Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr. Gale of Belize, passionate blowhard?

They showed DR. GALE on television last night, spouting off about his research and studies in problems with the policing system and the educational system. Since we have a couple of thousand articles on Belize Development Issues and the BELIZE WESTERN HAPPENINGS and also on the Belize Electronic Library on the internet going back over 25 years, I don't see ANYTHING new in the armchair criticism of Dr. Gale. It doesn't hurt to remind people of the problems, but other than that, his spouting was pure hypocritical nonsense.
Now if Dr. Gale would tell us something new and offer ideas and suggestions, he would become useful instead of a dilattente criticizer. He could for instance take the police budget, reduce it 20% to suit the new financial circumstances of the government with the additional debt load upcoming now this FALL, particularly in the SUPER BOND higher payments. Then take the number of police officers working throughout the country and give us a NEW STUDY with innovative ideas, suggestions and restructuring to do better policing as a government and country within the priority funds available. NOW THAT WOULD BE USEFUL.
In EDUCATION the same thing. He said nothing NEW! It has all been studied and wrote about before. It more sounded like he was EGO driven and wanting his five minutes of fame repeating many studies similarly done before. You get more useful suggestions from the local rubby dup alcoholics at the corner bar on a Saturday afternoon about fixing the educations system, or the police system. We know we have over 11,000 children not attending primary school, we know primary school students are not getting to High School, but more now are doing so than 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even 15 years ago. There is progress! It is not enough, we know that too. Now if Dr. GALE could tell us how to do that on the tax revenues we have, the priorities we have, the reduced circumstances of expectations of lower revenues because of paying back earlier decades of government over borrowing, then his Phd would be useful to the country. Right now, he sounds more like Denzil Jenkins of the Citrus Growers Association. A lot of bombast, looking to get into a leadership role and milk the citrus growers cash flows for personal profit based on bullshit, small revenues as they are, without producing NEW IDEAS on the criticisms of the past performance, or OFFERING INNOVATIVE, CREATIVE, IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION AND PRODUCE MORE with less money.
We are a small agrarian country and moving into a light manufacturing EXPORT based economy seems beyond the ideas of these loud mouthed opportunists, with their academic gibberish. The academic bureaucrats are just riding like ticks, or parasites on the coat tails of the producers and getting in the way of economic improvement, not helping people be entrepreneurs and produce.
Dr. Gale's diatribe was a useful reminder of the situation, but about as useful and effective as a FART in windstorm. I wonder if he is planning on running for elective office, like Denzil Jenkins?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WEALTH AND POWER the drugs that intoxicate the Dictators of Latin America.

by Mary Anastasia Grady
( taken from Belize Culture Listserve debating group )

While Mr. Ortega seems eager to take the money from Iran, he is long past relying on foreigners to ensure his tenure. He no doubt recalls that so many Kremlin "investments" 20 years ago were no match for a fair election. When Nicaraguans went to the polls in 1990, they gave Mr. Ortega the boot. The lesson he learned was that the key to a lifetime presidency is to see that no such election is held again.

This is what now occupies much of Mr. Ortega's calendar. Using the power of his presidency he is systematically dismantling the institutional checks and balances that might thwart his plan. On July 6, the Spanish daily El País, which is hardly a right-wing publication, published a report headlined "Daniel Ortega Goes After All the Power." The story said that he had "crush[ed] provincial autonomy" with the "irregular dismissal of five mayors and a dozen vice-mayors and elected councils, setting off alarms in the Central American country." The paper further explained that "according to analysts, the maneuver is designed to take political control and guarantee the permanence of the government of the former Sandinista guerrilla."

This is the same path that Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia have traveled. In those countries civil liberties have been destroyed, the press is harassed and political adversaries are routinely imprisoned without due process.

Also familiar is the international silence surrounding these antidemocratic actions. Especially noteworthy is the failure of Organization of American States' Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to stand up for Nicaraguan democracy after the stink he made in Honduras last year. Though the U.S. issued a statement last fall criticizing Mr. Ortega's power grab and has since expressed disapproval, its response has been timid compared to the howl it too raised about Honduras.

The urgency of Nicaragua's constitutional crisis is no secret. Hugo Barquero, in the city of Boaco, is the latest mayor to be kicked out. The city council claimed that it dismissed him for failure to comply with public accounting procedures. Yet no proof was presented, according to El País. There was merely a majority vote followed by forcible removal by police amid a throng of protests. Among the other mayors similarly removed, one was a Sandinista who dared dissent from orteguismo.

Mr. Ortega already controlled 105 of the country's 153 municipalities. That majority was won thanks to fraud in the 2008 elections that was so blatant the U.S. and Europe Union pulled bilateral aid in protest. The effort now to do away with those mayors who managed to prevail in 2008 is a sure sign of Mr. Ortega's determination to wipe out all dissent.

Equally troubling is his assault on judicial independence. As I reported in February during a visit to Managua, he wants the electoral-council judges who blessed the 2008 election fraud to be reconfirmed. Opposition congressmen have refused to comply so Mr. Ortega has decreed that his judges' terms are extended indefinitely.

He also orchestrated an illegal "vote" by three Supreme Court judges and three "alternate" judges to lift the constitutional ban on his re-election. And now he is threatening to fire, and replace with alternates whom he favors, the judges opposing his power play.

The president is engaging in a coup against the country's constitution. That's where Mr. Insulza comes in. Article 20 of the OAS's Democratic Charter gives him "the power to request the immediate convocation of the permanent council" where there is "an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime." So I asked his office about claims by the opposition that he is waiting for an invitation from the Nicaraguan government to do something and why he has not invoked Article 20.

After berating me for daring to pose these questions, OAS spokesman Patricia Esquenazi denied the opposition charges and told me that the secretary general "has so far [not] considered that a severe alteration of the democratic order has occurred in Nicaragua." In a May 17 letter to the opposition, which Ms. Esquenazi declined to give me, Mr. Insulza said that he is waiting for an OAS member to raise the issue. In the meantime, according to his spokesman, he is pursuing "silent diplomacy." No wonder the OAS is no longer taken seriously as a defender of constitutional democracy.

UNDER INSULZA THE OAS IS A COMMUNIST ORGANIZATION - they play their new game well, with sham governments and phoney elections

Sunday, July 18, 2010



POPULATION of PETEN rises to 500,000 settlers more than the 25,000 occupants of the Peten in 1970.

From the NYT:
and copied from the Belize Culture List serve.

Published: July 17, 2010

EL MIRADOR, Guatemala — Great sweeps of Guatemalan rain forest, once
the cradle of one of the world’s great civilizations, are being razed
to clear land for cattle-ranching drug barons.

Other parts of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Central America’s largest
protected area, have been burned down by small cities of squatters.

Looters and poachers, kept at bay when guerrilla armies roamed the
region during the country’s 36-year civil war, ply their trades

“There’s traffickers, cattle ranchers, loggers, poachers and looters,”
said Richard D. Hansen, an American archaeologist who is leading the
excavation of the earliest and largest Mayan city-state, El Mirador,
in the northern tip of the reserve. “All the bad guys are lined up to
destroy the reserve. You can’t imagine the devastation that is

President Álvaro Colom has grand plans to turn the region into a major
eco-tourism destination, but if he hopes to bring tourists, officials
say, he will have to bring the law here first.

The reserve, about the size of New Jersey, accounts for nearly
two-thirds of the Petén region, a vast, jungly no man’s land that juts
north into Mexico and borders Belize to the east. Spanning a fifth of
Guatemala and including four national parks, the reserve houses
diverse ecosystems with niches for jaguars, spider monkeys and scarlet

Pre-Colombian inhabitants mined limestone quarries here 2,600 years
ago to build the earliest Mayan temples. The temples would tower above
the jungle canopy before the cities were abandoned as Mayan
civilization mysteriously collapsed around the ninth century A.D.

Some sites generate robust tourism. The spectacular Maya city Tikal,
which draws up to 350,000 visitors a year, is a relatively
well-protected oasis. Only about 3,000 visit El Mirador, which
contains what may be the world’s largest ancient pyramid structure.

The threats to the reserve are many and interlocking, legal and
illegal. Claudia Mariela López, the Petén director for the national
parks agency, said about 37,000 acres of the reserve was deforested
annually by poachers, squatters and ranchers.

The squatters are mainly peasants who have come in search of farmland.
But the population of Petén has grown to more than 500,000 from 25,000
in the 1970s, according to a Unesco report. Not all of the residents
are illegal, and many seek no more than subsistence.

Willingly or not, they often become pawns of the drug lords. The
squatters are numerous, frequently armed and difficult to evict. In
some cases, they function as an advance guard for the drug dealers,
preventing the authorities from entering, warning of intrusions and
clearing land that the drug gangs ultimately take over.

A recent State Department report said that “entire regions of
Guatemala are now essentially under the control” of drug trafficking
organizations, mainly the Mexico-based Zetas. Those groups enjoy a
“prevailing environment of impunity” in “the northern and eastern
rural areas” of Guatemala, the report said.

The drug organizations have bought vast cattle ranches in the Petén to
launder drug profits, as well as to conceal a trafficking hub,
including remote, jungle-shrouded landing strips. Cattle ranching in
the Petén has quadrupled since 1995, with herds totaling 2.5 million
cattle, according to Rudel Álvarez, the region’s governor.

“Organized crime and drug traffickers have usurped large swaths of
protected land amid a vacuum left by the state, and are creating de
facto ranching areas,” Mr. Álvarez said. “We must get rid of them to
really have conservation.”

Deforestation has led to soil erosion at Yaxchilán, a Mayan city
across the border in Mexico, which in turn has swollen rivers that
erode limestone temples, said Norma Barbacci, regional director for
the World Monument Fund. Ash from the squatters’ burns to clear fields
for planting cause acid rain that wears at temples.

Fires, tree poaching and ranchers are encroaching in parts of the
Laguna del Tigre national park in the western part of the reserve,
threatening a sanctuary for 250 endangered scarlet macaws, the
country’s last, said Roan McNab, country director for the Wildlife
Conservation Society. Jaguars, crocodiles, river turtles and monkeys
are also losing their habitat, he said.

The road to El Mirador, a five-day mule trek from the town of
Carmelita that involves occasional bushwhacking with a machete, passes
countless ditches where looters have ripped out Mayan graves. A wild
toucan rockets down and then disappears off into the canopy. The
remote dirt road that leads to the reserve is lined with newly razed
cattle ranches, and the persistent buzz from a logging company drowns
out the rain forest’s more subtle cacophony.

A local trail guide, galumphing along ancient limestone freeways
buried beneath the forest, chain-smokes marijuana cigarettes rolled in
notebook paper.

This rapidly deforesting mini-narco-state is a far cry from President
Colom’s vision of a lush Mayan-themed vacationland.

His ambitious Cuatro Balam plan, named for the four main figures in
the Mayan creation myth, would divide the reserve into an
archaeological park in the north and an agricultural zone in the
south. It was ostensibly intended to stem the northward migration of
farmers and ranchers. Through a combination of public and private
financing, he hopes to build an $8 million electric minitrain to
shuttle tourists through the reserve and a Maya studies center for

The goal is to attract one million tourists a year to the reserve by 2023.

Guatemalan authorities have made some progress. Soldiers have blasted
craters in secret landing strips and kicked squatters off protected
lands. The government says it has retaken 269,000 acres of protected
land in the Petén.

But the government remains hopelessly outgunned. The entire Petén,
nearly 14,000 square miles, is patrolled by 600 soldiers, police
officers and park guards, Mr. Álvarez said. Isolated and underpaid,
the security officials are also susceptible to corruption.

Governor Álvarez himself is under investigation for money-laundering,
charges he says are false and intended to intimidate him for
supporting Mr. Colom’s crackdown on squatters and traffickers.

The park guards at El Mirador are expected to monitor up to 12,000
acres of jungle each.

“We have nothing,” said one guard, who asked to remain anonymous so as
not to antagonize drug lords. “How are we supposed to stop drug gangs
trying to run this place?”

To Mr. Hansen, an Idaho State professor of archaeology, the risks of
not protecting the region are obvious in every stone he unearths. The
Maya, he said, largely sealed their fate through deforestation and

“The Maya destroyed their environment,” he said. “They cut down their
jungle” and it ruined them forever. “And we’re doing the same thing

Friday, July 16, 2010



40 July PUTS 480/475 @ originally .30cent limit. It was closed early when threatened and resulted in losing some of the $1070 gain expected. End result was + $339 WIN! Return on margin investment of $20,000 was 1 1/2 % for the week.

Trouble was again experienced with learning how to CLOSE A SPREAD on the Thinkorswim web based platform. Live Help people closed the spread for me. Until next time, I try a new set of instructions on how to CLOSE a SPREAD.


MAY 2010 I had 16 winning spread trades using two brokerage accounts that overlapped somewhat on similar trades. I was testing methodology and learning. Neglected to record winning amounts.

JUNE OPTION MONTH was 4 winning trades earning + $1457
Trade size and margin varied, but averaged 14% for the month return

JULY OPTION MONTH was 3 winning trades earning + $1000
Trade size and margin varied, but averaged 5% total for the month return.

In two months therefore we earned + $2457 NET after commissions and fees. TAXES not calculated because we don't know what they are to be?
I have been raising trade size gradually, to see what would make the best earnings. This coming week, we will probably do between 50 and 60 contract sized trades starting with August OPTION month. Trying to get into a boring monotonous rhythm here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010



I beg to differ with your opinion of Hillview, Trevor Vernon. It was a new housing project, ( 19 years ago ) built like many others then and still now, not for freebie welfare recipients or the poor. The qualifications to get a house and lot in Hillview are like many other housing projects done by different governments in Belize. The DFC handle the financing of the mortgage for the house, and when you paid for the house, you suddenly found out, it did not include the house lot and you had to pay again, the LANDS DEPARTMENT in Belmopan. House and land were sold separately by different government departments, though they did not tell you that, when you started and thought you were getting a house and lot, for the mortgage money.
It did start out on a NO MONEY DOWN basis though, but those that could not pay were quickly eliminated and forced out of the house and lots, by civil servants of the DFC. The lands department would wait for decades, for an annual lease fee for the land, which caught nearly EVERYBODY by surprise when they paid off their mortgage to find out they did not own the land lot the cement house was built on. In my case I bought my two houses out here in Hillview, one from my daughter Wendy, ( don't remember now for $21,000 to $24,000 thereabouts the going value at the time ) who paid off the mortgage and cleared a profit I suppose? Signing the lease transfer for me. We bought location! The other one we bought at DFC foreclosure auction in Belmopan, for $15,500 up front, plus incidental other costs around $1000 and then we had to pay about another $5000 we eventually found out, to get the land through the LEASE CERTIFICATE process and then a LAND TITLE process. ( Still waiting on that TITLE for about over a year now ) Until then, house land lot was rented only. One could not pick up a small 400 sq. ft block house and move it if you wanted.
Each government brouhaaed that these and other housing developments were for the poor. Which is a pile of horse shit propaganda. This is probably were Trevor gets his mistaken idea. Nobody but middle upper level civil servants can actually buy housing development house and lots. Not even lower level school teachers and policemen can buy them. Too expensive. If there was anything for the poor, originally, it was the ability to enter into a house for NO MONEY down for first time house buyers, back 19 years ago here. What happened in ALL these such POOR advertised POOR GOVERNMENT housing developments, is that the POOR lived in them for a number of years, until evicted by the government for non payment. The occupants then STOLE all the toilets, sinks, electrical wire and switches, windows, doors, etc. leaving empty shells. There are still about 2 or 3 around in Hillview like that available. Mostly itinerant police families posted to the TWIN TOWNS looking for cheap houses, move in rent free, cover up the window holes and cook over wood fires in the backyard and lawd knows where they shit. Catch and Kill worker families also camp out in them for as long as they can, which is sometimes for years, without paying a cent to anybody. DFC cleans the yards by paying somebody and adds the cost to the eventual sale price, which accumulates to a sizeable amount.( hundreds of dollars ) Nothing is FREE, or for the POOR! All the people around me are retired, or upper level civil servants, or business people with the moola to get into the houses. After 19 years or so, the process has evolved now from several evictions, to sale only by DFC AUCTION, or by knowing somebody in DFC, who can tip you off to an available house. They are now highly sought after as investments. Most retail asking prices today run between $35,000 to $65,000 asking price. CASH and if you want a mortgage get it from your bank.
When Wendy, Sharon and Tina bought, the house development was stripped of all but the cement block wall shells. The advantage in the beginning was for $200 down, you could get a house shell and lot and pay a mortgage of $200 a month. So you mistakenly thought. A lot of people are still paying their mortgage and have no idea they still do not own the house land lot their house sits on. When I bought there were 3 houses that had been painted, all the rest were either vacant vandalized shells and the whole hillside was MUD up to your eyebrows. Now the houses have extensions, additions, fences, yards, grass, ornamental shrubs, fruit trees and looks quite nice. If we could get the streets paved with asphalt and about 6 culverts put in, it would be extremely high toned as a place to live.
Government housing developments have one advantage. They put in streets and electricity and water lines. You are not in the middle of a field, with a water vat, outhouse and your own solar panel, diesel generator. The garbage is picked up occasionally and the Health department sprays for mosquitoes in season. Nowadays you cannot get your drivers license renewed, your vehicle license either without first bringing receipts to show your property tax is up to date at the Twin Town Council. There is not a high turn over of houses here. There was in the beginning as the POOR were eliminated by the DFC eviction process, or people still living on the mortgage, also lose their houses to foreclosure when they failed to clear their costs of mortgage, the land LEASE and then CLEAR TITLE process. The old timers paying mortgage are resident on borrowed time, as eventually they will lose their homes if they have not cleared everything financially. As the government takes them back and puts them to foreclosure auctions, as people can no longer pay for whatever reasons. The only ones winning are those that keep paying the low costs and fees by today's standards and cost of living and when they die, their children get the houses free, ( DFC insurance scheme ) but not the land lot from Lands Department. You can't carry away the cement house. Several are like that I know. I've tried to buy several, but the children cannot get TITLES and do not have the money to do so and the process is so slow as to be many years down the road, even if you had the money. Nor can people sell them. They lack TITLE. They try and promise to sign all kinds of papers to sell them, but nobody can get the titles within any reasonable length of time. We are talking probate, lease transfers, etc. We are talking maybe ten years? Sellers want money up front, but lack the ability to satisfy a buyer.
HILLVIEW was never designed to be for POOR PEOPLE, nor are most housing developments by the government. They were advertised so, in party newspapers though. Pure BULLSHIT!

Monday, July 12, 2010



Watching the final game between Holland and Spain in 2010 in South Africa for the World Cup, it became clear almost immediately that HOLLAND was not going to play a decent good game of football. Their game was more akin to scrummage football on a weekend vacant lot, with shoving, pulling, fouling, as much dirty stuff as they could get away with, instead of finesse, tactics and skill. You could see the DUTCH ROYAL BOX was ashamed of their team.
Spain was doing great until the point when that DUTCH team player did a DELIBERATE KARATE kick in the chest of an oncoming Spanish player, putting him out of the game. They had been deliberately scraping ankles in fouls, twisting legs out of true, pulling on arms, shoulders and clothes. The referee did a decent job of controlling it during the first half, but after that, the DUTCH really got dirty. It was not until that deliberate KARATE KICK which could have put the Spanish guy in the hospital, not even aimed at the football, that the SPANISH team got mad and started to play the dirty DUTCH game the players repResenting HOLLAND were playing.
I thought the Spanish team were admirable. They held their tempers in check for most of the game. Good field playing, excellent passing and the dribbling and swift fakes and turn around of directions were superb. Excellent playing and skills. Unfortunately, only about 3 times did the Dutch team show anything like that level of skill in brief glimpses and flashes. There was one big hulking Dutch guy, on the side who once he got the ball, went like a high speed train with the ball down the side of the field. He really had on a head of steam and did it more than once. There were a couple of times, that individual Dutch players showed similar control of ball skills. Mostly they seemed out to foul and injure Spanish players taking them out of the game. As a tactic I thought it was lousy for WORLD CUP class playing. The one instance near the end when a DUTCH player came roaring up behind a Spanish guy with the football and deliberately fouled him and the shorter Spanish guy got angry, turned around, sideswiped his foot and hip tossed him, I thought was great. The referee came storming up, listened to the Spanish guy and what could he say? He let the DUTCH guy get away with the foul and the Spanish guy took his blatant revenge and it was deserved. The referee gave in and the game went on.
I was glad to see SPAIN win! I had my mind made up before half time, which was the better team. There was no comparison. You could see that scoring for the Spanish team was all about teamwork, for the whole game. SUPERB playing, the way it should be!

Sunday, July 11, 2010



I'm 72 going on 73 soon years old. For the last month I've had something annoying me on the back side of my right ear. A pimple, a boil, a growth, or an insect bite? In the tropics insect bites can be troublesome. Sometimes like Botlas flies they lay eggs and develop a larva under the skin.
Anyway, a month later, this thing had been treated by me at home with anti-biotic cream and then BLACK SALVE which supposedly will draw a pimple or boil head out. Nothing worked and trying to sleep on one side was hurting as the skin is stretched and sore.
So I broke down at the behest of my wife and decided I would go to the Government POLY CLINIC. About 2 1/2 miles away from the twin towns suburb where I live. When we talk suburbs in Belize, there is no relation to a suburb in North America, or European metropolitan areas. We have no FREEWAYS here. These are dirt roads around here and very agriculture rural. Saturday was the only real day I could get loose and after missing a couple of Saturdays, finally went yesterday morning. Most of the nurses are Belizean, but the doctors are usually CUBAN, from the CUBAN MEDICAL BRIGADE that gives socialized medicine around many countries in the world. They are great people and it is a great system, far better than medical services found in the USA, except perhaps in the most poor rural parts of the USA. Spent about an hour in a queue. Everything is computerized. Nurse put in my particulars on the computer and then I went to wait my turn for the doctor. About a dozen people before me on the seats, on this 8:30 a.m. early Saturday morning. About 50 people were lined up before I left. This medical service is FREE in Belize. We have both socialized medicine and also a few private doctor practitioners and hospitals at which you can pay.
Finally got my turn into the doctors office. A young Cuban guy, with limited English. He asked a few questions, looked at my ear and the swelling. Asked if it was an insect bite ( I didn't know ), was I allergic to any antibiotics ( no! ), asked how long I had it. I thought it might be a cyst, but couldn't see it to form any judgement. Just told him it was painful and disturbing my sleep. So he had pulled up on the computer my file and knew my name. I was carrying a slip of paper with my registered name and number on it, from the nurse. Then he went into what was apparently a SOFTWARE DIAGNOSIS PROGRAM. I'd read about these, but believe they don't allow them in the USA due to the ROBBER BARON Medical CARTELS? Anyway, CUBANS have a medical diagnosis software program on a laptop. I was curious to see how it worked and turned out? He put in the particulars he had observed and the information. Then he started going through a dozen web pages filling out what appeared to be YES or NO answers. He would fill out the questionnaires and then it would flip to another page. This went on for five minutes, then he prescribed for me tetracycline an antibiotic, an antibiotic cream and some Tylenol pills for pain. I was sent to the POLY CLINIC pharmacy down the corridor. Treatment was to be 3 pills of tetracycline a day for a week and if it didn't cure it, then come back. He said I had an infection. The pharmacy took about ten minutes. All this stuff is FREE! I had taken a book to read and managed to get through a chapter and a half while in the two different queues. I was out fairly quickly, within an hour and a half.
From there I went driving to the electrician for cars and got my lights fixed on the pickup truck, which some policeman had told my wife were not working properly. Half an hour there ( $20 bz for labor, bulb, fuse ) and from there went to the TWIN TOWNS market and picked up some YOGURT, bananas -10 for a $1 bz - .50 cents usa, and from two different Mennonites I bought two sorts of HOT home made cheese. Two pounds for $5 bz is the going rate for fresh home made farm cheese. On the way home, I stopped at the Chinese Supermarket, along our town main drag, one of around 5 in Santa Elena Town on my side of the Macal River and picked up some salted peanuts, hot salami sausage and boneless chicken breast and a package of seedless raisins. Then off to home about 3/4 mile away up a dirt road and a winding hill, to Hillview suburb on the side of Green Parrot valley. I was home by 11:30 a.m. Total time around two hours for everything yesterday morning.
I know you cannot get this kind of SERVICE in the USA. Believe me, Western Belize is a PARADISE for climate and living. I feel sorry for you poor folks living in industrialized countries, with lousy weather, heavy traffic and interminable delays and the costs of living out of sight. You have no idea how good it is to be retired in a rural tropical country like Belize.

Friday, July 9, 2010



July 6t, to 9th., 2010

20 July PUTS 470/465 @ .15 cents with OEX at 481.82
$300 credit - $70 commissions = Net +$230 for the week.

Using $10,000 in cash margin, the return for the week was: .023 % on capital invested.
( Using web based paper money trading platform ) 2% or so comes out to 119% annualized.

**** I found the week difficult for this amateur. With the trend changing I could not get in the Spread at premium prices I wanted, with my RISK values. Finally Thursday, I took what I could get and increased the number of contracts. Still, a profit is a profit ! Just glad I did not lose anything and the nickels and dimes add up over time.
I learned how to use the THINKORSWIM platform and ‘close a SPREAD” this week. That makes this beginner feel a whole lot more confident, thanks to the assistance of Abigail Muehlech, Client Liason at TOS. I’d had trouble finding the way to do it, despite messages giving me instructions over the last two months.
Next week I work on using long SPY options as a hedge, as needed!



(copied from the Belize Culture Listserve)

Adele Ramos:

Hourly-paid workers, particularly those in the field of agriculture, are due to see a notable increase in the minimum wage, following a Cabinet decision three weeks ago to accept recommendations made by The Minimum Wage Task Force Report in April to have an across-the-board minimum wage implemented this year of $3.10 an hour.

The increase for agricultural workers works out to $60 a week for a normal 45-hour work-week, but a mere $5 an hour for other workers, except for students. This represents a 24% increase in the minimum wage for agricultural workers but only a 3% increase for shop assistants and domestic workers, who have not seen minimum wage adjustments in more than three years, since 2007.

Agricultural workers were promised an increase to $2.75 in 2008, but did not get it. The adjustment for agricultural workers was approved since January 2007 – more than three years ago, when they were promised a further increase in the minimum wage to $3.00 in 2010.

Labor Commissioner Ivan Williams tells Amandala that the Attorney General’s Ministry is in the process of drafting the statutory instrument, which would soon be signed by Labor Minister Gabriel Martinez. As soon as Task Force recommendations become law and the new rates take effect, said Williams, the public will be informed.

Inflation has been taken into account, Williams told us. He explained that the export-oriented businesses had expressed concerns that a further increase in the minimum wage would – on top of high production costs – make it harder for them to compete with other companies from countries in the Central America region. A perusal of the International Labor Organization’s minimum wage database by our newspaper reveals a stark contrast between minimum wages here and in some neighboring countries. The figures that appear in the ILO database are equivalent to BZ$4.54 a day in Salvador, BZ$10.89 a day in Guatemala, and BZ$5.65 a day in Honduras.

The current minimum wage in Belize, according to Williams, does not provide for a decent standard of living. He cited minimum earnings of $135 a week for domestic workers, shop attendants and manual workers assuming they work a 45-hour week. We note, though, that with the increase, these workers will only get $4.50 more a week if paid at that rock-bottom rate.

While the increase would be enough to put an additional tube of toothpaste to the weekend shopping list, Williams noted that the rate represented a compromise among the parties – government, the union and the private sector.

The rates have been fixed at those levels because the economy is just recovering from the effects of a global recession, he told us: “We are not saying that it should not be higher.”

Vice president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Paul Perriott, indicated that the unions are not quarreling with the rate, because any improvement is good for workers. However, he noted, the rates will continue to be under review. Although they would have wanted to see a higher rate, said Perriott, the proposition faced a lot of opposition, as usual, from private sector and employers.

Israel Marin, the Belize Chamber of Commerce rep on the task force, told Amandala that there are really two schools of thought: one being that the increase in minimum wage would hurt businesses who cannot afford it – the other being that it will help, because it would increase the purchasing power of workers and put more dollars into the economy. “This is a very complicated issue,” Marin explained.

Empathizing with the challenges many workers are facing amid the current economic climate, Marin noted that even those making $5 and $7 an hour – which he said is the prevalent rate for most businesses – are still finding it hard to make ends meet.

With the increase in the minimum wage, said Marin, some workers may ask for a higher salary as well.

Government has also approved a gradual increase in the minimum wage that would be calculated in the future based on a cost of living index. However, rates of $3.10 and $3.30 have already been approved for this year, 2010, and next year, 2011, respectively. The next recalculation is due for 2012. The proposal for that year, we are informed, is for $3.50 an hour to be fixed as the minimum wage.

Williams acknowledged that this is not the true value to reflect the rising cost of living; however, they had to strike a balance amid concerns from employers, who are uneasy over the increased costs of doing business. The figures were also based on the recently concluded Poverty Assessment Report, he said.

We have also been informed that the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) will provide a formula for a Living Wage Index, which would be used in the future to calculate the minimum wage.

A union official told us that some cost of living adjustment calculations have put the figure between $6 and $9 an hour for a family of five to maintain an acceptable standard of living. In Trinidad and Tobago, the new government is being taken to task over plans to increase the minimum wage to TT$20 (equivalent to about BZ$6.35. Likewise, Barbados labor advocates are clamoring for a minimum wage increase there, as only shop assistants are affixed a minimum wage of BDS$5.00 (US$2.50, BZ$5.00) per hour.

According to Marin, Belize’s labor force is very small and it had been customary for companies to make up by hiring migrant workers; however, with wages improving in the region, less are coming to Belize in search of jobs. When the new minimum wage takes effect, he opines, the merchandising businesses that would be most affected are those owned by the Indian community – not the Chinese, who control the distribution sector but who don’t generally hire locals.

While the Government is moving ahead with reforms in the rate and calculation method for the minimum wage, we note that one recommendation it did not accept was to adopt the ILO Convention 131: the minimum wage fixing convention of 1970, which would bind government to proceed with the living standards-based approach in determining the minimum wage, using a sort of Living Wage Index.

The government, however, accepted the task force’s recommendation that the National Poverty Assessment Project be used to calculate the wage. Commissioner Williams said that the idea is to have the index updated every six months to a year.

Perriott said it is good that Government is working with the plan, though no timeline was given to the union when the new rate would kick in.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nano technology stalls space exploration!


The major feat to exploring the Solar System by humanity is the inability to be self sustainable in space habitats. Currently, we are no more than explorers relying on re-supply from Planet EARTH for basics.
Nano technology promises one day, we will be able to produce our own water, oxygen and other atmospheric gases and even food, so that we can travel around the Solar System if not in total comfort, at least with self reliance. The replicator of STAR TREK movies is still but a dream, but one day nano technology can deliver this capability to us. Until then we are not capable of solar system manned exploration.
Until we can maintain, a village of 1000 people in a space habitat, either in Earth orbit, or Lunar orbit, without reliance on re-supply from the surface of planet Earth, we are doomed to just watch and send robotic probes around the solar system. Sure we could send a row boat with supplies sufficient to go to MARS and back, but we could not leave them there, until we lick the means of self sustainability in space, without re-supply from Planet Earth. So Space exploration and development waits on the scientists and labs, researching how to use nano-technology to produce the things we need for human life, in space.



Milankovitch Theory describes the collective effects of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate, named after Serbian civil engineer and mathematician Milutin Milanković, who worked on it during First World War internment. Milanković mathematically theorised that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth.

The Earth's axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years. At the same time, the elliptical orbit rotates, more slowly, leading to a 21,000-year cycle between the seasons and the orbit. In addition, the angle between Earth's rotational axis and the normal to the plane of its orbit moves from 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees and back again on a 41,000-year cycle; currently, this angle is 23.44 degrees and is decreasing.

Other astronomical theories were advanced by Joseph Adhemar, James Croll and others, but verification was difficult due to the absence of reliably dated evidence and doubts as to exactly which periods were important. Not until the advent of deep-ocean cores and a seminal paper by Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton, "Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages", in Science, 1976,[1] did the theory attain its present state.

For many years now I’ve been following the pros and cons of scientific debates regarding the Milankovitch Cycle. This theory holds that as the Earth circles the Sun, there is a 100,000 yr +/- cycle, in which the High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are at their coldest in each of the attitudes created by Eccentricity, Axial Tilt, and Precession (each on a different time cycle), when all coincide to produce a Glaciation, which from start to finish lasts about 40.000 years.

But there is no debate that at the present time we are now midway between the end of the last glaciation (about 9,000 yrs ago) and the beginning of the next. We are now at or near the maximum extent of the subsequent warming-up period, and poised - as some would have it - at the beginning of the plunge toward the next glaciation.

So, one is forced to ask, is the climate going to continue to naturally warm up as we approach the maximum Northern Hemispheric solar radiation in the present Malenkovitch Cycle ? Or are we at or passed the tipping point, and now cooling down towards the beginning of the next Glaciation ? Are the weather changes we are now witnessing partly the result of the of the former, or are they precursors of the latter ? (more below)

Carbon dioxide did not cause the end of the last ice age, a new study in Science suggests, contrary to past inferences from ice core records.

“There has been this continual reference to the correspondence between CO2 and climate change as reflected in ice core records as justification for the role of CO2 in climate change,” said USC geologist Lowell Stott, lead author of the study, slated for advance online publication Sept. 27 in Science Express.

“You can no longer argue that CO2 alone caused the end of the ice ages.”

Deep-sea temperatures warmed about 1,300 years before the tropical surface ocean and well before the rise in atmospheric CO2, the study found. The finding suggests the rise in greenhouse gas was likely a result of warming and may have accelerated the meltdown – but was not its main cause.

The study does not question the fact that CO2 plays a key role in climate.

The best estimate from other studies of when CO2 began to rise is no earlier than 18,000 years ago. Yet this study shows that the deep sea, which reflects oceanic temperature trends, started warming about 19,000 years ago.

“What this means is that a lot of energy went into the ocean long before the rise in atmospheric CO2,” Stott said.

But where did this energy come from" Evidence pointed southward.

Water’s salinity and temperature are properties that can be used to trace its origin – and the warming deep water appeared to come from the Antarctic Ocean, the scientists wrote.

This water then was transported northward over 1,000 years via well-known deep-sea currents, a conclusion supported by carbon-dating evidence."


The first of the three Milankovitch Cycles is the Earth's eccentricity. Eccentricity is, simply, the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. This constantly fluctuating, orbital shape ranges between more and less elliptical (0 to 5% ellipticity) on a cycle of about 100,000 years. These oscillations, from more elliptic to less elliptic, are of prime importance to glaciation in that it alters the distance from the Earth to the Sun, thus changing the distance the Sun's short wave radiation must travel to reach Earth, subsequently reducing or increasing the amount of radiation received at the Earth's surface in different seasons.

Today a difference of only about 3 percent occurs between aphelion (farthest point) and perihelion (closest point). This 3 percent difference in distance means that Earth experiences a 6 percent increase in received solar energy in January than in July. This 6 percent range of variability is not always the case, however. When the Earth's orbit is most elliptical the amount of solar energy received at the perihelion would be in the range of 20 to 30 percent more than at aphelion. Most certainly these continually altering amounts of received solar energy around the globe result in prominent changes in the Earth's climate and glacial regimes. At present the orbital eccentricity is nearly at the minimum of its cycle.

Axial Tilt

Axial tilt, the second of the three Milankovitch Cycles, is the inclination of the Earth's axis in relation to its plane of orbit around the Sun. Oscillations in the degree of Earth's axial tilt occur on a periodicity of 41,000 years from 21.5 to 24.5 degrees.

Today the Earth's axial tilt is about 23.5 degrees, which largely accounts for our seasons. Because of the periodic variations of this angle the severity of the Earth's seasons changes. With less axial tilt the Sun's solar radiation is more evenly distributed between winter and summer. However, less tilt also increases the difference in radiation receipts between the equatorial and polar regions.

One hypothesis for Earth's reaction to a smaller degree of axial tilt is that it would promote the growth of ice sheets. This response would be due to a warmer winter, in which warmer air would be able to hold more moisture, and subsequently produce a greater amount of snowfall. In addition, summer temperatures would be cooler, resulting in less melting of the winter's accumulation. At present, axial tilt is in the middle of its range.


The third and final of the Milankovitch Cycles is Earth's precession. Precession is the Earth's slow wobble as it spins on axis. This wobbling of the Earth on its axis can be likened to a top running down, and beginning to wobble back and forth on its axis. The precession of Earth wobbles from pointing at Polaris (North Star) to pointing at the star Vega. When this shift to the axis pointing at Vega occurs, Vega would then be considered the North Star. This top-like wobble, or precession, has a periodicity of 23,000 years.

Due to this wobble a climatically significant alteration must take place. When the axis is tilted towards Vega the positions of the Northern Hemisphere winter and summer solstices will coincide with the aphelion and perihelion, respectively. This means that the Northern Hemisphere will experience winter when the Earth is furthest from the Sun and summer when the Earth is closest to the Sun. This coincidence will result in greater seasonal contrasts. At present, the Earth is at perihelion very close to the winter solstice.


These variables are only important because the Earth has an asymmetric distribution of landmasses, with virtually all (except Antarctica) located in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


By Ray Auxillou, July, 2010

The current land issue in post colonial times, after Independence is more over the growing population of Belize, the opening of long, jungle clad inaccessible areas by new roads by the government’s of the day, accompanied by the ability for new settlers to move into new areas for agricultural living.
The current ideological clash is between the MILPA style of the last thousand years of small scattered population agriculture and large uninhabited jungle clad areas, both in the Peten, Alta Vera Paz of nearby Guatemala and Belize.
The areas effected in Belize are the Cayo District, the Stann Creek District and the Southern Belize, Toledo District.
Guatemala has already denuded her jungles and now those former areas have new populations of settlers, mostly into ranches and raising cattle. Jungle clad lands of the Eastern side of Central America are not conducive to regular farming. This is now occurring in Southern Belize. The soil is scarce, very thin and cannot sustain intense agriculture production alone.
The current argument between new settlers in Southern Belize and the government of the day, is about enough room to conduct a hereditary right of slash and burn milpa farming, based on Maya indigenous custom. Land titles have not been sought by farmers accustomed to pioneering and living subsistence style living off plenty of land. For the most part, subsistence farmers living in 3 generational family compounds cannot afford the fees, taxes, permissions of the CREOLE dominated bureaucracy, mostly from the port town of Belize City, the old colonial capital. A typical self sustaining jungle milpa family live comfortable enough, with about a $500 Bz cash flow for the year. Whereas the government bureaucracy normally enjoy between $24,000 and $70,000 a year, with politicians getting over a quarter million dollars gross per year. I recently paid over $2000 for a 50 ft x 75 ft house lot lease and recently paid again another $2000 plus, to get a TITLE after the LEASE, which hasn’t materialized yet, half a year later. These kind of costs are impossible for subsistence pioneers to afford. Nor are the expensive time consuming trips to the capital, Lands Department in Belmopan. Thus they live without land titles.
The argument by the government of the day is that new villages in the Southern part of the country, in parts opened up by roads built by the government, should pay for surveys and lease their lands and then get titles, like any other person in the Northern half of Belize, where there is flatter land and industrial agriculture.
Slash and burn Milpa farming is declared an indigenous RIGHT by these people who are moving into the Toledo District and setting up communities and villages. I can understand the argument, because they have no money and no elected representative leadership in the political system, fighting for them to get land titles in a more affordable manner. Unfortunately, slash and burn milpa farming is bad land use. It is wasteful of resources. It is also incompatible with population growth and migrations from one area of Belize to another.
We know from studying history that human activity in this part of Central America and Belize in particular runs in 3000 year, 1500 year, 700 year and 350 year cycles. The Mayan calendar is slightly over 5000 years long. Once a short time ago, about 1200 years ago, the CLASSICAL Mayan EMPIRE ended roughly about 700 A.D. I forget the exact dating, but there is ample evidence that ALL of the Americas were effected by CLIMATE CHANGE and a drought ensued for around 200 years. The drought ran from Canada to Tierra del Fuego. It is now believed that the millions of Maya that lived here 1200 years ago, died off from starvation, and populations declined to such extent, that MAYAN CITY STATES were abandoned and unable to be maintained. Another cycle of die off of populations occurred after the Spanish invasion 500 years ago, with the introduction of European diseases. To the North in the Yucatan, during Spanish times, there were two die offs of human populations. One occurred during a 3 year LOCUST PLAGUE causing starvation, another occurred during the CASTE WARS of a 130 years ago.
Guatemala on the Southern border with Honduras and Salvador, divided by a mountain range is now suffering another cycle of drought, starving out a couple of million people, in 2010. There were we know; two Mayan Empires and in Belize, CAHEL PECH ruins in San Ignacio town, of 3500 years ago, is a remnant of the earlier OLDER Mayan Empire, with about a 1000 years between the newer CLASSICAL MAYAN EMPIRE that disappeared around 1200 years ago, represented by XUNANTANICH ruins. Since then, the population became shrunk and scattered and survived to this day, based on lots of land for small scattered populations. The wars of the more recent CLASSICAL EMPIRE archeologists study, and city states, occurred during a period of much larger populations in the millions.
Population demographics are changing. We are exploding again with growing populations of humans. The era, during the last 1200 years in which SLASH AND BURN MILPA farming was practical and a solution, is no longer valid. We are in Belize going through a transition period in population growth and land usage, or looming land scarcity.
LIDOR mapping, a new air photo technique that shows old ruins hidden by jungle and ancient Mayan roads, including thousands of terraces built in hilly terrain, show that the CLASSICAL EMPIRE of the Maya, practiced a much different agriculture than today. They did not practice the famous SLASH and BURN MILPA system of today. They were intensive land farmers. They practiced concentrated agriculture in TERRACES, IRRIGATED and with FERTILIZER techniques. It was only after CLIMATE CHANGE for that 200 years effecting the AMERICAS, that after populations declined and land became plentiful, that SLASH and BURN MILPA farming came into being. It has been used for about 1200 years. As our population in Belize grows, MILPA FARMING becomes wasteful and untenable. Necessitating a shift in the hilly CAYO, STANN CREEK and TOLEDO districts back to the CLASSICAL MAYA EMPIRE farming techniques of using terraces, irrigation and fertilizing. We are in that transition phase now of population growth, and usage of land to the best method for the most production.
There now looms the court cases on land usage and land titles in the Southern part of Belize. To be solved; are how to issue land titles to a subsistence population of milpa farmers, who in the next few generations will have to change their farming techniques to fit the growing land demand by population explosion. Currently 36 villages are demanding an indigenous reservation communal system. From my own memory there were only about 12 villages in the Toledo District back in Colonial days. There were practically none in the Stann Creek District, before the Southern highway was built. Only along the coast by coastal vessels. I myself would go back to Independence of Belize and issue a few hundred acres as a communal reservation to those communities, about 12 of them to enjoy communally, and the growing number of new villages be forced to go through the land title process. Whether they want to or not, is irrelevant. Force of population explosion will only make matters worse in a decade or two. Elected representatives have the need to do something for their constituents in the land title process.
The idea that all new communities in a slash and burn agriculture MILPA system has indigenous rights over 1200 years is not valid. Population size is the dominating factor and just as the last CLASSICAL MAYAN EMPIRE had intensive land usage, so the current Mayan populations of these hills be taught to adapt by our Agriculture Department to olden MAYAN EMPIRE methods of terraced farming, irrigation and fertilizing. Whether they like it or not, change is inevitable.

Saturday, July 3, 2010



Written on July 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm by glenn.selby
U.S., Belize Troops Work Together in Haiti
Filed under DoD News one comment

La. National Guard Col. Michael Borrel, the Task Force Kout Men commander, shows Rear Adm. Cynthia Dullea, the deputy commander of U.S. Navy Medicine-National Capital Area and deputy director, Navy Nurse Corps (Reserve Components) where all of the New Horizons-Haiti 2010 sites are on a Gonaives area map of Haiti. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Scott Bell, Task Force Kout Men PAO/RELEASED)

By Col. Michael Borrel, the Task Force Kout Men commander

Bon Jour everyone.

The majority of our second rotation of Task Force Kout Men personnel arrived here at our New Horizons-Haiti 2010 encampment in Mandrin, Haiti last Friday. Our National Guardsmen, Army, Navy, Air Force and Belize troops are working together as a team to accomplish our engineering and medical humanitarian goals. All are doing a great job.

Our new school construction projects are all on or ahead of schedule despite some rain delays which is a testament to the work ethic of our National Guard, Seabee and Belize troops who are currently working those projects. Our medical and dental readiness training exercise teams (MEDRETE) from the Navy, Air Force and Army have now treated over 15,000 patients at four different sites since the New Horizons-Haiti 2010 humanitarian MEDRETE effort began about a month ago. This is an incredible number of patients served given an average MEDRETE team consists of approximately 15 providers.

We’ve also had two very special visitors this week. Rear Adm. Cynthia Dullea, the deputy commander for U.S. Navy Medicine, National Capital Area/deputy director U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, Reserve Component paid us a visit on Tuesday and Kenneth H. Merten, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti flew in today to visit our New Horizons-Haiti 2010 troops and attend the funeral of the mayor of Gonaives. Both of their visits meant a lot to our Task Force Kout Men family.

Keeping all of our family and friends back home in the United States informed about the great things their guardsman, soldier, airman or seaman is important to us so if you get a chance, please visit New Horizons-Task Force Kout Men on Facebook and become a “Fan.” If you “tweet,” we’d love for you to follow us on Twitter. If you’re a Flickr fan, please follow our Flickr page.

In less than a month, we’ve released a little over 900 media products to a variety of DoD news organizations, our social media sites and hometown newspapers so please keep a look out for your Task Force Kout Men soldier, sailor or airmen in the news. Until next time, be safe and do what you can to help Haiti out in your own way.


Col. Mike Borrel
Commander, Task Force Kout Men (Helping Hands)
New Horizons Haiti 2010



It is obvious Belize can have a segment of it's electrical needs provided by solar panels.

Despite the high USA deficit, OBAMA today announced a $2 billion move for three solar power companies in Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona to be built. He said, the USA is going to stay on the forefront of developments for the future.

At this same time, we are trying to arrange the importation of 50 - 3. 6 inch thin wafer solar cells weighing about 2 lbs by a friend from the USA to make an entrepreneurial pilot project by trial and error learning experience. The idea that maybe there is a future in it, in some fashion?

However, WHAT is the attitude of the UDP CABINET to entrepreneurial tax breaks, or other incentives to encourage inventiveness and other experimental start ups in BELIZE? We have nothing that I'm aware of, that is similar to the USA in BELIZE that works. To make it worse, anything that is done, is so heavy in paper work and bureaucratic red tape, as to make it useless. Then the BUSINESS PERSPECTIVES show of last Wednesday made it clear the INCOME TAX department is on a fresh predatory role against employers and employees.
After the IMF exercise just completed we can see the rational from CABINET about more INCOME TAX Department role as a predator bureaucracy. Yet innovation and entrepreneurial spirit cannot support the discouraging aspects of overwhelming costly government bureaucracy for small scale ( under $1 million ) businesses. A start up small business cannot absorb the expensive costs of government overhead costs. Better to do nothing.

Friday, July 2, 2010


BELIZE OEX CREDIT SPREAD TRADER - Week ending July 2nd, 2010.


These trades are done on the Thinkorswim Trading platform, in virtual or paper money as a training exercise. Done by a beginning trader in credit spreads, learning the intuitive lessons of experience, through trial and error, before moving into real cash.

10 July CALLS 490/495 @ .40 cents. OEX 474 $400 - $40 = + $360 net

10 July CALLS 475/480 @ .45 cents OEX 466 $400 - $40 = + $410 net
Return on investment capital in one week: 7%.

The following IRON CONDOR, despite my rules, was entered on a memo pad, as a trial at the behest of someone claiming success each week with an IRON CONDOR. We tried it and it worked. The three weeks previously it did not have enough premium to make it worthwhile.

10 July CALLS 475/480 @ .45 cents = + $450
10 July PUTS 450/460 @ .10 cents = + $100 Total profit was: $550 - $80 commissons and fees = NET of + $470

We will not consider the IRON CONDOR win, as the trade was not serious, intended only to see what would happen? An experience to be absorbed in the subconcious.

Total return NET PROFIT for the week was therefore: + $770 net



The changes in Belize over the past 50 years are impressive. 75% of the population now have electricity, water availability, washing machines and refrigerators. The advent of spreading electricity has raised the standard of living of Belizeans immensely. People more build in concrete and use zinc roofing. While in rural Toledo they still prefer jungle type palmetto walls and thatch roofs due to the cheap cost of community bands of labor donations. The only cost is a machete and tying wire. Elsewhere everybody that can, is going upscale. Land is becoming scarce. Belize still has lots of land, but most politicians use their term in office to acquire land to enrich themselves. Which is probably why we are not getting good public service from the Lands Department? The land that is left is in reserves of one kind or another.
Belize has developed as a SOCIALIST COUNTRY, not exactly the same as SCANDINAVIA but similar and apparently superior to the socialism wanted by CUBA, or Venezuela under Chavez. Our SOCIALISM is a mix, of capitalism and socialism. In a workable mold similar to many European type countries. Not as extravagant as them, but in the needed basics yes.
Belize is doing very well!