Thursday, December 18, 2008

I want a Radio Show!

Ok...a TV show will do just fine too.

Now, all you out there in the blogosphere may be saying "what does this have to do with the intended focus of this blog"

Well, if we are to truly do something about Belize and make Belize better, then we need to be more visible, more frequently heard, and more active than just penning for this little read site.
Sure it is a great way to vent, and I enjoy it, but we need serious action, not weightless words.

We need for the public to hear us louder. Whether you are Creolegial, Democrates or The Voice..well all need our ideas to be heard further afield. We need for the public to start listening to us, and to stop listening to Rene, Mose, and Joe, and their self-censored and often society dividing comments every day.

If the Police can get "link up",  Finnegan "lik road" and even Rosalie "open paki",  then for sure we could have "Anything Goes Radio", where we could say whatever we want. Surely it would be more intelligent than some of that crap on Positive Vibes!

Now the big question do we get on the air? And who will have enough cojones to pay us a salary and let us go on the air? Who will have the intestinal fortitude to step out of the shadows and say "I am Trazidex, hear me now"? I am ready, are you?

Now as for the money, paging Michael Ashcroft, paging Lord Ashcroft....

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Very Quiet Christmas

The newspapers say it all..
10% Off at Dave', 20% Off at Brodies, Courts with up to 50%.

Things are not that good out there. The economy, whether the politicians belize it or not, is really dragging. Correction, it is shot to hell. I know that my business is about 50% behind where it was this time last year.

Why is this?

Well, there are many many reasons, but the biggest has to be, in my opinion, the ever encircling mass of credit card debt. People who used to pay with cash, all now have credit cards (sold to them as dreams by the banks), and these people don't know how to use the credit cards responsibly. They pay the $5 A&R bill, the $40 fry steak Chon Saan charge, and even their car insurance with it. All these folks, rich and poor, are living beyond their means, not paying the full monthly balance because it is the easy way out and to them not real money. Let it ride, it is just a monthly piece of paper, not money disappearing out of my account.

Yes, the banks are responsible for issuing the leash of debt to us, but consumers are just as guilty. We are all guilty of allowing the dreams of a materialistic society to take hold of our card in our pocket and lead us to Mirab or to American Airlines. We'll deal with the debt later we think, and as the procrastinating society that we are, we will pay that tomorrow, or after that next payday.

We'll like the USA. Later has now arrived. Tomorrow is here for our cashless society. And while I can tell you, my fellow blogophiles,  that all my credit cards have a zero balance, my banker friends will tell you that my status makes up less than 5% of the credit card using population.

The banks don't care as long as you make that 22% monthly payment. They want you out there on their leash. 

It is time to go back to the days of paying for creole bread with coins, and gas with the notes we get from our accounts. The sooner we sever our dependence from the ease of the credit card guillotine, then better and richer off we will be.

Gimme shilling.

P.S. Let me be the first to wish everyone out there a prosperous and happy holiday time. We hope next year brings us continued good health, good times and good blogs!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Growing up in the Belizean society, whether in the peaceful decade of the 60s or the technologically dependent one that is the post-millennium, the mere mention of the word "Guatemala" may evoke explicit sentiments. However, this is not because we have suffered from a severe case of xenophobia, but rather, it is because it spurs a sense of nationalism due to their century-old claim over our territory. This, I believe, is understandable. What I cannot understand is the sudden opposition against settling this claim in a controlled, objective legal setting. My confusion is compounded by the fact that just last year we had independent Guatemalan communities living in our territory; this event of course incited massive outrage and eventually compelled our government to take action. We are at a critical juncture where this territorial claim can be once and for all, solved. Now I admit, that victory at the ICJ does not mean exactly that. Guatemala can just as easily refuse to acknowledge defeat. However, at last, we would be able to wave a document to the world - a world that recognizes the legitimacy of the ICJ - and say that we have done our part to settle this dispute, regardless of whether Guatemala recognizes it or not. At the end of the day, only they will look foolish.

The other tangent of opposition rests on our probablity to lose the case. This of course is not impossible. Would it mean that we would have to relinquish our sovereignty to the quetzal? I doubt it. I think it is our duty to support our diplomats in their effort to finally solve our territorial qundary. Stoning eggs and accusations of betrayal are unwarranted, unjustified and displays Belize at its worst. I was appalled when Paul Morgan - leader of the VIP party - said that he opposes it because the government failed to educate the people about the various processes. As he should know, the real educational initiative is launched after the signing of the compromis, after which, the people will have their say through a referendum. But it is irresponsible to beleaguer this effort before the education process has even begun.

I attended a conference last week where an American from Charlotte, North Carolina discussed his intention to invest in real estate in Belize. He said, "I am in love with Belize. I go there every year with my family. The people there are peaceful, they speak English, and they have no history of overthrowing the government. The only negative issue affecting the country is its dispute with Guatemala." He announced this to a pool of nodding investors, who travelled from all parts of the world. Clearly, these investors were well aware of our dispute. Now, tell me, would there be any hesitation in their minds about a "dispute" if we secured a victory from the ICJ? I think not.

The Business Tax: The Best of Bad Policy

Yesterday's meeting of the House entailed discussion about, what I believe to be, two of the most salient issues on the present Belizean agenda. First, with regard to the 5% business tax increase for telecommunication entities, I believe that our government has succumbed to a similar form of bigotry - one that is similar in taste, but distinct in its motivation - that consumed the previous administration.

The government, from what I have tried to garner, has not provided a single legitimate reason for specifically targeting the telecommunications industry. It consistently references the need to increase its revenues, and as a result, decided to go after the most profitable company, not industry, to achieve this increase. This is the best example of bad policy. There have been rumors that the government's motivation rested on the fact that Ashcroft has discontinued his payments on Intelco. A second rumor states that the government's intention to frustrate Ashcroft to the point whereby he increases rates and issues layoffs, thus paving the way for a third competitor to enter the market. Rumors, of course, are simply rumors. Nonetheless, when Hon. Mark Espat asked the Prime Minister whether he could assure the Belizean people that rate increases and/or job losses would not result, our Prime Minister simply evaded these pivotal concerns - concerns that should be taken into serious consideration when deciding to increase tax rates.

To conclude, the telecommunications industry has done wonders for ability to communicate: we enjoy the benefits of two fierce competitors, both offering low rates and innovative ideas. There are SMS bundles, Digicell Messenger, Gimme Dalla and the list goes on. But the list can only go on if these companies are allowed the resources to innovate. Putting pressure on their investment capacity is ultimately disadvantageous to the consumer, not to Lord Ashcroft.

(Seeing as this topic was fairly lengthy, I will discuss my opinion on the ICJ in the subsequent blog entry.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Up a creek without a plan

Well first Citco decided on some ill-conceived roundabouts at either end of St. Thomas St. Apparently the mayor had a New Zealand dream or something...

Now, to try to correct the problem, they have put some ill conceived speed bumps (a.k.a. sleeping policemen) at the roundabout approaches. Did the mayor have another dream, or was it an acid trip this time?

All I can say is WHAT THE H. E. Double Hockey Sticks!

Where is the city planner? Are they educated enough to even get professional opinion on these things. This all goes back to the fact that we have no planning in this city. We do everything last minute, knee jerk and without a hint (much less a vision) of the future.

Another example...the NEW Lee Chee. Yes all you cholesterol freaks, Lee Chee is moving up the street to its new location right beside Taste(less) Patties. And before this blog turns into an ad for Lee Chee, lets get to the real issue. Why has a restaurant of this nature been allowed to build right up onto the sidewalk? Where are the pedestrians going to stand? On the Street?

There should be a Planning Approval Board to oversee this stuff. To make sure commercial businesses are properly built to fire code, traffic code and all the other codes that we should, but don't, have.  There should be no fiberglass boat factories in neighborhoods, no unsafe radio towers in Ladyville, no signs hanging over sidewalks, and no food vendors scattered at every vacant lot.

There should be rules and regulations with stiff penalties for those that disobey.

Again, I feel like I say this every week. Why are we settling for lower standards? 

Here's an idea. Replace them all...the councillors, the mayor, and Central Gov't ...with people who know what they are doing, not some midnight dreamers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Population Control

Dare I say it?

Inspiration for my blogs comes from perusing the news - both national and international. On the BBC this morning I read a fascinating article about population control. Secretly, I'm an advocate for this idea. There are 7 billion people, and counting, in the world. Over 80% of us Earth citizens live on less than $20 Belize dollars a day. 3 billion people live on less than $5 Belize dollars a day. To contrast, the average Belizean enjoys a GDP per capita of $43 Belize dollars a day.

With numbers like that, it would seem that we are living in a good country. Mind you, $43 isn't a lot of money, but no one in our beautiful Belize is dying of malnutrition. We all do the best we can.

Should this idea of culling , however, apply to Belize, with it's small population and low population density? We're not China. We don't have a billion people, and we don't need a one-child policy. If we ever want a good Social Security system or an Universal Health Care system, we need a strong young healthy working population who can fund them.

To be frank, the poor and uneducated produce more children than the rich and educated. And most of the time, they can't afford to take care of their children without help from the state. But from these poor masses, some of the greatest Belizeans have risen and have contributed significantly to our society. It is undeniable, however, by and large, these stars are a minority. Most often the circle of poverty continues throughout generations. It's hard for a good man {or woman} to get ahead.

What we should want, not only as Belizeans, but as a species, is to be able to live in a sustainable society. We should procreate to the sufficient number that we can take care of all our young. That we can take care of all our citizens. We've evolved as a species to the point where one's "rights" are more important than economic or environmental issues. {Quote me on that one}

When God said, "Go forth and multiply in number", he didn't give a cap. I, for one, wish that he did. The world can sustain 1.5 billion people without permanently diminishing all our other natural resources.

It's hard for me to express all the variables on this controversial subject in just one blog. I think we should create a national population cap, then after our sustainable population has been achieved, financial penalize those who have more than the prescribed number of children. It is desperate, I know. And I pray that as a species we will never have to come to the point where this is the only course of action for our continued survival, but we're rapidly approaching this point. As a small nation, we shouldn't have to control our actions because of the excesses of the rest of the world. But as a species, we can't afford NOT to think about the global ramifications of our actions.

Sometimes I think AIDS, all these wars, the stronger hurricanes and typhoons, tsnumanis and earthquakes are all the Earth's way of screaming ENOUGH! Already 256,000 children die PER DAY as a direct result of poverty. That's almost the population of Belize! Be concious.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Little India

As I sat in traffic on Albert St. yesterday I got to thinking that we are not that much different than our fellow commonwealth brethren, India.

India has a caste system. A system where the are those that have and those that have not. A system where there are the common folk and the untouchables. A system that does not encourage one class transitioning upwards into another and a system where the elite does whatever they please. YES, WE HAVE THIS.

India has prolific indentured servitude. A modern day slavery. YES, WE HAVE THIS....and not just in "indian" stores. Ever seen what one of the southern banana workers actually take home after being forced to shop at the company store?

India has trash that fills the streets in all but the most upscale areas. YES, WE HAVE THIS and I don't need to beat a dead horse about this.

India has slums. Some of the worst slums in the world. While not some of the worst, our London Bridge areas surely qualify. Add to that the putrid and unhealthy canals we throw everything into, and that snake into our lives,  then YES, WE HAVE SLUMS TOO.

India has an exploding population of young people. The vast majority being born into poverty. We only need look at our evening news with announcements of the latest gang banger killed and leaving 35 children to know that WE GOT THAT TOO.

India does have very modern telecommunications, some of the best in the region. WE GOT THAT and yes it is really the best in our region too, albeit at a horrible monopolistic price. The modern communications breeds resentment of our own country as we see the "utopias" abroad.

India has a brain drain of the smartest and the brightest heading to the USA is search of a better life. Come on, say it with me, YEP, WE GOT THAT TOO.

Being like India is not a good thing. Next thing you know we will be having terrorists with grenades. OH WAIT! WE HAVE THAT.

Maybe we should try to be more like ourselves and less like others.


Friday, November 28, 2008


It's not uncommon for things in Belize to go missing.

Seven little girls went missing a few years ago. We've somehow managed to lose common decency and respect, though I hear it's hiding in a few villages in the rural. Asphalt often goes missing from our highways and roads. {That one still amazes me}. We've even managed to lose several million dollars. (I hear that this too is hidden somewhere. If I were you, I would check under the mattress for this!) Most of all, I miss our small town ways and manners... respect and fear...that made living in Belize so safe.

But, all these lost things aren't the focus of this article. What I can't believe went missing are 24 grenades from BATSUB. What the hell? Am I the only one shocked that this is only being disclosed to us four years after the fact?

I wonder what happened...

**Picture, a solider counting grenades**

"Four hundred seventy-nine, four hundred eighty.... uh oh!"

** Runs to his commanding officer**

"Sah, Sah, twenty grenade missing!"


"It's okay, son. I'm sure they'll show up somewhere..."

And they have shown up. In our streets. By the feet of our country's children. We need fi come betta than this, Belize. Share in my indignation and outrage! Enough is enough. I'm ready to take back the streets of Belize from hooligans and Neanderthals. Just as long as someone would kindly return all the asphalt that's missing...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The UDP & PUP style propaganda

Note: Please folks, this is not a partisan blog! If you read the following that way then you are not reading it properly. We must be able to write things that criticize an administration without being seen as anti-UDP/ please don't comment that I am partisan.


As I watched our 5 day a week local news last night, to my dismay I saw big boy Delroy, looking like Pastor Bob Roberts, spurting utter untruths about why the cost of fuel / butane has gone down.

It was horrible. It was shameful. Made me think that the UDP, just like Queen St and Co before them, think we are stupid.

Pastor Cutkelvin asserted the amazing price fall was because the UDP cut /changed taxes. What a joke. It has not fallen because of some miracle the administration has managed to pull off, or because the UDP has tried to deliver on its promises. No way. Everyone with reasonable common sense knows that the price of fuel/butane has gone down because the world markets for oil have crashed. They have gone from $140 to $45 per barrel.

Yes the UDP in its manifesto did take a huge gamble and bet that the price of oil had to come down, so "we promise to lower rates", and yes they were right.

Why would the UDP get on TV and spurt such a complete fabrication? Because they can't help themselves...that's why. If they are going to lie in as blatantly as manner as this to the Belizean people then they are no better than their predecessors, and what else are they lying to us about.

All they had to say was we promised lower prices at the pump and today you have it. Simple message. Effective message.

Come on UDP...rise us why we elected you....if we wanted PUP style propaganda we would have left Said and his cronies in Belmopan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Other Side of the Lady

I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt... I look for the good in people. I want to believe that people are inherently good... And for the most part, they are.

But, some people aren't. They're advantageous. They prey on the weak and feeble minded. They think only about themselves.

I'm observing our Mayor, Zenida Moya.... and more and more, I'm questioning her motives. More and more, I believe that she does NOT have the interest of the Belizean people at heart. More and more, I fear her, and I think she should NOT be in office.

What's the legacy of her mayorship? A freaking gazebo at the foot of Swing Bridge? What a big flaming pile of bull...

Maybe I'm wrong and I'm over reacting... but I'd love to get your opinion on the matter...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nutin' Good

So, I have been implored by a co-worker to "please write something positive for a change". Despite being a ranter and raver,  I decided I would take up to challenge.

So lets see...lets go through my list...
Anything positive to say about the police? Nope.
Anything positive to say about the state of the city/country? Are you kidding?
Anything positive to say about GOB? Nah.
Anything positive to say about the opposition? Not really.
Anything positive about any Government agency?
Anything positive on crime? Crime is up, so I guess not.
Anything positive on the economy? Only slightly better than really sucks.
Anything positive on the people of Belize? Saying this nicely...we have a real attitude problem!
Have the roads improved? Hahahahahahaha!
Anything positive of my friends? Well. I made one new one.

So truly, there is nothing much to say good about Belize at this time. Believe me, I have thought and thought about something good to say for the last few days and I don't have one. Even my family is thinking of finally calling it quits, throwing in the sweat rag and moving to Barbados, Bhutan, Australia, Argentina or Arabia.

So come on people of Belize, please give me something good to write. Until then I will have to endure the incessant pleas from my co-worker. 

But guess what...even she can't come up with anything good to say. Go figure...

Monday, November 17, 2008


Like a typical Belizean, I love to lament. I hope for better days, but I have no real concrete solutions. So, I've been challenging myself to think about tangible actions that the country can make. Hopefully, this blog will be one of many.

If we solve our economic problems, we'll solve our social problems too. There is a direct link between the GDP per capita of a country and it's level of happiness and level of crime & violence. Notwithstanding the diluting effect of HIV/AIDS and prevalence of drug usage, which lowers economic development.

So, we need jobs in Belize. It's highly unlikely that we'll attract a big company to start a manufacturing plant here. They've been here before, and they've left. The country benefits in the form of salary of employees and business tax, which the government collects. Though labour in Belize is cheap, it's not cheap enough. These big businesses are looking for the lowest costs so that they can maximize their profits. Why pay a worker $1.50 American an hour here when they can pay $0.50 an hour, or less, in India? And institute 12 hours work days? Which Belizean do you know would work under such conditions? Our labour laws protect us.

Since we can't attract outside investors, without guaranteeing them 15% profit on their investments {or more}, or arranging to neglect business tax {an incentive some countries make}, we should look at smaller scale ideas.

Enter microcredit. Microcredit offers the poor training and small loans to start small business. These are the people who have no collateral, so they are ineligible to banks and credit unions. In business, this is one of the most high risk investments of all. Nothing but honor are preventing the loanees from taking the money and never returning. The loanees are supposed to pay back their loans, and the money circles as the creditor loans it to another poor person.

This incenvtive is a great hit in South East Asia. In Bangladesh, where the incentive started, $5 billion has been distributed to $7 million women. Many of them single mothers. I don't have to spell out the benefits to the nation because of microcredit.

Now, I'm not exactly sure what the original parameters of the failed DFC were, but I'll guarantee you this, they loaned money to the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Microfinance is the way to go in Belize. With strict parameters and mandatory training. Training is key... in literacy, basic math skills, and accounting... for this idea to work.

Now, as to where we'll get the money to finance such a scheme, I have no idea. We're facing a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. Again. I'd suggest that successful businesses can help to provide the capital. Or the Government can set aside 30% of collected business tax.

You help the poor and you help the most vulnerable of this nation. Tell me, isn't that the very definition of democracy?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

law enforcement lawlessness

You know, I have had it up to here (blogger makes hand gesture of being up to neck) with all these law enforcement personnel breaking the law.

In the past two weeks:

I have seen police driving (non emergency related) down the wrong way on a one way street three times simply because they are lazy.

I have seen on duty policemen telling a chiney to give them a beer or else they will take them in for illegal boledo (BTW, why the heck won't GOB enforce the boledo laws..but that is for next week).

I have seen police officers urinating on the Baron Bliss lighthouse, in Dolphin Park and in the grass outside Friendship restaurant.

I have seen policemen illegally drinking on duty twice. Once at Celina's, and once at Sen Sen shop.

This morning, a white Focus police car almost ran me off the road whilst they were trying to overtake a bus on the curve by Raul's. I can assure you my eyes we as big as saucers while I disturbed the nicely littered grass shoulder. They never even bothered to stop.

I have seen a certain police officer drop his kids to school at SCA in "his cruiser" at least 4 times during this period.

And don't even ask about littering, my list of beer bottle throwing, banana skin shedding and water bag heaving police incidents would keep you here so long, BTL's profits would double! 

I used to report this kind of stuff, but all I ever got was attitude and disdain from Queen St. Clearly they are more interested in the conversation going on in the room off to the side about what Shelmadine was doing last night that taking my complaint.

All of these "little" infractions are illegal and all of these seen by just one citizen, me. Imagine how much other law breaking stuff goes on with the other police folk. If they can't obey the laws they are sworn to enforce, then no wonder most of the public breaks it too. The police must first lead by example, as cruffy won't follow the hypocrites.

Come on police, help us and we might help you.

Me done taak!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We are the Future

I hate to sound like a cliche Michael Jackson song, but we are the future.

The average age of a Belizean is 20. {Man, this is one time it SUCKS to be above average. But as a woman, I'm sensitive about my age.} Our society is young, strong, and just right for mobilization. **Another blog for another day is the lack of youth representation in government**

Last night I was speaking with an esteemed gentleman in Belizean society. It was an average conversation, but I want to share the highlights with you. We spoke about school, problems facing the Belize, the recent American elections, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, drug trafficking, and other issues and challenges facing the world. As the night was dwindling to an end, he decided to bestow a little advice.

"Do you plan to return home when you graduate?" he inquired.

I nodded, "Of course I do. I can't wait to actively contribute to Belizean society again."

"Think about ways to diversify. Entrepreneurship. An industry that could hire 100 Belizeans." He peered at me over his glasses. "It's in your hands now. I'm an old man. It's the changing of the guard. It's up to you and your fellows to lead and to improve the country." He straightened up in his seat. "I refuse to give up hope in Belize. We just have to think of a better way."

So, I'll pass on the words of this gentleman, and I challenge you young folk to think of a better way. I do not live in Ross Kemp's Belize. I live in my Belize... my dream country... a country that isn't in debt. A country that operates on a surplus. A country where crimes are rarely committed, and when they do occur, the police and judiciary act swiftly to apprehend and punish the guilty party. A country where no child goes hungry, where no mother dies because of lack of pre and post natal care, where the education system is admired by the region and copied because it is so successful.

Do you want to live in my Belize? Let's work together, my friends.... and make these dreams a reality. It's in our hands. We CAN effect change.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama Barak is the 44th President of the United States of America.

Frankly, I don't care. I'm not American. I don't live in America. I do not want to live in America. I keep my relations with America, and Americans, to a minimum. Trust me when I say that I have my reasons.... though the country is glorified, the common denizen is so ignorant, unemployment and poverty is rampant, and universal health care is non existant.

Despite my apathy and though I may vehmently deny it, Obama's current position affects me. *sigh* I don't see race. I don't see gender. But racism, sexism, and discrimination are alive and kicking. Though I don't want to acknowledge these "isms", they affect me everyday. They affect all of us.

My father called me this morning, and in a very excited voice asked me, "Are you celebrating? We won!"
"I don't care," I replied, "Why should I? I'm not American. The only thing I marginally care about will be his foreign policy."
After a pause he replied, "It's good that you don't see the world by color. But this is revolutionary. Thirty years ago this wouldn't have happened. The racism was so bad. I'm happy that you don't know what it's like."

I really never understood the wave of Obama-Nation that has flooded the world. To tell the truth, I would have preferred Hilary as a democratic candidate. I think she would have made a good President, she had the right qualifications, and she really wanted it.

Notwithstanding, do you think Obama's election win will affect Belize and Belizeans? Does it matter? For goodness sake, he never knew his father, and his white mother and grandparents raised him in Hawaii. I think Obama is like me, he doesn't see the world with race-tinted glasses. So why is his race, his black skin, so much like my own, so important to everyone?

For this blog, I want your opinion... What do you think, Belize? Try and inform my ignorant ass about Obama-Nation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where have all the good businessmen gone?

Everybody is doing the hustle. It is becoming harder and harder to find a business doing an honest trade in Belize. When I say honest, I mean from top to bottom, from under invoicing at customs, to selling goods that are not defective or expired, to not paying the proper taxes.

Let me first begin by saying, there are business people out there running THOROUGHLY legit operations. I am one of them. But being in the circles, I can tell you the vast majority are running rackets at some level.

The struggling businesses are the legit businesses. Those whose owners are driving fancy rides or are jetting off to ski in Aspen, or building gigantic seaside mansions are operating, at the very least, on the shady side of law and profiting handsomingly doing so.

I can list example after example of containers coming in for stores that are declared as going to a church, or of stores selling refurbished goods as new, or fry chicken shops declaring $915 in sales for the month. I have seen them all with my own eyes. You report the offense and nothing gets done.

In fact, I once reported a company I do business with for GST infractions. You know what happened..somehow I got audited the next month! Needless to say I lost the company's business as well. In the end the legit business got hurt. 

Our system and our social structure does not reward honesty. We look up to the folks driving range rovers who we know haven't worked a honest day in their lives. Our politicians (BOTH parties, lest I get accused of being political :^) are at the very least complacent in enforcement. I believe that it has actually become socially acceptable to be crook.

In days gone by I used to hear folks complain about Mexico and how it was mordida this and crooked that. Well boys and girls...right now we are worse.

It is time to clean this up and you can start by setting the example in your own daily lives. Buy from those who are clean, support those who are struggling and punish those who flaunt the laws.

Lets support higher standards in our lives.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Contemplating Walcott...

After weeks of hearing about floods and rising water levels and displaced and confused residents and after days of traveling on partially washed-out roads in crowded, noisy buses, I am left feeling a bit frazzled. I can only imagine what those who have been directly affected by this flood are experiencing.
While I understand that our country is strapped for funds and immediate relief efforts may be inhibited by this fact, I am so angry that those monies were not used properly and now, in time of disaster, we must suffer the consequences.
I am reminded of this poem by Derek Walcott entitled "Parades, Parades". This sums up my feelings exactly.
here's the wide desert, but no one marches
except in the pads of old caravans,
there is the ocean, but the keels incise
the precise, old parallels,
there's the blue sea above the mountains
but they scratch the same lines
in the jet trails--
so the politicians plod
without imagination, circling
the same sombre garden
with its fountain dry in the forecourt,
the grigri palms desiccating
dung bods like goats,
the same lines rule the White Papers,
the same steps ascend Whitehall,
and only the name of the fool changes
under the plumed white cork-hat
for the Independence parades,
revolving around, in calypso,
to the brazen joy of the tubas.

Why are the eyes of the beautiful
and unremarked children
in the uniforms of the country
bewildered and shy,
why do they widen in terror
of the pride drummed into their minds?
Were they truer, the old songs,
when the law lived far away,
when the veiled queen, her girth
as comfortable as cushions,
upheld the orb with its stern admonitions?
We wait for the changing of statues,
for the change of parades.
Here he comes now, here he comes!
Papa! Papa! With his crowd,
the sleek, waddling seals of his Cabinet,
trundling up to the dais,
as the wind puts its tail between
the cleft of the mountain, and a wave
coughs once, abruptly.
Who will name this silence
respect? Those forced, hoarse hosannas
awe? That tin-ringing tune
from the pumping, circling horns
the New World? Find a name
for that look on the faces
of the electorate. Tell me
how it all happened, and why
I said nothing.

from Sea Grapes 1971

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A, B, C, D and Misplaced Democracy

The term 'democracy' typically connotes the legitimacy of majoritarian rule; one person, one vote; and protection of minority beliefs. But such descriptions perform an injustice to the evolution and expansion of democratic principles. Today, an office is democratic if it upholds the virtues of equal opportunity and gender equality. Today, a government is democratic, not only because it receives the majority of votes in the House for the laws it ratifies, but because it does so with integrity and the livelihoods of its citizens in mind. Democracy transcends its historical roots, blossoming into a tree with branches of equality, fairness and opportunity.

Of all the institutions that we should demand the principle of democracy to floruish is in our schools. With regard to this sacred principle, it is my sincere belief that our educational system has failed. I have previously lauded the system's capacity to produce some of the brightest minds in the world with meager resources. However, such a position permits a myopic focus on the 'best and the brightest', while disregarding the ones who fall through the cracks (and the reasons why they fall). One reason that I believe is worth due attention and prudent discussion is the stratified distribution of perceived intellect within schools - the inner segregation between those who are labeled 'smart' and those labeled 'not so smart'.

This system is a case of a misguided "separate but equal" fallacy. Some claim that although the D's remain in one class, they still receive the same education, are taught by the same teachers and use the same materials as those in the "A" class. However, the repression behind this system sows longlasting transgressions: the majority in the "D" class settle for mediocrity because of a misplaced comfort by being around those of "similar intellect". To say that this does not have an indirect psychological effect, especially in the development of personal and career goals, would be naive. The amount of students who are actually promoted from a D class to an A (or even a B class) remains negligible to the point of disgrace - to the point of exposing the innate bias of a system that facilitates genius on one side, and inhibits potential on the other. It is the educational equivalent of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

A democratic educational system must utilize the resources it has. This necessity is compelled by the fact that there are only few resources to begin with. One resource must then become the very same 'best and the brightest' group. If separated from each other and integrated with those of differing levels of perceived intellect, by the simple virtue of their own ability, these bright students may just inspire the ones who have never witnessed the spark that illuminates beyond their dark borders. The 'best and the brightest' must offer their tutelage to the ones who need it, recognizing that by doing so, it will also help to foster the altruistic notion that "I AM my brother's/sister's keeper" - a notion that is predominantly absent in the Belizean society. I sincerely doubt that mixing these two classes together will "hold back", as they say, the bright ones from achieving their goals. The same rules will apply: one class and one goal for achievement: those who fail to meet that goal will unfortunately be left behind. But let they not be left behind without a sense of fairness. Before these realize their abandoned fate and turn to "streets" where only vices await, they must first be given a glimpse of what they should aim to become and what we, as a society, expect all to become. That is Democracy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When I get elected...

Among many other things....

When I get elected, I will ensure that the  the salaries of all elected officials are raised to a more regionally accepted level. This will attract better candidates and will then take away the "they don't pay me enough" excuse for under the table shenanigans.

When I get elected, I will ensure implementation of an "Honest Politician Law". Anyone convicted (I know this is a long shot) with their hand in the cookie jar will have to repay 4 times what they took and will have have their pension taken away.

When I get elected, I will have done so by not promising to pay anyone in my division's tuition, electricity, water or phone bill or  their rent. We must stop this cycle of dependency. It is the breeding ground for many of our social problems

When I get elected, I will have done so by making the sole promise of being an honest politician who will work hard for the people of Belize. Country before party, Always.

When I get elected, I will ensure that Government moves its bank account from the Belize Bank. Both parties say they hate the man, then they bank at his bank. Talk about hypocritical!

When I get elected, I will ensure that we have a real "whistle blower" law with real rewards for the blower.

When I get elected, I will ensure that all prisoners are put to work chain-gang style to clean our streets, highways, drains and canals. Look, we are feeding these folks, put them to work for us! We will also implement the hands off approach to thieving.  You get convicted of stealing once, first hand gets cut off... a second time, the other hand..third time, its your head. I guarantee you, the thief will stop after the first hand and if they don't at least we will know who they are.

When I get elected, I will ignore and immediately shread all letters from Amnesty International complaining about the above paragraph!

Guess I will never get elected.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Lazy Press

Now before anyone gets their panties and speedos in a twist, let me begin by saying that the press in Belize enjoy a lot of freedom, and we must thank our democratic system for that. We enjoy the relative freedom to write and report what we want, when we want it, where we want it (except for on the occasional partisan blog).

It is what they do with this freedom is what troubles me. They do nothing. Except for the odd Jules Vasquez convenient expose, the press are very, very lazy creatures.

Time and time again, I hear on morning shows or news casts something like "we are waiting on a press release from the Police to give you the news". What? Are you kidding me? The press are supposed to be calling the police, they are supposed to be camped outside a politician's office. They are supposed to be following Dean Barrow for comment, or fact checking a businessman's claim. Instead, the just sit back in their comfy offices and wait for the phone to ring or the fax machine to beep to a halt.

Anthony Martinez even had to GO TO CHANNEL 7, to tell his side of his rambling "story". He was handled with mostly kid gloves, and his treatment was not unique. In other parts of the world, the press would have been roughing him up with headlines like "Money from Nothing!" and photos of him wiping his forehead with a hanky. 

So why is our press lazy? Well they are underpaid for the most part. Most of them have never really been to journalism school or been part of a foreign journalistic team. They don't seem to have the hunger except when their own paper / news organization is at stake (eg Ashcroft closing on KREM), and they surely don't know what it like not to have journalistic freedom in the first place. Had these folks grown up in China or Venezuela where their lives were at risk every time they wrote a word, I am sure their perspective might be different.

We must encourage a more tenacious press. Not a twist the truth Enquirer style of story telling, but a good, aggressive, no hold barred and fearless reporting of the stuff happening around us everyday.  They must search out stories, question everyone and trust no one.

With a more tenacious press, politicians might just start acting a bit better, and those upper class white collar criminals might be a bit less "breggin". If you think of the times the press has been hungry and on stories (Courtenay's $3mil, Said' endless debauchery )  those folks came to despise the evening news, often going in seclusion and hiding behind henchmen.

Maybe the bad apples in our society might actually start to behave if they knew that they might just be the topic of the next "7 on your side".

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Life occurs in cycles. Happiness, Sickness, Joy, Hurt, Sacrifice, Pain, and eventually Death will be known to each of us. Yet, despite how vulnerable we all are, we still manage to hold a "It won't happen to me and my family" mindset. You know what I'm talking about... until some incident of great import occurs in our own life, until the last second, we think, "It won't happen to me."

But things do happen. Cancer comes. Tsunamis come. Floods come.

I think this mindset of infallibility has been following the floods, from Cayo, to Orange Walk, and now into Belize District. And our fellow Belizeans deserve our compassion and help, not our judgement and denial. Logically speaking, if I lived by the river, and the weather forecaster was preaching imminent flooding, I'd move. But emotionally, how could I leave my home, my belongings, my memories? How could I abandon ship when I'd lived in that same house by that same river for 40 years with incident?

Part of me wants to shout, "Fools, unnu move!", while the other half understands their stubbornness. Home, after all, is where the heart is.

Just my three cents for the day... for those affected, my prayers. For those in unaffected areas, don't forget to help the less fortunate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Idiots, Floods and Darwinian Principles.

What is wrong with people.

Starting last Thursday, the authorities have been telling people in flood prone areas to stock up and/or get out. In general, people were very dismissive..."we justt di ya di parti" or "we gaan tru lat a hurricane". Now these folks are calling for NEMO for help because they don't have any food, or are sitting on their roofs. Some are even demanding rescue because their boats have no gas.

The authorities should just let them be. They should do what New Orleans did this Hurricane Season. "You have been warned. If you do not heed our warnings, and get out when we give you the opportunity, then you are on your own and you may die". End of story.

It is hard but it is the only thing cruffy understand. 

We as humans are blessed to have a brain to make good decisions. But cruffy think that the government are their parents, lifeboats and grocery store.

The foolish individuals of a species are generally weeded out by nature. Well nature is attempting to do just that right now.

Only the fit and the smart survive.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rubber Boots

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words..”

I believe a lot of the problems we face in our nation can be fixed with an attitude change. Maybe I'm an optimist. Our parents constantly lament about the way things used to be; it's within our generation that radical change have been occurring. But are these parents not the ones who raised and socialized us? Did they not plant a seed, and are now alarmed at the growth of the weed? We need realistic dramatic action.
A human being with no fear is out of control. When we have no fear, we act on our most basic selfish animalistic instinct, with no regard for the other members of our society. By nature, we're a communal species; we have to have the well-being of our fellow man at heart for success and peace. As Belizeans, this used to be true. Now it is not.
There is no fear. A commuter has no fear, so she throws garbage out the window of a bus. A child has no fear, so he curses and back-chats the teacher. An adolescent has no fear, so he robs the Chiney around the corner. A gangsta has no fear, so he shoots his enemies out of beef. A politician has no fear, so he pours the national coffers into his pocket. There is no fear in our country.
Now me, I'm afraid. My mother put the fear of God into me... I fear, therefore I respect, the written laws of Belize, and the unwritten laws of common decency.
So put the fear into the little ones growing up now; talk to a child, and if necessary, discipline him or her. Remember the lessons you learned and home and in school and act accordingly. Clean your yard. Cut your grass. Don't litter. These little actions, my friends, they'll seep up like capillary action! It all starts in the little things.
Don't forget charity. Help people, when you can, if you can. Have a heart for the human condition. Don't forget your fellow man, and most of all, the generations to come. How then, my friends, can we as a people fail and be miserable? Without this attitude change, our Jewel will lose its sparkle. And I know none of us want that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Depression & Dilapidation

So, as I drove into Belize City from the airport this morning these were my observations.

1) Potholes, potato holes, elephant holes EVERYWHERE. Drivers dodging the ones they can, but in the end they get you. Every year it is the same excuses. Find the money, fix the road and stop blaming the swamp and rain. If we can send a man to the moon, then surely we can solve this.

2) Uncut medians....they look as though they haven't been cut in months....wait...they haven't. Get on with it Citco.

3) Skyscraper grass on every open lot. For God's sake Citco..make yourself some money and clamp down on these people and start issuing political will.

4) Garbage EVERYWHERE....and no Mr Dean O. this is not business house garbage that you claim is the problem..these are water bags, soft drink bottles, and BBQ containers. The stuff that plain ole prideless citizens deposit wherever they feel like.

5) Busses stopping every 10 feet. Can we please open the book on the world standards on bus stops. This is so easy to correct with a little management and enforcement.

6) School kids and workers dashing across the highway wherever they feel like it. Not only are they not using the overhead walkway, but they are jay walking all over the highway. Not only is it dangerous but it doesn't help the traffic situation at all.

7) Street Signs down. What little there are have fallen and can't seem to get up. Yes, the same "make up a sign color that is not international standards" fluorescent green ones that say we should go 15 MPH. I have a book on Sign Standards if Citco would like to borrow.

8) Clogged drains. Not only are they clogged but they are overflowing with marrass.  Yuck!

So, when you combine all of this with the general lack of zoning and untidiness of the city, why would anyone in their right mind want to live in Belize City or must less come and visit.

And we wonder why everyone is fleeing Belize and tourists are rating Belize city as a horrible experience.

Please do something Citco...I am begging you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fatwas and War Plans

Oh my..Oh my....

Someone issued a fatwa without a war plan! Any guesses...The UDP! Now they have to live with the consequences. The UDP thought that a magical Esquivel TV endorsement would overcome Mayor Moya's ground war and television campaign. They were sorely mistaken and now the rogue councillors, Manuel, Boots and the others have to eat some humility. They have to live with democracy.

It can't be said that the Moya win was a product of Southside roots. Mr. Michael even lost in Caribbean Shores and Freetown which are the bastions of the middle class. So, she had solid base....a base that was loyal to her and willing to punish her detractors.

Furthermore, in my humble opinion, the only thing that the voters hate more than a thief is a traitor. So sure Moya was a thief, but Michaels was a traitor. He showed no political loyalty and he paid the price for that...and he wants a division now? Pu-leeze! If he can't handle a damaged Moya, how would he be able to handle a Fonseca or a resurgent Jorge?

So the next general elections might be closer than we all think. If the Espats can gain control of the new PUP and if the UDP continue to self destruct, then the PUP might be closer to regaining control than anyone believes.. The writing in on the wall. If the UDP can't beat back a mayoral candidate, then.....well, we must all calibrate those conclusions. 

Finally a note to all Representatives, please don't go sit outside Jules' offices with your personal bank account statements in the belief that because you spent $30,000 that month and only have $1800 left that you are not taking illegal money. Think about it people, these are the people leading our country and they can't even make decent decisions about their own lives. 

One can only shake your head with the absurdity of Belizean politics.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Issues of Salary, Cleanups and Domestic Help

City Council
Have you seen the list of those running for the UDP slate this weekend? I went through them all and I could only find 6 that I would even consider.  The rest are either crooks, unemployable, political flunkies or just plain ole idiots.

Now on the the salary scandal. To begin with, I am not condoning any form of illegal payments. Nor, am I justifying what was done. The mayor and her team signed on for a specific job at a specific rate. Period. End of that part of the story.

But what is more apparent is that we need to make Councillors, Mayors, and Representatives full time employees. No other "side" jobs should be allowed. If they have a business, then let them hire a manager. AND, we must pay them more. The only way we are going to get decent, honest and qualified people to run for office is to pay them what they would be worth in the public sector. Paying them a decent salary is not popular, but it is the only hope we have of getting people running who MIGHT, just MIGHT be good for the country. 

For sure we are going to get at least 6 good crooks this weekend. Lord help us all.

Coastal Cleanup
This weekend marks the day the annual coastal cleanup is done. What a joke this is. Students and youth groups will go out for a couple of hours and do the job the city councils, central government and citizens should do everyday. Clean up after themselves.  We should clean up every day...not once a year. In fact, if  we all just quit being pigs, maybe this would not be necessary. I challenge you all, when you see someone throw a piece of trash on the ground, especially kids (cause the adults might get ignorant on us!), tell them to pick it up.  I have done this three times this week and it feels good to at least try to make a difference.

The Unemployables
I am trying to hire a house keeper to replace the last one who was helping herself to some currency. All I am looking for is an honest hard working individual willing to work for a fair wage (not this $150 a week crime). I have interviewed no less than 40 people. Every one has been a total disaster. Some said that they don't go to work before 9am, one wanted $500 a week, one had on more bling bling that my house costs, two "couldn't remember" their last employer's name (you do the math!), one was 32 and had 12 kids (we know where her free time goes), one young lady even asked "could she live in?" What the heck? No wonder these folks had no jobs. So my search continues....probably in vain.

Rest assured each one of these 40+ ladies had a top of the line cell phone on them. Now there are some priorites!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brains IN Supply; Opportunities Not

I recently completed a research paper that compares the educational reform policies proposed by John McCain and Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and came to the conclusion that the educational system in America is in disarray and in need of "systemic changes." Now, as a student studying abroad in America, my conclusion obviously nestled comfortably on a bed of irony. Judging from the rhetoric of both candidates, it would appear as if the educational system here is wholly deficient. Yet, it is these same American universities that continue to attract the brightest minds from around the world (including Belize). 

A recent blog on this website, entitled "Brains in Short Supply," did an excellent job of mirroring the negative rhetoric of McCain and Obama, describing our own system as defunct and one that produces "a bunch of idiots, basically." My opinion on this issue is the same as the above: that such criticism is unnecessary and explicitly unjustified. It is an unequivocal truth that the educational system in Belize is grossly underfunded, suffering from a dearth of resources. For example, many primary schools operate without computer labs, an injustice to our children who find themselves growing up in a technologically dependent world. Similarly, some of our teachers, at all educational levels, are unqualified. But it is important to address this misunderstood notion of "unqualified." A teacher who graduates from Teacher's College, or has a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree does not automatically make him/her 'qualified'; the ability to impart knowledge is not measured in an academic degree. I believe that many of our unqualified teachers are those that see teaching as a profession, an occupation and a means to a monthly paycheck. This translates into a unmotivated classroom environment where teachers fail to invoke the maximum capabilities of their students. With this clarification in mind, I progress. 

The most salient problems of our educational system is not a systemic one, but rather and unsurprisingly, an economic one.  It is undeniable that Belize produces its fair share of intelligence, evidenced by the annual CXC distinctions that are bestowed unto our students and the unrelenting success of those who are fortunate to study abroad in Central America, the Caribbean and the United States. Such students flock to these foreign countries and achieve both academic and extracurricular success far beyond the limits of anemic Belizean resources. How unqualified can our teachers possibly be in light of such success? The problem, unsurprisingly, is an economic one. With more resources, the government would be able to build schools with adequate facilities that can maximize the potential of any child; they would be able to increase the salary for teachers, making an educator's role more attractive to those who might want to teach, but find the meager salary inconducive to supporting a family or a comfortable life; they would be able to offer more scholarships for both low-income and meritorious students the opportunity to study abroad. 

Ask any student who has graduated from high school and I can almost guarantee that, in hindsight, there were one or two teachers who had an enormous impact on their lives for the better. Likewise, ask any teacher and they will tell you that they saw many engineers, doctors, lawyers, and the foundation of Belize's future sitting before them in their classrooms. Hence it would be irresponsible to deduce that most of our teachers lack the insight and ability to instruct and impart knowledge. And it is perhaps even more intolerable to imply that Belizean students are somehow inferior based on a negligent and myopic examination of the root causes of why some children slip through the cracks. Moreover, it undermines the success of the those students who have blossomed in their respective fields and those who would succeed if only given an opportunity to do so; a chance is all they need. 

Our educational system, like many other systems in the world, is in need of dire changes and improvements. Irresponsible criticism, however, makes no progress toward these goals.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Idle minds and the devils workshop

The P.G.I. Airport seems to have a problem. No, not passengers numbers declining, which it has. No, not vendors revolting about the signage nazis, which they have. Instead, it is their night security guards.

These guys seems to run rampant at night. It becomes their own fiefdom. A land in which they can do all. A land brought forth from the combination of low pay, idle minds, and the arrogant belief that no matter what they do, no one in authority will do anything or care about it. The worse part is that it is happening not just in the unsecured areas outside, but in the supposedly secure areas inside the arrival and departure halls. This is supposed to be some of the most secure areas in the country. So much for that. Guess we better hope that the Uncle Sam's TSA is not monitoring this blog or we might not be able to go shopping in Miami!

So, anyway, the rent-a-cops steal money from the charity donation boxes by fishing the money out with a clothes hanger and gum or by just breaking the locks. When security cameras are positioned to monitor the boxes, the camera positions are moved by tinkerbell magic at night.

The "guards" run up phone bills on tennant's phones. One poor clerk almost lost her job when her boss accused her of running up a $3000 phone bill. It was later established that the calls to such far away places as Chicago, St. Kitts and Lagos, were made at 1 and 2 in the morning. Hardly the time of greatest legitimate activity in the arrivals lounge.

The "guards" steal modems, surf for porn on the internet, sleep on desks, drink from water coolers that are not theirs, deface bathrooms, even leave their eaten $5 greasy chicken bags for the rats to nibble on. We won't even get into the traveller's bags from secure areas that go missing. 

Why won't the B.A.A. do anything about the problem even with many, many verifiable complaints from vendors and users? Laziness and apathy, indifference and just plain ole striving for lower standards.

Some time ago I wrote about the Guiliani way of eradicating crime. This is clearly an example of one of the starting point possibilities he spoke of. If an area behind metal detectors, security cameras, armed guards and dogs, and with international standards to be held up to for the sake of the national economy cannot be made crime free, then where else can be? 

Is the same problem in the rest of the country. We just don't care and allow it to happen. Get me Sgt. Tablada!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Everyone's Leaving

I have never heard so many people say they are finally ready to leave Belize. And leaving they are. In droves. Legally and via the swim of the Rio Grande. The big question is what is the straw that has finally broken the camel's back. Is it crime? The economy? The lack of hope? Or like me, do they just feel that the country they love doesn't love them back anymore?

No one wanted to make Belize work more than me. I gave up lucrative offers coming out of school in the US to come home, because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to change Belize. And come hell or high water I was going to make a difference. 11 Years later, I am forced to admit that I might be wrong.

And while, I would not have met my wife or had my lovely kids had I not come home, it goes without saying that I believe there is no hope left for any of us here. 

We feel we can't go anywhere without fear of being robbed. We are penned in our homes behind 8 foot barbed wire fences, motion detectors, camera, dogs, deadlocks galore and police who don't care. We work hard to earn an honest living (how do the poor do it?), but find that our money goes nowhere. We drive on dirty potholed streets with beggars all around. We sit and endure blackouts because the power company has run out of excuses. Our businesses don't get any patronizing if we are blue or red or unless we can offer a kickback of some kind. But most of all we live in country where everything seems to be a hustle, where honest citizens are being outflanked and outplayed by criminals of every kind. Criminals from Albert Street to the ones calling the National Assembly home.

Unfortunately more and more of the true Belizean Patriots are cutting their losses and throwing in the towel. I for one am now deciding what towel that should be.

As we sit and watch our home get robbed on a Sunday afternoon while the police take 6 hours to respond, we are left to it all worth it? Is the safety of our children worth the pride you may have had in sticking it out?

Some may say, stand up, run for office and do something about it. This is an unrealistic ideal. You cannot make a rotten apple good again. You cannot change a system that does not want to be changed by the politicians, the hustling high society and the commoners who enjoy their "free education" and turkeys at Christmas time. A bukut stinks now and will stink in 10 years.

Belize does not want to be changed. EVERYONE knows that, and those who pretend that it does are fooling themselves. Voters will never vote for someone who stands up and says "I pledge no more handouts". They will never vote for politicians whose line of thinking is "lets pay our leaders well enough to a) attract qualified people and b) as way of discouraging dishonestly" (that is another blog entirely!). Business people will never back politicians who truly want to clean up the hustling, because the these businesses depend on hustling to get goods through customs! The foxes are watching the chicken coup and the hens aren't coming in OR out.

Belize is in an ever tightening circle of Mutually Assured Destruction. The only questions that remain are when do you abandon ship and  where do you go....the USA is not for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making Use of Ross Kemp

Considering the argument that I am about to pursue, I find it necessary to begin with a minor disclaimer: all the uproar and widespread displeasure over Ross Kemp's overblown assessment of gang warfare in Belize was completely justified and within proper context.  Belize is not a little Baghdad, where grenades are hurled on a daily basis, nor is it a place where gangs reside on every street.  Of course, if one were to journey along select areas of the south side of Belize City, which is what Ross Kemp did, it would certainly appear to be the case.  But what Mr. Kemp did was to travel to the most afflicted areas and make a generalization about the entire country.  If one didn't know any better, one would think that the gang problem in Belize extends to Corozal, Orange Walk, Dangriga, and Punta Gorda.  From my 'layman's perspective,' I don't believe this is the case, nor does it come close to an accurate portrayal of crime in Belize.    

On the other hand, above the cloud of animosity, I believe there exists immense value in Ross Kemp's affinity for sensationalism.  First, while gang warfare does not afflict every neighborhood in the country, we cannot deny that it is a major issue in some areas of the country, primarily the south side of Belize City.  But we knew this right?  We surely didn't need some outsider who probably spent less than a month in the country to tell us this.  So how does his documentary benefit us? It shows us what will happen if we don't implement effective measures to mitigate the crime problem.  I could easily envision that if we continue to take baby steps in efforts to combat crime, Belize could indeed end up exactly how it was portrayed by Kemp. However, we are not at that point just yet.  There is still time to make progress before the situation spins out of control.  I believe that our police force is making some progress, and I can only hope that they continue to do so.  While I can offer no legitimate solutions, I believe that continued dialogue amongst all sectors of our society can, and will, produce tangible progress.  

So, Mr. Kemp, while we Belizeans don't appreciate your unfair assessment, we will work to prove you wrong.    Happy Independence Day :)  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Double Standards & Respect

Most of my blogs involve daily occurrences and observations in our tiny community.
It makes it more real. It makes it more pertinent. They are commentaries on our daily lives.

We all know that the world is full of double standards. Men who sleep around are studs, but women are easy; Women before men when abandoning ship; Different pay for same jobs.
There are countless examples, and whether each double standard is real or only perceived is not important at this time. But I would like to touch on one particular instance of a double standard that I found disturbing.

Recently I was in HRCU and I was standing in line in front of two women. The women proceeded to launch into a rather quiet but serious conversation about wanting to  rape some man "Blinky" that they thought had some nice "gravy". Evidently "Blinky" was not giving them the time of day. Strangely, I have heard this sort of conversation from women on 2 or 3 more occasions. I guess I am always listening to those around me, but shouldn't we all be aware of what's happening around us? Wait, I am straying, that's a topic for another blog! Click...Save!

Now whether or not "Blinky" would enjoy the threesome is irrelevant. And let's put aside the legal aspects of rape because those are not up for debate. What I have an issue with is that why is it socially acceptable for women to say this sort of thing. In fact, men would laugh it off (or at least pretend to), but if a man said it he would do the same to a woman, he would likely be hauled to the piss house. Now, for sure if these women actually held down "Blinky" against his will, he would never report for fear of being ridiculed by his male friends. A fate even maybe even worse that the crime itself.

What makes a woman less likely to do this crime than a man? Nothing physically, mentally or emotionally. In fact it is not unheard of for female teachers to be sleeping with their young male students. And in fact, when I was in third form, there was one female teacher who enjoyed to company of her "best" student. Aye...again I digress! Click...Save!  Sorry, no pertinent shush for you on this one at this time.

Some may say that perhaps these two women were just excited about the man and meant nothing by the use of the word "rape". But isn't excitement the first step in a possible crime. Shoplifters often steal just for the adrenaline rush alone. Serial killers often kill for sheer excitement. Politician oftens steal just just because they can.

Any social structure has its inequalities, and truly culturally we cannot do much about it. But what we can do is to have a little respect for each other. Respect starts within all of us, in private and in public. Men should ALWAYS respect women, and women should ALWAYS respect men. That is not up for any debate. Anything less is unforgivable.

Educational Tip of the Week: Contrary to what is being taught at some schools, Pluto is not officially designated a planet. It has now been classified as a member of the Kuiper Belt. Occasionally it comes closer to the earth than Neptune ( a real planet).  

Wouldn't I dearly love to just sit in a classroom (especially a UB or high school one) and just correct teacher inaccuracies all day. Great fun!

Have a good weekend...and Happy 21st. And don't forget to do your part and drink local brew, not that contraband stuff.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking back before running ahead

I usually take the time to look back on my life on my birthday. Since the birth of our nation is forthcoming, I think I'll take a little time to look at our country. Only in knowing the past can we fully and successfully take advantage of future opportunities.

I feel that we're at a crossroads. The documentary by Kemp, no matter how much I disagree with it, is a wake up call. Crispin Jefferies said it, and I'm agreeing with him {I can't believe I share an opinion with this man.} In this world ruled by the G7, where relations are governed by the rich for the advantage of the rich, we cannot live by the conventional rules of the so called first world countries.

We have to define our own Belizean reality. You know the days we used to yell, "Belize for Belizeans?" We need to relive those times. My knowledge of the past, however, is limited by time. Because I'm an Independence Baby... born Nineteen-Eighty-something, I've flourished under the shade of the mahogany tree...somewhat. Like those of my era, in my words, thoughts, and deeds, I've come to define what it is to be Belizean. I follow American fashion, I have a cell phone on my hip, and I eat rice 'n' beans with gusto every Sunday at noon.

There is so much of the history of Belize that isn't transcribed. I miss the blank spaces. They say you can't miss what you don't know... I have to contradict this long standing opinion. I've read and re-read 13 Chapters from cover to cover and I'm left wholly unsatisfied. There are stories whispered on screen covered verandas as neighbors pass to buy Boledo in the moonlight. There are so many things only the dying old people remember, stories and memories that are dying with hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. I find it ironic that in a country where we so praise ourselves on our cultural richness and diversity, we're becoming quickly diluted in the "bling, bling" mentality of North America. The British were supposed to have left on September 21, 1981. So I ask you, why are our minds still shackled? Why are we yet to be freed? We're no longer slaves, yet we work hard to spend every dollar on 21st century skin and credit for our pre-paid phones.

We're composed of contradictions, we Belizeans. "This tranquil haven of democracy" our anthem cries out. Have you seen this haven recently? Between the bullet ridden bodies, skeletons in sugar cane fields, grenades launched in from of the hospital, and gun shots during Carnival? My homeland by the Sea.... I feel you slipping through my fingers, and all I can do is cry, because I wonder if we'll ever return to the days of open windows at night instead of sliding down a slippery slope into urban terrorism. Are we so in-confident in being Belizean that we must create an alternate ego? We have to be ourselves... or we'll lose everything.

Bottom line, the way to thrive, nationally {as well as personally} is by living within our means. Things may not move at the pace that we all wish, but brick by brick, we'll build our own success. On our own terms.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few important thoughts

OIL: Well Barrow is now in the crapper. His entire national budget is predicated on oil revenues gotten from royalties on oil at $90 per barrel and above. Today oil is at $90 and still dropping and BNE doesn't have to pay those fees. BNE saw the writing on the wall (those tankers lined up with no buyers) when oil was at $135 and did a quick agreement before the fall. Now the Belize Government is left looking like a fool. That is what happens when we put unqualified people in positions to make decisions for all of us! Now where are we going to get money to pay the national debt, education etc? This could get interesting...I see a rise in GST coming! And I bet Dean O is not sleeping well tonight.

Hurricane Lesson: With Ike hitting The US, we can take note of a lesson for our future use. The areas of Houston that never lost power had underground cables. Why don't we do this in Belize City . With underground cables, even if a cat 5 hits us, the cables are protected. All BEL would need to do would be to replace the transmission lines. This would be a far quicker and cheaper way to put Belize City back on its feet. I mentioned this to Lynn Young and he told me "it is too expensive". Fine, is that the only excuse? Well then this is easy problem.  We finance it publicly, one street per month, and while we are at it fix the street too street at a time. Eventually all would be done. And don't forget to include telephone and cable too. I don't know about you, but I would gladly authorize my tax dollars be spent on this. It is more expensive up front, but better 20 years from now. Again, good leadership with real vision would be great here.

Mercy Care: I don't want this to pass off into the night without saying a word. Mercy Care which has provided a once a day meal and free healthcare to those who really need it in the city is in such financial difficulty that they are shedding staff, shutting down the medical arm and will probably have to close all together unless someone comes to the rescue. Mercy Int'l has pulled its funding due to their own problem, GOB cannot support anymore, and donations locally have dried up. It will be sad to see them go, and we hope a miracle can be pulled off. I for one do not know what those who really need the place (not the medicine freeloaders) will do. Guess it will just be more beggars on the streets. 

Now for my educational tip of the week: It is incorrect to put two spaces after a end of sentence. This is a carry over from the old typewriter days. Current Computer programs like MS word actually put in 1.5 spaces when you use the space bar after a period, semicolon etc. So when you press the spacebar twice, you are actually getting 3 spaces.  Read your program manuals folks. It is in there! And please for god's sake stop pressing the bar twice! It is irritating. 

Incidentally, I have a few posters IM about my screen names. Yes, I post other articles elsewhere too. So here is the explanation:

Trazidex: A $100 (+GST) eye medication to help you clear optical infections. Obviously a metaphor for the blog opening all our eyes.

T.S.H.T.F. Militia: I am a member of a loose group of radicals known as the when The Shit Hits The Fan Militia. Membership is very tightly controlled :^) but has its privileges. One other blog poster on this site is a member. Can you figure out who it is?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brains in Short Supply

Hear ye, hear ye.....what is our educational system coming to? It is so scary to me to see that we have teachers educating our youth who have not clue as to what they are teaching. I recently tried to dissect a teachers instructions on a student I tutor's homework and not only was the grammar terrible, but the directions made no sense. In the end I had to take an educated guess.

If a well educated (at least I think I am) person cannot figure out a Std 1 homework assignment then something is amiss, somewhere.

This is not letting local secondary and tertiary level educational systems off the hook either. We are graduating a bunch on idiots basically. I know. I interview them everyday with their "we was" and "I dus do it"....Oh the horror. Then I have to try to communicate to these people once they have landed themselves a cushy job elsewhere that swells the head. Why did they get that job? Well, there is no one else to hire, so employers take the best of the bad apples.

Part of the problem also lies in the fact that we even have lecturers teaching at 6th form and UB who are teaching stuff they are not qualified to teach. Accountants teaching biology and economists teaching art are but a few.

People wonder why businessmen like the "lord" seem to outsmart us at every turn. The answer lies in the fundamentals of our once vaunted educational system.

So come on everyone. Lets get some decent teachers. Let's train them properly. Let them help us turn the corner to become a first world country. But we don't want our students to be reciting jabberwocky, we want them to be independent thinkers. They should be taught to learn one new fact every day. I do, even if the last thing before I go home..

Readers are plentiful. Thinkers are rare. And from now on I will try to leave you with one common misconstrued fact per post that I will attempt to correct. 

Common Falsehood: There are three states of matter.
Truth: There are four: Solid, Liquid, Gas, and Plasma

Monday, September 8, 2008

Striving for Lower Standards

Well, I wasn't going to write anything this short week, but I just had to get a quick issue of my chest.

On Saturday, I saw a cargo truck (lic A3325) off loading garbage onto a feeder road near my house. Totally illegal, unhygienic, unsightly and just wrong.

After I stopped, I told the dumper to please stop making a mess of my community and making his garbage my problem. He politely told me "well everyone else dumps here and why do you as a PUP (too funny!) want to stop me a UDP from dumping."  My response "so if one idiot runs into a fire, then sounds like you would too. And furthermore, yes other people might dump here but today I am stopping it, and I am starting with you."

This practice of illegally dumping in our neighbor's yard, on every street corner, on every bush road, and everywhere in between has to stop. My Belizean people have no pride! They want to make their problem, someone else's problem. Simply because they are either too lazy to put out the garbage or to cheap to drive to the dump site. There also seem to be a lot of fly by night garbage people who people pay to pick up their garbage then instead of disposing of it properly, they find some side road to dump it, someone else's back yard.

Now, the UDP accuse PUP of dumping garbage. The PUP don't need to dump garbage. There are enough sickening Belizeans who are doing it on their own.

We need to stop this now. I want people to pledge to stop this madness. When you see it, stop it. Tell them to move on. We need to strive for higher standards, not lower ones.

Anyways, the rant is over. And by the way Bryan CXXd (cell # 607-4@#0), I better not see you dumping again. He told me it was either Renaissance Tower or Airport garbage, depending on which part of the conversation one believes!

I am watching.

Oh..and BTW, the Carnival incident this weekend.  You heard it here first. Remember my post about the Guiliani way of doing things. Nuff said. We have no political will to do what is necessary to ensure our basic right to safety. And the UDP claim they are all that.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mayor & Friends

We all know that Zenaida was doing stuff she shouldn't have been doing, but what amazes me are those that are throwing the stones are just as bad if not worse. Z is not doing anything that her predecessors or current councilmen haven't done before. In fact, some are doing far worse. Well all know that Boots and Finney enjoy the funding of the Lord. Mark King, Anthony & Lela have their own side parties going one, ensuring they have a nice cushy parachute. I am not condoning Z actions..not in the least. But, when we put it in perspective of Belizean politics and even her own councillors, she is but a small fry. A small fry about to be thrown to the wolves.

The UDP needed Z at a critical time in the past. And She delivered. She was the only person that could have delivered, except for maybe Ms. Esquivel. Now the UDP are creating a public spectacle of discarding her. Instead of handling the matter behind the scenes, they are enjoying M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction).

And who do they want to replace her. A man that can't speak proper english, a man that believes Belize City is Rich vs Poor, a man that thinks he needs a "Special Tourism Zone" to "put proper garbage bins on Albert Street" Eeesh! But a man that has political aspirations of a constituency. Now there is the real story.

We all know Z was not perfect, but at least she was intelligent. At least she represented our city well abroad. At least she started the UDP wheels of change, and for that she deserves a better send off than a kick in the pants from a bunch of hypocrites.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Missing the Boat on Ashcroft

"If home is where the heart is, then Belize is my home."  This heartwarming statement - one that undoubtedly reflects the appeal and innate civility of our Belizean heritage - can be found on the personal website of the richest citizen of Belize, Michael Ashcroft (  To the average Belizean, especially those aware of the recent legal tangos involving the Belize Bank and Belize Telemedia Ltd, the simple mentioning of 'the Lord' invokes vulgar thoughts and expressions.  For many, he represents the worst attributes of Westernized capitalism and the closest living example of an economic colonial master.  Based on these accepted notions of Mr. Ashcroft, it seems both absurd and unsurprising that he would refer to Belize as 'home'.   

Foreign investment (FI) is essential for a country's international relations, and this truth is magnified for developing countries who find it difficult to assert themselves on the global level.  The benefits of FI are numerous:  jobs are created, diplomatic relations between countries are formed and strengthened, foreign exchange is circulated, import/export markets are created etc.  Foreign investment also facilitates privatization of local utility companies.  And yes, privatization in an ever-increasing globalized world is a GOOD thing.  Why?  If companies stay nationalized, the onus is on the government to ensure that those companies are providing optimum services - services that require huge investments that governments cannot afford.  Hence, it is better to shift the burden on an investor, be it local or foreign, to ensure the company's continued economic viability.  

So where does all this fit in with regard to Mr. Ashcroft?  I think too often Belizeans have missed the boat when it comes to Ashcroft (and I can hear the gasps as I said that).  Make no mistake, there have been countless occasions when 'the Lord' has taken advantage of the meager legal system in Belize.  However, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that investors like him do not reap unfair rewards from their investments; our elected officials are the stewards of our nation and we must hold them accountable for endangering the socioeconomic environment by granting too much power to investors.  All businessmen, not just Ashcroft, are rational and self-interested; to expect benevolence from them would be naive.  Their actions are driven mostly by the amount of dollars they can accrue.  Yet, despite this, most investors of Ashcroft's caliber practice good corporate citizenship.  To his credit, he distributes ten university scholarships every year, adopted a primary school through BTL, built a football stadium and other courteous contributions.  Do these actions warrant our sympathy?  Of course not.  Not even 'the Lord' (no pun intended) can wash his dirty hands in the sea of good-will and expect to be held in good graces.  My case is this:  To complain about Ashcroft, as the COLA (Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action) group has done, is futile and fundamentally misplaced.  Rather, it is better, more effective and more appropriate to pressure our government to ensure that our investors stay in check and maintain good business practices.  When the bully at school hits you, do you get in a fight with him or tell the teacher? That seems to be the predicament Belize has found itself in with regard to Michael Ashcroft. 
And yes, Belize Watch is back.  So spread the word.  We love hearing comments.  

Monday, September 1, 2008

Friends of Tablada

How many of you out there in Cyberland have ever heard of Rudy Guiliani? He had a great idea on how to curb crime that actually worked in NYC. Yet we here in my beloved Belize choose to reinvent the wheel, instead of greasing the wheel already invented for us.

Rudy believed that you had to nip crime in the bud. You had to start with enforcement of the small stuff..the littering, the up-stop riders, and parking wherever the hell you feel like it. Once you started enforcing these (real enforcement, not one night a week), citizens began to develop a respect for the law which started a trickle up effect. Citizens started respecting police officers, which in turn led to halo effect and a slow decrease in bigger crime. According to Rudy you had to start somewhere and like a child going to school, you have to start with the basics. He was right!

Right now, no one respects the law. We litter all over the road (you see the highway after the BDF run this weekend?), hood rats ride up-stop Queen St right in front of the police station, and well taxis..they just feel like the traffic revolves around them. We won't even get into the BTL park mess every night. If we can stop this small stuff, we start to live in a more civil, cleaner, and more abiding society..and yes it will trickle up to violent crime.

Remember, when as youngsters riding to high school the entire city feared Sargeant Tablada?Hell, I wouldn't even ride up-stop in my driveway for fear he would pick me in! The city respected him, I respected him....and no one dare ride up stop. Those days are gone.

What we need my fellow citizens is some political will. A will to start somewhere. That somewhere is the banana skin throwing bus rider and the tacos wrapper litterer.  Let's get on with it my elected officials...lets not avoid the issues because they "voted for you" ...lets make Belize better, one $20 littering ticket at a time.

Coming of the policemen drinking outhouse beer on duty this weekend and those three officers driving up-stop today in a gold Prado to drop one of their daughters to school.

Where is Sgt. Tablada now?

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Northern Highway

What a disgrace the Northern Highway between Belize City and Ladyville has become. In fact, it has become the symbol for the sorry state of the country we live in.

When it is dry it becomes a dust bowl. When it is raining it becomes a swamp. In between, it is a mixture of potholes, badly patched tarmac, half-fixed tarmac and Indianapolis speedway for buses, taxis and blue plated vehicles. If this is not just like our country, what is? Everything is falling down, while the few elite breeze on through. GOB attempts to patch itself, but it keeps raining on them, and bigger holes soon appear. When it does stop raining, they are so relieved that they forget to work on the issues that cause the disrepair in the first place.

As we continue to dodge countless potholes and drive through chassis high salt water on a regular basis, we must wonder...are we really living in a country moving forward? Where are our priorities? And shouldn't the highest priority be to fix the one piece of road in the country that is not only the most driven, but the first stretch of road that visitors, investors and the IMF see? The people that keep Belize going.

We've thrown down millions for a now trash littered Marine Parade, but those tour buses still have to chug through the eyesore we call "Friendship Street". They still drive on the stretch of road that is a killing field for pedestrians and motorists. Several years ago, someone coined the term Kamikazi Junction. Well, this road should be called Snipers Alley. Every time you take a drive on this road, you are risking your life, dodging holes, vehicles, people, water and even the odd real bullet. Mostly we avoid all the perils, but occasionally we fall in that big new hole and never come out. Will Belize finally fall into a really big hole and never come out? Some would argue that we already have.

Lets fix the road, fix ourselves, and fix our country. We deserve it. Our children deserve it.