Hurricane Keith and the Belize Development Trust Oct. 9th., 2000 6:30 a.m.
I would like to correct a misconception. . The funds
collected through the Hurricane Emergency Network, of which Marty Casado
the web master is the most obvious, because of his on-line web presence
with the Emergency Web operations. The fact is, neither Marty Casado, or
myself the Trustee, Ray Auxillou or anyone else working as a volunteer
with the Belize Development Trust, have seen, or can touch nary a penny
of the donations that came in for San Pedro and Caye Caulker Hurricane
Emergency Committees. The funds donated went unseen into an escrow bank
account that should have by now been transferred to a mainland port
Belize City bank account. All $30,000 USA + of it.
This bank account and funds are only accessible through the honourable
representative Patty Arceo, the local elected area representative. We at
the Belize Development Trust have no control over the money. Not the
central government of the Belize Government of which Patty Arceo is a
Cabinet Member, or anyone from the Belize Development Trust can access
these funds. It is Patty's job to see that the funds are split half and
half, between the Emergency Committees's on Caye Caulker and San Pedro
towns. The funds were not collected for the mainland problems, or any
other agency, department, or problems of the country of Belize.
The actual ability to spend any funds are solely of that of the two
town Hurricane Emergency Committees and perhaps Patty Arceo.
I checked with my grown daughters on Caye Caulker, Peter, and they all
recommended Patty Arceo and said she would be as fair with money
distribution as it is possible to be under these circumstances. It is
not unknown for money to go astray in these type of situations, and it is
not unknown for money to be distributed to family favorites by Emergency
Committee members, as I have experienced in past disaster operations.
But on the whole, the most of the bulk will go to help those in need, I
am sure. The decision on who needs the most, is solely that of the
Emergency Committees. It is better to have some financial viability on
the ground, even though a portion may be claimed as favoritism, than no
funds at all. It enables a lot of things to get done! Priorities are
the sole decisions of the Hurricane Emergency Committees on Caye Caulker
and San Pedro. We expect that local internal town politics will control
the expenditures and decision making process.
The Belize Development Trust itself has no money. All
expenditures have always been "out of pocket" from volunteers. We don't
even have a bank account. Though I'm looking into that as we are seeking
GRANT money, to enable us to expand our services.
I am planning on creating a bank account for the Belize Development
Trust. Indeed, I could probably set it up in a day or two, here in
Florida and whenever the bank on Caye Caulker re-opens, we can transfer
to there. The question of having available money is a vexing one. There
are lots of times, over the last four years or so, that I have wanted
some discretionary money, to pay volunteers and project directors such as
yourself. At least the gasoline you burn and on occasion even a token
labor cost, to make a trip to someplace special within Belize to visit
some location on which we want more detailed information that will come
back unbiased by the political parties. Indeed, I have wanted for
several years some monies to pay for our web space that Marty provides
out of pocket, for our Belize Development Trust operations, such as: The
Belize Electronic Resource and Development Library at: http://belize1.com/BzLibrary
and the Belize Development Issues Project,
also maintained gratis by Marty at: http://ambergriscaye.com/BzLibrary/developmentissues.html
Marty has also made and mounted on the internet many web pages
advertising very small one person businesses in Belize that normally
would not be able to get, or afford such advertising. This is a TRUST
volunteer project I am very proud of, but we couldn't do it without
Marty's skills and assistance.
I've mulled over this problem for several years. I would like for us
to reimburse Marty for web space and his labor, if not in whole, at least
in part. But the methodology of compensation would be have to be
arranged in a different sort of way than payment in the USA. Due to
U.S.A. tax and legal liability reasons, most of which we do not understand.
In this regard, we have been seeking GRANTS of funding from International
donors, but without success. The most recent rejection was by HIVOS.
But I noticed that several people volunteering on the Hurricane Network
have offered compensation and donations. These could be made out by
cheque to the: "Belize Development Trust" and if the total would exceed
a $1000, we would open an escrow account here in Miami in the TRUST name
and then transfer funds down to the bank on Caye Caulker as needed. The
address is: the Belize Development Trust, c/o 2471 NW 152 St.,
Opa-Locka, Fl. 33054, USA. If we get enough gifts we will open a foreign
bank account with ( W 9 forms ) in a local area bank and then be able to
send money to Belize projects as needed.
The problem I face as Trustee, is with volunteers such as yourself
Peter. You are the most vocal, but we have over a dozen people on the
ground less vocal than yourself; who sometimes I want desperately to send
just a few dollars to compensate, or pay for some travel expense they
will incurr, or do something for the Belize Development Trust that will
enable us to have a greater effect in Belize as an instigator, initiator
of ACTION. Indeed, I need about three or four digital cameras to send
down to volunteers on the ground in Belize, as a photo is better than
thousands of words to get a point across. But digital cameras would cost
around $1500 to $2000. The Belize Development Trust does not at present
have any money, to assist you with travel expenses or any of the other
less vocal volunteers who could use some funds. We have no discretionary
funds at all. I did buy a digital camera this year, one of those $30
ones out of my own pocket, but the pixels were not enough to give proper
photo quality. It seems we need $500 cameras.
Anyway to sum up the funding problems of the Belize Development Trust,
we have no money and cannot pay for a research trip to the islands from
Xaibe. The funds collected are solely accessible to Patty Arceo, the
local islands Area Representative and are to go to the town Emergency
Committees in equal portions.
For those interested in following various debates and discussions on
what is needed in Belize, they should subscribe to: the Belize Culture
List Serve. To subscribe: you send a message to:
email@example.com in the body of the message you put the
word subscribe and no other signature files should be on there, as
the auto responder will reject it. In ordinary times, a good portion of
the discussions are garbage and insults. Just delete these. But you
have to stick around to get the 15 % of the comments that produce
worthwhile contributions and actions for the development of Belize.
Ray Auxillou Trustee/Director of Projects
Belize Development Trust
Box 51, Caye Caulker, Belize, Central America.
In the USA mail to: 2471 NW 152 Terr, Opa-Locka, Fl., USA
[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 10-09-2000).]