Saturday, September 26, 2009

RETIREMENT IN BELIZE UPDATED EXPERIENCES

** When we were 20 years younger. Silvia and Ray Auxillou


UPDATE ON LIFE IN RETIREMENT IN BELIZE

We went into Belmopan to enquire about the renewal of the Agriculture Research Work Permit, my brother-in-law Gustavo has to have, while living in Belize ( it’s mandatory ) waiting for his SLOW Permanent Residency processing. Immigration raised the fee, from a $100 a year to $1200 a year for his volunteer work in vegetable experimenting in cooperation with Manuel Trujillo, Research Director at Central Farm. The research work was to lead to a commercial investment in greenhouse production of vegetables investments by our family group, as well as assisting in Development of the industry in Belize. We’ve cancelled that plan now! Everything with Immigration is just taking too long. We ran into a lot of static from Immigration bureaucrats about the Belize Development Trust volunteer research work and book we wrote, the “ Fourth Edition of the Belize Vegetable Farmers Bible”, used by the UN FAO to give grants and pay for imported experts and set new policies by the Prime Minister, and the CABINET along with Ministry of Natural Resources people. We’d pretty much closed the volunteer work down anyway. The two nurseries we own, are now producing food for our family mostly, though we still experiment on a personal basis. The Belize Development Trust no longer has any volunteer operations in the country of Belize and any slow mail enquiries should be sent to our Katy, Texas, USA address. This address has changed from Eugene, Oregon. The major sticking point was that Immigration in Belmopan, Belize, insisted we register the internet based world TRUST, out of the USA in Belize, here in Belize. We had tried to do that a year ago, but the $25 we were offered as a donation to do so at the Belmopan companies registry was not enough, as they referred us to the REGISTRY in the port Belize City. When we went there, they wanted $250 and since the Belize Development Trust is totally international volunteers, with no cash flow, bank accounts, or any money of any kind, we were unable to afford it. The sticking point seems to be they insist on registration locally. Since we cannot do that; ALL volunteer development project work activities to develop the economy of Belize have been shut down. Safer that way, before we start getting involved with FINES and such things.
This goes along with the FINE scare, we recently got from the Belize Tourist Board and the subsequent closing down of Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel. Any mail for this address should now be forwarded to Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel, c/o MV Winnie Estelle, Suzanne Marina, Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The Belize hostel we built up and were running has been closed and went out of business, since mid-August after paying the last FINE from BTB. Before the situation got too expensive and worse.
Belize as a nation, is looking at a three year period of extreme financial crisis and we expect an orgy of fines, tax raises, fuel price increases, permits and license increases, higher GST taxes. It seems to have already started? All this to pay for the National Debt of about $3 billion, for a population of 300,000, of which two thirds of the national debt were the fault of the PUP and one third the fault of the UDP. The big debt got started by the big business collusion between the political parties of Belize, for campaign financing election donations, for which the big businesses got huge write offs in taxes. Like 1500% return ( which ordinary tax payers will have to pay in more taxes ) and even more, in the case of a telecommunications company, on their investment in political favor buying. The big business collusion, tax exemptions, resulted in revenue being replaced by foreign loan borrowing, called DEBT ECONOMICS. The interest payments on these loans and other legal fees resulted in the $3 billion in national debt. Usually such debts are passed to the next generation of small taxpayer citizens. ( the masses ) That time has arrived and the ones that have to pay the national debt through the big business complex coordination, with party political campaign financing, were probably 12 or 15 years old, when most of this debt first started? The financial crisis is expected to be starting now and continue for another three years. There have been mention in the newspapers that the Prime Minister was mumbling about defaulting on some of the national debt. Recently the Guardian newspaper said he was negotiating with World Bank to take over the SUPER BOND on more favorable terms, though I cannot see how that would work? A DEFAULT is the most likely solution.
After the Belmopan Immigration ordeal, which is long from settled yet, as Gustavo is still waiting for his Immigration File to get his final police interview report. We had a bit of an argument in Immigration. Gustavo has about $120,000 invested in two real estate houses here in Belize along with us as a group, but still does not have PERMANENT RESIDENCY. The lack of citizenship security is unsettling and any further investment in Belize is permanently on hold, until that issue is resolved. It’s been about eighteen months now. Way too slow! Now we are just three retired old people living as cheap as we can in Western Belize, which is still pretty good. If boring, without anything to do that is mentally challenging. The business and economic climate is not too encouraging in Belize. Too much regulation for a small country. We are liking Guatemala much more. Over there, it is like it was in Belize 35 years ago for business investment. More casual, personal, appreciative and informal, with far better infra-structure.
At any rate we finished off the morning, by going to the Blue Hole on the Hummingbird Highway for a swim after leaving Belmopan. This wonderful stream flowing up out of the bottom of the cliff, into a cliff, tree covered, surrounded cenote atmosphere and then exiting into a creek, is a lovely place. They have a warden on duty to guard vehicles in the car park high above. $2 bz entry fee. Few mosquitos when we first got there, mid morning. Still a nice refreshing swim. The hike up the cliff steps had me breathless. First time my wife, Mrs. Silvia Auxillou and her brother Gustavo Pinzon had been to this tourist national park spot. Caves Branch and Jaguar Paw entrance was across the road. We were tempted to go tubing, or zip lining, but figured it would be too expensive? We are going to do a lot more traveling around the country now we have no Hostel business, or vegetable research work pressing on our time constraints. It feels great to be relaxed and not have to deal with bureaucracies any more.
Can’t stay totally idle. So the research into a new position trading, hedging business is ongoing. So far encouraging! Though that seems peculiar to a rising accumulation stage of a new BULL market in the USA. Registered office will be Katy, Texas, business address will be in North Carolina and operations occur on the Chicago Board of Trade. We should know by next March if this is viable and successful? The business totally relies on internet availability. We haven’t got that yet, but hoping SMART will get us an internet modem out here in the West of Belize, by end of month, their customer service promised. The wonderful thing about a USA based business, the paying of taxes and stuff is very simple. Not like anything in Belize, which is way too complicated and interfering by bureaucrats with too much idle time on their hands.. Plus you can do it anywhere in the world, that you have a laptop and the internet access. From a boat, a camper, in any country. You can travel and work at the same time. We like the idea of being able to rent a house in Panachjel, Lake Atitalan in Guatemala, or be on the boat in the Rio Dulce, marina, or here at home in Hillview and still carry on a sideline small business. The internet is a wonderful thing.

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