Sunday, October 7, 2012

Belize - The Real Deal, Doug Singh local TV Program on government education for bureaucrats.

  I only caught on Sunday the last ten minutes of the REAL DEAL TV Program, run by Doug Singh.  The guest was BEL CAR representative and he was talking about a new machine they have just installed, to sort beans for export in Spanish Lookout.  It seems that BEL CAR over in Spanish Lookout have had problems meeting criteria from BAHA, to qualify to export beans by local regulations.  In reponse, BEL CAR has bought a machine from Japan, they have installed in the bean sorting line, that sorts beans.  An infra red light shines on beans as they drop from a single bean conveyor, as the bean passes through the light, if the color does not register right, a puff of air sorts the beans and blows rejects into a separate line.  The three persons from government, of the four on this REAL DEAL program, were astonished.  I have no understanding why they should be astonished.  They are supposed to be running the bureaucracy and our government,  and should understand these things.  In fact they should be in the forefront of the leadership role, recommending  and advising technical improvements. You can buy all kinds of gadgets for processing anything.  On line catalogues have hundreds of thousands of such different machinery to meet our needs.  Somehow our bureaucrats who are supposed to assist and serve are so far behind the times in thinking, they appear  to be a chain and cannon ball attached around the neck of the productive private sector.  We have to drag them kicking and screaming into the modern age and still they lag ten years behind the times.
  Why some entrepreneur is not producing tea bags for export, using local herbs, like medicinal grass and other stuff, is beyond me. The world is wide open for this product.  Or Ginger biscuits to dip in your tea.  We import from Sri Lanka, ginger biscuits that can be made locally and exported.  Something wrong somewhere?
  One government representative went on to say something about the local market as a source for starting businesses.  That statement reflected the prevalent thinking in Belize of the 1970’s and 1980’s.  That bureaucrat is obsolete and to my way of thinking should not be holding ANY position in government outside of a minor mid level, rote clerical position. Certainly not any kind of leadership role.  I take offense that the government bureaucracy are still thinking in terms of first concentrating on fabricating, or making products first, for, our very small local market.  WHAT NONSENSE IS THIS?  The coming of the internet has provided Belize with a paradigm shift, the opening of trade relations with the Guatemalan and Salvadoranean market gives Belize a much, much, larger local market immediately.  No longer are products first designed small scale for our local market.  Nowadays, you skip that stage and go straight to foreign exporting.  If the government bureaucrats do not understand this basic change in making things to export throughout the world, in Belize, they are outmoded and need to be either re-trained, or traded for younger persons coming into government service who are more worldly and internet savvy.
  For example:  There is a world wide internet market for a cheap cardboard telescope, roughly 22,000 per month. Sold over the internet.  The parameters for export require the telescope be made by assembly line ( using manual labor ).  The two tubes for the telescope are cardboard tubes.  The costing structure is such that the finished telescope must be $5 Belize.  The wholesale/retail  market overseas  price is $24 Bz, plus shipping , or by postage.  The cardboard tubes must be made here.  You do that by importing brown paper rolls and using a wood spindle, wrap thin paper that is wet, around it in strips and let them  dry. Voila!  You have your cardboard tubes.  Same with the two lenses required, which can be plastic, or glass.  You import by the sheet and cut your lense blanks and buy another machine similar as used for making spectacles in Belize. Then grind your own.  The metal collars on each end, can be made with  any hydraulic hand press, on sale at Universal hardware in Spanish Lookout.  Cheap machine, more like a car jack than anything.  Again, you buy aluminum sheet, presumably from Koops Sheet Metal in Spanish Lookout and stamp out  your collars for the ends of your telescope.  Packaging and printing are problems; ( lithograph another business for Belize ) nobody yet in Belize is producing packaging that is color printed.  You can get it from Guatemala though.  These are throw away telescopes, so cheap; schools can buy them for astronomy classes.  If they are damaged by children, not much loss to the buyer.  That’s what happened to the one I imported from over the internet.  Light manufacturing for export is needed.  No longer do Belize entrepreneurs require the small local market as a startup.  You manufacture to export now, from the BEGINNING, and in  your quality control process, the OVERPRODUCTION, or flawed rejects, will end up on the local Belize market.  That happens in Guatemala and Honduras that I have had experience with right now, and has for the past 20 years.  Good roads everywhere are there now.  You make something to sell, and in many cases, Mexicans, Salvadoraneans and Guatemalans drive into this country and come knocking on your door to buy.   Canada wants EVERYTHING we can produce,  Canadian buyers send me emails via my BLOG continuously.  Mostly they want raw commodities. They benefit then from the middle man processing approach.
  One good comment from the panel, was that the Belize government needs to adjust regulations and thinking, to form SMALLER  farming groups, than the 25 member minimum COOPERATIVE size.  Smaller farming groups are required for assistance.  In Guatemala, you find these small groups and cooperatives ALL OVER, in every village and town, containing three or more such groups.  Particularly in the mountainous West.  Mention was also made for contract farming.  That too is common in our neighbor in Guatemala.  I myself was astounded with a chat recently, with a Cabinet Minister  that  showed experience and thinking of 40 years ago, on our relations with Guatemala.  When I tried to explain that Guatemala has changed a lot in the past 25 years, I was met with scoffing and disbelief.  A mindset that is outmoded. My mentioning that even the remotest country mountain village now has paved asphalt road access, at least 20% of the village  adults are driving their own pickup trucks and 70% of the small remote previously poor,  village children, are carrying cell phones, to keep contact with Momma when going to school, which are not cheap to use, as a mark of the rise of the standard of living in Guatemala.  We have a lot to learn from the Republic  of Guatemala in recent years, and are not learning anything yet, with  our  Cabinet made up of Ministers who are frozen obsolete in their thinking and unable to adapt to a changing world.  Guatemala prices have zoomed in the past 5 years to the cost of the USA in tourism.  Showing a changing country across the border, with a higher standard of living than the old timers in Belize that do not travel,  can seemingly envision?  Better send some Cabinet Ministers and bureaucrats on travel trips around Guatemala, using the bus system, particularly the Western part with the heaviest population and manufacturing  and processing employment. Assign them a statistical study project they have to write and turn in when they return.

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