Saturday, January 29, 2011




I´m still trying to figure out your methodology. I´m looking at my IC. Calculating from the BUY BACK costs, different than the credit you receive. On the credits I got .60 cents a side for the IC.
Sunday morning and I´m fresh so I can think about this a bit.
The buy back cost was $1.00 a side, so to buy back when the IC is new, there is of course an immediate loss and you hope a combination of market action and time decay will reduce that $1.00 buy back cost below what credit you collected, thus ensuring a profit.
Right now after an 8 OEX point move downward, the PUTS are worth $1.50, a bigger loss by half. The calls are okay and have shrunk from a $1.00 to .85 cents. The market action by deviation method is 2% and I´m 6% out the money, so the IC is okay.
So what I´m looking at now is the losing PUTS for buy back costs. I believe you said you closed, if it reached 20% of capital in the trade? Since the trade is put on by a spread premium, is that 20% of the credit received, or do we figure on the margin required to cover the trade? Let me see ( thinking out loud ). 20% of $60 per contract would be to cover at a loss of $12. I´m already over that if you figure versus credit with a $150 loss on the PUTS with this downward swing. But let me see, if you figure margin at 10 to 1, we are looking at a $1000 at risk, so we need to cover if the trade loses $200? Okay so far - assuming that, then the current IC and the losing side PUT is okay at $150 loss so far, with a permissable $200 loss based on the margin requirement. I guess I will go with the margin at risk qualification. Would you confirm that is right?
Now I´m very curious about this POT, or probability of touching figure. The POT I find out was 51%, not so good at all. Obviously the spread was put on at the wrong time by your criteria. Comparing the POT to my usual deviation method and other people who use Delta. I´m going to look at weeklies, because if we are selling time decay it makes more sense to me to sell weeklies than two monthlies. Lot more trades. Bigger monthly returns. I want to check the option chain in TOS and see how the POT figures in those are and see what we get?
The trouble as I see it, is in safety versus reward for a credit spread trading method. That said, I can see that safety dictates you split your credit spread trading account into numerous small trade sizes. So if you close by forced market action in the two monthly method, your losses don´t become so large as to wipe out the gains from such small rewards of 3% or 5% credits. The more tiny trades you have the better you are. Of course over a two month period I can see you would be able to do this more often and by mixing up as many different indexes as possible, you would be able to do more Iron Condors, which in turn boost returns, because of the savings by not using margin for the second half of an Iron Condor. The complication being in one account, the computer doesn´t necessarily recognize multiple Iron condors when doing the accounting. So more indexes are required to spead Iron Condors. Either that or more accounts.
Indexes tend to move together, the charts are more or less the same. So putting on multiple Iron Condors depends on your finding favorable POT figures. I believe you use less than 20% POT.
The trick is to safely use credit spreads to make 90% better annual returns. Ordinarily that would be done by compounding, or increasing bet size as your account grows throughout the year. It is trying to keep your account fully invested in your methodology, but safely protected from losses. In your method losses are inevitable, and to protect against that you must go to smallest possible trade sizes and as many of them as possible, which in turn means using as many indexes as possible, or more seperated accounts.
I guess I´ll take a look at weeklies and their POT numbers and see how accurate the POT is for entering on the weeklies. Ordinarily I use deviation. If you can get a 5% deviation on a weekly trade, your chances of winning are roughly 97%. If you enter as the week progresses, the deviation reduces. by Wednesday a 4% deviation is usually successful and by Thursday a 3% upper and 4% lower deviation for a spread is successful. How that compares to POT calculations I do not yet know. Will be interesting to research the equivalency. While the premiums are much smaller in weeklies, whether some other index or the OEX, I found that the profit was the same, or better in the OEX, even using .15 cent to .30 cent credits. I traded the OEX last year exclusively and found the percentages were the same with the other indexes, if I had traded them. The only advantage I found in some of the other indexes was that you could get an extra 1% deviation, out the money, when looking for a suitable premium. In the OEX the premiums get very small and it is hard to get out as farther than 3% deviation. The winning profits though were the same percentage wise. So I stuck with the OEX. The only new factor here is the POT number and how good it is in forecasting for the week market action. I found the delta useless. The trouble with weeklies and using one index is that you cannot take a loss. One loss compounded to increase bet size wiped you out pretty much. The system I used was either win steadily, or lose it all. I ended up losing it all, on average once every four months trading weeklies. Though the compounding effect of credit spreads and iron condors was very impressive while it occured. But to get to 90% annual return or better, you had to compound your bet size.
The crux as I see it in your two monthly method is how effective your method using POT is, and particularly your method at taking a loss at the 20% of margin is. That is roughly a $60 win bet, versus a $200 loss on the bet when it occurs. At that rate you are looking at the need to win four times more often than you lose, if you want a profit at the end of the year. What size profit would appear to be the ability to make small bets. Since indexes move in tandem, you wouldn´t gain anything if you placed the same bets on different indexes, when you got a loss it would occur across the board. I suppose using the POT and maybe the VIX to control credit spread bets entries might be the answer? To what extent is unknown.

Credit Spread trading vernacular:

Credit spread, to sell premium in options on cash derivatives

Iron Condor, to bracket the fluctuation of an index market action using an upper and lower credit spread.

VIX, means the volatility of market action. A measurement that dictates index swings due to mob pyschology. Gives approximate average daily, or weekly true ranges of high and low swings.

POT, means an analysis of PROBABILITY OF INDEX movement touching a credit spread when you incur a total loss.

Delta, gives a rough figure of probability of the index swinging to hit your credit spread.

Deviation, the amount of swing, or fluctuation in market action as a percentage.


**** The Private Auxillou Family Hedge Fund switched from credit spreads to straight buying and selling of options on indexes as of Dec. 1st, 2010. As of this date Feb. 2nd., 2011 the Fund balance has grown 73%.



Government people seem unable to develop innovative OUT THE BOX ideas for boosting the tourist business. I will put one such new idea out here. There are two airlines that I know serve Central America and Mexico with budget seats. These are Spirit Airlines and Blue something or other. So far, we cannot seem to get them to make Belize a destination. I don´t know what they are flying, probably a 737? Anyway, whatever, what I suggest we do is take all the Government money spent on travel vouchers by our government in a year, for all departments. Subsidize it by BTB revenues for the tourist business and offer either of these two airlines that offer cheap flights to our area, a guaranteed 10% of their seat capacity for one weekly flight per week. Perhaps a Saturday inbound and a Sunday outbound. Maybe only for high season periods, or some such money saving arrangement.
What the country needs is a guaranteed low airfare round trip ticket environment to boost our tourist economy. That of all things, is the number one item. It would double government tourist tax revenues and stimulate foreign and local investment. The government would then have the option of using those 10% of seats in a budget airline for bureaucrat travel on government business. Or leave them empty and the airline could fill them and receive a double profit from those seats, to boost their revenues. A WIN - WIN situation.
Spirit Airlines in this high winter season are offering for example a round trip airfare from Ft. Lauderdale to Guatemala City of $225.


BREAKING NEWS on cruise ships and Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize.

Both the Government spokespeople and a fiery shuttle tender meeting agreed on the a new policy for Belize and Cruise ships like Carnival Cruise Lines.

The policy is: They are welcome to come to Belize, but only on SOVEREIGN BELIZE terms. They are temporary visitors and we will as a policy as a nation, not accept any bullying. Take it or leave it attitude. They want to go someplace else, thats okay. It´s a FREE WORLD out there.

Carnival cut 4 ships this past week and about 10,000 tourists, trying to bully the locals, by cutting visitors and revenues. Carnival in particular has overloaded our capability and infra-structure.

A lot of soul searching nationwide and with cruise ship service operators. The big ships have become too much. Carnival in particular. There is an underlying rethinking of tourism policy and will undoubtedly move toward re-orientation to smaller cruise ship visit type business preferences. Look for a major shift nationwide on how the cruise ship business is re-orientated. Shuttle tender people are prepared to take the loss of business, they say with fiery rhetoric. About a 130,000 people a year go cave tubing on the Hummingbird Highway. The rest visit three Maya ruins. Altun Ha, Xununtanich and Cahel Pech. The public seem totally in support of the new policy ideas being put forward.
The local desire is to move toward smaller cruise ship type vessels. Maybe small as 50 to 100 passengers, able to visit places like Placentia and Punta Gorda. A number of daily visitors that will not overload and destroy our eco-system. The new tourist policy ideas are meeting with favor throughout the country. We will build the type of cruise ship industry we can handle and manage. No more knee jerk reactions to outside developments stimulated by GREED.

The realization has come, you cannot build a business on cruise ships. It is too fragile a relationship. One terrorist act on a cruise ship and the business would disappear for years, within 12 hours. Bankruptcies would spread like wildfire.

Friday, January 28, 2011


In Belize, learn where chocolate comes from
Photo: Tracy Barnett/Special Contributor ( Dallas paper )
Football-size cacao pods are cracked to reveal tangy-sweet, almost cottony flesh around the seeds. The seeds are extracted and fermented for one week.
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By TRACY L. BARNETT, Special Contributor

Published 28 January 2011 09:17 AM
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PUNTA GORDA TOWN, Toledo District, Belize — A sweet, pungent and slightly tangy scent drifts upward to the palm-thatched patio, mixing with the salty sea breeze here at the Chocolate Center of the Universe, otherwise known as Cotton Tree Chocolate.

I contemplate the iced mocha melting on my tongue, and my newly discriminating olfactory can now discern an extra edge: Toledo has taught me why chocolate tastes and smells the way it does.

Cacao is the Toledo District’s biggest export, and I’ve seen it now in all stages of production. A week before, I went to stay in a Mayan village through the Toledo Ecotourism Association’s guest house program, and I took a tour of Reyes Chun’s cacao farm in San Antonio Village. Hiking with Reyes and his boys down a footpath through the jungle, I saw the football-size pods hanging from the trunks of the trees. Reyes whacked at one with a machete and chopped it in half, handing it to me to taste the tangy-sweet, almost cottony flesh around the seeds. It tasted nothing like chocolate.

The boys each grabbed their own pod and sucked away noisily at the seeds as Reyes explained the process to me. These seeds would be taken home and cleaned, then wrapped in banana leaves and placed in a wooden box for seven days to ferment.

“I didn’t know chocolate was fermented!” I exclaimed. “I’ve been eating it all my life, and I had no idea!”

“Oh, yes. That’s why it tastes the way it does,” said Reyes, amused by my astonishment.

Later his wife, Jenny, treated us all to a cup of cocoa and, even better, a demonstration of how she made it. It’s a good thing I didn’t know that it would take an entire hour and a workout worthy of an athlete to produce the beverage. If I’d known what was involved, I’d never have asked.

First, Jenny built a fire in the ground-level wood stove, then placed a flat cooking sheet on top. Here, she toasted the fermented brown seeds. She handed me one to taste. It was sharply sour, and I remembered the tang of extra dark chocolate, which I suddenly understood. She and Reyes took turns stirring them every few moments until they reached a point of crisp but not burned. Then she handed me another. I peeled off the crust and tasted it. Ah-ha! There it was. Deep within the bitter, sour bean was the distinctive taste of chocolate.

Now she scrubbed clean the metate, the four-legged rectangular stone surface worn smooth by years of grinding and pounding in the way Mesoamerican women have done for centuries. The grinding stone was the thickness of a baseball bat, and heavy. Jenny crushed the seeds into a rough crumble.

Now it was time to separate the cocoa from the chaff. Placing the beans into a large bowl, she began tossing them, letting the impact and the breeze blow the shells into the floor.

Back to the metate, she tossed in some black peppercorns and a few seeds of allspice, which grows wild in the rain forests here. She ground for a good while, sweat shining on her face in the sticky jungle heat.

“It has to be very smooth,” she explained.

Earlier, she had placed a few tortillas into a bowl of water, and now she splashed some of the water on the cacao meal, continuing to grind. She worked the meal into a mushy ball. Now it was time to do the same for the tortilla.

Finally, after nearly an hour of toasting and grinding and mashing, she had two sizable balls of mush: one of cacao, the other of corn masa. Now it was time to pull out the calabashes, the gourds grown and dried just for this purpose, as the ancient Maya did. Modern-day coffee cups would do for tea, Coca-Cola and orange Fanta, but when it came to chocolate, it must be served with style.

A big daub of cacao paste and a little daub of corn masa went into the calabash, followed by hot water from the teakettle, which had been steeping on the fire. A big spoon of sugar followed.

Jenny handed me the first steaming calabash, the liquid inside still circling from her spoon. I took a hesitant sip.

Undeniably, authentically chocolate.

Back in Punta Gorda Town, as the locals call Toledo’s diminutive county seat, chocolate was brewing in a more modern, but still distinctly Caribbean way.

“Free tours” reads the sign in front of Cotton Tree Chocolate, a colorful coffeehouse, pizza parlor and mini Willy Wonka chocolate factory all in one. The shop is the creation of former art teacher, sailor and social worker Chris Crowell, founder of Cotton Tree Lodge. The pungent, tangy scent drew me in.

Catarina, a young Maya girl, showed me the steps of the process. No metate here. Instead, there’s a homemade grinder powered by an electric drill. An electric hair dryer expedited the separation process. Powdered milk and vanilla replaced the black pepper, allspice and tortilla. And a sophisticated mixing device stirred it all overnight, creating a consistency that would be placed in molds and left to harden.

My mouth watered as I watched — and smelled — the process. Young Catarina handed me a wooden tasting stick to place into the thick mixture and I indulged. This was chocolate at its finest.

I headed upstairs to the colorfully painted coffeehouse to sample an iced mocha under the thatched roof and savor the sea breeze caressing my face.

Yes, there are certain advantages to modernity, I confessed to myself, savoring every sip. Modern chocolate would be my choice today. But thanks to Jenny’s labors, this ancient Maya miracle will never taste quite the same.

Tracy L. Barnett ( ) is an independent writer currently traveling in Latin America.


Getting there

The easiest way to reach Punta Gorda is to book a direct flight to Belize City and then fly on regional carrier Maya Island Air to Punta Gorda. The adventurous (and also possibly cheaper) way is to fly to Cancún, Mexico, and take a bus or rental car, touring the Mayan ruins along the way.

Where to stay

•Low end: Nature’s Way Guesthouse, 82 Front St.; 011-501-702-2119; On the waterfront with a homey, backpacker hostel-type atmosphere.

•High end: Cotton Tree Lodge, Beautiful and eco-friendly resort in the heart of the jungle on the banks of a crystalline river.

Where to eat

Gomier’s Vegetarian Restaurant (, served by the Rastafarian poet-chef himself. Or, an East Indian-creole buffet at Marian’s, across from Nature’s Way, on a deck overlooking the sea. Also, Earth Runnins Café and Bukut Bar (

What to do

•Chocolate tours can be arranged by the staff at Nature’s Way (low end) or the at Cotton Tree (high end), both of which can set up an itinerary for every taste.

•For an immersion experience, arrange a stay in a traditional Mayan or Garifuna village through the Toledo Ecotourism Association at, with proceeds going directly to the communities themselves.

•Another worthy group is TIDE (, offering trips to Lubaantun Mayan Ruins, Blue Creek Cave, Port Honduras Marine Reserve and many others. Proceeds benefit the affiliated conservation organization.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


By Ray Auxillou, Jan. 2011.
Interesting program, didn´t resolve anything much, but it did point out that the government does not lead the tourist industry in Belize, it follows the private sector developments.
That said there were some interesting things. Last year the Prime Minister in interviews has said the revenue of Belize was $800 million Belize currency, for 2010. We take him at his word in this case, as he does not publish quarterly government economic reports like the previous PUP administration did. In the TV discussion on tourism, it was stated by knowledgeable guests in the Business Perspectives panel, that $600 million Bz currency is coming from the Tourist Business of the country. That means the tourist business is 75% of the government revenues. The Prime Minister has said that cruise tourism contributes $100 million to the country. No matter how I run the numbers and my own estimates, I only get a figure of $25 million. So some exaggeration here and the Prime Minister is well known to exaggerate, evade, spread disinformation and anything else said, to mislead, to promote his political party image, over the FACTS. Any time you hear him speak, you don´t say is he liar, you look , listen and guess what he is misrepresenting with a bias, or slant, to favor his political party, as he speaks. He speaks DOUBLE SPEAK, but in a truthful manner. At any rate, when he says $100 million for cruise ship tourism impact, I say $25 million and I will take my estimate from what I observe, over his any day of the year.
That means between overnight tourism, there is a discrepancy, of $575 million by the small family owned outfits ( about 600 of them ) versus $25 million for the cruise ship business in 2010. The panel all agreed the government and Belize Tourist Board bias toward Cruise Tourism is out of whack as a Cabinet policy. There are a number of obvious reasons for that. First off, BTB is first and foremost a port town government institution. The port itself and the CABINET is dominated by port town politicians. The government itself in all it´s departments is dominated by port town bureaucrats. The bias toward the port of Belize City is known by the rest of us in the nation. We don´t like it, but not much we can do about it under the system of government we have.
In essence what we have is the rest of the nation, versus the port Belize City interests. In that competition the rest of the nation and six districts lose out. The tourist business is about tourist operations and enclaves like San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placentia, the TWIN TOWNS area out West, Monkey River and the hundreds of small tourist places in the boondocks, versus the Port of Belize City hotels and mainly the port Tourist Village for the cruise ship business. The money flow says, the rest of the country is the most important and all the money is being generated for government revenues by Mom and Pop tourist operations. Most of which are under 10 rooms, one panel expert said. That sounds true enough to me, as the type of tourism in unique Belize, is primarily based on the individual rapport, between proprietor and guests. The average guest visits Belize 3 different years, before getting bored and deciding to go someplace else. The experience is totally based on the personal friendships and family feeling created by the 600 small guest hotel/resort product. In the tourist trade we call that ambience. We sell uniqueness and ambience. Tourist businesses rotate and are sold, or leased and run by new people on an average of every ten years. New people bring new customers and fill a new sales niche.
The port of Belize City is overwhelmed by the growing floating visiting hotel, cruise ship business. For them it is their ( the port town) business, just as Caye Caulker has their brand of reputation and tourist niche. By rights the whole thing should be run, or controlled by the Belize City Council, and not either by government, or the parasitic entity called the Belize Tourist board.
The panel seemed at a loss in understanding some facets of the tourist business. This business is always private sector owner led, and not by government. True we are always entertained by government bureaucrats bragging what they have done for the tourist industry. They do nothing, outside of some magazine and television advertising. It distressed me to hear one panel expert ( salaried worker-not an investor in the business ) express the opinion that hotels should be regulated. He was complaining about the quality and service in a Santa Elena hotel. First off, if he didn´t like it, he should have gone to CHAA CREEK and got what he wanted, at an obviously higher price. There is no quality control needed in diverse tourist operations, that way lies disaster. Some sell experience, roughing it, camping, cooking over a wood fire, outdoor toilets and cold showers, and some sell 5 private attendants serving every customer guest, lighting your cigarette and wiping your toilet seat with a wash cloth after every use. Here it is AMBIENCE and price, that designs the package for what sells, in whichever tourist niche you are catering to. In the Mountain Pine Ridge you sell tents and pooping behind the nearest bush.
The cruise ship business should be expanded. No question in that. It has a role to play as part of the overall package. The expansion should in my mind, take place in Deep River of the Toledo District with a cruise ship paid by them, for the dock. It could also work at Sapodilla Caye in the Southern end of the barrier reef. The port of Belize City is maxed out. All cruise ship tours and intransit functions should be Belizean owned and operated whenever their guests step off the ship. There is a commercial war here between the tourist hotel ships and the product locally.
The question arose about whether Belize can continue to attract cruise hotels. The answer is yes and indeed we have two new locations mentioned above, to expand our cruise ship product as destinations. There is only Roatan, Belize and Cozumel in the Western Northern Caribbean. In the Southern area you have Isla San Andres.
What should government do? Concentrate on infra-structure. The move by the MUSA government previously 12 years ago, to restore lost beach sand on San Pedro and Caye Caulker was one of the smartest moves made by any government, BEFORE, or since. It also is due for replenishment again. Island tourist locations without beaches will neither grow, compete, or survive. The tourist product disappears. This is in the government´s own revenue interest.
Another point, concentrate on airlines and cheap budget fares. Instead of the Belize Tourist Board wasting money on travelling to trade shows worldwide, spend the money soliciting, or even subsidizing in some way, a budget cheap airline from the USA. There seems to be an add on tax at our airport, nobody is accountable for, responsible for our high ticket prices. That needs to be got rid of. The air fare subsidy idea needs some innovative solution, something outside of the box thinking. I can think of several ideas, surely those academic bureaucrats can too. I remember when I used to fly from Florida to Havana for $10 usa each way. Same with the Bahamas. The tickets were subsidized by the casinos. In our case, by the BTB money. For overnight tourism, nothing will blow the government revenues sky high, faster than a cheap airline ticket. However you do it, get it done and fast. Forget everything else, that is the single most important thing, as it could double that $575 million a year revenues the government gets.
Again I was disappointed by our bureaucratic panel on the TV show. They again were talking about a constant academic refrain, about our not having the facilities and rooms to handle bigger overnight volumes. That is nonsense! It may be true in the short term of six months, but not on a seasonal basis. Nothing creates capital investment by the private sector faster than overbooking, or having too many people. One follows the other. Bring the guests and the investment will bloom like a desert after a rain shower, full of flowers.
Just my 2 cents. As qualification I would remind you the Auxillou family have been in tourism since 1964 and pioneered it and we are still expanding.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011



Update from the Amandala mid week press.

Posted: 25/01/2011 - 08:35 AM
Author: Stacey Kelly

The cruise tourism sector of Belize has experienced quite a “rollercoaster” of events during the first few weeks of 2011, as Carnival Cruise Lines, Belize’s largest cruise tourism provider, has cancelled all but one of its calls to Belize for this week. This is a direct response to its, demand for a price decrease by local tender providers and the usage of larger vessels with a capacity of 150 to 200 persons.

Information to us is that there will only be one call to our shores and that will be tomorrow, Tuesday, January 25, 2011. The call to Belize will be by Carnival Dream cruise ship with a capacity of 3,646.

The other calls which were cancelled for this week are as follows: on Wednesday the 26th of January 2011, Carnival Glory with a capacity of 3,500 passengers; on Thursday the 27th, Carnival Legend Cruise with a capacity of 2,667 passengers, and Carnival Valor Cruise with a capacity of 3,500, and on Friday the 28th, Braemar with a capacity of 950 passengers.

In addressing this matter we were told by a source that the Government of Belize will be briefed by members of the Belize Tourism Board in regard to this issue of Carnival’s decision to cancel its calls until their demands are met. This issue is said to be one of many discussions to take place in the Cabinet tomorrow whereupon GOB should make clear its position.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Lindsay Garbutt, in an interview with us tonight spoke on BTB’s continued support in ensuring the livelihood of the local tenders: “What the local operators are doing is looking at what it is that they can do to make it economically viable for them. That negotiation to a certain extent is to be a negotiation on the market; our main [GOB’s] interest is to try and buy time for our local people and to help to make sure that they are not disenfranchised.”

Garbutt told us that as far as he knows the local tenders were in negotiations for the price and that he is not aware of a set increase by local tenders or whether Carnival had indicated a set decrease.

Carnival’s boycott should alter BTB’s 2011 eight percent projected increase for cruise tourism visitors and only time will tell what other obstacles this sector will have to face.

The mood among the citizenry and voters are anger and the weight of opinion is heavily against CARNIVAL, the national public outside of the port town, in the other districts, wanting the CARNIVAL CRUISE BOYCOTT and war of lies and disinformation about Belize to the outside world, to be made permanent absence from Belize of CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, by our UDP government. The government on the other hand profess the need to get the crumbs offered them, to maintain the bureaucracy with such monies they can collect through CARNIVAL customer visits to our tourist adventure offerings and Mayan sites. The electorate outside of the port town crowd watch this war by CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES on BELIZE with interest, to see how our UDP government handle themselves. Do the UDP have the required backbone is the question?

UDP Votes in Belize depend on the BUTANE price issue!

small butane tank

BNE over in Spanish Lookout can sell their homemade BUTANE at $44 less per 100 lb tank, than the importers of butane can. Of course the tax man of government has to chime in yet and take a piece of the action.
In the meantime, the importers of BUTANE are trying to get government to protect their turf and market share, threatening delivery strikes. I guess that argument will depend on how much these importers donated to the political party during the election campaign last time around.
From the public voter viewpoint in the CAYO DISTRICT, it is a no brainer. ANY reduction in price of butane is advantageous to the voters of the district. The government really has no choice, because the voters will remember what they do, or did, over this BUTANE issue come the next election.
It has been argued on the Belize culture listserve that the importers can buy their butane from BNE the local producer if they so want at wholesale prices, or distributor franchise prices.
Now we the VOTERS wait and see how the political flak falls out in Western Belize.
In the meantime, more pickup trucks are converting from gasoline to tanks of butane in the rear pan of their pickup trucks.

Monday, January 24, 2011


*** There were three KEY people that started the TOURIST BUSINESS in the colony of British Honduras. You have to remember there were no roads to speak of in the Yucatan, Mexico, or even Guatemala at the time. The THREE KEY pioneers of tourism in British Honduras were Bert Foreman, a lobster trap fisherman around Seargants Caye and eventually he built his own Caye, called Foreman´s Caye. He ran British Civil service types coming to the colony out of the Fort George Hotel of the time. Ray Auxillou who used this small 24 foot, homebuilt, 7 hp Volvo Penta diesel cabin cruiser boat on weekends out of the Bellevue Hotel and John Grief with his tiny 3 passenger Cessna 172 out of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. In the early 1960´s my tourist charters, were oil people, Jaguar- Boone and Crocket trophy hunters, drug smugglers killing time waiting for their airplane marijuana loads, DEA agents chasing them and investigating me and eventually the business picked up with lawyers and doctors out of Texas, Louisiana and Detroit with the Michigan for Alliance Program. My best earner was 13 years being the operator of the University of Corpus Christi, Marine Biology Department winter 3 week student group. I made cheap money, about $6000 Bz, but it paid for the whole year in those days. Eventually, I built the ATOLL QUEEN motorsailer with help from many tourists, donating stuff, like sails, stove, compass and things. With the motorsailer I carried small and large groups. The biggest being the University of Corpus Christi, marine biology department annual expedition for three weeks. This consisted of around 22 students and scuba and camping gear they had and I took them around the Atolls and barrier reef island researching and learning about corals and fish. In the Vietnam War era, there was an influx of cheap living HIPPIES and the government eventually put a stop to that, as they had no money and were distressing the locals.
Ray Auxillou, Cap´n Ray in 1970´s. This photo was his poster as a traveling magician in Belize.
John Grief and family, an American who started Tourism on Ambergris Caye fishing village of San Pedro in last half of the 1960´s with a Cessna 172 airplane, the forerunner of which became TROPIC AIR - 50 years later.

Cap´n Ray ( Ray Auxillou ) started tourism in Caye Caulker about 1964 while teaching at the Primary School on the island, population at that time was 90 houses. He built his first speedboat, a 12 footer to work with. By 1967 he had completed a second boat, a 24 ft, open cabin cruiser called SAILFISH, beside the teachers house to work tourists out of the Bellevue Hotel on the mainland. By 1969 he had this two story wooden HIDEWAY LODGE, bought with shares in a company and shares invested from tourist friends. The lodge was wood and had eight bedrooms on the second floor on the beach at Caye Caulker. The next boat at the dock in this photo was built by the beach house of his and wife and became the famous 34 ft, twin diesel motor sailer ATOLL QUEEN during the 1970´s and 1980´s. This village of Caye Caulker gradually switched from lobster fishing to tourism and is now famous world wide with a population of around 3000.

Important Dates in Development of Tourism in Belize ( contributed by Lan Sluder on the Belize Culture Listserve )

1948 Vick Barothy opens what was first fishing lodge in British Honduras, a camp on the Belize River near Belize City, now Belize River Lodge

1953 Fort George Hotel, first major hotel in British Honduras, opens in Belize City with 36 rooms

1961 Reef Colony Club with a restaurant, pool and eight rooms, on the site of what is now Ramon’s Village, the dream of Vernon and Terry Hammon, first resort built on Ambergris Caye, was destroyed by Hurricane Hattie just before it was to open

1964 Tourism begins on Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, with visitors mostly from Belize City on day trips, Pioneering tourism full time seasons were John Grief on San Pedro, Ray Auxillou ( Cap´t Ray ) on Caye Caulker and Bert Foreman on Foreman´s Caye near Seargants Caye.

1965 Celi McCorkle opens four-room Holiday Hotel in San Pedro with husband John Grief.

1969 Paradise Hotel, owned by Jerry McDermott, opens in San Pedro (Phoenix Resort is now on the site of the Paradise Hotel)

1971 Jacques Cousteau visits Belize and introduces world to the Blue Hole tries to get scuba operations to give free guiding to Blue Hole.

197___ Ted Williams opens hotel in Placencia

1974 George and Carol Bevier open Rum Point Inn in Placencia; Elvi’s opens as take-out burger stand in her home in San Pedro

1970s San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Tony’s Inn and Hotel Maya in Corozal Town, Pelican Beach in

Dangriga, Hotel Mopan in Belize City and other early hotels open; Caye Caulker becomes a stop on the “Gringo Trail,” along with Isla Mujeres in the Yucatán and Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

1975 First dive boats begin operation in San Pedro, including Isla Mia and Reef Roamer

1977 Belize’s first national airline, Belize Airways Ltd., established by Barry Bowen and others

1981 Chaa Creek Lodge opens in Cayo

1984 Belize exhibits at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, introducing Belikin to the world

1985 Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) founded, an expansion of the Caribbean Hotel Association (later the Belize Hotel Association)

1988 Barry Bowen’s Chan Chich Lodge opens

1991 San Pedro Sun established, publishes weekly newspaper on Ambergris Caye; the largest

1993 Francis Ford Coppola opens Blancaneaux Lodge to the public hotel in Belize, the Ramada Royal Reef (now Princess Hotel) opens, with 120 rooms

1994 Tour guides first licensed

1996 Belize Tourism Board established

1998 The Blackstone Report, the first strategic plan for tourism in Belize, published; cruise ship tourists number around 14,000, mostly on small ships

2000 Belize’s first big casino opens at Princess Hotel in Belize City

2001 Tourism Village opens in Belize City and first large cruise ship visits

2003 Cruise tourism jumps from less than 50,000 in 2002 to 320,000 in 2003

2002 Overnight tourist arrives reach 200,000

2004 Cruise tourism to Belize peaks at around 850,000

2007 Overnight tourism arrivals reach 250,000; national hotel occupancy peaks at 44.3%


Dr. Alvaro Rosado in retirement with experimental farm in remote river location.

Thanks for the offer Peter but I managed to get one of the photos down to size and Manolo resized another so I will pass on initiating the pissing contest. Seriously I have been winging this farm thing ever since I started. I love a challenge and look for situations requiring unorthodox solutions. The isolated farm has provided me with lots of opportunities to hone my creative side - I have overcome most of the challenges using the trial and error method. I have licked the electricity problem with a genset I bought from you and 3 small solar systems (total available stored solar energy is 16 Kilowatt hours). The running water system is working well, I am using chicken and sheep shit for most of my fertilizer needs, about 4 years ago I got a small tractor across the river(using 2 small skiffs yoked together with a 60 hp outboard motor - boy, was that fun and did it have the adrenalin running) and three months ago I crossed a land rover which comes in very handy. When I decided to get into the Drip System I did some research on the net and bought my hoses and a Honda Gas Pump (125 GPM) - I learnt that I would need at east 10 PSI to open the weepers so I pondered on how to devise a system to control the pressure at 10 - 15 PSI so as not to rupture the drip hoses. After many early morning thinking sessions I decided on hooking up a 40 foot 3/4" PVC pipe against a Cieba tree and drilling holes at 5 foot intervals starting at 20 feet to indicate the pressure in the system calculating 2.3 feet elevation/PSI and installing 2 3/4" faucets to relieve the pressure if it went too high. Just before I bought the materials to set up that system during one of my early morning sessions it dawned on me that I could replace the 40 foot column with a $12.00 water pressure gauge. That system is now in place and with the pump running at minimum speed the guage shows little pressure in the system while delivering 325ccs/hr of water per drip outlet. Yes I actually placed a container under one of the drips and timed then measured the delivery rate. All my calculations will be based on field data as opposed to formulae. During the next two weeks I will be fine tuning the system and doing the necessary calculations to have it up and running. When I get the crops going I will start tackling the marketing aspect. I must say that I am enjoying the journey as much as I will the destination.


On Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 11:24 AM, Peter Singfield wrote:

At 08:40 AM 1/23/2011 -0600, you wrote:

Sorry but I tried to send the photo but it was rejected because it was too big. Maybe I will send it to Manolo to cut it down to an acceptable size.


Send one to mois off list and I'll demonstrate how it is "best" done.

Then send another to Manolo -- then one to Hugh - -and we will compare - -quality and sizes.

Maybe Oscar would like to pay me a visit to see what I am trying. After more than ten years of playing farmer (developing infrastructure ad nauseum) I have decided that its time to start some serious production. During the first week of January I started setting down a Drip Irrigation System to start production on a commercial basis. I am starting a half acre with vegetables and plan to expand to do another half acre for papaya and melons within the next few months. Some professional advice would be more than appreciated. I tried getting someone from Min. of Ag. in Belize City to visit but after more than a dozen empty promises I gave up on that and have been relying on my research on the internet and discussions with representatives from the various agric. supply houses. I will try to attach a photo of the progress to date. I expect to transplant some 600 seedlings within the next two weeks. Have lots of photos of the farm at various stages of development - before and after shots - but they might be too big to send through this medium.

You have easy water Alvaro - -so you can pull off drip -- here to the North drip is expensive in water wupplying for it.

One requires 20 times or more water to raise plants using drip than hand watering plant to plant.

There are two types of agriculture practice here in BZ. Commercial farming -- which can be small -- medium -- or large in scope.

And subsistence farming -- which is growing for one's table with a little extra to market to pay for the materials required --

I am presently working on water solutions for the second.

For the poor here in BZ Norde -- the only viable means of getting water for dry times is by hand dug wells.

Sure -- it would be nice for our GOB to have spent but a super tiny fraction of all the moneies borrowed and "lost" on a well drill -- so everyone could have had decent water and more than enough -- for small crop growing -- but that did not happen -- nor will it ever!!

The problem with dug wells -- especially when the dry hits -- ver little replacement flow.

If your lucky -- you might get 100 gallons of water up and out -- then wait four hours for that to replenish.

Worse yet -- this bottoms out the water in that well -- causing vicious erosion cycles -- which cause the bottom sides to continually collapse into the well. Huge labor to clean this out - -and must be done once every week or so.

The solution -- local style -- it not to take out more than say one bucket of water -- every 15 minutes or so. A bucket -- or rather small zinc pail -- being around 3 gallons.

So I have developed a simple inexpensive system to solve this problem.

And am in process of ordering the parts -- and will install one such -- soon.

The technology involves a special small diaphragm pump -- capacity 3/4 gpm -- uses but 1.9 amps -- 12 volts -- power.

I am ordering two from the US for proto-typing - -they cost $60.00 US each there - -but should it work well -- I will order much more directly from China -- for a prices of $10 US or less.

Some points --

1: These would run -- doing their cycling -- 24 hours per day -- using a 55 Watt 12 V solar panel - -and one car battery.

They will also work down a deep pipe well bore.

As you might already know -- I am investigating small wind pumps for deep wells as well.

Course -- one needs remember two things of vital importance.

What are you using for a pump Alvaro??

Have you done your flow calculations yet??

I dug up an ancient CD I had with numerous (like a thousand!!) engineering math formula programs -- all for the oldest DOS. The CD -- surprise suprise -- was still good -- I copied it to HD -- and then Googles up a DOS "patch" to make them all work.

A few of the formulas are specific to "flow" -- dia of pipe -- total length -- GPM -- etc.

My first client has been Fruta Bomba -- Papaya company. I am doing more and more of their pump work now.

Anyway Alvaro -- you have easy water -- I can build you a custom pump using that same diesel engine running your Genset -- it will last forever -- and cost the least amount of fuel compared to any other solution - -and deliver at least 80 GPM -- probably 100 plus --

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The escalation in numbers of cruise ships and larger size vessels, swamps local infra-structure in the Belize harbor port. 2010.

THE DEBATE ON HOW TO GET RID OF CRUISE SHIP TOURISM, OR CUT IT DOWN TO A MANAGEABLE SIZE CONTINUES ON THE BELIZE CULTURE LIST SERVE. ( To join the listserve debate send an email to: and put the word subscribe in the body of the message, but do not include any other headers or footers in the email.

From Charlie:
I was amazed and dismayed in reading the report on the cruise ship industry that Wendy sent.
Cruise ship passengers contribute so little compared to overnight visitors that it's no comparison.
Cruise ship passengers spend an average of $44 per visit plus pay a $7 head tax, $4 of which goes to a private corporation partially owned by one of the cruise lines. The remaining money goes to the BTB and the PACT fund. Plus, tour operators and others have to pay fees back to the cruise lines for the tourists that are sent to them by the cruise lines.
Overnight visitors spend an average of $96 per day, plus they stay 6.8 nights on average. So they are contributing 14 times the money than a cruise passenger. But wait! There's more! Overnight people pay nearly a $40 tax when flying out of the country or almost $20 if going out by ground -- like when I go to Guatemala on almost every trip. Plus, overnighters are likely to pay other taxes like general sales tax, dining tax, gasoline tax, etc., etc.
There is just no comparison. Plus, there are intangibles like pollution, dumping and other stuff the cruise ships are no doubt doing.
The coupon program to entice cruise people to come back for an overnight trip does not work. Anyone could have told you that because cruise people are cruise people, not adventure traveler types.
The cruise ships are taking everyone for a ride and not the kind you want. As the report notes, while it's too late to realistically cancel the whole mess there is absoltely no point in expanding it at all. Cap it off where it's at now in Belize City and do not send it down to Placencia or anywhere else.
Belize and other countries should band together and stop letting these cruise lines jerk them around like they are now. That was recommended in the report, too, but obviously nothing has been done.

--- On Sat, 1/22/11, Mary Toy wrote:

From: Mary Toy
Subject: Re: Bz-Culture: Hopefully Carnival will cut more cruise ships from Belize visitation schedule.
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2011, 5:11 AM

I’d say the majority of the people in the south don’t want cruise ships down here, either. You’ve seen what they’ve done to the places they visit in western, central and northern Belize. Why ever would we want them to come down here and do the same thing?
We already have enough problems from over fishing, unsustainable coastal and caye development and climate change to need any more problems from cruise ships and their passengers who spend little money in our country, chase away our overnight visitors and degrade the environment.
So, don’t send them OUR way.



Tunisia and the IMF's Diktats: How Macro-Economic Policy Triggers Worldwide Poverty and Unemployment
By Michel Chossudovsky
URL of this article:

Global Research, January 20, 2011

General Zine el Abidine Ben Ali , the defunct and deposed president of Tunisia is heralded by the Western media, in chorus, as a dictator.

The Tunisian protest movement is casually described as the consequence of an undemocratic and authoritarian regime, which defies the norms of the "international community".
But Ben Ali was not a "dictator". Dictators decide and dictate. Ben Ali was a servant of Western economic interests, a faithful political puppet who obeyed orders, with the active support of the international community.

Foreign interference in Tunisia's domestic affairs is not mentioned in the media reports. The food price hikes were not "dictated" by the Ben Ali government. They were imposed by Wall Street and the IMF.

The role of Ben Ali's government was to enforce the IMF's deadly economic medicine, which over a period of more than twenty years has served to destabilize the national economy and impoverish the Tunisian population.

Ben Ali as head of state did not decide on anything of substance. National sovereignty was foregone. In 1987, at the height of the debt crisis, the left nationalist government of Habib Bourguiba was replaced by a new regime, firmly committed to "free market" reforms.

Macroeconomic management under the helm of the IMF was in the hands of Tunisia's external creditors. Over the last 23 years, economic and social policy in Tunisia has been dictated by the Washington Consensus.

Ben Ali stayed in power because his government obeyed and effectively enforced the diktats of the IMF, while serving the interests of both the US and the European Union.
This pattern has occurred in numerous countries.
Continuity of the IMF's deadly reforms requires "regime replacement". The installation of a political puppet ensures the enforcement of the neoliberal agenda while also creating conditions for the eventual demise of a corrupt and unpopular government which has been draw upon to impoverish an entire population.

The Protest Movement
It is not Wall Street and the Washington based international financial institutions which are the direct target of the protest movement. The social implosion was directed against a government rather than against the interference of foreign powers in the conduct of government policy.

At the outset, the protests were not the result of an organized political movement directed against the imposition of the neoliberal reforms.
Moreover, there are indications that the protest movement was manipulated with a view to creating social chaos as well as ensuring political continuity. There are unconfirmed reports of armed militias conducting acts of repression and intimidation in major urban areas.

The important question is how will the crisis evolve? How will the broader issue of foreign interference be addressed by the Tunisian people?

From the standpoint of both Washington and Brussels, an unpopular authoritarian regime is slated to be replaced by a new puppet government. Elections are envisaged under the supervision of the so-called international community, in which case candidates would be pre-selected and approved.

Were this process of regime change to be carried out on behalf of foreign interests, the new proxy government would no doubt ensure the continuity of the neoliberal policy agenda which has served to impoverish the Tunisian population.

The interim government led by acting president Fouad Mebazza is currently in an impasse, with fierce opposition emanating from the trade union movement (UGTT). Mebazza has promised to "break with past", without however specifying whether this signifies a repeal of the neoliberal economic reforms.

Historical Background
The media in chorus have presented the crisis in Tunisia as an issue of domestic politics, without a historical insight. The presumption is that with the removal of "the dictator" and the instatement of a duly elected government, the social crisis will eventually be resolved.

The first "bread riots" in Tunisia date back to 1984. The January 1984 protest movement was motivated by a 100 percent hike in the price of bread. This hike had been demanded by the IMF under Tunisia's structural adjustment program (SAP). The elimination of food subsidies was a de facto condition of the loan agreement with the IMF.

President Habib Bourguiba, who played a historical role in liberating his country from French colonialism, declared a state of emergency in response to the riots:

While gunfire sounded, police and army troops in Jeeps and armored personnel carriers fanned out through the city to quell the "bread riot." The show of force finally brought an uneasy calm, but only after more than 50 demonstrators and bystanders were killed. Then, in a dramatic five-minute radio and television broadcast, Bourguiba announced that he was reversing the price hike. (Tunisia: Bourguiba Lets Them Eat Bread - TIME, January 1984)

Following president Bourguiba's retraction, the hike in the price of bread was reversed. Bourguiba fired his Minister of the Interior and refused to abide by the demands of the Washington Consensus.

The neoliberal agenda had nonetheless been instated, leading to rampant inflation and mass unemployment. Three years later, Bourguiba and his government were removed in a bloodless coup d'Etat, "on the grounds of incompetence", leading to the instatement of General Zine el Abidine Ben Ali as president in November 1987. This coup was not directed against Bourguiba, it was largely intended to permanently dismantle the nationalist political structure initially established in the mid-1950s, while also privatizing State assets.

The military coup not only marked the demise of post-colonial nationalism which had been led by Bourguiba, it also contributed to weakening the role of France. The Ben Ali government became firmly aligned with Washington rather than Paris.

Barely a few months following Ben Ali's November 1987 instatement as the country's president, a major agreement was signed with the IMF. An agreement had also been reached with Brussels pertaining to the establishment of a free trade regime with the EU. A massive privatization program under the supervision of the IMF-World Bank was also launched. With hourly wages of the order of Euro 0.75 an hour, Tunisia had also become a cheap labor haven for the European Union.

Who is the dictator?
A review of IMF documents suggests that from Ben Ali's inauguration in 1987 to the present, his government had faithfully abided by IMF-World Bank conditionalities, including the firing of public sector workers, the elimination of price controls over essential consumer goods and the implementation of a sweeping privatization program. The lifting of trade barriers ordered by the World Bank was conducive to triggering a wave of bankruptcies.

Following these dislocations of the national economy, cash remittances from Tunisian workers in the European Union became an increasingly important source of the foreign exchange earnings.
There are some 650,000 Tunisians living overseas. Total workers' remittances in 2010 were of the order of US$1.960 billion, an increase of 57 percent in relation to 2003. A large share of these remittances in foreign exchange will be used to service the country's external debt.

The Speculative Hike in World Food Prices
In September 2010, an understanding was reached between Tunis and the IMF, which recommended the removal of remaining subsidies as a means to achieving fiscal balance:

Fiscal prudence remains an overarching priority for the [Tunisian] authorities, who also see the need for maintaining a supportive fiscal policy in 2010 in the current international environment. Efforts in the last decade to bring down the public debt ratio significantly should not be jeopardized by a too lax fiscal policy. The authorities are committed to firmly control current expenditure, including subsidies,... IMF Tunisia: 2010 Article IV Consultation - Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia

It is worth noting that the IMF's insistence on fiscal austerity and the removal of subsidies coincided chronologically with a renewed upsurge in staple food prices on the London, New York and Chicago commodity exchanges. These price hikes are in large part the result of speculative trade by major financial and corporate agribusiness interests.

These hikes in food prices, which are the result of outright manipulation (rather than scarcity) have served to impoverish people Worldwide. The surge in food prices constitutes a new phase of the process of global impoverishment.

"The media has casually misled public opinion on the causes of these price hikes, focusing almost exclusively on issues of costs of production, climate and other factors which result in reduced supply and which might contribute to boosting the price of food staples. While these factors may come into play, they are of limited relevance in explaining the impressive and dramatic surge in commodity prices.

Spiralling food prices are in large part the result of market manipulation. They are largely attributable to speculative trade on the commodity markets. Grain prices are boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations on the New York and Chicago mercantile exchanges. ...

Speculative trade in wheat, rice or corn, can occur without the occurrence of real commodity transactions. The institutions speculating in the grain market are not necessarily involved in the actual selling or delivery of grain.

The transactions may use commodity index funds which are bets on the general upward or downward movement of commodity prices. A "put option" is a bet that the price will go down, a "call option" is a bet that the price will go up. Through concerted manipulation, institutional traders and financial institutions make the price go up and then place their bets on an upward movement in the price of a particular commodity.

Speculation generates market volatility. In turn, the resulting instability encourages further speculative activity.
Profits are made when the price goes up. Conversely, if the speculator is short-selling the market, money will be made when the price collapses.
This recent speculative surge in food prices has been conducive to a Worldwide process of famine formation on an unprecedented scale." (Michel Chossudovsky, Global Famine, Global Research, May 2, 2008,

From 2006 to 2008, there was a dramatic surge in the prices of all major food staples including rice, wheat and corn. The price of rice tripled over a five year period, from approximately 600$ a ton in 2003 to more than 1800$ a ton in May 2008.

(Michel Chossudovsky,, For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Chapter 7 Global Poverty and the Economic Crisis in Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, editors, The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Global Research, Montreal 2010, )

The recent surge in the price of grain staples is characterized by a 32 percent jump in the FAO's composite food price index recorded in the second half of 2010.
"Soaring prices of sugar, grain and oilseed drove world food prices to a record in December, surpassing the levels of 2008 when the cost of food sparked riots around the World, and prompting warnings of prices being in "danger territory".

An index compiled monthly by the United Nations surpassed its previous monthly high – June 2008 – in December to reach the highest level since records began in 1990. Published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index tracks the prices of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, and has risen for six consecutive months." (Jill Treanor, World food prices enter 'danger territory' to reach record high, The Guardian, January 5, 2011)

Bitter irony: Against a background of rising food prices, the IMF recommends the removal of the subsidies with a view to reaching the goal of fiscal austerity.
Manipulating the Data on Poverty and Unemployment
An atmosphere of social despair prevails, people's lives are destroyed.
While, the protest movement in Tunisia is visibly the direct result of a process mass impoverishment, the World Bank contends that the levels of poverty have been reduced as a result of the free market reforms adopted by the Ben Ali government.

According to the World Bank's country report, the Tunisian government (with the support of the Bretton Woods institutions) was instrumental in reducing the levels of poverty to 7 percent (substantially lower than that recorded in the US and the EU).

Tunisia has made remarkable progress on equitable growth, fighting poverty and achieving good social indicators. It has sustained an average 5 percent growth rate over the past 20 years with a steady increase in per capita income and a corresponding increase in the welfare of its population that is underscored by a poverty level of 7% that is amongst the lowest in the region.

The steady increase in per capita income has been the main engine for poverty reduction. ... Rural roads have been particularly important in helping the rural poor connect to urban markets and services. Housing programs improved the living conditions of the poor and also freed up income and savings to spend on food and non-food items with resulting positive impacts on poverty alleviation. Food subsidies, which have been targeted to the poor, albeit not optimally, have also helped the urban poor. (World Bank Tunisia - Country Brief)

These poverty figures, not to mention the underlying economic and social "analysis", are outright fabrications. They present the free market as the engine of poverty alleviation. The World Bank's analytical framework is used to justify a process of "economic repression", which has been applied Worldwide in more than 150 developing countries.

With a mere 7 percent of the population living in poverty (as suggested by the World Bank "estimate") and 93 percent of the population meeting basic needs in terms of food, housing, health and education, there would be no social crisis in Tunisia.

The World Bank is actively involved in cooking the data and distorting the social plight of the Tunisian population. The official rate of unemployment is 14 percent, the actual level of unemployment is much higher. Recorded youth unemployment is of the order of 30 percent. Social services, including health and education have collapsed under the brunt of the IMF-World Bank economic austerity measures.

Tunisia and the World
What is happening in Tunisia is part of a global economic process which destroys people's lives through the deliberate manipulation of market forces.
More generally, "the harsh economic and social realities underlying IMF intervention are soaring food prices, local-level famines, massive lay-offs of urban workers and civil servants and the destruction of social programs. Internal purchasing power has collapsed, health clinics and schools have been closed down, hundreds of millions of children have been denied the right to primary education." (Michel Chossudovsky, Global Famine, op cit.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Belize now produces it´s own BUTANE GAS for cooking.

BNE the oil producer is now selling in the Cayo District a locally produced BUTANE GAS for cooking purposes. Production is only about 30% of the Belizean market, so imports are still required for Butane gas. This is a step in the right direction. The price of locally produced butane gas is expected to be $3 cheaper than imported.



Finally this week, Carnival Cruise Lines cut two floating package hotel visits to our beautiful Belize this week. We don´t want to tell them how to run their business, but perhaps they should consider helping us out further and cutting their floating hotel package cruises to Belize, a total of 50% of current visits, and maybe going to smaller vessels.
We appreciate this considered action on the part of Carnival Cruise lines this week. Belize is way too small and all these NEW gargantuan cruise ship floating International Corporate hotels have overloaded our infra-structure and service capability in the country of Belize. Much as we appreciate the little dribble of the few dollars into the economy coming from their business, the cheap package tourist cruise ship floating hotel business, brings in people who spend too little. All they want are cheap things, budget items, and surveys have shown their cheap customers do not want to spend more than $5 usa on a local souvenier during a visit. A $10 usa purchase is a big item to Carnival Cruise line tourist customers. Very few of them spend anything at all, having budgeted everything to be spent on board the floating hotel. This does not even pay for the toilet paper they use when on land. Still, we do appreciate the advertising for our jewel of a tourist destination, presented by Carnival Cruise Lines and we hope their customers will come again, but as week long overnight visitors instead.
We do appreciate Carnival Cruise Lines cutting their ship visits, it is a good solution to an ongoing problem in our small society. Perhaps they can take their customers to Puerto Rico, or Alaska, or the Turkish island coast, the Adriatic and the Yugoslavia coast, or some place else?
The rapid massive growth in the world cruise ship, floating tourist hotels, in the case of Belize, has put our heavily mortgaged shuttle water taxis serving cruise ships, in danger of losing their homes and boat, to debt servicing. The expansion of gargantuan floating hotels called cruise ships, offering budget all inclusive packages might be good for these International floating hotel corporations, but they would be better to go someplace else more suitable. Perhaps our government can set a rule on the size of cruise ships allowed to visit our much desired tourist destination.
It is possible that our government can build a second cruise ship destination in Belize, down in the Southern part of the country. At least Deep River should allow a dock for cruise ships to come along side? Since our country is already being run on FOREIGN LOANS and such a dock would cost more loans, perhaps our government can arrange to have Carnival Cruise Lines build the dock and our government credit monies spent, to tax write offs, on future visits? Or some such deal, were we do not have to borrow money ourselves as a country to facilitate this uncontrollable, highly risky and volatile cheap business?
Anyway, THANKYOU Carnival Cruise Lines for your courtesy in cutting ship visits. We appreciate the sentiment.

Thursday, January 20, 2011



Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Hopkins: #10 in Top 10 Best Hotels for Service in the WORLD

Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Hopkins: #2 in Top 10 Best Hotels for Service in Central & South America

The Phoenix Resort, San Pedro: #2 in Top 10 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in Central & South America

The Phoenix Resort, San Pedro: #7 in Top 10 Hotels for Service in Central & South America

Coco Plum Island Resort (private caye off Hopkins): #4 in Top 10 Best Hotels for Romance in Central & South America

Hickatee Cottages, Punta Gorda: #7 in Top 10 Best Inns & B&Bs in Central & South America

Las Terrazas, North Ambergris: #7 in Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Central & South America

Victoria House, San Pedro: #8 in Top 10 Best Hotels for Romance in Central & South America

Xanadu Island Resort, San Pedro: #10 in Top 10 Best Hotels for Service in Central & South America


PACZ TOURS the best tour business in San Ignacio is reporting a modest but comfortable winter tourist season in Western Belize.


The ONE EYE horse with Rastaman his jockey.

The next and last third horse race to be held in the TRIPLE CROWN is on February 19th, 2011. The third race of this endurance series will be a 25 miler. Check out The 2nd race was held last Saturday. All reports were that the attendance was fantastic.
There are other speed events. Mainly with barrels, poles, flags and relays. The races are held at the Equestrian Academy near the Z curve in the Western Highway crossing the country from East to West. This is at mile 53.5, close to Ontario Village.

New colonial style party appointed Acting Police Superintendent Mrs Louise Willis to take post in Western Belize.

Acting Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Louise Willis is ready to take charge of the TWIN TOWNS police station in Western Belize.

Mrs. Willis takes charge on January 24th., 2011 at the police station abutting the San Ignacio end of the HAWKSWORTH BRIDGE, which spans the Macal river gorge, tying the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio together. She formerly served in the capital of the country at BELMOPAN, in the capacity of Commander of Planning, Performance, Research and Inspection. She once previously had served in a sub station in the Western Border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen.


El Pilar, ancient town complex.
Monkeys at El Pilar, an ancient Mayan city complex of 20,000 population.
UCSB to Continue Maya Research
updated: Jan 19, 2011, 4:00 PM
Source: UCSB

Dignitaries from Belize will travel to Santa Barbara later this month to join UC Santa Barbara in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support a collaborative research program at the ancient Maya city of El Pilar and to launch a management program titled "Archaeology Under the Canopy."

Straddling the borders of Belize and Guatemala, El Pilar was mapped for the first time in 1983 by UCSB archeologist Anabel Ford, who has been working in the Maya forest area since 1972. In 1993, she initiated a campaign to protect the ancient Maya center in Belize and Guatemala, and today the site has protected status in both countries, as well as parallel management plans.

Signing of the MOU, which renews the agreement between UCSB and Belize signed in 2005, will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 24, in the Chancellor's Conference Room on the fifth floor of Cheadle Hall. The document will be signed by UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang; Ford, who is director of UCSB's MesoAmerican Research Center; Sarah Fenstermaker, director of the Institute of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research (ISBER), the organized research unit at UCSB that supports the MesoAmerican Research Center; Randall Fox, secretary of the nonprofit organization Exploring Solutions Past ~ The Maya Forest Alliance; Diane Haylock, president of the Belize National Institute of Culture and History; and George Thompson, acting director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology.

Exploring the Past ~ The Maya Forest Alliance and UCSB's MesoAmerican Research Center are hosting the landmark visit, which also includes a reception to honor the dignitaries.

"This MOU underscores the importance of our international relationships and the value of Mesoamerica, literally at our back door," said Ford. "Having an opportunity to celebrate the value of research, the importance of exchange, and the critical quality of conservation is in and of itself remarkable. That UCSB can foster this relationship is proof of forward thinking. Here is where the past can help the future of the Maya forest."

At its most vibrant - the period from A.D. 600 to 900 - El Pilar had a population of more than 20,000 people who lived in a mosaic landscape of city homes and gardens. This contrasted with areas of forest reserve and agricultural fields, such as present-day traditional Maya forest gardens. Today, El Pilar is at the heart of a 5,000-acre archaeological reserve linking Belize and Guatemala and celebrating the culture and nature of the Maya forest.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011



by Ray Auxillou, Jan. 19th.,2011.

The Belize economy is changing albeit slowly. The current UDP government is having difficulty adjusting to the realities of the world competition and business adjustments necessary to bring about a more flexible Belize competing on the world market stage. There have been lectures by imported persons instructing the bureaucracy on TRANSFORMATIONAL ECONOMICS. A new lecturer recently referred to the same subject but called it something else. The recent lecture was about the past two hundred years of GDP and an overall look at the economy of this geographical area for the last 450 years. In particular he showed statistically where at one time 200 years ago, for a long time, that the GDP of what is now an independent Belize guaranteed by the United Nations, was number 1, in the Caribbean basin of some 30 nations for a long period of time, but has slowly slipped steadily down to modern times. For the past 50 years we have been number 22 in a list of 30 countries of the Caribbean basin. Migration and immigration were a couple of the factors involved here. Back in the early 1960´s under the regime of George Price as First Minister under a colonial government, many educated Belizeans were forced into exile abroad by political use of the apparatus of the government system, to punish perceived debaters on things economic and political, by an autocrat.
Things have changed a bit politically, but there is still a problem economically because of the domination of the port of Belize City, the old colonial capital, over the election process and thus the control of the nation´s policies and government, by what are called ROYAL CREOLES. Those of the port who think and act in terms of party politics, plunder, nepotism, and seem to be trained and educated in the old colonial mindset of monopolies and party politics.
The most glaring example of this political side show and drag on the GDP and general economic decline, or stagnation, is continued by the current government in office, the UDP party who hold the reins of government. The example would have to do with the private sector, former citrus factory, nowadays more known as a juice factory. Belize had an established exports of whole grapefruit and oranges at one time, followed eventually by concentrate juices for these two fruits. The process of economic advancement eventually led to a foreign investor from the Eastern Caribbean building a new factory. The new factory under control of the Eastern Caribbean investor has broadened the product line of different fruit juices, instigated VALUE ADDED PROCESSING as a component of what was the well known familiar citrus industry. Belize has always been a small player in the field of citrus. We will remain for the next two decades a small player in the widened export finished retail products of more expanded tropical fruit juices, exporting to a niche retail market at higher profits for Belizeans and factory shareholders.
The problem lies with the outlook of the political cabinet. The ownership of the juice factory and control thereof has been under siege. Part of that destructive process has been the UDP government. The shares in this private sector investment is owned 51% of shares in an older Citrus Growers Association and the Eastern Caribbean Investor owning the other 49% shares, bolstered by protective investment agreements. In the meantime, restructuring developments in the newer developing fruit juice exports for the higher profitable, retail markets share holders 51% ownership, has been diluted by internal fighting in the CGA, as it is called and many members have split and after a Supreme Court case formed an alternative citrus Association. There are now two fruit associations, with the older and declining older one, supplying grapefruit and oranges, but retaining both the debts of that older grouping and the shares in the new juice factory. The newer Association of citrus growers, plus those groves owned by the factory itself, dominate the fruit product going through the new juice factory. The newer association lost their claim to those 51% of shares, as also they sacrificed the debts owed by that mismanaged older Association.
In the normal way of cutthroat business and the economics of business flexibility, the older CGA cannot pay their debts, without getting control of the Board of Directors of the newer juice factory, and plundering the value of the new juice factory by adding on loans, and lawsuits abound to do so. Recently the UDP government has been giving GRANTS and LOANS used by this older CGA smaller producing group, to pay for the lawsuits. This is an interference in the war of progress in the juice business. Both the new association of citrus growers deserve the right to buy some of those 51% shares on the open market, as do also private business people investors of a wider Belizean interest and also those newer people producing ground fruits like papaya, pineapple, papaya, coconuts, and other fruit trees like limes, and mamy apple. By selling shares, the older CGA get to clean their slate of their debts and loans. The juice factory is broadening it´s markets and capabilities. By the UDP government assisting the smaller older CGA make trouble and interfering in the economic adjustments by issuing GRANTS and LOANS to the older CGA, that are defeating economic diversification, increasing of exports and letting the battle for ownership shift to a broader shareholder base. Probably well intentioned, it is presumably hard for the UDP Cabinet to ignore financial aid, using our taxpayer dollars, but they should do so. The CGA is mismanaged and in debt and they have one good asset. It is only fair that new Belizean players enter into the competition for a piece of the juice factory shares. The CGA should be forced by their debts to sell off those shares they have as needed to pay off what they owe. Not be subsidized by the UDP Cabinet to the detriment of the new producer players needing that factory, those in particular growing the newer fruit crops, which undoubtedly over the next two decades will expand their plantings.
The problem is multiple. Partly it is votes. The older CGA represent about a 1000 votes in the next election and the UDP are gambling that their use of tax money to finance the CGA with more debts, loans and grants will pay off in the next election. This is a two edged sword, because there are a couple of years left before the next election and other Belizean growers of different kinds of tropical fruits are going to resent their exclusion from the economic shift in share holder ownership of this newer juice factory. Which represents a major paradigm shift in export products.
Not apparently known by local Belizean participants in our provincialism, is a paradigm shift in the wider world markets for beverage sales competition. Fruit juices, particularly tropical fruit juices are finding new bigger expanding markets. The major players and Coca Cola is foremost among them is buying up factories such as our juice factory, all over the world. They have vending machines now in colleges, schools and universities dispensing not only traditional soft drinks, but also fruit juices. The new vending machines are tied to central computers worldwide and each time a customer buys a coconut water, or mango juice, or any other kind of the newer vending machine beverages, the statistics are shot each night back to sophisticated computers telling the International corporate world headquarters, what exactly are the most popular new drinks in the world and local regional markets. Coca Cola is on a buying spree, they are worldwide, have the money and well placed. Their growth has been stagnant, but they are intent on staying ahead in the beverage retail field. Undoubtedly one day they, or some other competitor will gobble up the shares of our very small juice factory. In the new marketing studies, strangely enough, coconut water is coming out very high in the popular ratings. Belize cannot stay out of this world village and competition. We are tiny in production, but with the new juice factory everything we can produce, can be exported and sold.
It behooves the UDP Cabinet to stay out of the struggle for ownership of the new juice factory. Indeed, the only role the government really has, is to enable expansion of alternate crops, like pineapples and other fruits to be made into juice for exports. The recent grants and loans given to the CGA are only delaying a modernization and restructuring process that needs to find it´s own conclusion, based on good management, dividends and profits.

Monday, January 17, 2011


The difference would be in colors, designs and bird and other motifs.

Now we have to find where we can import the wool from in different colors?