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#216226 - 06/04/02 01:51 PM anti foreigner talk
The anti foreigner messages that you see here from time to time shouldn't hurt any of your feelings out there. This one of the many comic book aspects of life here.The definition was given on this site by someone who makes these remark is that a foreigner is someone who isn't from here. Not added is "unless they are my good friend." This would put all Belizians from the main as foreigners along with actual foreign citizens. The funny part is that the three people who I hear make these remarks all have foreign passports in their purses! I have heard it said about all three people that they are "not from here"
The real point of these sentiments is a desire to always go to the head of the line for all opportunities. Your friends from the main are invited to cut in line with you naturally.
Every person who expesses these sentiments has a different list of who is 'from here'. There is a not so funny side that says "if you are black, too white, or chinese then you are not from here. Not your children born and grown here or grandchildren either. If you aren't a good friend of mine your family will never be from here."
Any way don't be insulted -these are English and American citizens who are talking this line mostly.

#216227 - 06/04/02 05:49 PM Re: anti foreigner talk
sunshine Offline
When island folk speak of 'foreigners' they mean:

Anyone who is not a direct descendant of the Original settlers ( late 1800's )of this small fishing village - the island of Caye Caulker.

Naturally, an 'island folk' is considered a 'direct descendant' of the Original Settlers.

#216228 - 06/04/02 06:19 PM Re: anti foreigner talk
There are:

Local folks - descendants of the original settlers

Mainland folks - Belizeans from mainland Belize

Spanish or Piasa - Immigrants from Central America & Mexico

Foreigners - Immigrants, mostly from American, Canada or European

Chiney - Oriental Immigrants

Indian - Lebanese, Indian, Hindu Immigrants

#216229 - 06/04/02 06:26 PM Re: anti foreigner talk
The 'foreigners' in the description above may also be referred to as 'Ex-pat'.

#216230 - 06/05/02 02:32 AM Re: anti foreigner talk
memingwa Offline
I take no offense when anyone refers to "foreigners" I am a foreigner when I come to Belize, any part of Belize. I just figure that if it weren't for foreigners, there would be very few people in Belize. After all, most everyone in Belize started out somewhere else.

Does it really matter? Not to me. If some folks there want to shun me, or make unkind remarks about me, that's them using their energy. I won't waste mine. I know I'm a good person and I figure that refusing to accept me for a stupid reason is their loss. I doubt I'd like someone with such an attitude anyway.

I am Native American, so I deal with an entire country of foreigners. And I know the resentment that still exists for the non-Native. The anglos took what was ours, worst yet, they did not respect it. But those times are long past and now, in the US, we need each other, all the others, to keep our environment, our freedom, our whole way of life. I'm NOT referring to the aftermath of 9/11...we have always needed each other, all the others, we are just slow to realize it. Perhaps those on CC who spend their time resenting foreigners have not realized this same concept?

I do find one thing very strange, and I shared this with a couple of friends I made on CC: why in the world are non-Belizeans allowed to lease land on CC? With so very little land on the island, how will all the children of those who make CC their home ever be able to live on CC- to call any part of it their own? Very, very few Am Indian reservations (land under the control of the Native Nations) will lease land to non-Indians, many will not lease land to non-members (mom-citizens) of that specific tribe. This is because there is so little land, that the land must be kept for those who have an aboriginal right to it. Even a non-member surviving spouse may only live out their lives on a lease. The lease then reverts to one of the children of the couple, or it goes back to the tribe to be leased to another member.

What I do resent is the assumption that many Belizeans make about tourists, specifically Americans: all Americans (or tourists) are rich. Many are not. I am not. In fact, my income is far below the poverty level. For 2 years, I lived on less than $200/mo. I made it by living with others, shopping at second hand stores for everything, going to food banks for peanut butter & tomato soup, and food gifts from the reservation, fish, deer meat, wild rice, etc... So when folks on CC said to me, "You are rich," I had to bristle a little. I did not try hard to convince them for I knew they would not believe me.

I live on a disability (insurance) pension that I earned when I was able to work. I was owed back pay for 2 years, so I got a nice chunk when the check finally came. After I paid bills, and all the friends who lent me $'s, fixed my non-running car, I had enough left to take a couple of trips. I chose BZE last year & BZE & Mexico this fall. In fact, when I was there last year, new friends offered me a loan & fed me some days because I ran out of money! But I am only truly poor here in the city.

When I live on my reservation, I get a place to live (have to wait up to a year sometimes) for a reasonable fee, I can fish, eat deer & bear meat, fish from the lake, berries gathered each summer, etc. When I live with my people, I will not go hungry, I will not freeze (very cold in no. WI!), they will give me clothes, my tribe will help out with medical needs, etc. So on the reservation, I am rich for I will not want for the necessities. By that definition, admittedly, my own, there are few poor people on CC. In closing, I guess that each of us has our own relevant definition of poor & rich.

Sorry to get on my soapbox; I apologize for the length of this. So call me a foreigner if you like, just don't call me a rich foreigner!! Reba

#216231 - 06/06/02 11:32 AM Re: anti foreigner talk
The land for lease does not go to foreigners, it goes to citizens. The citizens have leased land given to them by the government. Once they have gone through the process and finally own their land they often sell it for a tidy profit. It is their decision.

#216232 - 06/07/02 01:35 AM Re: anti foreigner talk
memingwa Offline
Forgive me as I do not intend to either insult or be argumentative. It's just that this "lease then sell" scenario is so familiar that it is painful.

When the US gov't gave each Indian "40 acres & a mule" the land came with aspects that native people did not understand or could not afford. Many people lost their land due to unpaid taxes. The taxes were not paid for two primary reasons, or both: not enough money (the few jobs did not go to the Indians!) & no understanding of the concept of land ownership & taxes.

A few Native people were able to hold onto the land, even to consolidate family holdings & purchase land on the delinquent tax rolls. Many lost their land due to the unpaid taxes; many sold their land to feed & cloth their children. To this day, most Indian reservations are "checkerboarded" meaning the land within the boudaries are tribally owned, as well as privately owned (taxable) by natives & mostly non-natives.

I am NOT saying that non-citizens are to be blamed for this situation. I AM saying that it sets the scenario for Belize to be owned by non-Belizeans. I AM also saying that I do not think this is a positive situation for keeping the traditions of the Belizean people. What seems a "tidy sum" today may prove to be short-term gains that sacrifice any chance of owning the motherland, including the birthright of children who have no say in the proceedings.

I would love to hear stories of how Belizeans have parlayed the "tidy sums" into a successful future for themselves & their children. Are there many? I hope so. It would be a shame for humans to once again keep repeating the mistakes of their forefathers. It would be a dirty, rotten shame if independence led to the eventual loss of the country for its country-men & women. Reba

#216233 - 06/07/02 07:41 PM Re: anti foreigner talk
sunshine Offline

The post made by foreigner that the land goes to citizens is mis-leading.

First of all remember that a citizen can very well be a foreigner. A naturalized Belizean.

And yes, these foreigners/naturalized Belizean citizens do apply for and get land from our government, before some of our native people.

It is a crying shame.

They come from another country and deprive us of an opportunity to own land in our own country.

It is also true that some Belizeans use the opportunity to get free land from the GOB and then turn around and sell the land. This indeed is a decision they make. A very short-sighted one. However, perhaps it is difficult for them to think of tomorrow when they are struggling to get by today.

One of the primary reasons the Belizeans sell off the leases is because the lands given to them in the form of a lease is usually located in an undeveloped area. No infrastructure. No immediate signs of development.

The lease says that if you do not develope your lease land within 3 years, the GOB can take it away from you. Just the cost of accessing the land becomes an expensive endeavour, much less develope it.

Mind you, I am not here to make excuses for the selling of land by Belizeans. I am merely empathizing.

Sometimes I've been inspired to stand at the central park with a mega phone and campaign hard against the selling of Caye Caulker land. To encourage the locals to hold on to their land. Mortgage it if they have to. But do not sell it.

As difficult as it is to get land in Caye Caulker right now, it will become virtually impossible to get land in Caye Caulker in the next few years.

As it is, the land given out (leased) to it Belizean citizens is no longer free. You now have to pay a fairly handsome sum for the lease. In fact, the topic has been hotly debated for the past many months on the island and in the local & national papers.

Note also that a handsome sum is relative. To you and me, it may be a handsome sum. To the foreigner ($1.00 US = $2.00 BZ), especially the speculator it is a mere drop in the bucket of investment capital.

I've been trying to buy land in Caye Caulker for several years now and cannot seem to find anything affordable - unless it is 'bush' in an undeveloped area and still it is not cheap.

A 50' x 90' beach lot on the East side of the island starts at about $100,000.00 USA dollars. Which Belizean born native will be able to afford that? Certainly not a native from this island!

And they want to get paid in USA dollars too! Imagine! In this country where the Belizean dollar is the currency! Who do you think is going to buy the land? Yet more foreigners. Then they sit here and complain about the animosity between natives and foreigners.

It is a sad state of affairs.

[This message has been edited by Mermaid (edited 06-07-2002).]

#216234 - 06/08/02 03:36 PM Re: anti foreigner talk
It is a crying shame for Patty Arceo or any government (local island or countrywide) to hand out the local island lands (collective island inheritance) to anyone but local village people when the needs of the existing local islanders is far from being met. Take care of the local islanders first (100%), and then whatever is left can (maybe) be shared elsewhere.

If a local islander receiving a lease turns around and sells his inheritance, it is indeed sad. However, we cannot pre-judge anyone's motives for wanting a piece of land.

Our very own ex-Village Council chairman, Emmanuel Rodriguez, who received a leased lot on northern Caye Caulker has turned around and sold it off in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Shouldn't we try to lead by example, especially if we want to be judge, jury and executioner about anyone's (islanders) motives for wanting to lease a piece of the island inheritance?

The only people I hear saying that the local people only want land to re-sell are those that are guilty of either 1. selling off their own or 2. are vying for political votes and are trying to justify their spitefulness against the people who voted against them.


#216235 - 06/09/02 12:17 AM Re: anti foreigner talk
Wendy-if selling your land on Caye Caulker is something that you're advising ALL natives NOT to do, then why do you have your family home on Front Street for sale - for U.S. Dollars? Isn't that hypocritical? Did your family purchase that land or was it gotten as an inheritance, or did they just squat on it and get grandfathered in like so many others? I thought the currency of Belize was Belize Dollars and not U.S. dollars. It looks like you're doing the same thing that you accuse others of doing, but of course, I'm sure, you have your reasons, let's hear them.

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