Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Well my youngest daughter Tina, a sort of wild hellion, who has travelled the world and runs Tinas Backpackers Hostel on the beach at Caye Caulker posts a BLOG called Life in a Banana Republic. Fairly humorous too. Surprised her old Dad no end.
Couple of guests and her took a water taxi and went for the bramming at Gales Point Lagoon village on the peninsular. Drinking and dancing day and night. Great party!
Her Dad RAY
We have a lot of fun in the Western Belize Recreational Area, this is the annual rodeo held at the Belmopan Show Grounds. The second photo is the rodeo held in the more Northern Heartland area of the Belize agriculture and industrial area at the Mennonite community of BLUE CREEK, of the country of Belize.
Hostel dormitory accomodations and one bedroom furnished overnight tourist apartments in Santa Elena Town, a horse riding community. http://folkmusicfl.tripod.com/adventuresinbelize/
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
BLUE CREEK Mennonite teenage boys compete against Spanish Lookout Teenagers in trail bike obstacle course 2008.
Plus TV the best television in Belize was showing the Belmopan Fair Grounds trail bike racing this past year of 2008. First Prize was $1000 and the competition was between teenagers from Blue Creek, a Northern Mennonite Settlement farming colony and their more southern competition teenagers at Spanish Lookout Mennonite Settlement colony. The two bikes most in evidence were the Honda and Kawasaki Trail motorbikes. The Mennonite teenage kids do wheelies ( riding on rear wheel alone ) and were jumping as far as 80 feet on the dirt trail bike obstacle course. Competition was intense held at the Belmopan Show Grounds.
San Jose Succotz Marching Band, Cayo District, Western Belize Recreational Area
Credit for photo to Margaret Johnson. San Jose Succotz Village is across the Western Highway and ferry location to the Xununtanich Mayan Temple ruins on the opposite hill above the town and Mopan River which seperates them.
This photo was shot in late evening of Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel. It didn't even show the lower main building as the building was obscured by coconut and breadfruit trees. The three story annex is vaguely seen in the background though.
WHAT we need is a volunteer to come to Belize and help here in HILLVIEW with creating an arts and crafts. Somebody who can do pottery, wood carving and that sort of thing.
This photo has some okarinas, parrots, flexible wood snake and flexible wood crocodile for tourist souvenirs. We would at FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS ADVENTURE HOSTEL, be willing to provide workshop assistance and some tools to any volunteer wishing to live here for six months or so and aid in attempting to create and teach arts and crafts for the tourist trade.
Box 276, San Ignacio Town Post Office, Belize
tel: 663 5580
NEWS ABOUT WESTERN BELIZE
Home website for Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel and information.
The old Chinese guy retired at Central Farm and the Taiwanese Mission new agriculture manager is SPECIALIST Kun-Mu Cheng, or in Spanish they call him Miguel. He was transferred from a posting in Panama to Belize. Here we are looking at the best growing tomato in Belize they are trying, which is the POLINA. This couple of rows of tomatos are fantastic. They are growing medium large and in large clumps. He tells me he turned over chicken manure in the planting bed a few weeks before planting. He is getting a better result than I had last year. Probably because this is the cool season with lots of rain?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency, Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno was the brains behind the organization of the conference held across the border in the State of Quintana Roo, in the border town of Chetumal. We first heard of the conference some two weeks after it took place, from a Reporter Newspaper article by William Ysaguirre out of the coastal port of Belize City. The conference was held earlier this month on December 11th, 2008.
Mexico was looking to export more goods to Belize and buy raw materials. Belizeans attending the conference were looking to increase their exports to Mexico and were seeking to shift from primary products to more finished products with Value Added light manufacturing. Since Belize only has about 300,000 people, there is not yet a lot of things the Belizean producers are doing in the light manufacturing field. The major hurdle for Belizean producers right now is a market for finished products. Most interest for Belizeans was in the food agro-processing field.
The Belize delegation was led by Nancy Names, with the title of Director of Foreign Trade. The name is new to us here in Western Belize. First time that Belizeans even knew out here in the Western Belize Industrial, Agricultural and Recreational Area and had even heard of this person and job title.
Other persons of interest at the conference across the northern border of Belize in Chetumal, were Kim Aikman of the Belize City, port town Chamber of Commerce, also President Luis Javier Ortiz Cardin of CANACOSERVYTUR which is an anacronym for the National Mexican Chamber of Commerce – tourism and services section, there were members from CANACOSERVYTU the Hotel and Tourism Industry entrepreneurial and construction industry in Mexico. Also Mexico’s Secretary of Economic Development Francisco Alor Quezada. Belizean Minister of Economic Development, Commerce and Industry, Honourable Erwin Contreras addressed the gathering in Chetumal. Jose Albeto Olonso Ovando the State Secretary of Quintana Roo, planning and regional Development delivered the closing address of the conference. Other Mexican talkers were Chetumal business chairman, Mario Rendon Monforte and Jose Julio Aranda Manzanero, a delegate from the Secretariat for the Economy, Mayor of Chetumal, Andres Ruiz Morcillo also spoke.
Interested Belizeans present, were from Running W and Country Meat Products in Spanish Lookout, the Heartland southern section of the organized Mennonite industrial and agriculture producing area of Western Belize. Currently cattle are exported live to Mexico, but the local Belizean industry is more intent on exporting value added meat products to Mexico, like beef sausages, pork, ham and bacon. Belizean cottage industry entrepreneurial people are interested in exporting hot pepperoni similar to Bridgeport pepperoni in the USA and beef chewing jerky, in vacuum packed plastic. Experiments in these two processed food items are on going right now. Other producers are interested in exporting Belizean liquors and citrus products and even sugar markets are needed. Vacuum packed lettuce leaves just met with experimental failure for shelf longevity.
In the finished product line, Marie Sharpe hot sauce was represented in Chetumal, but unlikely to be able to compete with Mexican hot sauces. Our local hot sauce is made for the North American gringo palate and is so mild, we use it at home as a sandwich spread under a layer of Marmite. The last trip through Mexico I had some GREEN hot sauce in the same sized bottle as Marie Sharps and two drops of that green hot sauce made my forehead break out in beads of sweat. Great stuff! Beats Marie Sharps hot sauce. We are more likely to import this green Mexican stuff here. As a gourmet hot sauce afficianado I love hot stuff. There is a Chinese restaurant in Miami at the shopping mall at 37th ave and 11 street, that produces Mustard so hot, that it is like a fire hose blowing through your nasal passages and sinus cavities. I have been unable to get the ingredients and recipe either for the mustard in Miami, or the green hot sauce in Mexico. Experiments have failed to produce the same heat. Other would be exporters from Belize to Mexico present, were Western Dairies who produce ice cream and milk among other things. Belize has a shortage of milk cow farm operations. Our local Hillview cheese factory has the devil of a time getting milk to make cheese. Also Bel Car which is a cleaning and packing company for the production and sale of grains and beans that are exported. Even a Belmopan company called Unique Co. Ltd. a Belizean/Taiwanese run outfit in our capital, which makes Belizean handicrafts and gift items. Out in Western Belize some pottery is made, hammocks, wood carvings, jewelry, loom produced weavings and other things for the tourist trade, books of fiction, artwork painting, but they are still disorganized and individual crafts sold to local tourists. It is seemingly impossible to get nylon colored string for hammock making from Merida and the Guatemalan stuff is not nylon and breaks easily. The problem with Mexican stuff for the Twin Towns of Western Belize is how to get it here from Chetumal? Nobody has been able to develop a steady market either with the cruise ship trade, or offshore on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The problem seems to be local store buyers want stuff on credit, or consignment and it is next to difficult, if not impossible to collect your money. The tourist production stuff languishes thus, without a middle man buyer. Acrylic painting by artists seem to have a steady buyer someplace down in the port and local Twin Town artists in this area are producing and selling these small scale. Funny enough local Western artists have been told to tone down the quality of their artistic talents and paint crude childrens stuff, as there seems to be no market for good art?
Coincidently, there is an ad this week for MAERSK OCEAN SHIPPING LINE now serving the port of Belize City, with a new service to Venezuela, once thought as a ready market for Belizean value added products under the ALBA initiative by President Chavez. Government Cabinet Ministers, pooh-poohed that idea of barter trade with Venezuela for oil, saying that the shipping freight costs and the loading fees for containers in Belize City where astronomically high and made exporting to Venezuela impractical financially. Our government is broke also and going ever deeper into debt from overspending, using a borrow and spend debt economics policy, so any sort of practical assistance from our Belizean government is unlikely, other than propoganda. The government of the day lack the skills to control government spending. The nation has enough money, but lacks management of the money.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
SANTA ELENA PUBLIC LIBRARY SEEKING MORE BOOKS AND A DOZEN BOOKCASES.
The readership of the Santa Elena Public Library continues to expand as better quality of choices in books are being donated. Just a few at a time, but the Chief Librarian is complaining they have insufficient bookcases and could immediately use a dozen more. They cost about $50 usa each to be made, usually out of mahogany or some exotic tropical jungle hardwood tree and varnished. DONATIONS ARE VERY WELCOME!
by William Ysaguirre
Seeking export markets in Mexico met with Mexican trade representatives in the second in a series of Enterprise Encounters of Mexico’s Southern Frontier in Chetumal, Quintana Roo on Thursday, December 11 and Friday, December 12.
The Belize delegation was led by Belize’s Director of Foreign Trade Nancy Names and included representatives of meat processing companies such as Running-W and Country Meat Products Ltd from Spanish Lookout.
At present, Mexico imports Belizean beef on the hoof, which is slaughtered in Mexico, but what the cattle industry wants is the entry of Belizean processed meats into that market, with greater value added, which would also mean more jobs here at home.
Kim Aikman of the Belize Chamber of Commerce explained that Belize seeks entry into Mexico, for not only its beef sausages but also for pork, ham, bacon, liquors, frozen citrus products, even sugar.
Others seeking entry into the Mexican market were Marie Sharp, Western Dairies, Bel-Car – a Mennonite company from Spanish Lookout specializing in cleaning and packing grains and beans for export and the Unique Co. Ltd, a Taiwanese company from Belmopan, which makes Belizean handicrafts and gift items. The Belizean producers displayed samples of their products to stimulate the discussions.
Representatives from the tourism sector, such as Caves Branch Adventure Tours were also seeking new business opportunities and partnerships. While Mexico shares a coastline with Belize with the same beautiful beaches on the Caribbean Sea, there are many tourism products that are unique to Belize, such as trips into the Cockscomb Mountains, the beautiful wildlife in our pristine jungles and the miles and miles of underground caves in the Caves Branch area, which were once part of ancient Mayan culture and regarded in their mythology as portals to the underworld.
BELTRAIDE also sought to promote investment in Belize by distributing information about how to begin doing business in Belize. Read More
One of the interesting things to come out of the academic and intellectual debates in the port town, down on the Eastern coast of Belize, that was once the old capital of the old British Honduras Colony, is the idea that Belize owes COMPENSATION to Guatemala for an old cart road promised by Britain, either to Spain, or Guatemala and was not paid for. This claimed DEBT goes back over a hundred and fifty years, or a century and a half ago. I for one do not accept such old debts. They are supposed to be written off after such a long time, by modern accounting practices.
Any policeman will tell you this is not a CRIMINAL MATTER, it is a CIVIL MATTER. Why our two lawyers controlling our one party government are confusing the heck out of our Cabinet of elected rural bumpkins, with all these century and a half old British debt arguments is beyond me, archaic legal claims between the old European powers, who were always at war.
Factually, when we went INDEPENDENT under the UNITED NATIONS CHARTER for SELF DETERMINATION, we did not inherit any of these old debts from Great Britain , or CLAIMS of any kind. Our independence and territorial integrity was guaranteed for ALL TIME, by the United Nations Charter on peoples self determination. Guatemala is a member of the UN and must abide by the ruling. We are a NEW COUNTRY guaranteed by the United Nations Charter for SELF DETERMINATION of our people, based on occupying and governing our new country. We have squatters and development rights. We might have been a British Colony once, but no longer, since 1981. We did not inherit British alleged debts. The idea you sell your children into slavery, for debts of the foster parents is an old European custom, not ours in the Americas . I don’t think they even do that today in modern Europe ?
Presuming there is a legitimate claim for COMPENSATION for a promised cart road that Britain promised either Spain , or Guatemala over a century and a half ago, then this debt would be a CIVIL MATTER, as any policeman will tell you.
The correct procedure for Guatemala; is to take Great Britain to court, in Guatemala if necessary, for unclaimed old debts and let the court decide. As a civil matter, I would think the Guatemalan foreign office, could sue the British Government and serve the British Embassy in Guatemala City with a subpoena and court case? Presuming the Guatemalan court found for the Guatemalans, then obviously the next step is to COLLECT from Great Britain the century and a half old compensation claimed. Failure to collect on the compensation would, or should, then result in BRITISH ASSETS in Guatemala being frozen until the debt was paid.
Either way, the idea that our NEW INDEPENDENT BELIZEAN GOVERNMENT OF UDP would entertain ideas that we are involved, or have any responsibility for old European debts in Central America is simply ridiculous. We are not a British Colony anymore, SINCE 1981 and Guatemala is refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the United Nations Charter of which Guatemala is a member. This is a CIVIL MATTER and court case between Guatemala the complainant and Great Britain . The wars of European powers over a few centuries, for title to pieces of the American Continent, based on military might and European feudal religious rule are no longer valid. That is ancient history and should be dumped in the trash bin of European history. Belizeans can only sympathize with our good neighbor Guatemala . Europeans are difficult to deal with.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Earlier post I thought a lettuce I was growing was an EMU LETTUCE taken from the Chinese Tawainese Experimental Farm test plots and transplanted. It tastes like MUSTARD though. So I am thinking it is a Mustard Green? I need some Mustard Green seeds. Can anybody send me any in ordinary mail envelope to try out? Appreciate it down here in Belize.
Organic Hydroponic Vegetable Experiments
Box 276, San Ignacio Post Office, Belize, Central America
NEWS BLOG ON THINGS HAPPENING IN WESTERN BELIZE AGRICULTURE AND RECREATIONAL AREA
INFORMATION WEBSITE FOR ALL THE DIFFERENT LINKS AND EXPEDITIONS AND TOURS IN WESTERN BELIZE OUT OF FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS ADVENTURE HOSTEL.
INFORMATION WEBSITE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO RETIRE IN WESTERN BELIZE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE DOING IT RIGHT NOW.
If you are a high school graduate and you think you might enjoy doing the equivalent of “Sixth Form” in the U.S., then this program might be of interest to you.
U.S. Government Sponsored Community College Initiatives (Scholarship Program)
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State is pleased to announce the Community College Initiatives Program. This international educational exchange program enables individuals from Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, South Africa, and countries in Central America to study at a community college in the United States to develop professional skills. Eligible fields are Agriculture, Applied Engineering, Business Management and Administration; Health Professions, including Nursing; Information Technology; Media; and Tourism and Hospitality Management.
To apply to the program, candidates must:
•have completed a secondary school education;
•have relevant work experience in the field in which they are applying;
•have English language skills that provide a basis for enrolling in academic coursework following approximately 2 months of intensive English language study in the U.S.; and
•submit a complete application.
Applicants with Bachelor’s degrees are only eligible if they are applying in a field different from the field of their degree. Applicants with MA or PhD degrees are not eligible to participate.
The Community College Initiatives will provide funding for round-trip airfare to the U.S.; a living allowance during English language, academic, and practical training program components; tuition costs; a health benefit plan; and cultural enhancement activities. Students will be hosted in groups by community colleges competitively selected to participate in the program. Programs are approximately one year in duration. Successful participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the year. Students are required to return home at the end of their program and may not transfer to a four-year U.S. academic institution.
Selection and Screening:
The U.S. Embassies in Central America are responsible for advertising the program and for recruiting and nominating candidates from Central America for further consideration. Educational experts in the U.S. will make selection and placement decisions for the approval of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Submission of Applications
An original application and two copies should be submitted to the address below:
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Embassy Belmopan
Floral Park Road
Application Deadline: January 2, 2009
For additional information, contact:
Sue Kuester, Public Affairs Officer, 501-822-4011 (x4113), KuesterSG@state.gov
Denise Nisbet, Public Affairs Assistant, 501-822-4011 (x4370), NisbetDL@state.gov
Friday, December 19, 2008
This is the NEW INTERNET CAFE ( BELIZE DIGITAL EXPRESS ) across the narrow main street of Santa Elena Town in Western Belize, Cayo District, Recreational Area, across from the AGRO PRO feed and fertilizer store. The girl is Maria Jiron, who is 21 years old and has a daughter. The unique thing about this Internet Cafe in Santa Elena Town, a typical dusty Central American agriculture and tourist town, is that it is the first place in the TWIN TOWNS to combine an Internet Cafe with Vivians Coffee House. They serve Frappuccino for $6.50 which has ice cream in it, they also serve frozen coffee for $5.50, hot Cappunicio for $4.50 and hot Latte. There are Nachos to munch on, ice cream, Sundaes and other good stuff. This is the first time the WESTERN BELIZE RECREATIONAL AREA has seen anything modern like this. They seem to be doing good business as well. I was surprised to see teenagers and people in their twenties queing up to buy what for me is a rather expensive delicacy. I myself usually eat at the Hindu Restaurant across the river and $2.50 will buy me a Ginger Lime juice in a big glass and a Somoza, which is a kind of pastry that has inside it various vegetables. $5 for a coffee strains my Scottish frugal genes.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The vegetable in this photo drove me crazy. I couldn't figure out what it was? I had been experimenting with different kinds of lettuce and this one threw me for a loop. It ripened about 3 weeks ago and since then the leaves have been dying off and I clipped it this morning. I could not find any of my dozens of seed packages that were anything like it. In perusing a seed catalogue, from the USA, I finally remembered. This is an EMU SPINACH and it grows twice as fast as a lettuce and probably one and a half times as many leaves. The only problem with it, I am not sure the local buyers, or market would be interested in it? For a grower this is better than lettuce, at least in these winter months. Not sure how it would grow in our May, June, July and August summer months? I remembered now taking a sample from the Taiwanese Mission vegetable plot, one of those straggly ones they were weeding out and transplanting it. Very hardy this EMU SPINACH and looks like a heck of a good producer for Belize.
I am now seeking donations of seed packages for Jalapeno, and Long Cayenne pepper for what we call Chile drying. If you mail me any, just label the envelope GIFT, FREE SAMPLES. Playing around with trying my hand at making some hot pepperoni, like the BRIDGEPORT PEPPERONI I used to get in the USA at the local supermarkets there. I loved a slice of that stuff for chewing and a snack. Just a thought as of yet, I don't know where I would get the skin, or plastic rolls to make them?
For this time of year we are producing lettuce, but in the local market, they are importing Mexican ball head lettuce, which we cannot grow here in Belize. Plus they are selling small leaf lettuce for .20 cents each ( Bz ) That doesn't pay the labor, or the gasoline to transport them. So right now lettuce is plentiful and does not pay. Since I grow lettuce all year round, I am forced to give away all kinds of stuff to my neighbors. Been giving away huge giant papayas bigger than watermelon, breadfruit the size of volleyballs, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes and habenero peppers from my backyard. I've got fresh food coming out of my ears, more than we can eat.
AGRO PRO FARMERS SUPPLIES store by the bandstand in San Ignacio Town, also is stocking SENNIS made "Tropical Emperor" leaf lettuce seeds in packages of 25,000 seeds. Agro Pro PROSSER also now has in a new batch of packages of these seeds. About a million seeds have been sold in the last month. This has been the top performer for local climatic conditions found by three years of lettuce experiments.
On soil enhancement technology. The British Chocolate maker that supports the southern district of TOLEDO in Belize in buying up all the cacao which is jungle grown and a subsistance crop for cash for local milpero farmers that live off the land, has apparently got a GRANT from somebody in California to try making CHARCOAL for enhancing our clay type jungle soils, which are very poor for farming conditions. We have an earlier article on this on the blog if you scroll down through here. The thing is, you can make GOOD LOAM soil in Belize. What it needs is the CLAY soils turned over with a deep plow, than harrowed, then mulched with fish remnants, cow manures, chicken manure, organic materials, bit of very coarse river sand used for rough concrete mixes and most important of all, the addition of CHARCOAL in small grains, or dust form. You are going to need a roto tiller eventually. Recent research shows in the Brazilian Amazon, the charcoal is locking carbon and carbon dioxide into the ground and it is effecting the CLAY substrata which is almost impossible to grow vegetables in by itself, but if mulched and broken up and mixed, will turn into LOAM and the CLAY has huge amounts of nutrients locked up in it. Trouble is in rain forest areas, the clay becomes a solid greasy blob that cannot release the nutrients and the roots of vegetables cannot penetrate it. Thus starving the plant. If you add DOLOMITE LIME as well, you get a veritable rich bed of LOAM, ideal for growing plants and vegetables in particular. You have to make the soil.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The secrecy over a BRAND NEW Guatemalan claim and the actions of our Prime Minister and the Attorney General, both UDP party member lawyers, took the nation by surprise. The Guatemalan Claim was resolved in 1981, when Belize went independent of Great Britain under the guarantees of the UNITED NATIONS for SELF DETERMINATION. Not only the world nations through the United Nations guaranteed our sovereignty and territorial integrity at that time, but also our large English Speaking Commonwealth of nations with common military ties and legal and educational methods. We have a wide array of countries and military might to call upon, if needed.
Where did this NEW claim come from? According to our Prime Minister and Attorney General, these two just signed without approval of the public on our behalf, an AGREEMENT to discuss and put to a referendum a BRAND NEW Guatemalan claim. In that claim there is now talk of COMPENSATING GUATEMALA for some old slight in ancient treaties of the major European powers. From what I understand of the historical review, BEFORE our Idependence, this was to do with Great Britain and Guatemala ? Why our CABINET didn’t send these new overtures from Guatemala packing and sluff them off, like any con man grafter you meet on the Swing Bridge in Belize City , I will never know. Obviously the new attempt to claim was half hearted and not serious. Even the Guatemalans say so! What amazes me, is that these two lawyers claim CABINET and UDP party approval. I simply cannot believe people like Elvin Penner and Rene Montero would have given credence to this nonsense. The lawyers must have really panicked the CABINET with their gobblygook and legal minutia definitions.
Where did this claim come from? This claim is a repeating cycle, because GUATEMALA has it in their CONSTITUTION that a claim to repossess Belize must be put forward by any NEW GOVERNMENT in Guatemala . Guatemala in the last two decades and a half, and at least two peaceful changes of democratic government did not apparently believe in this claim at high political levels. They are just going through the legal motions required of them by their CONSTITUTION. The old generals have been dismissed, the ARMY downsized, Guatemala is annually building a new society which includes their indigenous Indians and is now ruled by CIVILIANS. Their last two Presidents have been pretty good. The school books and maps have been changed. Citizens over there are no longer taught that Britain stole British Honduras from them. We have trade and cooperation at the border. We are nowadays good neighbors.
How then could our own government led by two gullible naïve lawyers be so led astray? I suppose our more simple country elected representatives must have been swayed by the legal expertise gobblygook of our two townie fast talking UDP party lawyers. It is after all a new generation in government. In the world of business and military force, lawyers are noted as being naïve and gullible for the most part. In Canada and the USA , the first sucker mailing list target for any PENNY MINE stock scam are DOCTORS AND LAWYERS. Nobody is not going to say they are not intelligent, it is just that they are not street smart. I’m a marine architect and shipwright. That makes me in my own specialized field as smart as any doctor or lawyer, or even smarter if I stick to my specialty. SUCKER LISTS in North America are always aimed at Doctors and Lawyers, because outside of their specialized field they are stupid and have extra cash they do not know what to do with. Plus they have the GOD COMPLEX, a sort of swollen EGO that tells them they know ALL THINGS and they get suckered by con men into schemes outside their area of expertise.
That said; the BRAND NEW Guatemalan claim was expected by some of us lay public and we have been warning for decades, that until Guatemala amends that paragraph in their Constitution, new legislators over there MUST make a new claim periodically against Belize; which we with our advance knowledge of such a thing happening in Belize, should have a program policy to deal with it. This is the first case since the GUATEMALAN CLAIM was settled once and for all as far as we Belizeans are concerned, in 1981 at the time of INDEPENDENCE through the United Nations term for SELF DETERMINATION. All claims and quarrels by foreign parties were nullified at that time, as far as our new country is concerned.
Our government should have sluffed the COMPENSATION claim off and referred the Guatemala opening gambit in this game of high stakes chess to GREAT BRITAIN. We do not as an independent nation recognize any spurious claims between old parties of Europe and Guatemala , or the so-called historical reasons involved. In this type of game, the WAR is over TACTICS and STRATEGY. We are INDEPENDENT and legally so, with our sovereignty and territorial integrity intact. This is GUARANTEED by the UNITED NATIONS and our fellow member English speaking nations of the COMMONWEALTH in 1981. This is the end of the story as far as diplomatic moves are concerned in Belize . Send Guatemala to Great Britain to seek compensation on historical arguments. It has nothing to do with the NEW nation of BELIZE .
Our two UDP lawyers by stampeding our more uneducated elected representatives with legal mish mash in the CABINET are up to no good. Probably the cynic in me expects their law firms to make buckoos of money off any legal entanglements they get us into. The danger is; if we as a nation recognize a BRAND NEW claim as an Independent nation, you set a PRECEDENT and in the future this is bad for us. Tactically our game is to refer them to Britain , and ignore the cyclical procedure of claiming Belize , even the Guatemalans of today do not believe in. I was totally surprised that Barrow our Prime Minister I saw on television saying he would VOTE YES for the ICJ court. I could not believe my ears! It is even worse when ELRINGTON our attorney general starts intimidating citizens of Belize with threats of WAR. Nothing could be further from the truth. The relationship with Guatemala today is not that of the 1960’s and 1970’s when mafia Generals and the army ran that country using the CONQUISTADOR methodology of ARMY and CATHOLIC CHURCH to oppress the population of Guatemala . Guatemala today is a modern country and democracy and improving every year. Any tactic we take, should be the form of paid media articles in Guatemala showing them they need to take out that offending paragraph in the Constitution. This is what is causing trouble in our relationships as friends and neighbors.
Our two UDP lawyers in government are severely out of touch with reality, or as the cynics claim, manipulating our foreign policy to make money for their law firms. What they can do, is insert an amendment into OUR CONSTITUTION making it illegal and treasonous for any government official to recognize any claim to the Territorial Integrety and sovereign independence of Belize as a nation.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Ray from Falconview Backpackers Adventure Hostel, born in England, receiving with grateful thanks from Bob, running PACZ TOURS, a half used jar of MARMITE. The Western Belize Cayo District has a lot of British ex-military that retired from the British Army and married local girls. In this quiet back water of the previous British Empire, life is good. Bob is retired military and famous out in the Western Belize Recreational Area for his smile and helpful gracious ways of assisting all visitors to Belize. He married a long time ago and settled in Belize and for many years developed and ran EVA'S Restaurant, famous in movies and books for spy and adventure places in this part of the world. The building got sold out from under him and he ended up co-creating PACZ TOURS, which in turn rents their office space from Wally another retired Englishman, who has now developed his small TOURIST HOTEL into a dynamo place on main street business section of San Ignacio Town.
The bottle of MARMITE is almost exclusively a much sought after delicacy from England, but now also manufactured in Canada as well. Brodies down on the coast used to import MARMITE and Celinas Store in San Ignacio used to import it out to Western Belize from the coast. They no longer do. Consequently, MARMITE now has to be sent by English relatives, by postal service all the way from Blighty, a name describing the UK. Marmite for me was a childhood addiction acquired during the bombing blitz of England by the Germans. For a couple of years, the ships coming from Africa, Argentina, and North America were torpedoed and all we had to eat as children in England, was bone soup, in which my mother recycled a bone in boiling water and added MARMITE for flavoring. Marmite is mostly used today as a sandwich spread and is delicious to the palate on fresh toast with butter. Unfortunately, MARMITE is an acquired taste. When my own four daughters were growing up on the Great Coral Barrier Reef island of Caye Caulker here in Belize, they learned to like MARMITE on toast also. Though their fellow school children called it STINKING TOE. Because of the smell and flavor. It is not something you learn to eat in the first bite. MARMITE is a yeast extract and supplies all the B vitamins, much needed by children and adults for their health. It has many other uses, as in beer and things like that. Needless to say, children raised in England love MARMITE and in Belize since the British Army left, it is harder to get than hen's teeth. Bob in this photo just got three small bottles from his relatives in England by mail. He is donating to me, half a used bottle, for which believe me, I would get down on bended knees and thank him profusely. Got to have my Marmite, almost daily and probably weekly. I usually go through a bottle a week and use it on toast as an appetizer when watching my diet, or I get the craving. MARMITE IS A VERY HEALTHY ADDICTION TO HAVE, you get all the B vitamins, that fight things like malaria and useful for prevention of many diseases.
Friday, December 12, 2008
UDP party lawyers, of the incumbent government, confuse the issue of the OBSOLETE Guatemalan claim. After an evening in Belize City with a panel of learned persons, for an enquiring audience of lay people, the current UDP policy of responding to a NEW CLAIM for Belizean territory left everybody mystified.
The consensus of the evening was that the UDP were out of line in their foreign policy actions. That there was no CLAIM for territory to be answered.
Yet the UDP have embarked on a course of answering our Guatemalan friends and neighbors, on a NEW GUATEMALAN TERRITORIAL CLAIM. This sets a dangerous precedent for our long term future. In responding to the Guatemalans, the new UDP Government of Belize is setting new actions that can draw future legal conclusions from PRECEDENT SETTING ACTIONS, to this long standing debate, that would not be to our advantage for a neighborly peaceful life.
The crux of the arguments from our current UDP Cabinet policy makers, was that; the latest re-incarnation of the Guatemalan Claim to Belize made them fearful. The party in power in Belize is controlled by a port townie, coastal black population and the talk and fear of a Guatemalan military invasion was palpable. For the history of Guatemala is brutal with military dictatorship that would, as they have declared in the past; massacre the total coastal black population of Belize, if they invaded. There was no such fear from the other ethnic races that make up the multi-cultural population of Belize in the audience.
Where did the NEW TERRITORIAL GUATEMALAN CLAIM come from? In 1981 when Belize went INDEPENDENT of Great Britain under the terms of the United Nations Charter, Guatemala at that time relinquished ALL OLD claims to Belize in recognizing in the UN voting, for the existing TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY and SOVEREIGNTY of Belize. Indeed it was this ACTION that allows Guatemala migrants to enter Belize of today and obtain citizenship through NATURALIZATION. We have in OUR CONSTITUTION, a law that does not allow citizens of ANY country that claims any territory of Belize, to immigrate here. Which mostly is directed at Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. The current new claim action of Guatemala, effectively cuts off any new citizenship claims by immigrants from our neighbor.
The NEW territorial claim comes from the Guatemalans, based on the fact that THEY in their Constitution have a paragraph that says; each new government in Guatemala MUST try to reclaim Belize territory to Guatemala. When asked why Guatemala does not AMEND their Constitution, the answer seems to be that the paragraph in their Constitution gives the DEATH PENALTY to any government person, or citizen of Guatemala for TREASON, if it is tried to change this GUATEMALAN Constitutional passage.
Our current UDP government Cabinet policy makers are choosing to respond to this NEW Guatemalan CLAIM to Belizean Territory in the form of an AGREEMENT to hold a REFERENDUM to go to the IJC Court for a decision on this NEW Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory. While the UDP CABINET are sure they will win at the IJC court, the lay audience at the discussion in Belize City questioned the actions of the CABINET by EVEN considering this frivolous action of a NEW CLAIM to Belizean territory. It is a future bad precedent setting policy. There seems no point in even considering doing this IJC court action? There was much discussion about old treaties between Spain, Great Britain, the USA, Guatemala and what was then the colony of British Honduras. ALL such actions having been legally terminated in 1981 when Belize went INDEPENDENT from Great Britain under the United Nations CHARTER for SELF DETERMINATION. The threat proposed by the UDP REFERENDUM and going to the IJC court, is that it sets a NEW PRECEDENT for the future with new governments of Guatemala seeking to satisfy the clause in their CONSTITUTION, that someday could cause our two countries to go to war.
The general audience conclusion was; that NO GOVERNMENT of Belize should respond to any Guatemalan claims, based on our de-facto Independence in 1981. That in fact, the Guatemalans who wish to discuss anything of this foreign affairs nature, should FIRST, as a PRE-REQUISITE, DELETE from their Constitution, the offending paragraph claiming Belize and defining TREASON as the penalty for doing so. There will be no end otherwise, to this debate for centuries to come. We wish to be good neighbors with Guatemala and share trade, marriages, tourism and all good things that come with harmonious neighbors living in peace. As long as Guatemala have this paragraph in their Constitution, there will be no peace between us neighbors and every likelihood of a future WAR. It only takes a military coup in Guatemala and a new dictator military GENERAL as President of that neighbor, to start a war between neighbors, based on demagoguery.
While the cynics watching government foreign exchange borrowing for development schemes, are highly skeptical about the vague concepts and ideas being floated for the borrowing of $30 million from the International Development Bank; undoubtedly a little bit will actually be used to do some work, before the rest gets stolen.
In that little bit of money, the TWIN TOWNS are mentioned vaguely as to a concept for tourism promotion. One of the items mentioned was fixing the Cahel Pech private hotel and Maya ruin street. Certainly it does need fixing, but so do a lot of other streets. Another item mentioned was some sort of National Government Tourist Information Office in the center of San Ignacio. Since this would be in competition with the many PRIVATE SECTOR tourist information offices and stores, I question the need for this. Even if it was needed, this should be a TOWN BOARD project and not that of the Central National Government, or BTB institution. Give a GRANT to the Town Board to do this and it might be acceptable? The Twin Towns badly need some proper transportation department highway signage to different places hanging from overhead cables.
What is needed among our minority share of this proposed predatory IDB loan, borrowing largesse, are a submerged tank for refueling aircraft at Central Farm and a pump. Currently tourist operation aircraft have to send a pickup truck, a 100 miles across country to the coast, to buy aviation fuel in five gallon containers for refueling purposes. Perhaps a pilot lounge and certainly an expanded tie down area, along with a row of rental hangers and warehouses for repair, maintainance and aircraft businesses and long term parking of planes out of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Additionally in Santa Elena Town developments, the re-surfacing with asphalt the boulevard to the Aguada Hotel and the side road into the 100 business and tourist residential community of Hillview on the slope of Green Parrot Valley should have both the one mile entrance road and the streets of the community fixed with culverts in the missing areas and asphalting all around. This is a growing tourist destination community, for fine arts, painting, music festival, pottery, wood carving, hammock making and guest houses and restaurant services. Do it right and it will become a HOT tourist destination community.
Vacuum packed lettuce experiment. Well we tried the vacuum packing of loose lettuce leaves. Last week the market had no lettuce at all. Today the market stalls were loaded with lettuce. Including head lettuce from Mexico and leaf lettuce from local producers. I checked the leaf lettuce and it takes four lettuce to make a pound, which retails for $2.50 Bz a pound. There was no interest in the plastic bag vacuum packed lettuce. The regular leaf lettuce lasts for two days on the stalls, before excessive wilting and this is right now in our cold season. We will see what happens with our vacuum packed lettuce in plastic. We are supposed to get two or three weeks for them in open storage in the market.
Initial indications are; there is no market for vacuum packed lettuce, even though it preserves fresher and longer. We will have to go back to the drawing board on lettuce growing production and selling and refigure production and costs. What is hurting local production is the importation of lettuce from Mexico.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
By Ray Auxillou, Dec. 11, 2008
Every twelve to fifteen years or so, a new generation of Guatemalan politicians raise the dispute over ownership of parts of Belize. Belize tries to be friendly and succumbs with our own new generation of politicians and tries to meet Guatemalans more than halfway. Therein follows a round of talks, negotiations and diplomatic maneuvers. Guatemala always loses.
The fact is; under the principals of the United Nations Charter, Belize did find it’s independence as a country a couple of decades ago, with the recognition of our current borders between us and Guatemala. That should have been the end of it!
Today we are faced again with our own new political party in power, answering and negotiating to go to a World Court the ICJ, to argue the old obsolete Guatemalan claim once more. This is not only nonsense, it is playing into a recurring gamble with Guatemala, in which Guatemala has NOTHING to lose on the bet, but Belize has. This is not only foolish to gamble this way, it is not necessary. We went INDEPENDENT as a country with our borders intact. Finish of our argument. We are backed by the United Nations, the English speaking Commonwealth countries and past actions of Guatemala itself.
Forty five years ago I argued this point, 32 years ago I argued this point, 19 years ago I argue this point again and today with the new set of Guatemalan claims to lands of Belize, I will argue it once more for this new generation of Belizean politicians and those of Guatemala.
All the arguments of old treaties, British made cart roads, money owed to Guatemala from Britain, ended for Belizeans when we declared Independence through the United Nations by SELF DETERMINATION and was recognized by the majority of the rest of the world.
The game that new generations of Guatemalan politicians are playing, keeps coming back to the same old argument. They have it in their CONSTITUTION that they own Belize and the Guatemalan government of the day, each one, every twelve or fifteen years, must try to get it back. They never had Belize, EVER, but their CONSTITUTION says they must fight and negotiate and argue to reclaim something they NEVER HAD.
Our current government is fighting old battles that do not exist except in the imaginations of the Guatemalans. I have said this over and over again through the many Guatemalan claims to Belize. UNTIL Guatemala REMOVES that clause from their CONSTITUTION, the arguments will NEVER stop. Amending the Guatemalan Constitution should be our pre-requisite stand, BEFORE we negotiate, or talk about anything like this AGAIN.
We are playing a Guatemalan game with a stacked marked deck by Guatemala. Belizeans keep gambling our freedom in a rigged game. Even supposing we to the ICJ court and win the decision, in twelve or fifteen years, a NEW SET of politicians in Guatemala will resurrect the claim again, just like they have for all the decades of my 71 years of life. By their CONSTITUTION they are obligated to try to recover Belize it says. Each new generation of their politicians have to do this. It is their CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.
There is NO GOOD FAITH on the part of Guatemala. There is no sense in spending millions of dollars going to the ICJ, even if we won a decision. It would mean nothing to the next generation of Guatemalan politicians in twelve or fifteen years. They in turn would be obligated by THEIR CONSTITUTION to resurrect the claim over and over and over again to Belize.
UNTIL the Guatemalans eliminate that clause in their CONSTITUTION forcing their new generations of Guatemalan politicians to claim Belize once more, all their arguments and quarrels with us in Belize are in BAD FAITH.
As a negotiating point, our politicians should insist NO ICJ, until that clause in the Guatemalan Constitution is DELETED. Otherwise we are losing our money and time. These continuous claims and arguments, one day will backfire and we will lose and go to war with Guatemala. We want to be friends and trading partners, not go to war. While that CLAUSE in the GUATEMALAN CONSTITUTION exists, there can be no agreements, or conclusion to this matter. Whenever they delete that Constitutional clause we can have some sort of agreement that will hold. Otherwise it is just all HOT AIR and BOMBAST. Until Guatemala amends their constitution, we have nothing to talk about on a Guatemalan claim. That Constitutional clause in Guatemala is a recurring Ace of Spades held up their sleeves for new generations of Guatemalans to claim Belize. All other arguments are a cyclical repeating foolish waste of time.
Let the Guatemalans show GOOD FAITH, by deleting that troublesome clause in their CONSTITUTION. Listening to our own Attorney General BLATHER on and on about legal rights and technicalities is a silly argument. There should be NO negotiations with Guatemala, until a prerequisite change of an amendment to their Constitution in Guatemala is made, deleting that recurring troublesome clause Until they do that, no matter what you do is pure waste of time and money.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Belizeans are battered from all sides with arguments of fighting poverty, universal education and healthcare, housing and jobs. In this first decade of the 21 st Century, we are battered by countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua, who claim they have the solutions to finding the solutions to social justice. We also watch with interest the developments in the USA of the first elected LEFTIST President ever and whatever may come of it? In a so-called Western capitalist system that seems successful, but dysfunctional.
Human nature effects all individuals in one form or another. Emotions of ambition, status, greed, jealousy, envy, laziness and those who are unable to defend themselves, or compete because of disabilities. How to deal with these conflicting human drives and achieve utopian ideals of social justice has kept mankind busy for ten thousand years.
What lessons we have learned from history, is that; a one party state becomes a tyranny and cruel vicious dictatorship. The one party state always feeds on itself, like a rabid dog. That the one party state is created by ambitious power mad individuals, who though professing the intent and desire to create social justice, by cutting through the complications inherently found in multi-party governing systems, ends up being brutally worse than any system used before. On the other hand, the Capitalist system, multi-party system so called, can also have excesses of greed and abuses of power. These are usually much less than one party socialist systems.
There are undoubtedly many philosophical arguments about methods of achieving social justice throughout the countries and governing systems of the world. Needless to say, we in Belize are neither big enough to consider many of them, or rich enough. We can though, pull out of the myriad methods having been tried by other countries and systems, the nuggets of ideas that have proven to work.
Here are some of those ideas that have worked better than others, historically speaking. Centralization and the one party state concept, whether a socialist, monarchy, dictatorship, or communist, have failed; which leave us with the concept, that decentralization and local home rule, in a multi-party configuration gives the best results. NEVER satisfactory, but better than anything else so far achieved. More debating voices make for better decision making. Not always, but for the most part yes!
Concentration of power, or centralization, inevitably brings huge abuses and the masses of the population of all walks of life, will suffer. The only growth aspects in economics for centralized systems are the growth of the bureaucracy and creation of a class system defined by political party membership. A new ruling monarchy by a different name.
Excessive taxation can ruin a national economy. Taxation must be continuously fine tuned. Tweaked as it were. Taxation is probably the best method of achieving social justice if the taxes are so applied appropriately. The Scandinavian countries have done fairly well with socialization fed by taxation. The difference between Belize and Scandinavian countries are that they are manufacturing and huge oil producing countries and Belize is still only an agrarian society without any manufacturing capability. Manufacturing seems to pay better than agriculture for large populations. In Belize, the small population is doing well without manufacturing, but that situation will change over time.
Government should be from the bottom up, meaning from many small local government systems and not from the top down by a small political party elite of rulers. This we have learned from history, particularly over the last century. A party governing system should be for the most part simply managers of bottom up, desires. The faults here are often by bureaucratic regulation, laws and institutional rules that act as laws, created by an intellectual elite, either within a governing party, or advising a party, usually from urban centers. A salaried bureaucratic intellectual group, deciding what is best according to their myopic idealistic theoretical views, rather than the market place.
The majority of people work to a self interest type motivation. They need to see the fruits of their labor. Whether that be for PROFIT and what they perceive as a better materialistic life, or are just among the 2% of individuals driven by a strong work ethic and enjoy such a work motivated challenging life. The self interest may be as simple as the current debate between our southern rural Mayan agriculturalists simple rural life style and that of the more materialistic city dwellers of the port town, Belize City, the latter who desire more taxation on the small farmer, to support their chosen life styles of materialism.
Agriculture production from the viewpoint of economic and food self sufficiency is best achieved through the small farmer, the world historical statistical production evidence indicates. Corporate farms work, as has been proven in Canada, Australia and the USA. They do however lack many of the social justice inputs into the rural society found from small farmers, who may have different ambitions than desired by intellectual bureaucratic political party people whose goal may be more taxes, or easier tax collecting. The State farm systems of the communist centralized planning socialist countries, severely under perform the profit motive type production of small farmers, all statistics over the last century worldwide show. Ownership of land and the choice of selling the crop based on supply and demand prices, work wonders for production. Central planning by politicians and bureaucrats has proven historically to be disastrous to a national economy.
Belize has a pretty good multi-party system. It has flaws, such as; that with so few government jobs available, each winning party uses those jobs as rewards for party supporters. We should probably move to a double blind, system of civil service exams for each permanent government job, in which the examiner and judge does not know the identity of the applicants. This was discussed many years ago on the internet based BELIZE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES, but neither political party in Belize wish to give up the spoils, of awarding government jobs. This is certainly a fault in our governing system. Our governing efficiency and abilities are severely curtailed by pandering to political party greed. We pay for this political greed in poor economic performance on a national basis.
In the arguments for and against methods of social justice achievement, recent talks with Venezuela, hell bent on resurrecting ancient failed Soviet and Eastern Block methodologies using centralization, one party rule, and war against their middle class who base their activities on the incentive of profit; has shown Belizeans how we differ in methods. It is true, that GRANT AID, primarily from Taiwan, the FAO of the UN, some from the EU and a little bit from oil rich Venezuela seeking geo-political voting leverage in the International arena, has helped Belize achieve some social programs, we could not with our small population scattered all over this nation otherwise achieve. For those with financial plenty and a philosophy of giving, we are sincerely grateful. Politicians in most places in the world always spend more than is available. Ours are no different unfortunately and currently the ownership of the economy of Belize to foreign bankers is increasing under a new UDP government. Recent numbers show our debt ratio has moved from 76% of GDP to 95% of GDP. The goal of Belize should be of course to mimic the European Union and our debt ratio needs to be below 3% of GDP.
Trade, a thing that is still minimal for Belize with the outside world, has been shown to be rather impractical and unprofitable with both the CARICOM assorted island countries, despite preferential tariff encouragement and now with Venezuela. Venezuela, a large country with the money to pay for imports unlike our fellow CARICOM small market countries, has embarked on a pogrom of attacking and destroying their middle class like a repeat of the Eastern Bloc countries did back in the 1950’s. The ALBA trade deal does not seem practical for Belizean producers and exporters. Most of it is based on a government to government barter system and is primarily geared to achieving geo-political strength in the International forums through client small state votes that can be controlled by Venezuela. Belize needs export trade for CASH, to do any good from the social sense of improving our own society. The contribution that Venezuela is giving Belize has come mostly in the form of small GRANTS for specific social projects. Very much appreciated and creating good will. It is doubtful though, if either the bureaucrats, or the political party in power will agree to any type of barter type trade bloc and sign away Belizean International voting Independence in return for small favors. The HEARTLAND OF BELIZE have pretty much already abandoned both CARICOM and VENEZUELA as potential trading partners. There just is no money in it to pay the bills. Our attention now in Western Belize for would be export producers, is turning to Mexico, Central America and the FAR EAST, as possible export markets for new products in the agro processing field. We would dearly like to get into small manufacturing as well, as our population grows, if for no other reason than to provide jobs. The orientation of both our senior bureaucracy and the politicians seem to be aligned in the same direction, as the private sector here. Which is a massive change in thinking and policies.
One thing can be said for the current course. Living standards are rising rapidly in Western Belize along with labor saving devices; like washing machines, refrigerators, cars and trucks, inside plumbing, running water from a tap ( albeit cold ), etc. The days of fire heart wood cooking are nearly over. As are kerosene lamps and stoves. I would dearly like to buy an old kerosene oven that is portable and fit over a two burner butane hot plate type of cooking device. They are no longer sold either here, or in Guatemala unfortunately. A sign of rising material living standards. We must be doing something right?
Monday, December 8, 2008
Getting ready for OUR TOURIST SEASON IN BELIZE, it is nice to compare our emerald green warm waters ( 82 degrees F ) inside the Great Barrier Reef, with that of snorkeling in Wisconsin, USA at this same time. Then we have breadfruit trees, papaya growing, fresh coconuts, bananas ten for .50 cents, white sandy beaches and willing dusky maidens in short shorts. You could snorkel at this time of year in lots of worse places than Belize.
The last three years of experiments, by the Belize Development Trust ( internet based NGO of volunteers ) for different lettuce types, resulted in TROPICAL EMPEROR lettuce coming out as the TOP year round lettuce for Belizean conditions. This was a leaf lettuce type, that only really had trouble in July and August. The winter crop should have been planted late September, but there has been a shortage of seeds.
The PROSSER AGRO PRO store in San Ignacio, part of the twin towns, reports they sold about three quarters of a million seeds in containers of 25,000 seeds for $61 Bz. Taiwan Vegetable Mission and the Food and Agriculture Organization bought up most of the available seeds to distribute to farmers damaged by the floods last October, this year. The DEMAND for seeds for the lettuce crop annually is about two million lettuce. This has developed as an import substitution successful drive, led by the Agriculture Department at Central Farm. The Agro Pro manager here, out in Western Belize Agro Pro PROSSER store said that a new shipment is now at the border and being processed and will eventually wind it's way up from border to the coast headquarters of Prosser and eventually to him here out Western Belize. We await anxiously as our winter season is half way through already. A check of the local TWIN TOWNS Macal River market shows NO LETTUCE on sale anywhere. Nor was there any habenero peppers when we looked and asked. Tomatos at this time of the year become scarce and are currently selling for $4.50 a pound for the last month.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We have a NEW additional website for CAVERS coming to Belize. See the following!
If you have a group of cave explorers, then give us a call tel: 663 5580
We can probably serve you as base headquarters. We have a warehouse to store your gear, garden hoses to wash down the equipment, cloths lines to hang up your washed clothes. A recreational room with hammocks and television, dormitory with bunk beds, two furnished apartments with toilet-showers, verandah, bedroom and kitchen. Each apartment sleeps two in one bed, though the newer apartment can sleep two seperately in a queen sized bunk bed. A second dormitory will be ready by March we hope. We have only to do the windows and beds to finish up there. Currently we can accomodate for 2009, twelve persons in the dorm and two apartments. By March we hope to add four more beds, so we can handle groups of sixteen persons.
Our regular website is: http://folkmusicfl.tripod.com/adventuresinbelize/
Our news blog and photos of what is happening around the Western Belize Recreational Area in the Cayo District of Belize is:
CONFIRMED RESERVATIONS FOR GROUPS ARE MADE THROUGH OUR AGENTS: HOSTELBOOKERS.COM
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The UDP are bragging about the higher GDP, but what it shows, is that it is the UDP Government borrowing foreign loans since being in office and spending, gives an artifical boost to the GDP ratio. The real economy is the same, or shrunk. The difference is more foreign debt. Poor fiscal management on the part of the UDP is my judgment. They traded first year public show of doing things, for more foreign debt and an artificial boost in the GDP figures. The trouble is, these figures do not reflect true growth. If they had shown a little patience and waited for year three of their five year term, the whole nation would have been practically free of foreign debt. Now it looks like our bad foreign debt rating is extended for another fifteen years.
Two Mennonites selling Yogurt made by Janet at her Saturday stall, along with some other homemade delicacies Janet Lohr is a Mennonite widow with a small farm about two miles out of the Twin Towns area of Cayo. With five daughters, she has 32 cows. The cows this morning she said, are being milked at around 15 gallons a day. There is not enough milk production in Belize, so there is no trouble selling fresh milk. The young 18 year old girl visiting, is another Mennonite by the name of Melanie Shetla. Her family immigrated to Belize from Indiana, USA. The Mennonite community originally moved into Belize about 50 years ago and cleared jungle land. They are now the most industrious immigrant Belizeans in the nation and produce most of the agriculture and industry and manufacturing. There are dozens of different cults, or sects divided by charismatic preachers, each with their own intrepretation of the Bible. They build and maintain their own roads and schools.
Flute player at the Macal River Twin Towns market in Cayo District. The Western Belize Recreational Area and Agriculture economy. This was a Saturday market in the morning photo. This man plays a mean saxophone, he says he learned in New York City where he was a professional street musician. Now back in Belize without saxophone, or money, he would dearly appreciate if someone would donate him a saxophone, to earn a living with in Belize. He has no money to buy, or import one. I've known him for about five years here. What he has is a good quality wooden flute. Sometimes he gives lessons.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Three New York girls, Katie, Lauren, Julia, comrades from working together, arrive in Santa Elena Town, Hillview on the slope of Green Parrot Valley, staying at FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS ADVENTURE HOSTEL. They are splitting a week of early vacation at cut rate airfares for December, 2008 at $144 USA roundtrip, by American Airlines to Belize City airport from New York City. Half their vacation will be spent in WESTERN BELIZE RECREATIONAL AREA and half on Caye Caulker, just inside the Barrier Reef, at TINAS BACKPACKERS HOSTEL on the beach. Here they are holding coconuts each, fresh from the tree in the background of the backyard of the hostel.
That night, they slept about 11 hours non-stop, as they were tired and the trip down took two days, with a sleep over required in Miami. Their plans are the two Mayan ruins of Xununtanich, Clarissa Falls for lunch and swim, then Cahel Pech. The following day they are doing the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Trip, to the entrance to XIBALBA underground passage of the Maya to the Spirit world. With sacrifical skeletons, pottery and a mile trek fording three streams in darkness. ( Well they will have head lamps! ) From there they will be off to Caye Caulker on the Great Coral Barrier Reef and Tinas Hostel, and hopefully, time permitting a trip to Shark Ray alley for a swim with these animals, then on to Hol Chan Channel Marine Preserve in the Barrier Reef to see thousands of different kinds of fish while snorkeling.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
INTERVIEW WITH FIRST SECRETARY, OF THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY
The First Secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy, Gabriel Sanchez of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was interviewed by this reporter, this morning, on the situation with the ALBA TRADE ORGANIZATION. Gabriel did a credible job of explaining from his geo-political field, but apologized for the Embassy, as they had no in-house economic and commercial staff at the Embassy. Our questions were more pointed; on how the private sector would be able to export to Venezuela through ALBA. He didn’t have any answers to economic and commercial questions, but promised when he returned from Caracas to find things out over there. He was flying out tomorrow. We found him very charming, warm, open and kind to deal with.
We were handed an updated ALBA FACT SHEET to read. Somewhat expanded from the information we got from the internet. He did point out, that the interest of ALBA was mainly a government to government one. That ALBA did not wish to work with the Private Sector. A project could be written and proposed by organizations and cooperatives and would be read and discussed at the level of the Chancellors in ALBA. They might consider Social and Poverty type organization proposals. His own function was more of a geo-political one.
There was really no satisfaction from private commercial export for profit enquiries. ALBA wanted to deal on a larger playing geo-political playing field. First Secretary Gabriel did say that he had, numerous enquiries from the private sector on exporting goods to Venezuela, from here in Belize, for which he currently had no answers in the current formation and intents of ALBA.
From reading the new updated booklet on ALBA, it does seem to be a re-hash of the methodology in trade and geo politics of the EASTERN BLOCK countries, from the end of World War 11, ( around 1952 until 1982 ) until the Berlin Wall fell and the association of Eastern Bloc countries trading system bankrupted, rich oil producing, Mother RUSSIA. Fortunately, I had just read a book titled POLAND, which has chapters on this era in the 1960's, 1970’s and 1980’s and the eventual collapse of this so-called poverty fighting type of trade system through the Eastern Block countries of Central Europe. ALBA seems to be the same philosophy of thought in trade, though there is the possibility that the thinking in Venezuela is adjusting and evolving, to real politics of trade. This methodology historical examples have shown are based on theoretical idealistic desires to fight poverty, but come crashing down, over the emotions of GREED and human nature.
I took the opportunity to ask the FIRST SECRETARY about an earlier proposal for ALBA for an earlier Belize airline service between Caracas and Belize, sent to them earlier this year. He checked the Embassy files and staff and said they did not get it. He was very interested in getting it. Perhaps we can hand deliver it next time he returns? This presumes then, the Belize National Post Office Censorship people, sidelined this piece of mail destined for the Venezuelan Embassy, for political reasons? First Secretary Gabriel Sanchez did say that Venezuela were considering assigning a Boeing 737 from the Venezuelan Airline, CONVIASA to set up a Caracas, Belize run. He said, there were getting to be a lot of Venezuelans in Belize and they needed a plane to practically service people and tourism. I implored him to let Belize do it, on a much smaller less expensive scale.
ALBA currently has Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Honduras, Cuba, as full term members. Guest Observer countries are: Uruguay, Ecuador, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and probably Belize maybe? The conflict for Belizeans, is geo political. The ALBA signing contract, puts Venezuela and other Leftist leaders of the Americas in the controlling votes for International forums, speaking on behalf of the group. Belize has already signed those over to CARICOM. The ALBA trade group reads very much as a control mechanism copied from the Soviets during the Cold War era in Eastern European countries. While the expressed goals are laudable, the achievements were never made in Eastern Europe. The system there, created an entrenched elite political control class and a couple of levels of bureaucratic semi-elite privileged classes and shortages for the masses of the poor. Eventually the system collapsed in rebellion and bankruptcy. Perhaps ALBA will succeed where Eastern European countries failed?
Belize has received some GRANTS from Venezuela and also is running up a fuel tab for imported oil products brought in on credit at low interest.
Teresita Balan, agronomist in charge of vegetable crop research at Central Farm Agricultural Research Station.
FAO, or FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION of the United Nations funds Habenero Pepper EXPORT EXPERIMENT in
by Ray Auxillou
Apparently, one gringo, Bill Cheek, has succeeded in getting funding from the FAO, for a project to produce hot habenero peppers in
Agriculture Cayo Officer in charge is Mr. Zalizar for our government. Rene Montero our Agriculture Minister wanted for me to write an article on it, in a telephone call the other day.
Agriculture Department Vegetable Crop Research Officer, Teresita Balan, agronomist, is currently planting seeds in seed trays for the project. She has the unenviable task, as you can see in this photograph, of planting 31,000 seedlings in trays, of the West Indies Red variety of habenero pepper As you can see by her last name Balan, her ancestors go back over ten thousand years around here, back into the last ICE AGE. The FAO project is being supplied with seed trays, seeds,chemical powder to fight White Fly, foliar fertilizer and the FAO will pay the Agriculture Department .18 cents for each seedling produced for transplanting.
Seven farmers have been selected to plant one acre each of these peppers. About 2000 seedlings are already in the field. Around 3,500 seedlings have been produced. The goal is to develop a market export for 10,000 lbs a week. In our own habenro pepper experiments, we were able to get production well, for two years, without changing our pot soil from the same bush. This done by hand fed controlled conditions supplying water and liquid nutrition, as per simple hydroponic system. The experiment has yet to run the course, so we cannot know of the profitability. Everything here in the experimental stage is being paid by FAO.