Friday, December 31, 2010



We´ve been working on establishing a hammock making cottage industry business in Western Belize as a development project to provide income to poor families. To generate capital for ladies living at home. All they need is their labor and a couple of cheap things that are easily made, to start making GOOD HAMMOCKS. I´m still waiting for our first sample shipment of nylon colored line spools to come from China. I was talking to a Yucatec lady with a stall at the Macal River market and she was showing me her nylon Yucatec made hammocks she imports for sale here. The hammocks from Guatemala are made of cheaper more available materials and break up quickly. The Mexican Yucatec hammocks are finer made and of superior quality. Most are made by prisoners in jail in Mexico to buy their jail food. Or by ladies in surrounding rural villages, between chores of looking after the family, for extra cash.
At any rate according to the Yucatec lady at the market, when I asked her to bring me colored nylon spools, which she said are produced in factories in Mexico, so we could start a hammock making cottage industry in Belize to provide money for rural poor people, like they have in the Yucatan. She explained that it was cheaper to import the finished Mexican Yucatec hammocks ready made ( thus giving labor to Mexicans instead of Belizeans ) than import the nylon colored twine made in Mexico. The Belize customs duties she explained made this that way.
It sounds like one of those TRANSORMATION DEVELOPMENT RULES, OR LAWS, OR POLICY THINGS only a government can do to encourage light manufacturing in Belize? So far our GOVERNMENT are playing dumb about it.



The research work and growing of orchids in Belize successfully, has been done by the Taiwanese Mission. The ability of production is proven. The idea has bogged down over the method of shipping and marketing sales. No Belizeans has of yet wanted to use risk capital in going through the first establishment trials of shipping orchids to the USA. I personally have no idea if you use a plane, or ship, reefer cargo or what. There is bound to be losses involved in establishing the business. No Belizean wants to do the experimenting and then have their business taken away by competition from other Belizeans after they prove out the orchid export business. Nor should they.
The Government of Belize on the other hand need more exports to generate employment and stuff. They also need alternative growing export crops in the Northern area of Belize which is heavily reliant on a declining sugar industry. Who is going to finance the start up costs of growing and shipping orchards to USA big city markets is still bogged down, and so far, nobody is stepping up to the plate to get this new industry going. The scientific research growing part has been successfully completed.


Jan. 1st, 2011

The Citrus Growers Association, now a minority producer of fruit to the new citrus factory, controlled by an Investment Agreement, with a foreign investor; is continuing the war to take over the factory from foreign control. In fact, the CGA though a minority producer of fruit to the factory is losing membership and if one takes into account those members refusing to pay their membership dues, the participation of growers producing in the CGA has dropped to below 28% participation of the producers of citrus in the citrus industry. Growers continue to flee the original CGA and join the newer Belize Citrus Mutual Association. Even though they are losing their share ownership in the factory by doing so. By rights the membership should be able to take their shares with them, but it was never visualized this way and planned for.
The warfare has been declared by an elected CGA official one Denzil Jenkins. By hook, or by crook he is apparently intent on getting the wealth represented by the investment and broadened export, value added development, products and markets available from tapping the new citrus factory, value added processing, cash flows. The declining membership of this older Citrus Growers Association owns 51% shares in the factory, but they are not happy with just earning a dividend. They want to borrow loans on the factory and future production for their own benefits. The investment agreement protects the new investor who built the factory. Without a Board Meeting, Jenkins and his failing CGA cannot gain control of the factory. At the moment the new investor is working without a Board Meeting, thus controlling and protecting their investment from being plundered and wrecked.
To make it more complicated, there is at least one loan outstanding by the declining CGA, who are on their way to bankruptcy. I´ve heard of more, but don´t really know. At least one $16 million dollar loan to the CGA is owed to the European Investment Bank. This loan has been guaranteed by us Belizean taxpayers, as a sovereign loan. It looks like lost money and we can only wonder what security in turn, the Government on our behalf has for that $16 million sovereign guarantee from the CGA. I hope it was those shares? The CGA represents about 500 votes in National Elections and possibly as many as 2000 votes if family are considered. So politics played a big part in our guaranteeing that loan in the first place. The only thing the CGA has of value seems to be the 51% share ownership in the factory. I certainly would hope our UDP government does not seize those shares for assets and collateral. I would prefer to see the shares sold off to the highest bidder in an open stock market bid and ask, auction environment. The UDP government made a mess of distribution of the nationalized Belize Telecommunications company. With fancy words and misdirection they implied that people would get a 12% to 15% dividend, without actually saying it, if they bought BTL shares. The dividend when announced was 4.6% somewhere, as I remember it.
Belize Citrus Mutual Association the newer Association of citrus growers has no shares in the citrus factory and are made up of disenchanted former members of the first and older Citrus Growers Association. This newer Citrus Growers group represent 48% of the citrus produced for the factory. The factory itself produces it´s own fruit in the amount of 20% of the total. So in total 68% of the fruit to the factory comes from these people. The older CGA represent 28% or less of fruit contributions, if you count only paid up membership.
I myself representing the Auxillou Holdings would be interested in up to $100,000 of citrus factory shares, if the CGA share holdings come up for sale on the open market. We think the factory is on the right track for the future. There are very few public companies in Belize available to local investors, offering share participation in an open stock market type forum. There are none in fact. Share holdings are either private, or politically controlled. This processing factory shares seems like a good one for this. We lost out on the nationalized BTL public share sale, as it was heavily controlled by the UDP government, for some reason we never figured out and overpriced for open market auction type, bid and ask. The old monopoly – guild type colonial method of controlling a population and businesses.
There is the problem of CITRUS GREENING. Latest technicals think that planting every fifth row with a Guava tree and alternated with a Neem tree, would alleviate a lot of the problem involved with citrus greening. This is work for the Agriculture Department Research Unit to experiment with, to save the citrus industry. I am tonight drinking mango juice out of a waxed paper container, sold at the local supermarket, processed and packaged, imported in Belize, from the United Kingdom. Now you think about that for a bit and it makes you wonder what is going on in our fruit industry. We know they do not grow mangos in the UK. I was looking for Lime Concentrate today, in plastic bottles, imported again, but the stores are out of it right now. We grow limes in Belize. We grow Mangos in Belize. We grow papaya in Belize, we grow bananas in Belize. The foreign market is large. Especially for neighboring Guatemala and Salvador. Something is not being done right in Belize production for export. Whatever government policies we have do not work in my opinion.

Belize culture listserve chat about British leaving Belize.


from the Belize Culture Listserve chat forum

This message sent to the Bz-Culture Mailing List from "Charlie Roberts " :

Wendy, Trevor

Being British and married to a Belizean girl from Placencia, I agree, but more importantly so does my wife. I'm sure too, that there are also many good Belizean husbands and fathers around.

Shame we are living in the freezing cold of Suffolk, England right now and not sunny, beautiful Belize but I endorse the Facebook cause which is probably aimed at BATSUB shutting down soon and the UK military leaving imminently.

A sad day for many of us who have embraced Belize and its people as our own for many years, forging many personal and professional relationships.

I personally am absolutely gutted and I'm sure some small businesses who have provided accommodation and rum to Brit Forces will also be disappointed, especially during the slow tourist season, not to mention the loss of hundreds of local jobs at Ladyville and on the vast jungle training areas.

BATSUB also provided a vital 365 Day 24/7 helicopter MEDEVAC service to remote parts of Belize often unreachable by road in the wet season or by sea in high seas. I have personally flown pregnant women from Punta Gorda, BDF casualties from the border areas and diving tourists from remote cayes on at least 100 missions. Surely that will be missed?

I say join the cause.

Happy New Year to all on this list.

Charlie Roberts

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Bz-Culture: facebook causes & belize

Briitish men make great husbands and great fathers compared to Belizean men. I say keep them in Belize too! Give the Belizean women a choice other than raggamuffin drama queens masquerading as men.

There's a funky facebook "belizean" cause called "Keep the British in Belize". What do they hope to accomplish, or better, who do they hope to influence, or best, what do they hope to change...with such a cause? I am baffled.


John Perkins


Help spread this important message:

Perkins' function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and US AID. Saddled with debts they could not hope to pay, those countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run ...After several years struggling with his conscience over the role he was playing in crippling foreign economies, he quit his consulting job. In the 1980s Perkins founded and directed a successful independent energy company. In the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins states that he suspects the success of his company was due to 'coincidences' orchestrated by those appreciative of his silence about the work he did as an economic hit man. He then sold the energy company in the late 1980s. Since then he has been heavily involved with non-profit organizations in Ecuador and around the world. He continues this work today, in addition to his writing. One of his organizations, Dream Change, is dedicated to shifting consciousness and promoting sustainable lifestyles for the individual and global community.

Thursday, December 30, 2010



THIS CHOCOLATE HAS NOW HAD IT´S GENOME MAPPED to provide as a baseline against all other chocolates.

The cacao tree behind the world's finest chocolate has had its genome mapped, say a team of researchers from around the world. The genes of an ancient cocoa tree found in the mountains of Belize – specifically, the Criollo variety of Theobroma cacao – are expected to lead to new ways to protect the plants against disease and improve the productivity of cacao growers.

But chocolate lovers needn't fear: tinkering with the flavor of chocolate is not the aim of the research.

“In my opinion chocolate tastes pretty good right now,” said molecular biologist Mark Guiltinan of Pennsylvania State University. “We don't want to mess it up.” Guiltinan is one of the many coauthors of a paper reporting the work in the latest issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

Scientific tweaking of favorite food plants has resulted in some historical failures that serve as cautionary tales to Guiltinan and his colleagues: such as tomatoes that look great, last long in stores, but are flavorless; and “improved” strawberries that fared no better.

“We don't want to do that to chocolate,” Guiltinan told Discovery News. On the other hand, knowing what genes to breed for will likely lead to more healthy chocolate plants.

Right now the Criollo variety of Theobroma cacao accounts for only about five percent of the world's cacao production. Thirty to 40 percent of that cacao crop is lost every year to fungal infections, Guiltinan said.

“The variety that was sequenced is known for its very high quality flavor,” said Siela Maximova, another coauthor and also a researcher at Penn State. “Unfortunately that variety is very susceptible to disease.”

For that reason the Criollo is commonly been crossed with the lesser prized, but more disease-resistant Forastero variety.

The new genetic analysis of Criollo has already uncovered hundreds of genes involved in resisting pathogens, said Maximova. The work has also shed light on the genetic basis of the synthesis of oil, flavonoids, antioxidants, hormones, pigments and aromas.

They also identified the 84 genes responsible for the creation and quality of cocoa butter. That's big news because the butter – which conveniently melts at human body temperature – is used in foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It's also what makes great chocolate and other confections melt in your mouth.

Their discoveries could lead to cocoa beans that yield more butter and even more healthful antioxidants and flavonoids.

But that does not mean Dove bars will be made from GM cocoa beans, said Guiltinan.

“I'm not concerned that this work could be utilized for such research,” said Lyndel W. Meinhardt, research leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Perennial Crops Lab. “Overall, the cocoa industry and cocoa growers are not supportive of cultivating genetically-engineered cacao. I'm more excited about the potential that this work brings to improve cacao.”

Most the cacao grown around the world has a very limited genetic background and so this work will help set the stage to make significant genetic improvements, Meinhardt told Discovery News.

“Mainly we're talking about classical breeding,” said Guiltinan, clarifying that direct genetic improvement can be done the old-fashioned way, but sped up with the help of molecular research that allows young plants to be analyzed for traits instead of waiting for them to mature.

Ultimately, then, the biggest winners from this research should be cocoa farmers and cocoa companies.

“The cocoa genome an important tool which will help researchers to identify and breed cocoa trees which are more disease and pest tolerant,” said Bill Guyton of the World Cocoa Foundation, which promotes sustainable cocoa economy. “Improved productivity will ultimately result in better incomes for the millions of the small-scale farmers who grow the crop.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From the small business persons point of view, these are some of the changes and trends occuring in Belize.
The following is just off the top of my head and in no chronological order.
There is a lot of speculation from entrepreneurs going into business. Some of the problems in light manufacturing for instance are; the EPZ system the government has and the cost of customs duty on incoming parts and materials to manufacture things. The small start up is not big enough to go the more formal government EPZ route. The bookkeeping costs in time and labor make it prohibitive for small scale entrepreneurs. Incoming parts get charged duty on freight or postage. This is most often enough, to push the cost studies out of a profit target and thus cancel the whole idea.
Mainland China I am finding is becoming as expensive as the USA. It may be because of the small quantities we would order from Belize. Most shippers in Mainland China and Taiwan want to ship container loads. A container of anything in the parts stuff, is usually more than our small cottage industry entrepreneurs need. Chinese importers here in Belize are complaining of criminals in China who are taking your money and disappearing. It is hardly worth the cost to chase after them, even if they stay in business. I´ve heard of money in the amounts of $10,000 going missing. Much of trade is based on the HONOR system. You have to trust somebody. Goods out of China are becoming as expensive as ordering from the USA. If you add on freight costs and then having to pay local Belize duties on the freight as well, then it simply puts ordering from China out of the game. In the last couple of years a lot of small players, private outfits have opened up on the web from mainland China as middlemen, organizing and finding parts and products you might wish to import into Belize to re-manufacture into an export item. You can get small amounts nowadays, but my own agent in Guadong is not very good, or China is not producing the items I want in small quantities. I am finding small home garage type small producing material products in the USA cheaper than those of China. The service is quicker and more reliable too. China has now grown to be the biggest economy in the world, outdoing even the USA. Europe and the UK for example, are not even in the ballpark.
There is a need in Belize for boxes. Cardboard boxes for export with printing on them. As far as I have found so far, BRC is the most likely producer in Benque Viejo, but haven´t researched it yet. I see they are producing calendars with colored printing and photographs. That would lend itself to making small boxes for candies, biscuits, dehydrated fruit and chocolates for example. At the moment such boxes are being ordered by the few, trying new things, from the USA. I have a sample container for confectionary I´m saving which can be folded out of a calendar sized cardboard sheet, if it was cheap enough. Trouble is the small entrepreneur in Belize wants to try a dozen or so first and learn the problems with light manufacturing. Nobody as far as I know has explored this small needed local box packaging business. Food products for export, need the boxes, and the food itself we note from imports from Mexico, Turkey and Sri Lanka are now going to an aluminum foil type wrapper. Even some of our local chocolate makers are using them. They tell me they are importing the foil wrappers from Taiwan. From what little I can see, there is a business in Belize which will grow in this field. If an entrepreneur would import the rolls of foil, a cutter for sizing, the printing or photo onlay equipment and the crimping machines to sell the buyer food processor for export locally. At the moment such foils are imported from Taiwan as the cheapest source, but they want an order of half a million, which means Belize needs an entrepreneur who can start the foil wrapper business and grow with the economy over time. Much of what we import in the food line, can be made locally. Probably the local market size is not big enough, but for exporting the game is wide open. We can make and export gourmet cheeses, ginger biscuits, chocolates and many products small scale locally. Our biggest market would be Guatemala, Salvador and the world, via the internet through the post office.
For export, Belize needs packaging material. This is usually made of styrofoam. I´m not to sure how it is made, but we need to make it in Belize. We probably need liquids in the one gallon and 5 gallon size in hardware stores. The local importer would probably buy 55 gallon drums and if my experience is any guide, it is probably just a hand made mold and two part mixing of liquids to make the foam packaging we need to ship out exports, by either the postal service, or ocean freight.
I´ve been trying to find lenses to import to make Galileo telescopes. Unfortunately the cost of freight, or postage into Belize, plus customs costs, then manufacture and shipping out by postage keeps running the price over the targeted competitive price range for the product. It may be possible to manufacture the lenses here. I can get the object lense at a target price, but not the focal lense. So I´m planning a talk with my local window maker shortly and see if he can grind me focal lenses from plain glass from window making panes.´
The banking system and using Letters of Credit does not work well in Belize. I´m glad Barclays Bank left Belize. They ruined a perfectly good marine diesel small business I had with my supplier in Sweden. I only had to order and they would ship from Sweden and then send me an invoice and I would pay. The shipment would come and I would pay the bank and get the Original Bill of Lading to clear customs, but the bank would not pay my supplier and after several years of haggling the bank ruined my HONOR relationship with my supplier. Apparently they had a clerk inside the bank who was stealing, but preferred to write letters to my supplier ruining my reputation. Nor does the wire transfer system work anymore. The OECD is holding up wire transfers and the cost in TIME, LABOR and frustration to find your money and get it, is no longer practical to use for business. Smuggling couriers with millions of dollars is the preferred way nowadays. You require a private plane, or ship though. Money Exchange outfits have sprung up all over the world and the money transfer business has replaced banks and wire transfers.
We are having a big problem with getting US currency in Belize. It has always been so! The problem is a result of successive governments working on a borrow against the future system using foreign loans. The foreign repayment system on government foreign currency borrowing is eating up all the available money in foreign exchange. The guess estimate is that our government by borrowing against the future as a system , is now using about $400 million USA currency per year. Without being able to ship money out, as well as bring foreign exchange into Belize, a lot of business is crippled. The economy suffers and revenues do not expand as they should. Because we are fixed rate to the USA dollar and the Belize government borrows that foreign money years in advance, it is very difficult for local would be investors to compete with foreign investors this way. For the past nine years I´ve brought US currency into Belize in dribs and drabs, to invest in land and construction , and to live off. I´m just small fry, not even enough to compete with thousands of well paid politicians and senior bureaucrats here. Still, I´ve managed to save something. Now a new venture in the USA in a Private extended family HEDGE FUND, start up, requires my contribution to raise the CASH RESERVES for the fund to perform properly and safely. I find that I have sufficient savings in Belize currency to do my part, but I cannot convert it into foreign exchange where it is needed. Thus I´m stymied by our government´s actions in Belize. Very frustrating.
There is apparently a business for a small person with embroidery machine work. Making those Yucatan style embroidered type tapes to sew on to clothes for export on a cottage industry small scale via the internet, in small quantities. It is possible to buy Guyabara shirts over from Guatemala cheap and add the tapes with ready made embroidery tape. My wife has been making them using the backstrap loom, but this is highly labor intensive and expensive. The embroidery machines which run about $500 USA to $2000 USA could probably do it. They are available from Wal Mart in the USA. The price apparently depends on how many different colored threads you wish to use for the patterns you design. Right now we are still experimenting using tapes made by backstrap loom by hand. I like a lot of the Persian and Central Asian designs myself. With the internet this new stuff in Belize is easy to learn. You don´t have to go to College or University.
Senator Hulse a well respected government critic of policy, was saying in an article the other day, that integration with Central America might not be a good thing. He was referring to the idea that eventually we would have a common currency. Both Guatemala and Mexico our neighbors have floating currency. You can buy and sell currency contracts on the open world market. Belize has a fixed currency and our government in Belize spend the money they expect to earn from expanding population and business, usually up to 20 years into the future. The fixed rate to the US dollar has advantages and disadvantages. There is no way to separate for instance our own inflation depreciation in our currency from that of the USA. In Guatemala and most of the bigger economies of Latin America, they are constantly doing that inflation adjusting by the mechanism of International currency exchange trades. It runs around 6% a year in Guatemala. Mexico has a different system slightly. They seem to do a devaluation every 8 to 12 years, wiping out bank savings values in one slash. In between they sucker investors with offering high interest rates. The problem with different types of governments, Republics versus Parliamentary dictatorships such as ours, is that of controlling the spending by governments and bureaucrats. Government revenues have a way of expanding and contracting. When there is plenty, the governments do not save, they spend and spend and expand government usually. When revenues contract, there is huge pain in the government, as the size has become to big to handle financially. The cure is often worse than the disease. Many countries as the European Union shows and even the USA states and municipal governments are incapable of saving and running on fixed balanced budgets. Senator Hulse may have a worrisome point about a Central American currency, but I cannot see our leaders, either present, or future capable of managing our economy to the point that Belize would even be able to join a Central American currency. Our National Debt to GDP ratio shows that. We just do not have the management leadership in our political system organization model.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Banks in Belize awash in local currency.


At least one bank is not selling any more C.D.´s, so one does not have to worry about dropping CD rates. Only patrons holding CD´s can keep them at reduced rates. On the other hand, Savings Accounts will pay 4% this coming year. Don´t remember what they paid before.
A Bank Customer Service person told me the banks are awash in money. ( Belize money ) They are too liquid.

I could guess this means PM Barrow´s various strategms to offer cheaper loans to citizens is having an effect on Bank rates. Next time to Melchor will have to check the dollar accounts CD rates over there. See how they have changed. It could also mean nobody local is investing in Belize anymore?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

BELIZE- 14 sugar cane quality control stations established for this crop.


Belize Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute has been reactivated and comes under the arm of the Sugar Industry Control Board ( SICB ) and will provide technical support to farmers.

Another arm of the Sugar Industry (SCPC ) the Sugar Cane Production Committee has been charged with implementing and supervising the quality control program to which all parties: the government of Belize, SICB, BSI and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association subscribe. It hasn´t worked for the past ten years. We can only hope it will work for this crop, the decisive crop, for success, or failure of the sugar industry in Belize under this structuring.

a)BSI Finance Director Belizario Carballo said that this crop will be the decisive future of the industry as it operates now. This year will make or break the industry. The sugar industry has been collapsing around the Caribbean. NEW PAYMENTS will be put into effect based on quality of a farmers cane.

b) 18 branches of the Sugar Cane Farmes Associations, nine from Corozal and nine from Orange Walk have formed 14 QUALITY TEST GROUPS. The process is two fold. They are to help maintaining quality, and to organize delivery time frames. Fresh cane is high in sucrose. The more trucks wait outside the factory for delivery, otherwise fermentation takes place causing the cane to lose sugar. Test groups will now assign fasrmers time slots, during which farmers from each of the branches can deliver their cane, eliminating congestion and waiting delays that allow fermentation to occur.´The problem of mud as extra weight is to be tackled also.

Last year the EU slashed imports of sugar cane 22%. Belize was not even able to qualify to sell sugar cane to the USA on quota.

The BSI Factory has their new Bagasse co-generation installation bugs ironed out and deliveries should proceed better for processing.

WE WAIT AND SEE! The Chinese stand ready to take over the industry should it fail, sometime in 2012. What form that would take is unknown. Mainland China is short of sugar.



Finally a 100 years after the Manchu Dynasty Empire collapsed and Dr. Sun Yat Sen tried to consolidate China into a Republic. Though decades of WAR LORDS with private armies and civil war, Chang Kai Chek the dictator who eventually fled to Taiwan and the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. The eventual Communist consolidation under dictator Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese have realized finally, their goal and dreams of a one successful CHINA, meeting the WESTERN nations on equal ground. Today China is the twin most powerful country in the world along with the USA. KUDOS to the CHINESE. One can only wonder what shape the next 25 years will bring in the world and the politics.

China has replaced the USA as the biggest economy in the world.



Senator Hulse thinks we need more time before signing to join SICA in the Central American integration union. We already belong to CARICOM a lot of useless small Caribbeean Islands. Intergration with Central American in a CA-UNION will change the way we are, think and our economics totally. The private sector are not waiting for our government, which is colonial British in nature and orientated to the UK and the Caribbean. The private sector is already moving into Central America and the Yucatan where our future economy lies. Between Central America and the Yucatan, we have the markets to sell everything we can imagine to produce. We still await the Southern highway connection to the highway system of the Americas. We have the current highway connection through Melchor de Menchos on our Western border 12 miles from here.

The constant complaint from the old colonial capital CREOLES in the port town, is that the Guatemalan Constitution needs to have a clause stricken out of it claiming Belize, before we join Central America. Trade and money wait not on governments. Profit comes from action. Government revenues depend on the economics of markets for our export goods. While the government dithers, the private sector is already moving operations over the border.

Senator Hulse argument is that forming the equivalent of a European Union of Central America might not be a good idea and should be studied some more. BALDERSDASH SAY I ! ( grin )



There has recently been a program introducing new Harpy Eagles back into Belize, from Panama. It is with delight that scientists report finding a Harpy Eagle nest in the Bladen Reserve. A remote place. The eagle has a 7 foot wing span and weighs around 20 lbs. The finder a Mayan, won a $1000 prize for spotting the nest and leading researchers to it.



The prior species now extinct were African, French, Han, Melanesian, Findija, Neanderthal and the new one, called Denisova. Homo Sapiens evolved around 70,000 years ago according to DNA studies between the ice ages.
Earlier species of humans are reputed to go back at least 14 million years by the fossil record and possibly a 150 million years? Footprints frozen in time, have been discovered alongside farming dinosaurs.



Thank heavens for the transport department and UDP policy of seeing that the bus system is in diversified ownership and competition. The sudden RECEIVERSHIP of National bus service left a lot of bus runs open. These are now filled by other bus operators the transport department announced.



The Taiwan Mission in Belize is providing technical guidance along with the Ministry of Agriculture in papaya planting, to increase productivity and ensure sustainability of the Northern farmers. Since the quality of sugar cane is in question, the hope is that the farmers can be taught to grow export quality papaya. This industry already exists in Belize and can be expanded immediately. Papaya take 9 months to produce.
The Taiwanese ICDF Taiwan small farmer loan program is going to funnel $320,000 usa through the La Inmaculada Credit Union Ltd., to provide the loans for small farmers to convert to papaya growing for export. Interest rate will be 10%. The loan period will be 28 months.
We wish them success and this is a move in the right direction by the UDP government, before we see the cane industry fail. The Boy Scouts motto of "BE PREPARED" is right on with this move, as only one or two years seperates the sugar cane business from success, or failure.

BELIZE - won´t touch the Citrus Growers Association with a 20 foot pole.


Conspiracy theories abound about the assassination of a harmless man, the accountant for the Citrus Growers Association. The prevailing rumor is that the EXECUTIVE ordered his assassination to hide misdoings financially. This is all speculation of course, still the man is dead by multiple knive wounds from an assassin in the driveway of his home. The police have no clue.

In the meantime, the weekend newspapers report that Denzil Jenkins of the Executive convinced the local police to blockade the CEO for the factory Henry Canton from entering his place of work. Canton is hired and can only be fired by the Board of Directors. The foreign investors in Trinidad or Barbados someplace have used their rights by investment agreements to refuse the Board of Directors to hold a meeting, at which the CGA hold the majority shares in any voting. Unable to get a quorum, the newspapers say Jenkins hoodwinked the police into working with him to go after the CEO Canton at the citrus factory. The police were too stupid to know they could not interfere in a civil matter.
In the meantime, while Jenkins is strong arming the factory, and the CEO, or trying to; the Prime Minister is pleading for calm and a dialogue. He has said his government has no legal rights to interfere in a private venture and the differences must go through the legal process. Jenkins does not want to do that, or wait. He wants action now and is acting like a mafioso.
In the meantime, Jenkins alleged puppet fellow executive Henry Anderson of the CGA, appointed by Jenkins and his cohorts on the CGA Executive, to replace Canton, has written his refusal to his Board, saying he will not take over the Citrus Factory from Canton, the current CEO hired by the Factory Board of Directors. This was the Jenkins plan, to remove CANTON and replace him with somebody beholden to himself, a fellow member of the CGA executive. While the CGA ship is sinking and the rats are fleeing the ship, violence is in the air.
The only legal solution seems to be either the CGA buy out the shares of Banks Holdings the foreign investor who built the modernized citrus factory, or Banks Holdings should buy out the CGA. If Banks Holdings ends up buying out the CGA shares, I would certainly buy some shares if they want to put them on the open market. If the CGA buy out BANKS HOLDINGS shares, then I would not touch the shares in the Citrus Factory with a 20 foot pole.
In the meantime, the rumor mill is saying the CGA Executive has taken money given in a GRANT. from our tax dollars to help small citrus growers with fertilizer and bush hogging, has disappeared from the purpose for which it was intended. We taxpayers outside the CGA are angry, damned angry over that. The UDP get the blame for that, as not putting strings on the GRANT. The CGA should and could raise money themselves as a private venture by selling some of their shares.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BELIZE - Erin Ventures sells placer gold mining rights in Belize to invest in Boron exploration in Serbia


Erin Signs Serbian Boron Joint Venture Agreement

Erin Ventures Inc. [TSX-Venture: EV] is pleased to report that it has entered in to a binding agreement with the Serbian state-owned mining company, JP PEU, for the joint development of the Piskanja boron deposit, located in Serbia.

This agreement is subject to the Serbian Mining Ministry granting an exclusive exploration license for the Piskanja deposit to Erin. This agreement has been officially endorsed by JP PEU, Ibarski Mines (a wholly owned subsidiary of JP PEU, which currently holds the rights to the Piskanja boron deposit), and the National Serbian Miners Union. It is estimated that the percentage ownership in the joint venture will be approximately 90% Erin; 10% JP PEU, based upon the relative values of the contributions made by the parties.

Erin is currently preparing the documentation required for the exploration license, for submission to the Serbian authorities. It is anticipated that an exploration license may be granted within the next 90 days.

The key terms in the agreement are as follows:

* Erin's wholly-owned Serbian subsidiary, Balkan Gold d.o.o. ("Balkan") will apply for an exclusive exploration license on the Piskanja property, and conduct a geological study on the deposit. If results are positive, Balkan will then compose a feasibility study for mine development. Balkan is responsible for 100% of the costs related to these studies, and retains 100% ownership at this stage.

* When the feasibility study is complete, Balkan and JP PEU will form a joint venture company that will apply for an exploitation license. However, in the event that JP PEU's corporate structure does not allow for it to enter into this joint venture (as is currently the case), Balkan will retain the right to apply for the exploitation license on its own, and retain 100% interest in the project.

* Ownership in the joint venture company will be directly proportional to the value of the assets contributed by each party.
* Balkan will be responsible for providing all the funding required to develop the mine and ore processing facilities.
* JP PEU will contribute certain existing infrastructure assets in its possession (such as a power substation, access roads, rail spur, office and maintenance buildings in strategic proximity to the property) and historical research data from previous exploration programs at Piskanja. The determination of the assets to be contributed by JP PEU to the joint venture shall be at the sole discretion of Balkan. These assets will be contributed at their established fair market value.

* An official determination of percentage ownership will occur at the completion of the mine development, and be based upon the amount that has been actually spent by Balkan on exploration and mine development, and the fair market value of the assets contributed by JP PEU.

* Balkan and JP PEU agree that the joint venture company will primarily employ manpower from the Ibarski Mine, as qualified and required.

* Each party will have representation on the board of directors of the joint venture company on a basis that reflects their prorata ownership of the joint venture company.

This joint venture agreement between Erin and JP PEU has no direct bearing on Erin's ongoing US$15 million legal action against EPS, the national power corporation of Serbia, regarding alleged breaches by EPS in the former joint venture agreement it held with Erin regarding the development of the Piskanja property (as reported by Erin in its news release dated June 22, 2009).

Summary of the Piskanja boron property
Piskanja is located in a historical mining region that has good infrastructure for mining including roads, rail, electric power, experienced miners, etc., 250 km south of Belgrade by good paved roads.

The Piskanja property has a historic resource (that is not NI 43-101 compliant and must be verified) of approximately seven million tonnes of 39 per cent B2O3 (boron) as colemanite and ulexite, based upon historic drill data (some of which, was conducted by Erin previously). The deposit is open both to the south and the east. Evaluation of the drill-hole data by Erin's technical advisers indicate that the Piskanja deposit has the potential of hosting additional significant borate reserves.

About boron
Borate minerals and refined borate products are used extensively worldwide in the manufacture of vitreous products such as fiberglass insulation, textile fiberglass, borosilicate glass (LCD screens), ceramic glazes and porcelain enamels. These applications account for approximately 60 per cent of borate consumption, with detergents, fire retardants, metallurgy, agriculture, insecticides, wood preservatives and specialty products accounting for the remainder. Consumption of borates used in high- technical applications is expected to increase by 10% in North America and 13% in Europe by 2012. China is the largest consumer of boron, where consumption has rose by 15 percent per year from 2000 to 2010. Market prices reflect the relative scarcity of borates with prices averaging: US$280/t for colemanite concentrate (40-42 percent B2O3); US$500/t for ulexite (40 percent B2O3); US$550/t for boric acid; and US$50/kg for anhydrous borax.*
*Source: US Geological Survey, Report on Boron 2008.

About JP PEU and Ibarski Mine
In operation since 1853, JP PEU ("Public Company for Underground Coal Exploitation, Resavica") currently operates 9 mines throughout Serbia. It produces 500,000 tonnes of coal per year, and employs 4,000 workers. Ibar Mine, a wholly owned subsidiary of JP PEU, has been producing coal for 100 years, with 500 employees experienced in underground mining. The Piskanja deposit is located in the mining region belonging to the Ibar mine.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Blake Fallis, General Manager

For further information, please contact:
Erin Ventures Inc.
Blake Fallis, General Manager
Phone: 1-250- 384-1999 or 1-888-289-3746

Saturday, December 18, 2010

South Western Belize, Ceiba Chico placer gold mining Erin Ventures moves on with sale of their stock.


According to an Adele Ramos article in the Amandala of Dec. 19, 2010 ( we could not find it online?) Erin Ventures Inc. a Canadian placer gold mining venture working the alluvial gold at the delta of Ceibo Chico area in the Southern Belize Alps, a very remote area. From photos, it looks like they are using a 4 inch, or 6 inch gold washing pump dredge?
Erin Corp. has sold it´s assets for $750,000 Canadian cash. This includes mining licenses. The new buyer has agreed to spend Canadian $350,000 on exploration, or the property control and licenses will revert back to Erin Corp. Around 56 pounds of GOLD per year have been taken out it has been reported, worth around U.S.A $600,000. The different licenses cover about 34 square miles. The veins of gold go down into the rock and have not been followed as of yet. Such gold veins are usually the width of a human hair and the strand breaks apart and you can lose the track of where it is going. I say this from my own experiences in this field. Placer dredge gold mining is a much easier proposition, but dull laborious drudgery of which one gets tired after a while. Depending on how many splits you have to make in ownership shares, you can make more money selling mining stock on the Canadian Stock Exchanges. I´m out of touch, but believe Vancouver is the current hot spot for such ventures floated on the mining exchanges?
Erin Corp. says they are interested in exploring a Boron mineral project in Serbia and wanted to move on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Belize - Santa Elena Town Library, computer lab project?


Was talking to Beatrice the librarian for the Santa Elena Public Library. The National Association of libraries has no money. If you have read the earlier blurb on the Natioal Library Service and the view of the future, and the goal to get an internet connected computer in every house in the nation. You will have a better idea of the obstacles to this happening. The idea is to raise the GDP and enhance development by getting our rural producers on the internet. The information highway, which we have failed to do for the past 20 years.

Anyway, I asked Beatrice how many PRIMARY SCHOOLS were within walking distance of the library? She said THREE such schools and TWO High Schools. Since the government cannot afford to put a computer lab in every primary school in the nation, then to my mind the District Libraries are a partial better choice, as it was ten years ago. But failed due to different things, explained better in the earlier article on here.
I asked Beatrice if I got her 30 computers for the second floor of her library, could she arrange to have the primary schools come to the library three hours per week. They could do it as a FIELD TRIP. Take lessons using a downloaded typing software teacher, per class. Get this next generation of kids to learn to type in six months. After that a further six months on learning to use SEARCH ENGINES and teach themselves subjects. Three field trips per week, per school and an hour long class practicing.
She was estatic and said she could. She said Rene Montero our AREA REPRESENTATIVE had promised her computers from six months ago, but nothing materialized. Typical politics.
I can´t tackle the nation´s problems, but I can at least put in a plug for 30 computers for our local Santa Elena Library to serve as a local school computer lab and teaching platform on the information highway.
Now how do we get computers for a computer lab at the library? I can buy them across the border in Guatemala cheaper than in Belize. Runs around $800 USA each. Or maybe the Taiwanese Ambassador can donate them? Help me people, how do we accomplish this project?
I told her there would be restrictions, or STRINGS attached. First off, the computers had to be FREE. If she charged for their usage, she would lose them, they would be taken away and given to somebody else. The project would be contingent on getting classes to learn typing first of all for school children, from the local primary schools. She would have to organize that with the schools. No organized typing classes in a formal manner, then she would lose them otherwise. This is a development project.
What do you say, a good idea? Now all we have to do is get the computers donated.

Belize Cane Farmers Associations are insincere about 2011 cane crop production?


From listening to both sides present their views on the Sugar Industry in the media. Both the Cane Farmers Associations reprsenting 6000 cane farmers and the BSI Sugar Factory, it seems to me, the CANE FARMERS are just going to repeat 2010 fiasco and the 2011 crop will be lost and the industry ruined.
As an outsider looking in and listening to the debate, the core issue is QUALITY and SCHEDULING of deliveries. For this to happen, the Cane Farmers, have to install a QUALITY CONTROL unit of their own, before trucks arrive at the BSI processing factory. They have already shown violence and stolen the original quality core sampler. Yet you cannot pay 6000 farmers equal pay for weight delivered to the factory, if the content is not equal.
What is apparent to me, is that and let us guess a bit here, about 10% of the 6000 cane farmers are GREEDY, SELF SERVING CRIMINALS. That would assume 600 cane farmers are going to load trash in their trucks, immature cane and old cane, plus mud and make useless deliveries and expect the Factory to receive this junk. The actual number of GREEDY self serving cane farmers could be smaller, or larger. The mud content has risen from 2% to 9% in the last four years say the factory and is slowing the factory down and costing everybody money.
My experiences in the lobster cooperative business of forty years ago, can draw on that experience, when our Co-op had something similar happen. Lobster fishermen were filling the gut canal with scraps of tail meat, to gain weight when delivering lobster. What happened was, that that meat spoiled and when a container load of lobster tails arrived on the docks at New Orleans, the Customs guy when inspecting would open the container doors and get one whiff of the spoiled meat and condemn the whole container of packaged lobster tails. We lost about three container loads of lobster tails valued at $25,000 USA each back in those days, which was a lot of money for a struggling cooperative. Consequently the cooperative had to put in severe quality control inspectors at different points, looking for bad deliveries by voting members, who were selling the cooperative bad weight. Those caught were denied the ability to sell their lobster to the cooperative, despite their membership. For a year or two as I recollect? They had to sell their lobster to some other lobster fisherman acting as a middleman and consequently lost a bunch of money in the process.
Human nature doesn´t change and GREED is at work in the Cane Farmers Association just like it happened to us, back 40 years ago.
You got a bunch of greedy cane farmers selling MUD, bad cane stalks and since they get paid equally well as everybody else, are basically stealing from their fellow cane farmer members, as poor deliveries to the factory result in quantity of sugar and extend the delivery season, costing all of them money. In the past four years, the sugar delivery from the factory has declined drastically due to this practice.
Since the wild bunch, in the Cane Farmers Associations have destroyed the attempt by the factory to do quality control of each truck and pay according to quality of that cane, then these greedy cane farmers who are acting criminally and short sighted against the best interests of the whole 6000 cane farmers are destroying their industry, of which they as a whole get 65% of the money earned from exporting sugar. It is now up to the Cane Farmers Association to police their own membership. I see an MOU, or Memorandum of Understanding with sweet words of cooperation and promises of better deliveries, but there is no meat in the bun of that argument. Nothing will change this 2011 season, as it stands right now.
The only way this 2011 season can work, is if the Cane Farmer Associations finance their own quality control shack and inspect each truck delivering cane BEFORE it reaches the processing factory.
I can think of two ways of doing this. You could reject bad cane and mud of a truck load and turn the delivering cane farmer away, to go back home undelivered. Or you could grade the quality of a truck of cane and give them an A, B, C. grading. Grade A delivered would get equal price for weight, the same as everybody else. Or a B grade could get half price for the weight of cane in that truck, found deficient. Or a C grade could award them 20% of the value of the weight of cane of that truck delivery.
Since the Cane Farmers membership has rejected by VIOLENCE AND THEFT the BSI setup to judge truck cane quality, then the Associations have to pay for such quality control to be done by themselves. Every bad load is taking money out of the good farmers pockets. The sooner they realize that, the better the sugar quality will rise and the exports increase. Otherwise SAYONARA baby, to the SUGAR INDUSTRY! Thats my opinion! I see nothing in the MOU about the Cane Farmers doing this except some vague promises of the HONOR SYSTEM. That is a bunch of horse manure. Never work, human nature is greedy by nature and without strict quality controls the sugar industry is doomed. The Cane Farmers Association will have to police themselves and it is going to cost them money.


Jungle training axed as Belize base shuts
British infantry will no longer receive top level jungle training
after the Ministry of Defence has made the surprise announcement to
mothball its base in Belize as part of cost savings.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent 8:26PM GMT 15 Dec 2010

The departure of 3,000 troops a year who go through the tough training
has also led to fears that the Central America country will be more
vulnerable to foreign invasion similar to the incursions by Guatemala
in the late 80s.

It is also unclear whether Lord Ashcroft, the former Tory party deputy
chairman, who has vast business interests in Belize, has been
consulted over the closure of the British Army Training Support Unit
Belize (BATSUB).

It is also understood that the Ministry of Defence has given serious
consideration to closing its sovereign bases in Cyprus, where it has
airfields and listening posts, but was persuaded not to by the

Already the Army has withdrawn the country’s main emergency air
evacuation by stopping its helicopters responding as an air ambulance
for the local population.

But the final withdrawal of British forces, which have been in Belize
since it gained independence in 1981 when it was known as British
Honduras, has been signalled by the reduction of the training base
from 70 soldiers to a skeleton staff of less than 10 soldiers.

Brigadier James Stevenson, who commands the Infantry Battle School,
told British Forces News that it was regrettable the training mission
was closing. “We’ve really clicked here in Belize, so it is a pity. We
are looking at alternatives because what we don’t want to do is just
admit defeat and say, well, we can’t go to Belize therefore we’ll have
to go back home. We are still looking for somewhere where we can
present the same challenges.”

The training area gives British troops some of the most testing
exercises in the world with access to 5,000 square miles of primary
jungle provided for free by the Belize government. In the last three
years 9,000 troops, including special forces, have been to Belize.
They additionally provide high level training for the Belize Defence

The area has been the home of the British Army’s jungle training for
the last sixteen years and the withdrawal will mean the loss of 160
local civilian jobs along with an estimated £3 million injected into
the local economy.

The helicopters from 25 Flight Army Air Corps, which ferried local
troops to positions on the Guatemala border, trips that take a day by
foot, will be removed by next month.

Mothballing BATSUB will save the MoD £9 million, the cost of two
Challenger 2 tanks, but is seen as a tiny saving compared to the £36
billion overspend by the MoD.

Officers are considering training areas in the United States, although
these are unlikely to be free.

The MoD said after consultation with the Belize government BATSUB
would only remain open from a “reduced level” next year.

It added both governments “look forward to a time when BATSUB will be
able to expand its training support function once again”.

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4th Edition of the Vegetable Growers Bible critiques.


There were a few mistakes, needed editing and proof reading some said, in fact most said. The scarce now OUT OF PRINT EDITION succeeded in it´s purpose. In soft cover from Angelus Press in San Ignacio ( they have no desktop publishing equipment for self publishing ). One comment was that the information was solid, but the presentation not what they expected. Considering the book cost me $700 to produce about three dozen copies and most were given away FREE, I can take the complaints. It was a needed item in the development of Belize. The Agriculture Department at the time,was stuck, in a TIME WARP of colonialism thinking. There was no money to develop agriculture and our TRUST, the BELIZE DEVELOPMENT TRUST thought it a good way to break the logjam in thinking. What you would call TRANSFORMATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS today. We sent copies to organizations like the FAO of the UN. UNESCO and such, TAIWAN Embassy and to the Prime Minister. The edition was lowest cost possible. Printed on my computer, cut and paste and then done with the photo copy machine at Angelus Press for the pages and joined by a big long stapler.
The important thing from my viewpoint was to get the information out. It reviewed three years experimental work in vegetable growing in the Belize tropics. We broke ground in almost every chapter. Our development research work is by EXAMPLE. Not by talk. I´m a doer, not a useless salaried articulate chatterbox. Particularly watering and irrigation, green houses, and various seasons and ways of succeeding with different temperate zone vegetables in the tropics. The book is still in local libraries in Western Belize. Those that critiqued the quality of the book on the forums didn´t offer to donate any money to produce a better quality book. The Research Department of the Agriculture Department talked about it, but NEVER actually came across with any money. That $700 out of pocket hurt me financially. Not even counting the greenhouse materials I bought and built and worked with for those three experimental years, all alone, except for donations of seeds from volunteers mostly in the USA, from the Belize Culture Listserve. As a development project it was successful. That´s what counts!
The Agriculture Department has since got millions of dollars in development from the UN FAO and also from TAIWAN to duplicate and advance the work I did. Greenhouse materials were also sent on GRANTS. Experts have come in for changing soil, by worm farming, long plastic pipe root irrigation, water pump systems. Our goal was to break the mold of bureaucratic thinking and political policies from the CABINET of the government. It worked tremendously well. We at the Belize Development Trust call this development by embarrassment, in the bureaucratic and political sense. Just do the work and publish it on the internet, in the media and in paperback and embarass the heck out of those paid to do this, but don´t.
That particular project ended with that 4th edition. There were only about 3 dozen copies made and distributed. I printed 4 editions of discoveries as I went along. The mission goals for our Development Trust were met. Nowadays there is a Commercial glossy excellent quarterly publication called the Belize Ag Report published with the same purpose, but as a paid commercial publication. It has taken up the role of leader in things development wise for Agriculture.
Still I liked that one critique on the chat forum, that said, the information is SOLID, even if the presentation in a paperback, cheap photo copied stapled edition. What they didn´t know, was that the information at that time in Belizean history was revolutionary. At least in Belize. I think I sold four copies all told, the rest were distributed FREE, where I thought it would do the most good, to change the colonial mentality in the politics and the bureaucracy. From my viewpoint, I´m very happy and proud of how our development project worked out.
Keep watch, we are 1 1/2 years into developing a HEDGE FUND trading OPTIONS on CASH INDEX DERIVATIVES in the international markets. Thats our project right now! Been trying to get the Prime Minister to pay for two trainee apprentices for two years to learn the ropes. We are not SINGAPORE yet in Belize, but the possibilities are there. So far we are going it alone, as usual. Bucking the lethargy of government. This is stuff they should be doing, but don´t know how!


America's Third War: U.S. Secretly Trains Guatemalan Forces

By Lindsay Stewart & Jennifer Griffin

Published December 14, 2010

About 150 miles north of Guatemala City, deep in the jungle, is a military base where Guatemalan Special Forces are being trained secretly by U.S. Green Berets.

The U.S. officers say the Guatemalan troops are committed to the task of defeating the Mexican drug cartels and are training tirelessly. “They rest when they sleep,” said one Green Beret, who said the Guatemalan officers are engaged in exercises day and night.

The drills often focus on air assault operations, advanced marksmanship and structure breaches using explosives which allow the teams to break down doors while maintaining the element of surprise.

All of this intensive training is for one purpose: to rid Guatemala of the violence and intimidation associated with the drug cartels that have become increasingly pervasive in the last 3 years. Guatemala’s murder rate is now twice that of Mexico where more than 11,000 people have been killed just this year. President Felipe Calderon ordered his military to launch an assault on Mexico’s seven cartels four years ago.

But Guatemala’s military is far smaller than that of its neighbor to the north with 15,500 troops. The small number of soldiers is sanctioned by the government and is a result of the public’s distrust of the armed forces after decades of civil war.


Beyond the fight with drug gangs at the U.S. border, American forces are helping Guatemala combat a growing cartel problem spilling over from their border with Mexico.

And so Guatemala’s border remains undefended, allowing virtually anyone to cross without question, a fact echoed in U.S. Embassy documents made public by WikiLeaks this week and observed on a recent visit to the border by a Fox News team.

The porous border gives drug cartels free reign in Guatemala.

Police in the suburbs of Guatemala City say many farmers who live along the Mexico-Guatemala border have relinquished their land to Los Zetas, a notorious Mexican cartel known for its brutal tactics. Others have abandoned the border region anticipating that their property would be confiscated and their families would soon be targets.

“They ask how much they can make out the check to their widow,” says one Guatemala City resident who has watched private property and community treasures fall into the hands of Los Zetas, including one popular recreation stop in Peten, in the northern part of the country.

But other farmers are not so lucky. Police say the Zetas brutally tortured then murdered two farmers this year, apparently the punishment for not having information they sought in a brutal interrogation. The Guatemalan Special Forces responded to this incident and arrested two Zeta informants and confiscated weapons including an AK-47 and an M-16 as well as five cars with Mexican license plates.

But last week Los Zetas staged a dramatic prison break in San Marcos near the Mexican border, which is why the elite unit of Guatemalan forces is training particularly hard on the base in northern Guatemala.

And while there are small strides in fighting the cartels in Guatemala with the help of the U.S. Embassy, there are set-backs in other countries within the region.

In Costa Rica, the Sinaloa cartel has been establishing a base, according to recent reports which add that U.S. Drug Enforcement agents expect the presence of Mexico’s most powerful cartel, a rival to Los Zetas, to increase its power base in Costa Rica, a Central American nation which has no military.

Read more:


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Belize sugar industry is viable with intervention of some kind.


Some interesting things came to my attention in an interview with BSI bigwigs on local TV media.

BSI the sugar factory is independent of the producers the cane farmers, who are organized by themselves into Associations. The BSI corporation is owned by shareholders. 81% of the shareholders are the employees of the factory. 9% by the Government of Belize and 10% was owned by Tate and Lyle, but was sold to a South African investor. Essentially the factory works on dividends for employees. Though for the last four years they have not paid any dividends due to declining cane quality and sugar content. There were some weather conditions accounting for some of that.

The sugar industry works by cane producer groups and the factory group and the buyers. Essentially the sugar industry in Belize would have collapsed as the small factory capacity had maxed out. The BSI executives say that now BELCOGEN the electrical power turbines are online, they will have the ability to increase the capacity of the factory to mill more sugar cane due to cheaper energy being available. They plan if all things go well, on expanding the capacity of the sugar factory. The problems are below.

The number of small cane farmers has increased, but the amount of sugar produced over the past four years has been dropping. Due to poor quality of cane and a chaotic uncontrolled delivery system to the factory.

Revenues from sugar are shared between the sugar cane farmers who get 65% and the factory who get 35%. There is plenty of auditing and safeguards involved in this process in a shared manner.

Belize production of sugar per hectare is the lowest in the region. Including Brazil, Guatemala and Guyana. Experts say that the farmers can produce 400% more sugar per hectare than tney are now doing. This would bring sugar production just level with surrounding sugar countries. The Agriculture Department Research people are responsible for building this increased production over the past ten years, but due to the bankruptcy disaster by the last government, the political FONSECA, MUSA and GODFREY debacle with trickle down economics foolishness, the Belize government was unable for the past ten years to fund the Agriculture Department. Indeed, the Agriculture College was forcibly closed and everything has been on standbye for the last eight years due to politically created financial difficulties with the government mismanagement. With the help of Taiwan, the Agriculture Department and also UNESCO or one of those UN FAO organizations the Agriculture Department is starting to function again, from the skeleton staff mode that it had for the last 10 years. The next project for the Agriculture Department is to start making small cane farmers increase their cane production by 400% to just meet production averages of surrounding countries. Where the government will find the money, or technical skills is not yet known?

The major problems facing the industry revenues, is cane quality, timely and regulated scheduled deliveries and less mud. In this regard, the ASSOCIATIONS of small farmers in the past have insisted that each cane farmer get paid the same as each other. Yet the cleanliness, the quality of cane and other field factors dictate that a lot of small cane farmers are producing and selling a lot of mud and poor quality cane and getting paid the same as good producers. There is no incentive and indeed a lot of unscrupulous small farmers are taking advantage of the situation. The equivalent in the lobster industry are producers who stuff the gut cavity of lobster tails to increase weight with meat that spoils the lobster packages. Cooperatives control their membership quality very carefully and penalize poor producers who are destroying the industry. There is no incentive to deliver proper cane in a timely manner as of yet. As the farmers are governed by votes in associations it has proved impossible to date, to refuse poor quality farmer truck loads, or pay according to quality. The membership insist all get treated equally even though what is being delivered in the cane trucks is not equal. Unless the Cane Associations find a way to govern themselves like fishing cooperatives as to quality of product, the bad farmers are going to break the industry.

The industry is viable. All the problems have been foreseen for ten years. The industry is not viable if the small cane farmers do not form something better than an Association, perhaps a corporation to govern themselves by rules of inspection, delivery, harvesting practise and control of mud and quality in general. Without that the sugar industry in Belize is going to be dead either the end of this year, or next year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Belize- the continuing 20 year struggle to get internet nationwide.


One sort of wonders what if anything the Government can do to enable the nation rural dwellers everywhere within our borders to get internet service. The World outside has changed around us. Our only RESOURCE is our human resources. They in turn can only compete with the world and increase our GDP from productivity, through enabling them with low cost internet service. Any GDP increase in revenues will come from business generated by our producers. The producers about 98% of them live in the rural parts. The service types, bureaucrats and other salaried types live in the towns that already have internet.
The chicken or the egg question? The government is broke and exists using loans, which for the most part have to be paid back from any scarce foreign exchange incoming. The Belize Government is also our biggest national employer.
If we use the United Kingdom as any sort of example, since they lost their North Sea oil and have failed to find oil down in the Maldives Islands in the South Atlantic, sounds like they are up the creek without a paddle. They are scrapping their last aircraft carrier, and Harrier fighter jets, cutting ALL their UK Government costs by a whopping 50% in one sweep in desperation. Their welfare state is collapsing around them. Exporting, which is the name of the game for value added goods, or manufacturing has long taken a back interest in the UK as long as they had the WELFARE state paid by oil revenues. Since the welfare state is collapsing, maybe the labor UNIONS who control the country will let their manufacturers get going again with cheaper labor. The UK have to compete with Japan, Taiwan, Scandinavia, India and China. They no longer have much of a Commownealth, or old colonies and captive markets and commodity resources. The military option of conquest and exploitation is sort of passe nowadays.
Lots of lessons to be learned by our Belize politicians here. How do we bootstrap our own little Belize and what are going to be our financial priorities? More welfare programs in Belize? Which seem the vogue among the vocal port town elite? Where does the money come from? How do you build exports and light manufacturing?
My own thinking is that to raise our own government revenues and GDP, we have to re-prioritize policies. The first thing is, this WORLD of TODAY as competitive as it is, relies on the swift transfer of information. It is not much use apparently giving computers and free internet to bureaucrats, when they produce nothing and unlikely to produce anything. Their whole nature is built around the idea of having a salaried job and guaranteed security. The developers are rural people in the boonies, these are the producers who will chase a dollar or a penny, if you can give them a bright idea. To enable them you need to give them access to information on a worldwide scale and that system is the INTERNET. If I was a politician I would be thinking NO. 1 priority is getting the INTERNET service either FREE, or low cost to every village and farm in the nation of Belize. How do you do that? If you made it a Number 1 priority, how would you go about solving this problem.
Human resources in an expanding population is our only resource. To enable that resource, they need INFORMATION. The information doesn´t come from tertiary education, the world has changed. The INFORMATION and capability comes from the access to the INTERNET. So how are we as a nation going to change the paradigm that has blocked development of Belize for the past 20 years?

Lets see what are the priorities? We got medical, education in schools, roads and streets, garbage, bridges and more roads and the internet for information. How would you prioritize if you were a small country and existing as a colonial relic on basic colonial commodity type exports. If you were broke and heavily in debt and borrowing more every year to meet the costs of bureaucrat salaries and pensions.

To me, the only item that will change the paradigm above is access to INFORMATION. To enable the citizens of the rural parts of the country that are producers with INFORMATION. Up to date competitive information comes solely from the INTERNET. We are behind people, a long way behind the rest of the world. We need to empower our human resources, our producers, current and potential. If it was me, before everything, all priorities would have to take a back seat to establishing internet service nationwide in every rural area. Second priority would be enabling primary school children to learn how to use it. That generation will build this country and make us all rich. Certainly not the current colonial model we are using.

Thursday, December 9, 2010



The National Library Service is an ambiguous government department. In a nation shy of computer ownership and internet availability at a low price, the current role with books is self evident. There is for the majority of citizens no other source of information, or pleasure reading. Is the Library Service at a point of being phased out in the modernized world?
Before the library service can be phased out, the nation is still going to need lower internet monthly prices and more accessibility in the rural parts. So given the constant budget and money problems of ensuing governments, who exist by borrowing for everything under the sun, against future revenues, it does not seem like we are going to get either widespread computers, either in homes, schools, or libraries over the next ten year plan.
The previous PUP government accepted that the LIBRARY SERVICE in Belize had a role to play for the next generation of students. To some extent they succeeded in acquiring FREE internet service to major district libraries and some other big towns. The idea was to make the DISTRICT libraries a place of learning through availability of FREE COMPUTERS and INTERNET SERVICE, in lieu of the problem of financing computer labs for every primary school throughout the country.
Since the UDP came into office, the national library program as it existed has been allowed to continue, though equipment updates and such have been curtailed and absolescence has not been met. The status quo has been the rule.
The library service is low on the priority list for any money. Given that librarians still get salaries that is a major thing. Most other things are done by baking sales, money raising parties, fund raisers of every kind and donations almost totally for everything from books, to bookshelves to volunteers giving tiles and tiling the floors in buildings.
The problem that faces the UDP CABINET is what is the future 10 year role of the National Library Service and if anything, what will they be able to do about it?
Bucking heads for scarce money is the EDUCATION DEPARTMENT and the NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE. The education department in charge of schools have monumental problems with 11,000 children without school classrooms and a shortage of 500 schools and 2000 classrooms. Everybody is low on the priority list. How can it be otherwise with a nation that is subsisting on BORROWING THE FUTURE. A government run by loans!
We are like a person who falls off a boat 25 miles from land. You can swim and doggy paddle, but can only pray a storm does not arise, if you are going to make it to that distant shore, that you cannot see. Belize is like that when it comes to money. We have an educated elite now, more than ever before in the nation´s history. Just listen to the language and vocabulary in crystal clear bureaucratic baloney you get fed. If talk was money, we would all be rich.
Getting back to the future ten years, we would like computer labs in every primary school, standard 5 & 6 classroom. Where it is mandatory for children to learn to type with both hands and all their fingers, learn to navigate the internet with a search engine and find out things, that will make them money eventually in their adulthood and raise the revenues and GDP of our country. As things stand right now this is not going to happen! We do not have the money and the priorities are more immediate than that.
Failing that goal, then a substitute goal back 10 years ago was to make libraries in all the towns, and give them FREE INTERNET and a computer lab. The library was to become the center for FREE INTERNET and computer labs, to learn how to find out information. It didn´t work out. What happened?
Well first off, the libraries ended up for the most part with a couple of good computers from donors and a bunch of junk computers, 7 or more years old, donated. They did the best they could, but nationwide internet was then a MONOPOLY and not easily available anyway. The internet revolution more or less outside of the 9 towns, skipped most of the nation of Belize. Internet Cafes filled in the role, but these were pay by the hour type operations and didn´t serve everybody, only the tertiary educated elite.
Libraries could not resist using the internet facility for raising money and charged fees, competitive with faster, slicker and better operations in commercial Internet Cafes that developed over the next few years. This defeated the purpose intended. A recent conversation with a senior hiearcheal library person from Belize City, showed me how OUT OF TOUCH they were with people. The claim was that people could afford the internet in a library. What a bunch of balderdash. I myself switched from the LIBRARY internet computers to the internet cafes, because they gave better service, cleaner environment and cheaper prices. How about people in my community, adults and children alike, that walk on our rain washed, sharp rock strewn streets without shoes, because our streets are low on the priority list for scarce monies. The bureaucracy in government often have a mistaken conception of life in the boonies outside of their major population centers. True we have a growing middle class, but the majority of people, particularly young people just starting families, do not have money to spare. The example was given me about Benque Viejo building a part of their library from funds raised for the library charging for the alleged FREE INTERNET. Well that is the exception. Benque, Corozal, Orange Walk, San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Belize City are the exceptions throughout the nation of Belize. They have cash flow in their town councils, they have cohesive local government and strong sense of community. It is not so elsewhere in the majority of the country. Elsewhere people are struggling to survive and get ahead.
The BIG PICTURE to me for the next ten years, is that the DISTRICT LIBRARIES will be cheaper to fill the role of teaching primary school children how to use the internet, which is the FUTURE, than the education department trying to make a computer lab, for each primary school. I don´t see that happening at all, even though that is the MISSION STATEMENT. To do this, the libraries will have to have computer labs, with good computers, roughly a dozen or more each and FREE. No printers, as the libraries have no budget at all, other than salaries, and exist from donations, or local fund raisers. The trick will be maintaining the computer lab and assigning a maintainance budget from national tax funds, for a computer lab in the district libraries to keep them FREE and bring in those primary school children. The FUTURE of the nation as it is often said, lie with this upcoming generation and THEIR future lies with internet educated capability. They can teach themselves any trade and skill almost under the sun from online videos and forums, better than any high school, or college. In an education deficient country like ours, we have to expand the opportunities to grasp the future through these children, not just a class division between the have nots and elite money people versus the majority. The world has changed around us and we are just not maximizing our human resources good enough to compete yet.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Belizeans looking for a warmer winter vacation - temp 65F.


Was looking for a warm spot for a winter vacation. Earlier this year we had picked Fuentes Georgina hot springs, in a tiny valley at the North end of Lake Atitlan, out of Xela and Zunil. Made famous by Guatemalan Presidents for a 100 years. Their web page went down this summer and we wondered why? Apparently the famous HOT SPRINGS was buried by a landslide and no one knows when, or if, it will be dug out and re-opened. ( So my buddy Robert Smith on the Winnie Estelle told me. )
So we were looking for another hot springs. There is one near CANA on Lake Atitlan, available by boat only, where the hot spring pours into the cold lake. We were thinking of that as a backup choice. Anyway in talking with my life long buddy, Roberto Smith from San Pedro, who lives on his boat( Winnie Estelle) down in the Rio Dulce, SUSANA MARINA, he told me that the road between Solala and Panachjel on the Lake side ( a big tourist place ) was also cut by a landslide and it will not be re-opened before next year. The only way to get into Lake Atitlan ( big tourist place ) is by going to the Pacific Coast and coming back from the Western Pacific Coast. That sounds too much travelling for my old bones.
We already are familiar with the one on the lake down by the Rio Dulce.( Lake IZABEL ) Wanted someplace new. Was looking at one an hour trip North of COPAN a famous Mayan ruins on the border between Honduras and Guatemala, but it doesn´t look like much from photographs on Trip Advisor.
There is one ( hot springs ) down in Costa Rica we like, but will have to check to see if it is still functioning? It was a family operation, 6000 feet up in the mountains on a coffee plantation. Tiny but nice atmosphere and hot. Costa Rica should be warmer than Belize at our temperatures of 65F these cold days, as the Northers blasting down from the USA stop around Nicaragua. Thing is, how do you get to Costa Rica economically from Belize? Have to look into that! I have the feeling the cost is outside of our budget.



Latest news I picked up from Channel 5 TV interview with a well spoken cane farmer, top dog CEO of an association, was the declaration that the sugar cane crop has grown over the years and the BSI Factory is too small to handle the crop. A lot of farmers get left out, with cane in the fields at the end of the season. So the reason for long lines to deliver cane to the factory. 6000 tons per day is considered the bare minimumm the factory can do to make the industry survive. Yet more than that apparently cannot be handled by the factory.

The cane farmer Association CEO said that; this season would be the MAKE OR BREAK for the factory this season. There goes another $10 million down the drain maybe?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

BELIZE- $350,000 taxpayer grant to CGA hijacked by Executive?


The BIG Political word was in a state of compassion our government, particularly because Hurricane Richard damaged their citrus crop, our Government CABINET, approved a GRANT for the CGA to distribute to the small citrus growers. The GRANT made up of our scarce tax money and foreign loan inputs, which we other taxpayers in the country have to pay, received little attention. Other than a good thing and compassionate gesture to help and aid small rural farmers with fertilizer and such, the GRANT of our TAX MONEY was $350,000.
The rumor mill on the street was angry though, in the TWIN TOWNS out West. The rumor is the EXECUTIVE of the CGA have hijacked the $350,000 to sue the Citrus Factory over some complaints they have in the EXECUTIVE to do with the management and control of the BOARD by foreign investors.
If anybody gets any blame here, it is the government, the politicians for not putting STRINGS on the GRANT and it´s use. The rest of us citizens and taxpayers are doing without things, like a public works grader fixing our rainy season ravaged dirt streets in my Hillview community and elsewhere around the country. We get our vehicles damaged by huge potholes and ravines in the streets. We thought the GRANT from our tax money was going to help our fellow citizens directly. Not some vague useless LAWYER ENRICHMENT program. We don´t agree with what the CGA Executive are doing anyway. They want control of the Board of the Directors of the Factory, solely so they can bankrupt it with loans, instead of leaving it as a profit making entity.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Belize - Minister of Education jumps UDP government report card 3 points to 53%.


The Education Minister has announced that teachers, and particularly those in rural primary schools, will have to qualify to teach academically within three years, or be kicked out of their jobs. This is expected to cut the Education budget at least 25% for teacher salaries.
I remember when this happened as a child in CANADA in Southern Ontario, 65 years ago. Now it is coming to Belize.
Schools in Belize are often cloaked as religious/state schools and before this they were paid their teacher salaries as a subsidy. What the country got was a bunch of different religions, cults and those masqueradig as mission schools, financed mostly by the government tax money. Schools were looked on as a small business and those that did not claim to speak for GOD, were more or less the same, operated as family and relatives small businesses, to get a job and cash flow from government funding. Most of the problem with schooling in Belize has always been in providing primary school education.
There are statistically 11,000 primary school age children without a school. Not very good statistics at all. Of this the nation is probably short about 500 primary schools. We are short more classrooms as well. Classroom shortage is about 2000 classrooms nationwide.
Patrick Faber the Education Minister is earning the points for his political party score card, based on having a plan. He will earn more points should the plan be enforced and actually work. We do not know where this plan is going, but it is breaking the existing paradigm of education in Belize. At this point in time, we cannot wish for more.
There is a lot of explanation in his plan about what happens to children after PRIMARY SCHOOL. In the next level of education. Since the majority of children never get there, we will ignore that part as being less meaningful in the BIG PICTURE than fixing PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION. Most of his plan is dealing with just one of the nine towns in the country, which is the PORT of Belize City. This is unfair to the nation and buildng and development, but that is the way the two political parties have set up the biased system of election boundaries for elected representatives.
Patrick Faber who is closer to the statistics than those of us observing outside, says that 85% of the unqualified teachers will be qualified within 3 years. Or they will lose their jobs.
The BIG PICTURE should be on PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION NATIONWIDE. Qualified teachers will get a pay raise. PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION needs more classrooms, more schools and trained teachers. EDUCATION has changed and at the moment only the population corridors joining the 9 towns around the nation, are serviced with internet capability. The biggest problems come with expanding internet service to ALL THE NATION including the remote rural parts. Primary School, should be core subjects dealing with plain simple READING, RITING and RITHMETIC. The last two years of primary school must include MANDATORY SUBJECTS needed for rural children, the ability to teach themselves from the internet. If the internet is not here now, it is coming presumably. Typing is mandatory. Computer savvy is mandatory. Given that, most rural children and the majority of the citizens of this country in the future, will have to teach themselves various interesting subjects from the internet, AFTER they leave primary schools. GDP, EXPORTS will come from these rural children growing into adults. You can teach yourself many busineses and skills by the internet now and this has replaced a lot of HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE and UNIVERSITY education. The internet is not going to teach you higher math, engineering, or complex physics, but for the business and development aspects of our people and the next generation, it is the teaching educational tool of choice and hopefully in three years availability will be nationwide in even the remotest rural villages and farms.
At any rate, Patrick Faber, UDP Cabinet Minister of Education is proposing a PARADIGM breaking method of creating the super state of Belize. For this he gets 3 points on the UDP approval rating.

Belize -The Little Switzerland of the Americas



Belize doesn´t seem to have any energy policy and probably the game is changing such, that it is not possible to do so in a shifting political environment. If we transpose studies done from the USA to Belize on energy. Most of our current energy needs are met by IMPORTED OIL PRODUCTS, which cost our small country heavily in scarce FOREIGN EXCHANGE.
The most energy requirements are for vehicles and transportation. We do have the capacity to reduce such energy costs about 25% by use of ETHANOL along with gasoline.
Solar energy shows promise, but that would be in the generation field of electricity and would not indent the heavy usage for freight and passenger vehicle traffic. Wind does not seem viable in Belize?
Electric cars are already being used in the world, but it will be in around 7 years before they will become viable in Belize. The country needs second hand electric cars and while Nissan for instance will have a growing production line of improved electric cars, the cars price target is $15,000 usa. In Belize we are more accustomed to spending $1500 usa for a second hand car that is about 8 to 14 years old. Which makes Japanese cars the favorites, due to longer life cycle. The engines running for around 300,000 miles. There does not seem to be a viable alternative to diesel fuel needed for trucks.

Friday, December 3, 2010



Our government of Belize supposedly owns 95% of the shares, so the return to us taxpayers is 4.6% of whatever we own in BTL.

On the other hand for comparison purposes for ( ROI )Return on Investment

Belize Unit Trust is paying out 4.0 % interest. This is a Mutual Fund, and last stuff on their website said most of their income came from trading USA BOND MARKETS.

ATLANTIC BANK website says depending on size of investment into 6 months Certificate of Deposits, they are paying on the low end, 6.05% and on the high end for larger depositors 8.5%. The other commercial banks usually match each other for deposits in Certificates.

I´m certainly glad I didn´t buy any shares in BTL at $5 the stated price by the Prime Minister.

The dividend in the open market, as in a non-existant stock exchange in Belize, puts the BTL shares worth about $1.60 each.

I would buy BTL shares around $1.25 each if they were sold at that price! Or less in a competitive free market environment of trading.