie McKoy, from St. Barnabas Anglican primary, SECOND PLACE was won by Kevin Medrano and THIRD PLACE was won by Anika Martinez both from Ontario Christian School. You don’t have to belong to the religion of a school to attend and nobody counts the majority MAYA students, who attend a medly of religious schools present in the Cayo District. The Maya have a spiritual belief system, with a Pantheon of Gods; that is not coordinated like man made religious organizations, brought here by invaders from North America and Europe.
The ADVANCED CHESS PLAYERS 12 years and over, FIRST PLACE was won by Gareth Martinez from St. Barnabas Anglican primary, SECOND PLACE was won by Vidal Adolphus from St. Andrews Anglican primary and THIRD PLACE was won by Cesar Gonzalez from St. Barnabas primary.
Mr. William Butcher, normally called “BILL” was thanked for hosting the CHESS TOURNAMENT at the AGUADA HOTEL in Santa Elena Town.
We thank the STAR newspaper for the information and David Coombs the Chess Coordinator.


Prime Minister Barrow of Belize

The UDP Cabinet of Belize are having their presentation of their new budget at the House of Representatives on February 27, in our Cayo District, National capital of Belmopan.
Word from Prime Minister Barrow, is that currently, the annual budget presentation is currently over bloated by $60 million they do not have. The UDP CABINET are trying to cut that $60 million BLOAT before the February 27th presentation. About $200 million this year will be spent in the country, using fresh foreign loan borrowing, rebuilding infra-structure, neglected during 6 years of austerity, because of the massive International foreign currency debt owed by past governments. Belize debt ratio is somewhere between 95 % of GDP, to over a 100% of GDP. It should be below 3% of GDP. We will learn exactly on March 12th, and 13th.. when the budget debate takes place in Parliament. Belize owes about $2.3 billion with an annual government income of about $760 million revenues. The government itself consumes about $550 million. Sweetheart contracts, political corruption and other inefficiencies in the system, leave the politicians and bureaucrats short of money all the time. There is as of yet, no decent organized using spending laws, systematic way of running the country in a zero balanced budget system. There has been discussion and technical advice sought from outside, in how to do this?
Prime Minister Barrow said that the country is rapidly growing in population and we are experiencing growing pains. It will get sorted out during his remaining four years, he promised. When I first arrived in British Honduras during Colonial days, the population was about 35,000. Today the population is estimated at 320,000.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Actun Tunichil Muknal, The ATM cave trip.

Jaguar Temple in TIKAL.
Actun Tunichal underground cave trip, to XIBALBA, the Mayan sacrifical entrance to the underworld

This is an all day trip from Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel. The best site anywhere for an entrance to the Mayan 9 planes of existance in the Underworld of the Maya mythology. Skeletons and pottery a mile underground, using a guide, head lamps and not for sissies. $80 USA We use PACZ TOURS for the third year running and customers are well satisfied.

Couple of New York February guests just took the TIKAL trip from Belize on the border here at Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel and were extremely satisfied. The trip costs $135 usa and is all inclusive. There are no extra charges. BEWARE cheaper tours, as you usually get stuck with border exit fees, have to buy lunch for you and guides, entrance fees and a host of unnecessary charges. We use PACZ Tours and our customers are always VERY SATISFIED. Belize CARACOL temple under Lord Waters actually conquered and ruled TIKAL in Classical history, forming a peaceful rule that ran about 400 years throughout the Mayan Empire Kingdoms. CARACOL is the largest building in Belize to this day a thousand years later.

NY couple get cheap flight in High Season to Belize for $240 roundtrip

Couple of backpackers visit TIKAL and stay at Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel in the backyard, courtesy of Ray and Silvia. They used PACZ TOURS for their TIKAL adventure and were highly pleased with the professionalism of the service. The couple from New York, came down on those cheap $240 round trip flights. Changing planes enroute in Dallas on American Airlines on the way down and also on the way back changing in Miami, for their 5 day Belizean adventure. They said the fare actually $150 usa round trip in December via American Airlines from New York to Belize.
This couple have also visited Trinidad, Explored New Zealand for a couple of months backpacking and done Costa Rica. This morning they caught the chicken bus to the coast to visit Caye Caulker and I told them be sure and take the HOL CHANNEL snorkeling trip. The best trip out of the Barrier Reef islands.
There names are Christine Terada from Hawaii originally living now in New York and Keith Schuricht from near Medisto, California, now living in New York city. They recommended for cheap flight specials to Belize to look at FlyerTalk.com
I was wondering the other day, why I cannot get a cheap fare out of Belize to the USA to do some shopping? I finally figured it is because in Belize we pay mostly in local Belizean Currency, and the airlines need foreign exchange and are reluctant to sell tickets locally in local currency which they cannot exchange into USA currency, or spend it much on operational costs.


More and more greenhouses are starting in Belize.


The United Nations Development Program in Belize is advertising for Green House materials for growing vegetables in Belize. They are asking suppliers of sun shade, green house materials to bid. The program is intended to develop small farmer capability for year round growing of vegetables for local consumption and export. The majority of farmers in Belize have less than 2.2 acres and the program is intended to increase output at the commercial level over the soil based milpa growing system, customarily used; that only works to the two rainy seasons in Belize. The e-mail address is in Belmopan:
Undp.belize@undp.org for bidders of materials. There is a new business opportunity for package manufacturers in Belize of pre-fabricated green houses.

The Belize Development Trust ( NGO of International volunteers ) is quitting the development process tropical vegetable growing project, which took three years and four books on growing vegetables research and experimentation in tropical Belize. The Agriculture Department and the International Institutions can now take over the process of developing the vegetable industry in Belize. The program project of the Belize Development Trust was one of DOING the job by EXAMPLE and proofs and publishing and disseminating the data on the results. The methodology was to do things and not TALK about doing things, but just to do them and show the success by example. The Belize Development Trust ( NGO ) has had many projects, to help Belize grow as a small country. In this case, the goal was to demonstrate the practicality, the knowledge through research and experiments and publish same. The goal was to overcome the resistance at the bureaucratic and political level, through actually demonstrating results, by doing it. This worked and the Belize Development Trust NGO is satisfied and considers the jump start aspects of the agriculture project successful. In the previous fifteen years, the Taiwanese Mission had been doing such vegetable growing research, but under the guidance of the Ministry of Natural Resources, done on a government to government basis. They were stuck in small milpa farmer ancient simple technology and the complaint of the Taiwanese Mission was that the local Ministry of Natural Resources people didn’t know enough to set parameters, or even ask the right questions. The vegetable growing technology was outdated and blocked by closed civil service minds, to different modern ways of doing things. The independence of the Belize Development Trust ( NGO ) project and publications and dissemination of information, utilizing latest technology, enabled us to achieve a mental breakthrough of the old ways of doing things into more remunerative ways. The previous antiquated opinions of bureaucratic colonial prejudices were tackled privately, without warning, or catering to the feelings of obstinate mental blocks of the bureaucratic agriculture old guard, stuck in a time warp of colonial mentality. The vegetable project became successful, due to demonstrating the feasibility of growing vegetables on a year round basis, without regard to seasons. Currently, there is a rapid increase of knowledge available, new entrepreneurs and the NEW UDP government and foreign institutions with greater financial resources are now stepping up to the plate, to continue developing the vegetable growing techniques in Belize. The increased financial rewards are always a great motivator. At the Belize Development Trust, we call this DEVELOPMENT by EMBARRASSMENT of government institutions, that are bogged down in old bureaucratic ways of doing things, run by civil service fiefdoms. The methodology is not to TALK, but to do it and show by EXAMPLE how things work. Nobody argues with profit and money results.


Taiwanese flag.


The Taiwan 2009 scholarship program starts Septermber 2009 and is available to Belize students. You must have finished High School level. There are educational scholarships for Belize students at the UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL as well as at the GRADUATE level.
A Mandarin Language program is offered also, to enrich the Belizean students experience and capability to take the courses. The language course is only offered to first year students. The Undergraduate program is good for four years. The Masters Degree program is good for two years. The PHd program is good for three years. No award to a Belizean student can exceed five years. Applications can be got from the Taiwanese Embassy.
The scholarships include $900 usa, or $1800 Belize a month for accommodations and school books in Taiwan. Round trip economy class airfare.
Programs available are the Agricultural Economics Masters Program, Business Administration undergraduate level. Health Care Administration Masters Degree. Human Resource Development. Masters and PHd in Public Health. Program in Marines Sciences. Masters in Nursing. Masters in Industrial Engineering. Undergraduate Program in International Trade. MBA program. Civil Engineering program. Masters in Technology Management. Information Systems and Science. Masters in Clinical Medicine. Undergraduate program in mechanical engineering. Masters in plastic injection and moulding. Undergraduate program for Central American students in tropical conditions. Masters in Tropical Agriculture. Phd in Tropical Agriculture.


Showing agriculture products


This year’s Agriculture Show will start and run from April 30th, until the 3rd of May in the Belmopan Fair grounds in central and Western Belize. Companies and institutions from Mexico and our Central American neighbors of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are expected to also participate. There is a big market for Belizeans in agriculture, supplying the needs of our neighbors in Central America. The FAIR has the usual midway for the children, with rides and games. This year a continuation of the bronco riding RODEO and the TRAIL BIKE obstacle course and sky jumping on trail bikes will be continued. The latter contests are usually dominated by Mennonite teenagers, with competition fierce between teenagers from the Mennonite farming communities of Blue Creek and Spanish Lookout. The website on the fair is at: www.agriculture.gov.bz click on the NATS webpage.
The show grounds are hot in what is our mid-summer dry season. Bring your own folding chair and sun umbrella. There will be the usual booths to showcase merchandise to enhance agriculture. This year, the big thing is going to be pre-fabricated green houses, if some local entrepreneur gets himself busy. Water spraying systems and plant root drip feeders for hydroponics are another big thing open to an entrepreneur. The local demand is rising for these difficult to find materials and products.


Guatemalan Foreign Ministry
Belize Foreign Ministry

The consensus among the Belizean public is that the UDP CABINET and Foreign Ministry made a darned fool mistake by even considering the Guatemalan NEW CLAIM to half of Belize, based on the fact, that centuries ago, SPAIN and PORTUGAL divvied up in theory, the AMERICAN Continent for invasion and conquest, by a declaration by some feudal religious Catholic POPE in Rome, by a line of longitude, during the early centuries of Imperialism by Europeans.
Modern day Belizeans do not relate to this antique argument. Guatemala who in turn wrested their INDEPENDENCE from Spain more than a hundred years ago, has some weird idea that they inherited the POPE in Rome’s, right of conquest and declaration of ownership of all of the AMERICAS. Pure nonsense of course and what our BLACK port town politicians were thinking, in their FEARS and MEMORIES of sixty years ago or more, of the Guatemalan Military Mafia style dictatorships, when the Catholic Church of the Americas along with military ruling Generalismo dictators slaughtered their own BLACK populations, has lent an ancestral memory of fear, to any overtures by modern day democratic Guatemala. I certainly remember when you could not travel in Central America, unless you had the outward appearance of religious conformity to the CATHOLIC - military dictatorship partnership of the old conquistador system, by wearing a cross around your neck, for fear of being persecuted.
Needless to say, Belizeans are rejecting any concept of any claim by Guatemala and their arguments of European WARS and TREATIES between the old enemies of Spain, England, Holland and FRANCE a couple of centuries ago. The facts are; that BELIZE became an INDEPENDENT country under the auspices of the WORLD GOVERNMENT of the United Nations, in 1981.
The Guatemalans profess they are stuck, because some old Generalismo Dictator injected a clause into their Guatemalan Constitution, laying claim to half of Belize territory and it is a treasonous act to reject, or eliminate this clause from their CONSTITUTION. Pure nonsense of course! Grow up Guatemala, we are not going to the ICJ for your benefit. Furthermore, our UDP dominated BLACK current government will LOSE the next election if they do go to the ICJ. Belize is an independent and sovereign nation and our BLACK members of government better stand up like men and quit playing the game of wishy washy feardy cats. Gambling with the territorial integrity and destiny of Belizeans is not allowed. BE WARNED!



The Belize Tourist Board had a holiday show at Brussels, Belgium from February 5th, to 9th. The presentation was done by Manuel Heredia Jr. and Joy Grant. There was a booth at the HOLIDAY show and Garifuna performance by Pen Cayetano. Additional personel at the booth were Michelle Bowers, David Grant and Sofia Bobak.

The HOLIDAY and TRAVEL show in the UK market was from Feb. 5th to Feb. 6th. The marketing initiative was done between the Belize Hotel Association and the Belize Tourist Board. There were Garifuna dance performers. Present were Mariam Roberson, Nick Davis, Michael Preston, Ali Flota, Chris Spiro, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Santino Castillo, Michael Bowers, Kamela Palma.

Belgium and the UK in February? WOW! You would have to pay me a LOTTA money to go there in that cold weather.



It may seem a strange subject to have, after the last OCTOBER river floods of 2008 in Western Belize. Paullette Robinett, of Santa Familla Village in the Cayo District wrote an article with photos, of winning students, for the WATER AWARENESS CONTEST.
The article can be found in the STAR newspaper of the Twin Towns of Western Belize. You can find this newspaper on the internet.
The WATER and AGRICULTURE Awareness Contest was organized by “Whistling Ducks Farm” for children between 6 and 16 years of age.
Contest judges were Cynthia Reece, Paulita Bedran Figueroa and Elvin Garcia. The WINNERS received CASH PRIZES and certificates. FIRST PLACE WAS Graci J. Remopel of Santa Familia RC School. Her teacher Mr. Rodolfo Tun received a $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE from CELINA SUPERSTORE, for classroom supplies in San Ignacio Town. Mr. Tun received the Honorable Teacher Certificate for encouraging his students to practice water conservation.
SECOND PLACE went to Elder Quewell from Eden HighSchool in Hillview, Santa Elena Town. THIRD AND FOURTH PLACE awards went to Tirsha Quewell from Eden High School and Eliodoro Coleman from Santa Familiar RC primary school.
As I write this, a noisy flock of Green Parrots are outside my office window in Hillview, on the slope of GREEN PARROT VALLEY, unable to fly yet, as the morning mountain mist has condensed everywhere. The sun will burn it off in another hour though.
Certificates of Honorable Mention were presented to Samantha Quewell, Jashua Quewell, Absolon Vallecillo, Daphy A.egria, Ronnell Obando and Casey Manzanero.



The ARTS and CRAFTS program is organized by Captain of ZONE 4 of the Neighborhood Watch Program, Samuel Bruce. The objectives are to keep children off the streets, but also to get the children away from too many hours watching television and get more intellectually stimulated and active. The positive influences on the community are being felt says; Superintendent of Police, Ms Dezerie Phillips in command of the Police in Benque Viejo. This is a new strategy of COMMUNITY POLICING.
Zone lieutenants are Amin Avilez, Irma Puc, and Marco Tesucum. The new Quadrant Leader is Isela Tesecum and the program is for children between 6 and 13 years of age. The way of life in these two Western Highway towns near to the Guatemalan frontier, no longer is farming, via the clearing jungle method, of milpa agriculture practical. The towns are become modern and expanding rapidly to consume all the surrounding area, which once, not so long ago, in my memory, was rural forest. Across from San Jose Succotz Town, the tourist buses regularly bring foreign visitors to traipse up to the Xununtanich Mayan temple complex on the top of the overlooking hill. The surrounding area has many small Mayan ruins going back over 5000 years. People have lived here since the last ICE AGE, so say the archeologists. This area is the Mopan River valley, water pathway, used by feuding Mayan kingdoms during the recent 3000 years of modern human history. The Mopan River is a famous long standing trade route into the highland kingdoms of the Mayan Empire. There are ruins like El Mirador bigger than New York City, not more than a 100 miles away in Guatemala, of which some of the more ancient sites have stone writings going back 7000 years of history. Far longer than the braggadocio modern human history, Egyptian and Hebrew writings of just 5000 years of the Middle East. There has been a good life in this part of the world for thousands of years. With a climate of ETERNAL SPRING who could ask for more?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Belizean Math Olympiad 2009 and miscellaneous updates on Belizean development.

Wendy Auxillou, writer and spokesperson for her disadvantaged Maya and Mestizo descendants in Belize.
Studying and practicing for the rapid response National Belize Math Olympiad

With cable tv and the channel PLUS TV, we are seeing many new documentaries in our part of Belize, of things we only briefly read about in the weekend newspapers. The Orange Walk MATH OLYMPIAD was spectacular, as I watched it this morning. The competition fierce, but Muffles College ( high school ) two contestants were extra superb. I could not believe my eyes and ears, as the contestants had to mentally solve problems to do with calculating compound interest totals ( I can’t even do that myself ) Calculating answers using a BASE 7 system of math was another feat that startled me. They had only seconds to calculate and provide the answers. It was a testimony to the skill of the teachers in the Orange Walk District. The MATH OLYMPIAD was outstanding. We got some very bright children in this next generation growing up here in Belize. Smarter by far, than comparable schools in Miami, Florida, with which I have some small acquaintance.

Weather- misty mornings are the rule around Hillview and Green Parrot Valley, these mornings and being awakened by the birds singing their hearts out after the sun rises. This is a VERY pleasant way to wake up.

Prime Minister Barrow is coming across in his port town press briefings very well recently. ( He lives in the port and has his law office there) – so he has moved the Government of Belize apparently, back to the OLD Colonial capital in the coastal port, for his personal convenience, from Belmopan? Anyway, BARROW in his speeches is coming across better and better, as his UDP become acclimatized to the political governing role. There first six or seven months were really shaky, but they seem to be getting a grip on things now. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister, I watched on TV with the sugar cane farmers dispute resolving and his speeches were VERY GOOD. He is an impressive orator. There have been rumors out WEST that he was a crook in government, but you could not draw that opinion by watching him deal with the Cane Farmers in Orange Walk. He was very good and extremely eloquent. I’m going to reserve judgement on people I don’t know and have never met, until we see the performance based actions of this new UDP CABINET.

The Mestizos and Maya are starting to contest the rule of the nation of Belize by the PORT TOWN CREOLES, who dominate in the control of government policy and government bureaucracy. There is starting to be a growing vocal bunch of writers, interpreting the meaning of being Belizean, which includes our orientation in foreign policy. These writers so far, including Valentino Shal, Clinton de Luna, and Wendy Auxillou. It is extremely good to get counterpoint arguments on the destiny of the Nation of Belize from another ethnic group perspective. Something that has been sadly lacking for so long. Part of this growth in debate is coming from a better education system.

There was a hurrah last weekend about some upper tertiary conferences and the needs of the country in higher education. I feel that the higher education people are doing very well over the last ten years. What I feel personally that the Minister of Education should be concentrating on, is the PRIMARY SCHOOL system. Not the higher education system. To read the CROOK REPORT on our police force and find out that constables only have a Standard 6 education ( Grade 8 in the USA or Canada ) startled me. I thought the educational qualifications had been raised some years ago. To find that the education level of police constables was so low SHOCKED me! If scarce resources are going to be expended on education, then PRIMARY SCHOOL educational levels are probably top priority for our Nation. There is something definitely wrong here in Education? I think entry levels for police should be raised to two years of High School. They need math and sciences to teach them how to deal with problems in life. These high school subjects, teach students to reason and think.


Belize and Taiwan experiment with Polina tomatos in tropical Belize conditions.

Polina tomato experiment finished in tropical Belize.

The Taiwanese Agriculture Mission experiment with the POLINA tomato variety is now done at Central Farm. They are one of the best growing tomatos in Belize for all general conditions.

Experimental Research
Belize Development Trust
Box 276, San Ignacio, Belize


Leen from Belgium, by the Macal River Market

Leen is a 23 year old student in College doing Physcology. She is due in SURINAM in about four months and got a flight from Europe to Cancun, Mexico and bused down to Belize. She wants to see the BLUE HOLE and expects to work her way by bus, through Central America and across the North Coast of South America until she arrives in SURINAM for her internship program. Leen is spending some time in Belize at Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel, as her home away from home.

Falconview Hostel website. http://folkmusicfl.tripod.com/adventuresinbelize/

Wednesday, February 11, 2009



Since the world depression is also effecting Belize, the annual expected revenues are projected to level off at $750 million a year. The new UDP Government under party leader and Finance Minister, Dean Barrow has been keeping a lid on economic statistics. SECRECY has been the modus operendi. This has government watchers and local economists, within Belize very worried. It is in the nature of a ruling political party to only wish positive good news to be announced, or published. Usually with a spin on it, to the credit of the incumbent party.
With a projected leveling off, of Government Annual Revenues, due to external World conditions in the $750 million ball park figure, through the rest of the UDP term, over the next four years, things are not looking so good. The BARROW UDP government, managed to get a lot of small loans from different foreign institutions during 2008, for needed infra-structure repair, to the tune of $200 Bz million, to be spent on the country during 2009 onwards. This should give an artificial 1 1/2% jump in the GDP rate at the end of 2009. The UDP term of office will expire in 2012. This means 2012 will be an election year, a traditional time of more borrowing and overspending to influence the elections. It is possible with an economic crisis looming and an election in the same year, that the UDP will decide to hold a surprise early ELECTION. Possibly in 2011, or early 2012?
The big thing is the outstanding BELIZE BOND debts, totaling around $3.2 billion Bz currency. Because of the SECRECY being practiced by the BARROW, UDP government, we are only dealing with rough economic statistical numbers. Next year in 2010, a balloon interest payment is expected to hit the government, when the BELIZE BOND interest payments jump to 6 1/2% per year interest. Currently the interest paid out of the $750 million annual government revenues consumes about $265 million of the annual revenues. Next year in 2010 ( we don't know the date? ), the interest is expected to jump annual BOND payments to over $350 million of the $750 million the government will collect. The government operations themselves run between $475 million to $600 million, depending on who you talk to in the government. Obviously by the end of 2010 the government will be forced into austerity measures. The big JUMP or BALLOON payments occur in 2012 ( again we do not know the date ), but the BELIZE BOND payments jump in interest rate to 8 1/2%. This is projected to be about $750 million in government revenues that have to be paid out to FOREIGN BOND HOLDERS and would consume ALL THE GOVERNMENT REVENUES. Leaving NOTHING to support the civil service obligations and a functioning government.
What is feared is a DEFAULT under the UDP government, under the management of Finance Minister, Dean Barrow, who also holds the titles of Prime Minister and Leader of the party. It has been announced in the media that BARROW will retire in 2012, after the election.
A financial crisis is rapidly developing over the FOREIGN BOND HOLDER INTEREST PAYMENTS inside Belize. The BOND HOLDER interest must also be paid in FOREIGN EXCHANGE, of which there is normally a shortage within the country itself.
BANKRUPTCY, DEFAULT, are all possibilities in this worrisome scenario. Things could start to come to a head as early as in 2010, when the first interest rate jump occurs to 6 1/2 % on the bonds. Nobody knows how the country will pay? Nor where they will find the foreign exchange?

Belize ART investment for sale!

Historical Colonial painting of Jaguar.

For ART COLLECTORS and investors of things artistic. Belize only has a few artists and since the country is new, since 1981, the painting above is in my own collection. Done by Omar Sanchez in 1970, when the country was still a British Colony, called British Honduras. This painting has gone through several local hands and has been in my own possession for about 3 years. The painting is for sale, with a reserve bid of $12,300 usa. Created before the Independence of Belize.
The idea of getting Belizean art as an investment, has more to do with the passage of TIME and historic significance.
Ray Box 276, San Ignacio, Belize

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beautiful girls of Belize - photos

Beautiful girls of Belize
Costa Maya beauty contestant in Belize

We have some VERY pretty girls in Belize!


Town Councillor of the TWIN TOWNS, Western Belize town board


Latest gossip I got from a Santa Cruz resident, was that we are being cheated over in our side of the Macal River of the twin towns. I was told and I don’t know if this is true, or not? But I was told that the San Ignacio Town side of the river has 11 weed eater machine workers cleaning street sides and 4 trucks to pick up trash and garbage. While on the Santa Elena Town side of the Macal River only 3 weed eater machine workers are assigned and 1 trash truck. I do know that we go a month sometimes and even longer before our garbage is picked up quite often. I had put that down to insufficient funds. They tell me in the suburbs of Santa Cruz nobody is doing anything from the Town Council, because they have no voice on the Town Board. I’m not sure about this, but it is my information that a Santa Cruz resident is running as an Independent, Alfonso Cruz Jr. for the Twin Towns board.
That we get some attention in Hillview, is due to my articles about Hillview. Hillview and Santa Cruz are like two suburbs that are growing rapidly and probably have more houses than the center of old San Ignacio Town of by gone days, some 30 years ago. They are up in the hills from the Western Highway and all these houses out here are not observable when a person normally drives past on the Western Highway through Santa Elena Town. The other day I was over in the KON TIKI area. There are a lot of bad streets and many, many houses out there as well. Hundreds of them! Totally neglected by the TOWN BOARD. I hope the KON TIKI people have a resident running for the Town Board as well. The party doesn’t matter.
Interesting story about the current TOWN BOARD UDP Council, that are running. The word I got, and have to admit I don’t really know the truth. But the current slate of candidates running for re-election as incumbents in the UDP Council, never got appointed by a UDP Convention out here in the West. I’m told there was no UDP CONVENTION and no DEMOCRACY in the process, just an acceptance and appointment by the UDP party leader DEAN BARROW.
Today, the PUP campaigners came by, and actually gave me an expensive flyer in color, for their slate of PUP candidates. In the news somewhere, the PUP make an allegation asking the existing incumbent UDP Town Council where $5 million dollars they received for something or other disappeared too? They claim there is no UDP TOWN BOARD accountability and transparency. What I did get from the PUP campaign flyer was the probability that the PUP will raise PROPERTY TAXES.
There is a move afoot by the UDP to install the new Building Permit ACT laws created by the PUP in the previous National Administration and generally speaking I am against that, as it means a monopoly by Belize City architects on the whole darned country, as the rules get expanded, requiring people to shell a couple thousand dollars out for useless plans. It is just a money making gimmick and racket for those in the process to squeeze people for more money in various ways. After seeing this work in the USA, I don’t think our country of Belize is going to be better for this Building Permit system.
I understand there is a method of social welfare used by previous Town Boards and this TOWN BOARD we now have; to help the aged and others who want $20 for food and other reasons. I’m against that system of political patronage and paternalism. If we want something like a social welfare system for citizens, then it should be formalized in an accountable process and put through some INDEPENDENT CHARITY like the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army are professionals and could and should disburse vouchers and stuff for social assistance. They do in Canada and the USA. You need to take the social welfare out of the hands of the Town Council members. What is missing in this social welfare business, of hand outs for the needy, is that if you have an INDEPENDENT NGO doing it, a Charitable Organization, you can by soliciting abroad, get the whole shebang of funds COVERED by FOREIGN AID in the form of GRANTS. What is hurting Town Boards practicing paternalism political hand outs, is that it eats into Council funds longer term and eats up the SUBVENTION money. While the TOWN BOARD could establish a slush fund for social requests administered by say the SALVATION ARMY, this money would eventually be recovered by FOREIGN GRANTS if done right.
When the campaigning started I was pretty much satisfied with the UDP Council we now have, but since then, I’m going to VOTE for YOLA FLORES a Hillview neighbor running for the TOWN BOARD on the PUP ticket. Not interested really in the party affiliation, just that HILLVIEW my community, has a voice on the next TOWN BOARD, if possible. We don’t have one now and get slighted a lot on our side of the river. If Alfonso Cruz Jr., is running as an INDEPENDENT and is going to speak for SANTA CRUZ, then probably I would vote for him? We need some muscle in TOWN BOARD meetings. That leaves two of the UDP candidates that will lose votes from this side of the river. Which ones I don’t know yet?
Far as I understand from UDP party people, the current UDP TOWN BOARD slate are illegal by UDP rules, as they never went through a PARTY picking CONVENTION. Other UDP would be contenders are really angry about this meddling, by the National UDP party and Mr. Barrow. They felt, if you are going to be DEMOCRATIC, then a CONVENTION should have picked the slate of candidates. There should have been some competition. I hope I’m not being misinformed here?
Everybody running, is in it for the money apparently? Think the Mayor gets around $4000 a month, don’t know what councilors get? This is before a stick of work is done on cleaning, or repairing streets. Past councilors on the TWIN TOWN BOARDS claim there is a lot of opportunity for SKIMMING and nepotism. Kind of an interesting campaign though. First time I and my wife are really going to vote in this one, in this geographical location.


Caricom Heads of Governments


CARICOM meetings were postponed again! Next adjournment to the proposed Heads of Government meetings is set for March 12th., and 13th, , of 2009. The Prime Ministerial subcommittee on the Single Market and Economy with the acronym CSME and the groups of Heads of Government, established to consider issues related to the governance of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery CRNM, have also been rescheduled to be held in Belize, just prior to the 20th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government on the 12th. of March.
Doesn’t that sound impressive and important to you? What a bunch of BOMBAST and POMPOSITY from a bunch of losers, left over from the failed West Indian Federation idea. CARICOM is pretty much failed also, and going down the toilet.
It reminds me of a big fish hauled in the bottom of my boat, flipping and flopping, all over the floorboards, as the fish gasps out it’s last breaths of life. When will it actually die though? That is the question? The Common Market idea and Economic Integration died when the CARICOM countries including our own Belize, as expressed by our PM Barrow, signed onto the European Union blandishments for the EPA. CARICOM got lumped into another impressive sounding ACRONYM by the European Union ( forget which ), that puts CARICOM fourteen countries, into another failing European Union organized bunch of trading countries; including the Africans and the South Pacific small countries. We got suckered by CARICOM and the European Union into accepting the EPA, which opened our trade markets to Europeans, in order to secure our sugar market and industry. Less than two months later after the EPA got signed, we got shafted and the price of our sugar got cut by 36%. What a mess and a bunch of dunces we have in CARICOM. They are playing with SHARKS. Not only can they not run their own governments and countries and balance their budgets, they much less are able to do so with fourteen countries of us.
I love all the ceremonial pomposity and verbiage though. If political talk and bureaucratic use of impressive sounding words were work, or money. We would all be rich in CARICOM. CARICOM is getting to sound a lot like the PENTAGON for acronyms. This is intended to confuse the lay person, who is paying the taxes, to keep all these useless bureaucrats and politicians running around from each others country, on expense accounts and paid travel trips. Puff their heads and egos, brag of their self imposed titles and sound famous and impressive. All for naught. Just a bunch of posers, con men, grifters and scam artists. They couldn’t negotiate their way out of a big paper bag, or Raul’s Rose Garden when they were short of money.
Latest word is that AIR JAMAICA finally bit the dust. The airline had been costing the Jamaican taxpayer about $500 million a year and was home and jobs, for all those relatives of the politicians and bureaucrats in Jamaica. Salaried people, run by nepotism and party hacks, do not produce performance based work and criteria. At least not in CARICOM.
Ho hum! More free rides for the politicians and bureaucrats. You got to hand it to them, they know how to milk the treasuries and the tax payers though. Putting our countries further into foreign debt.
We still have no transportation system between CARICOM countries for either; trade freight, or passenger transportation. Until they solve that problem there is no real justification for CARICOM, except an International political voice, training of Lawyers and I can’t really think of anything else? My mind draws a blank! At least the joint international political voice and UN vote, is worth foreign aid to us from TAIWAN and VENEZUELA. If Hugo Chavez plays his cards right and re-adjusts his economic ideas, Chavez might even take over from CARICOM all together. He has more potential and capability to join the CARICOM countries together than the European Union.