REPORT #292 May 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

A young couple from Idaho, USA, which is almost as remote as North Dakota, got a surprise on Caye Caulker, an island lobster tourist village, just a mile behind the Great Barrier Reef of Belize. They could not find a way to get married! Caye Caulker has a Justice of the Peace. But they are not like USA Notary Publics, who can marry people. In Belize, the J P system is copied from monarchist government in England. The JP is someone appointed by the political powers at the center of power. They are supposed to be agents and spies for a centralized government. They do not do weddings.

All was not lost. The couple took a water taxi to the mainland and got married at the Government registry of the old colonial capital. ( The 300 villages of Belize have very little of government and public services supplied in an autocratic centralized politically controlled one party state. ) They then returned back to the island village with marriage certificate in hand, one day lost of honeymoon vacation and a $100 poorer for the inconvenience and proceeded to have a bang up wedding reception, island holiday style. The parents do not know yet. It is going to come as a shock they say, when they get back to Idaho.

Other Caye Caulker news was that a local Mr. Verde was passing himself off impersonating a police officer with some scattered uniform accoutraments to harass village enemies with some help from Fisheries Officer Lee Cabral. So says an article in the replacement newspaper in it's first island village issue found at;

The new village newspaper is run by the same Wendy Auxillou, who fled the island for Miami, USA, a year ago, with her three young children, when a Force Five Hurricane Mitch stalled about 45 miles off the island shore. Storm waves were flooding the beach and tearing down piers, but the storm eventually headed south and killed 10,000 or so Hondurans instead. Wendy the editor at the time was publishing a village newspaper called the Village Voice. Fleeing the hurricane, she got a free ride courtesy of an emergency USA evacuation plane to Miami, but had no money to return. So she got a job and had to work for a year to save up the return fare. A single mother with three kids in a metropolitan area, that is not easy. She has started up again now she is back on the island due to popular request and the new newspaper is called the Conch Telegraph Newspaper. It takes about $2000 Bz, or $1000 USA to publish a small village newspaper each issue and advertising in a village of 800 people is not that big. So any village newspaper is a big struggle to produce. Usually a money loser. Certainly, publisher/editors don't get paid for their labor. It is usually a labor of love.

But the village of Caye Caulker has a voice again! Wendy's e-mail is: [email protected].

You can see various photos of Caye Caulker at:

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