REPORT #531 October 2002

by Ray Auxillou

For the foreign investor seeking advice on problems with investing in Belize, the website of the Government Department called Beltraide promises many things, among which is speeded up service and one stop shopping for all your inter-departmental needs. The foreign investors should not despair if they get no such thing from Beltraide. The advertising is false, and the apparent creation of this department is now concluded to be of a different sort.

Conclusions are: This is a falsely advertised department whose sole purpose is to pad government payrolls with political appointees, party faithful, relatives and sycophants and provide vacation trips to foreign countries as rewards, disguised as legitimate government business under the dictatorial one party government system we use; which is at present is the Peoples United Party; which created the Beltraide department. They may even be siphoning off budget money for politicaly party apparatus?

Whatever the case, as a foreign investor, you can be sure you will not receive responses to your enquiries, nor even be acknowledged in any way, shape or form. Beltraide is a political party facade, like a Hollywood movie set, allegedly used to siphon off money from government coffers and put the party faithful, friends and relatives on the payroll.

In the last two and a half years, I myself made enquiries many times by e-mail of Beltraide; believing like you, that this was a serious government department. I never EVER got a reply! Since I critique government service, policy decisions and take other unpopular stands when both bureaucrats and politicos are deficient in performance on our Belizean Development Issues forum on the internet; my own conclusion was that my enquiries were being ostracized. To some extent we discussed this ostracization on the Belize Culture debating list and offlist among volunteer members.

It turns out, it is not me! Though I have been accused of being rude for expecting service from government bureaucrats and politicos. The avalanche of e-mail I received complaining of Beltraide non-service from enquiring foreign investors off list was astounding. Literally several dozen e-mails complaining of non-response from Beltraide.

One foreign investor said it all, and here is what he described to me in a long distance telephone call.

" First I sent an e-mail enquiry to Beltraide about my investment plans. No response!

The next week I sent another enquiry on the same matter thinking that the message bounced or got lost intransit. No response!

The third week, I sent another enquiry on the same matter thinking that perhaps BTL the local telecommunications company was losing my messages to Beltraide. No response!

The fourth week, I decided to go to the expense of making a direct long distance international telephone to Beltraide in the capital of Belize at Belmopan. The response was an impatient query from the secretary, as to why I bothered them by sending them three exact e-mails asking the same thing. She said they got my first e-mail the first time. Other than that scolding for wasting Beltraide's time with three e-mail queries and one expensive long distance phone call, I still have no response, said the foreign investor."


Political insider, of the Peoples United Party, Ambassador Eamon Courtenay had the golden parachute contract to run Beltraide up until now. His contract expired on September 30th, 2002. He has one of those fancy do-nothing titles like; Ambassador, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. I kid you not, thats what the government of the Peoples United Party dictatorship says. Presumably to have a diplomatic passport and pass through foreign customs without his bags being searched?

The new head of Beltraide, Jose Alpuche is expected to be the sucker scapegoat and fall guy, as this PUP term of office in this election year runs out in about nine more months. So, do not expect any change in function or form. You got queries, you have to do it the old fashioned way and plan on a two week trip to Belmopan in Belize, an outlay of $2000 USA for expenses to ask your several questions. And even then you will not likely get any bankable answers. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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