Consider it a very expensive lesson learned........you will probably never get that money back, but please do come back but don't stay there!
Well, to be honest: This is the ordinary reaction here in Belize and it's embarrassing: "You learned a lesson - you will never get your rights - but please come back" ......and then we cover everything with a curtain of silence.
Years ago I worked for Reef Village and they owe me 10 Thousands of US$ in salary and in the end I received many emails from owners telling me that I was the only honest person there but they could not help me as they wanted to "protect their investment". Hundreds of people from the outside had been ripped off by JP since then and he was still riding through the streets of San Pedro - with ministers of our government or other "celebrities" on the seat of his golf cart and he smiled and EVERYONE smiled back - it was so disgusting. For years he had been protected by our government even with huge evidence that he ripped so many off. It continued and still continues - years of rip offs and our BTB is incapable to stop this and shut the place down (at least till they pay their duties)! Yes, that would be the consequence to stop this bullshit. As long as we're willing to continue and always say: "Yes, sorry, but come back" we'll invite others to do the same and it will do more harm to our tourism than if once we would start to follow up on these scams and get them to the prosecutor. - Don't let me ask how many Thousand tourists we lost for closing our eyes and say: "well this is gone bad but come bacK!"
All this corruption, police brutality or ignorance of the law by authorities can only happen if we continue to allow this. It needs strength, some guts and an intention to stop this and make our country a reputable place! We could fight together but instead we always want to protect our shitty little investment and then hundreds of additional victims have to suffer now and in the future and we ALWAYS stay in bad reputation and all have to suffer - all of us and the poor people of Belize in the first place as they don't get jobs that are related to tourism!
My suggestion is: Never come back and tell to all of your friends to not travel to Belize and maybe one day, instead of trying to protect any investmant - selfish and egoistic - all people here will get together, stand up, say "NO" and stop this corruption and these cheaters and criminals and then it will be worth to come to this beautiful country and enjoy your vacation.