REPORT #325 June 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

I only know what I read in the papers and on the internet. As a private citizen, after due consideration of court trial reporting on the social security alleged swindle, media articles and stuff, I'm pretty much convinced that Courtnay and Fonseca are criminals. Whether it is true or not, it sure looks convincing to me! What fails to amaze me though, with the lurid financial details of the swindle in the Reporter article of June 11, 2000. Is the lack of action of Prime Minister Said Musa? Now, I supported this fella for more than 20 years and watched him grow up and go through the self education process of trial and error and become Prime Minister. I like a lot of what he is doing and he leaves me proud in some instances, feeling that I backed a winning horse. But I certainly disagree with him on political reform and what I see as his betrayal of rebellious intentions in his youth to change Belize for the better. But the political reform differences aside for the moment, I am puzzled and disappointed at his lack of action on the Social Security swindle. Now our famous George Price who he replaced as head of the PUP party, wasn't always straight arrow either. Old George was not unknown to break a few laws himself in order to get things done. But one thing George had, was the ability to recognize a political liability when he saw it. I well remember when the REPORTER newspaper came out with that photograph of a foreigner's cheque which was alleged to be a bribe for Louise Sylvestre our Cabinet Minister and area representative. Louise promptly lost his cabinet position and ministerial income for the remainder of the term. In fact, thereafter Louise career as a politician went into decline. But what can you make of the relationship of our Prime Minister, Said Musa and his Minister of Finance, Ralph Fonseca? Does Fonseca know of some troublesome skeletons in Musa's history? Why wouldn't the Prime Minister kick him out of the cabinet? That expose of the Reporter of June 11, 2000 should be grounds enough, even without all the other stuff going on. Does this mean the Prime Minister is part of the upper level PUP cabal of crooks? What is going on here? What is also disturbing to me, are the amount of good PUP elected representatives doing a good job, whose good works are being covered by the apparent crooks in the party as viewed from my cheap seats outside. How can they tolerate this as a party member? It sure puzzles me? Are PUP party general members fools?

The article also explains what IEEI was and how it functioned, or was technically supposed to function. That clears up some things. There were absolutely no checks and cross supervision of Courtenay in his multiple duties as a high PUP party officer appointed or hired in different conflicting duties and positions. The wolf had the keys to the hen house and was in charge of collecting the eggs and counting the hens. In this case it seems, the farmer knew all about it and expected a few million hens to go missing.

Also troubling, are the actions of the current Social Security Board members and the Head of the Social Security Board, who supposedly are autonomous. If you believe that, then you will believe the Moon is made of cheese! Why would presumably previously honest people in the Social Security Administration not have the guts to do the right thing? Why are they joining what seems to be a criminal conspiracy in a coverup?

The mysteries of human nature sometimes puzzle me!

BELIZE POLICE ARE TARGETING ETHNIC CHINESE CITIZENS FOR PERSECUTION! So says citizen Philip Chin of port town police at a roadblock in the city. They gave out tickets to Chinese drivers, but let others pass, he claims, in a letter to the edito,r with details in the Reporter of June 11, 2000. Obviously the U.K. Police trainers and helpers in the country have their work cut out for them. This is not Kosovo, or Serbia yet, but it has the makings. Ethnic profiling is hurting Belize.

There was a lovely article on promotions to senior positions in the Belize Defense Force, the little army of Belize. One of these days we are going to declare war on the USA with this army of ours! ( joke!) What was interesting to read, was the professionalism expressed by reading between the lines. These Colonels and new Lieutenants and such have risen through the ranks, from private, corporal and on to Officer Training School, then to training courses through their careers since the early 1980's via various professional military training courses in countries like the U.K., Canada, Taiwan, USA, Italy and elsewhere. Obviously they have a very wide background and professional experiences. It makes one proud of the current military leadership of the Belize Defense Force. They may be small, but they are obviously good!

The Protected Areas Conservation Trust is called PACT. It was founded in 1996 and gets its money from a conservation fee levied at the International Airport of $7.50 Bz, or about $3.75 USA. PACT has spent about $700,000 Bz on 23 different conservation projects and parks in Belize, so far. The money is usually issued in GRANTS. The impact of PACT grants is having a real effect on tourism and development in general in Belize, all to the better! You can visit their website at: So, next time passing through the International Airport in Belize, know that $3.75 USA of your tax money spent is going to some very good causes. They accept donations too!

What I didn't know and many other people in light of a recent flurry of articles in the media, to do with bypassing the obstructionism of the BTL monopoly on ISP (Internet Service Provider) formation, is that EPZ zones are all over the place in Belize. Data Pro the data processing, internet banking and online gambling outfit, the EPZ that put in it's own telecommunications, because the monopoly by BTL was obsolete and inadequate was the awakener to this phenomena. The EPZ, or Export Processing Zones ACT was passed in 1990. There is the San Andres Export Processing Zone in the Corozal District, Williamson Industries that is a sewing factory, Unity Enterprise is also an EPZ as another garment export industry, Nova a shrimp production facility is an EPZ, There are nine others in the Stann Creek District, one in Ambergris Caye all in aquaculture.

If this interests you as a foreign investor, an EPZ is a place that can get materials imported duty free, add labor and manufacturing and export them duty free. What the country of Belize gets is jobs ( low paid jobs, but still jobs). There is an EPZ Board (political) that does approvals. You can even get work permits for foreigners in your EPZ up to 15% of the work force you hire without paying a fee. Vehicles and fuels though are not exempt. The idea of an EPZ is simply to cut the bureaucratic red tape. In other countries they are called different names. In Honduras they call them ZIPs for Zona Industrial de Procesamiento. In Mexico, they call them Maquilladoras. What you do is up to you! Want to make rum and export it? Assemble electronic components? Make shoes? You think of it and if it is for export you can get an EPZ.

Back to Main Belize Development Trust Page

Maintained by Ray Auxillou, Silvia Pinzon, MLS, and Marty Casado. Please email with suggestions or additions for this Electronic Library of Belize.