REPORT #370 August 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Had a good laugh on an article on Fidel Castro. For once, I agree with the old reprobate. He said in commenting on the USA Presidential election candidates.
"perhaps never in times so complex and chaotic has there been competition between two candidates more BORING and INSIPID", he said.
Yup! Gore and Bush are out competing with each other to get rich off politics in a contest that is basically a US presidency for sale to the highest bidder.

Think I'll vote for Ralph Nader, since he is running and a man of character.

If one and a half inches of rain floods the port town streets again, like in the newspaper photograph, what will they get when a hurricane drops a couple of feet of rain in a few hours?

The Chalillo Dam thingy is hot again as a discussion topic. I assume that there are a dearth of issues worth printing. BEL foreign owners ( Fortis ) say when the year long wildlife study is done, they will probably build the new Chalillo Dam. On the other hand, environmentalists are protesting and the World Conservation Congress is protesting and condemning of doing the Chalillo Dam.

I think there is a total lack of compromise on both parties here. I think personally there is room for many hydro dams in Belize, but what we need are low head dams. Maybe government in Belmopan needs to break the impasse and pass legislation limiting the height of hydro dams to 30 ft. A very good compromise solution for both parties. Low head dams would not hurt the enviroment. The big capitalists want economy of investment through the biggest size dam they can build. But the environment in Belize does not really lend itself to these big dam builders. It is basically an argument based on SIZE of hydro dams. On the other hand low head dams do little of anything to the environment, nor do they cost much, or threaten lower communities with floods, if they break.

I wish somebody in the vicinity of either Stratford, Ontario, Canada would go to the center of town and take a photo of the hydro dam on the Avon River there? Another spot I remember is a hydro dam that feeds Spokane, Washington, USA. It also is in the center of town. Perhaps with photo's of these two dams we could bring some light to this eternal argument on dam size. Both are low head dams. A few photographs would say it all in less words. Any volunteers? Until the Belmopan government wakes up and sets height and size legislation for hydro dams.

BELTRAIDE is going to have a sales thingy in the Dominican Republic and another one in Barbados. I hope they are spending their own pocket money on hotels and airfares. Cause there is no way at all, that I could justify taxpayer money for these so-called vacation holiday style business trips. The Dominican Republic and Barbados and Belize all have the same climate and manufacturing capability. There is no trade, or freight transport to speak of between us. It is a waste of time and just an excuse to go travelling on a vacation. That's okay if you pay your own way.

Now, if you picked concentrations of Caribbean people in North America, or Europe, I might be seduced into approving of such a venture. But the Dominican Republic and Barbados? You got to be kidding. Try Liverpool, England instead!

George Gabb Sr., famous sculptor and poet has been nominated for the 2000 Poet of the Year Award by the International Society of Poets. He gets a $5000 cash prize.

Now his son George Gabb Jr. is a Chairperson at North Campus Miami-Dade Community College in South Florida, a high muckity muck in college administration in charge of the Computer Sciences Department. Pretty good for a port town Belizean boy. He still hasn't been able to develop a software programmers certification course over there though and there are hundreds of jobs in Miami-Dade now and the demand is growing. Faculty Unions and a bunch of senior deadwood old guard are holding back the college from catching up, is the gossip. They are technically opposed. Academic politics of a different kind.

I really enjoyed and laughed over the article and photo of a port town Belize City version of a dog lovers contest. You've seen them on USA television. Well they held one in Belize City. No purebreds though. Barbara Bilgre's pet NASH, a mixed breed of German Shepherd/labrador/pit bull/and chow took second best to another dog. I got a good laugh over that. That combination could be called CREOLE DOG, port city version of course. It sure looked like they had a whale of a time. I currently have three dogs, would have liked to be there.

The Elections web site at: apparently had 22,000 hits in 48 hours during the municipal election. Wow! I hope other government departments are taking note. They better get on the internet with up to date, and constantly updated websites. We have that listing on the Electronic Library under Civics and Government at:

AIDS & HIV is hitting the population of Belize City the port and Dangriga another port , in the 14 to 32 year old range badly. About 10% are infected. Around 7000 persons. Many don't even know it, as they have not tested for it.

BELIZE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES unable to quantify the impact it is having on development.

We constantly get requests to show how we are effecting community development and particularly political development. In fact, one of the reasons we don't go GRANT seeking is that we cannot quantify something that is a catalyst for social change. Other people do the work, we only provide ideas, impetus, encouragement as a CATALYST. That we are having an impact is obvious from the media and government reactions in legislation and ministry departments. But people on the ground have to do the actual work. They take the credit, not us.

We do know we get a lot of unsolicited mail from around the world. A lot of researchers, academics, sometimes government people and various administrators in International and UN organization type places. They are always asking questions and clarifications on something we have in the Development Issues archives. But most of the time we do not get any feedback in that sense, or credit either. We just see somebody else do it. That's alright, it is our function. A lot of lending agencies and foreign governments like England are reading the Development Issues. Quite a few English ministries and departments also. Recently, we noted that Britain awarded $5.6 million for rural projects in Belize. Fourteen rural communities will soon have potable water piped in to their houses. I hope Caye Caulker is not one of them, but I fear it is. It would be far cheaper by several millions of dollars and practical to just give each house a 500 gallon concrete rainwater tank for rain run off from the roof, to carry them through the dry season. To replace the cedar wood vats of old that are high maintainance. The low lying sand bar island does not lend itself to submerged piping.

Maybe it is pure co-incidence that we have reports on the Belize Development Issues on this same subject a year or two old. And co-incidence that all this information is now available worldwide via the internet. We also have information on the need for upgrading Belizean rural primary schools. It is probably co-incidence that grant money is included to provide for textbooks and furniture in the schools of many of these rural villages. As the British say, to provide equity in access to education.

Yeah! We can't take credit, but somewhere in there we might be the oil that is taking the squeak out of the hinges of the swinging door up in Belmopan. Be nice if we could get a $150,000 USA GRANT to take up some more projects gathering dust on the shelf, because we are overworked as volunteers and cannot budget any more time. But without the ability to quantify the CATALYST type service we provide, there is no real way to justify a GRANT request. Too bad!

There is a very good quality photograph of the contestants in the Costa Maya Central American beauty queen contest held in San Pedro on the Barrier Reef island of Ambergris Caye. My daughter Tina was Master of Cereomonies I read, as an ex-contestant queen, or something. See her photo on:

But from that photo in the Reporter newspaper, only one contestant set me throbbing. That was Miss Guatemala, Cindy Margo Ramirez. I checked, my heart is okay, it must be something else. Now that is a Latin beauty that made me fall in love with the Caribbean and Central America, lo these many years ago. Oh boy! To do it all over again!

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