REPORT #246 May 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The planets are lining up this coming Friday May 5th., 2000. They won't be in a straight line. But fairly close. Since they are going to be on the other side of the sun, nothing much is expected to happen on Earth. There are not expected to be any extreme gravitational forces. The next planet grand alignment will not occur until the year 2438 using the current calendar system.

The Human Rights people for China have reported that China is the same as Belize, for police officials who use violence, beatings and torture to extract confessions. The USA is expected to vote on granting China permanent trading rights as part of the World Trade Organization. The use of beatings and torture to extract confessions is an issue. It doesn't seem to be an issue between the USA and Belize. One wonders why? Torture and beatings has long been a problem in Belize and the former British Honduras Colony under the British.. The problem both in Belize and China are elected officials who are providing immunity for police officers who use physical violence. This also effects the way law enforcement officials are encouraged not to persue better investigative methodologies and training. In Belize, the National Political Police system relies almost 95% on ill-treatment of suspects, rather than on proper investigative techniques to break cases. They are even encouraged by party politicians in Belmopan. In Belize, there was tacit encouragement of violence by police in Dangriga recently, to use violence to stem a recent rise in local crime.

With the Hurricane season just a few short weeks away in the year 2000, what the USA does with it's satellite observation system for weather storms is of paramount importance also to Belize. The Goes - 8 satellite that the Hurricane Network, of the Belize Development Trust and Belize Culture List have been using, courtesy of the USA government is now six years old. It is one year beyond it's expected lifetime of service. It could break down at any time. A new Goes L satellite was rocketed into space before dawn today, to serve as backup to the excellent Goes 8 satellite, now obsolete. There were several blackouts of Goes 8 images during the hurricane season last year. In Belize, we are not sure why. Still the Belize Development Trust is grateful for the images from the USA weather satellite and the assistance this gives us in Belize to monitor incoming hurricanes coming from the East and NorthEast at our end Western end of Hurricane Alley. Thankyou Americans! Perhaps the US Ambassador to Belize can convey our appreciation for this service?

Sugar prices are very low in Belize. Below the cost of production. In the USA it is not any different. Congress is considering a subsidy to growers. The prices up north have dropped 25%. Sugar farming in Florida is not in as much trouble as in the midwest of the USA, where sugar is produced from beets and not from cane. Sugar production from cane in Florida is the main source of pollution in the river of grass that flows through the Everglades further south. The sugar cane farm runoff is spurring profound changes in vegetation. High levels of phosphorous are the main cause.

In reverse technology in the USA, the USA is spending $760 million to build marshes, and swamps, to soak up the pollutants before the water reaches the Everglades. In Belize, this level of education of the importance of swamps and marshs along rivers and coastlines is still not very high. The government in Belmopan continues to fill in the mangroves and swamps around Belize City area, which said swamps take out the pollutants of the Belize River, coming downstream from Guatemala towns, Benque, San Ignacio, Belmopan and other villages. As population grows, the need for the swamps of the Belize River mouth and Haulover Creek will become even more important and valuable. The swamps and mangroves filter and change the toxic elements through natural processes. Eventually, Belmopan of the future will have to build swamps and re-plant mangroves around the Belize River mouth again in future decades, when they discover their mistake. In danger of political mismanagement, are also the mouth of the Sibun River and New River of Belize.

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