Wednesday, February 8, 2012



As Bobby Lopez of the VIP called in this morning, he said that 2009 was his best year for selling furniture, and last year was his worst. He has gone from 60 employees down to 9 and now his biggest business is making coffins for the dead.
That story can be told in so many businesses in Belize. BBB shared this morning that from a membership of 328 four years ago they are down to 156, the rest having gone out of business in the last four years.
These are real numbers and not pie in the sky.
Hope that you are well otherwise.
Francis Gegg

- It is not only that: I heard one story on the Caye here, that a casual day pay worker, who dropped in when needed, or as he felt like, as an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, was regarded by Social Security as a salaried worker in their eyes. They sued the owner for back social security taxes and fines. The investor, had a full house of tourists. Anyway it went to court, but the court is 30 miles round trip away on the neighboring island of Ambergris Caye. The trip takes a full day off from work, and $30 or so in water taxi costs, plus a meal. The court case went on and on, and was postponed, adjourned and so forth, a number of times, so many trips were involved at loss of time and expense. Finally the tourist operator did not make the trip to the next island for court, after numerous delays and unsatisfactory court solution. The court IMMEDIATELY passed a GUILTY VERDICT in absentinia. Then Social security came to the tourist establishment, with a full house of tourists ( a very small place of 4 rooms ), with a lien, ( crowfooting they call it ) police and truck, and removed all the furniture out of the rooms from under the tourists occupying them. Frantic phone calls around the political establishment and the Social Security people were told to bring the furniture back. IMAGINE the CHAOS in the middle of the high season? It turned out cheaper to pay the damned Social Security extortion.

In my own case, I was forced when I had my FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS HOSTEL to use a Belize Tourist Board book, for hotel renting rooms, when I was selling only beds in a dormitory. I complained over three years for something better, but was ignored by the civil servants at BTB. Each hotel manager, clerk in the BTB that replaced the one before, would give me new verbal instructions over the phone, how to fill out the booklet form, that was not designed for a HOSTEL renting beds. Each new civil servant gave me different instructions. Finally one new civil service clerk, simply FINED me $100 for not doing it right. I was unable to do it right, not my fault.
I sent them a cheque and a note, saying I had closed the business and it remains closed to this day. Who the hell can operate with crazy assed, swell headed amateur civil servants? Civil servants in Belize don´t have enough to do, they invent work for themselves as entertainment, at your expense. Too many MAKE WORK JOBS in the government.

These government workers are supposed to be helpful and work with business, not see them as some sort of challenge, because they have nothing much to do and are chatting in the office and twiddling their thumbs. You cannot work with any Belize Government. Not necessarily the politicians, it is the civil service. They do not understand their role in running an economy. Better not to be in business in Belize and do something outside the country. Which is what I do now, via the internet. Give another country the taxes. Shame, but you get tired and exhausted trying to deal with the civil service in Belize. Much as you want to help your country grow.

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