The most telling paragraph is this:
>>The term is also used in the sense of a state that has been rendered ineffective (i.e., has nominal military/police control over its territory only in the sense of having no armed opposition groups directly challenging state authority; in short, the "no news is good news" approach) and is not able to enforce its laws uniformly because of high crime rates, extreme political corruption
Don has not spent much time in Belize, but he and I have studied it for over ten years. As you read thru the sections of the article you (yourself) can identify characteristics which qualify Belize as failed.
The most serious failing is the lack of moral integrity. This is uniformly true of the citizens, but alarming in the rulers and the enforcers (police.) "Rule of law" only applies in civil law, between lower level contenders. e.g. there is a national speed limit.
I posted a note about the Police and "Slam Dunks." Nobody objected or even commented. I have learned that people don't generally respond when I am "spot on" -- as Mary Poppins would say.
THE STAR is full of police activity, but it is all concerning criminals of victimless crimes. The thought that the Police would arrest a Drug Lord or shut down a crack house is laughable. They are clearly "on the pad" -- as we say -- the biggest job the local Police Super has is to keep track of the mordida paid and unpaid. Everyone knows this. Peter doesn't hang out in town so he really may not hear the talk.
Cigarettes? Belize makes its own. (A concession, of course, for which they pay some mordida, I'm sure.) It would be logical for you to buy American cigarettes in the free zone and pay a $$significant duty on them to bring them into the country. Nope. Illegal. So that a favored person (used to be the daughter of one of the District Reps) could bring them in and sell them to all the local shopkeepers. (Some of those guys were my friends ... told me all about it!!) See... that's corruption. That's the GOB keeping a fair market from running.
I have often said that Sir Barry Bowen served himself first, but what he often did also served the country well. The Ford Dealership is a good example. However, at the same time, he interfered with the free market when it suited him. He put the Pepsi bottler out of biz by buying their bottles and breaking them. (I heard that he did the same thing with Charger beer.) There was a neat plant in the free zone, making plastic bottles and doing great. The GOB shut it down because it was competing with Barry. For years, pub owners in San Pedro have wanted to start some brew pubs. No dice -- Barry had a nice lock on the beer biz in SP. (Everyone knows about the $1,000,000 check he gave the PUP to encourage their cooperation.) Barry is just the most prominent member of the Elite which actually runs Belize.
That's the most prominent feature of a failed state. The people don't run it. In fact, 90% of the people are quite poor, perhaps starving. They certainly aren't on this list, telling us what it's all about.
See... I didn't hide out in the Jungle while I was in Belize. I taught school for a year and a half -- spent most of my time with my Belizean friends (especially after Charlotte's Gringo pards started shunning me. My friends came over to "Rix Place" and we talked for hours about the problems and what we might do about them. And... we played some pretty good music when we thought about ti.
*** My own contribution is that we in Belize have not yet turned into martial law and a dictatorship, because nobody yet is assassinating politicians, or high up criminals in the judiciary, and police department. Since the POLICE regularly torture people, there has not yet been enough of a feeling of anger to do so. Torture victims are usually the poor anyway and couldn't afford an assassin at $150 usa a pop. This may change if both politicians and police get to the point they victimize the more wealthy individuals? Otherwise I expect apathy to rule. The status quo is the easiest course to follow. The local investment community constantly look to evade the political party laws and bureaucrats choking the economy of Belize in competition for the local small markets. That is why I always promote entrepreneurial efforts focusing on export to foreign markets on this blog. To get away from the corruption, and or bureaucratic incompetence here. Even so; the establishment instead of encouraging a free wheeling economy continuously look for ways to even restrict export activity, unless they get their piece. As a small country, I think we need less rules and more loose conditions economically speaking to compete with the outside world. There has to be an EDGE for a local investor to compete with other countries. Without that, you might as well give up! It is a sad state of affairs when the government itself is the biggest obstacle to economic progress.