from a friend, Ray Auxillou
I'm rather proud of NEMO our hurricane emergency system. As a survivor of Hurricane Hattie in Belize City and later in charge of emergency and rebuilding on Caye Cauker for the Governor's Emergency Committee, we had gotten supplies on our own and tools by raiding Hofius Hardware Store. We had 21 houses repaired and shelters built BEFORE we even got a visit from our area Representative, or anybody else representing the British Army, or the government weeks later.
Hurricane Keith was an example of what we had tried to accomplish for years and it was the Western Caribbean Network, done through the volunteers on THIS listserve, that offered the prompt news, sponsored then as a Volunteers group called the Belize Development TRUST, that badgered and annoyed government officials, to be prepared. They did, and in Hurricane Keith, it worked out perfectly. We had reporting in the Hurricane in Honduras from people on the river banks via HAM radio when they got smashed and lost 10,000 dead over there. Forget the name of that one? Sunk that sailing ship off Roatan? One guy was on the radio describing houses floating down the river with people on top of roofs, fighting snakes. The British susbsequently and I believe the BDF went over there without the nicety of Honduras government and immigration and did emergency work along the coastal villages and rivers that we as a nation here can be well proud of.
Nope! In my lifetime, we've come a long way baby! It was one of the biggest crowing and bragging jobs I ever did, when it was announced that the British Frigate were coming after Hurricane Keith to help us and everything was already well on the way to repair and organized. We didn't need them and they stayed only a few days to help with some security for barges. The point was we didn't need them and the WHOLE CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL AMERICA sat up and took notice of little Belize, that time. Emergency hurricane systems are all over the Caribbean these days, but they copied Belize. Of that I'm proud! Especially after the disaster of Hurricane Hattie. We can be self sufficient when we want and if the politicians get out of the way, or behave like they are supposed to. Ralph Fonseca had about a $150 million foreign exchange in our RESERVES that time, during Keith from some loans he had borrowed for the country. We badgered him to spend it and restore San Pedro and Caye Caulker and he did, and the bookkeeping was done later. The way it should have been done in an emergency and the PUP did it. It was a very PROUD TIME TO BE BELIZEAN.