REPORT #380 September 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

While Barry Bowen is one of the more flamboyant local Belizean millionaires, he put his feet in his mouth recently with a diatribe expounding the view that business development should come at any cost! In his inflammatory remarks, in which he responded to charges from environmentalists that he was using a pesticide at his shrimp farm down off the Placentia Lagoon area, that was fatal to lobster, he went on to expand and expound his views in the local press that made him look like a fool to many.

Barry is a famous local character. A successful local venture capitalist from the port of Belize City ( one of the few in that large town ) and noted ruthless businessman of the old colonial times and Empire building type exploitation mentality. Infamous historically, for forcing bankruptcy on his beer competitor by buying up his competitor's "Charger Beer" expensive bottles, the local media of the era said. Barry went on to approve development at any cost in his article and called any opposition, or free debate against business as seditition! Presumably in defense of the meaning of his use of pesticides on his shrimp farm that would endanger lobster production down in the coastal Placential Lagoon area. The lagoon is a famous nursery for phyto-plankton and other small crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp and lobster. Not to mention hundreds of species of minute microscopic juvenile fish.

Barry in his inflammatory article extolled his views on seditition and used the example of the Caye Chapel golf course using coral killing chemicals ( the environmentalists say ) to spray the greens, that would destroy coral life, as the right and privilege of unrestrained business development at any cost. Caye Chapel is only half a mile from the Great Barrier Reef and less than 300 yards from the famous mile long, quarter mile wide strip of Coral Gardens which has been a tourist attraction since the mid 1960's, long before any development occurred on Caye Chapel. The Coral patch reefs actually join Caye Chapel in the southern third of the island. A spot that I speared fish and hooked lobster many times in my younger days, when the island was still a coconut plantation, wading right off the beach.

The battle between Barry Bowen's exploitation mentality and that of environmentalists is a hot one in Belize now. What course the government and people of Belize will follow is unknown. The government is controlled by Barry Bowen's fellow social crowd and peer group from the same town, the old colonial capital. Sustainable management versus development and money at any cost is the argument represented by the two opposing views.

Unfortunately, the political debate on policies and the future has collapsed in Belize! When the UDP party was in power the last term, the local townies from the old colonial capital it was found out, that control both major political parties in Belize, their ideas, their policies and so forth were basically identical. The product of the same schooling, the same social scene and the same peer group activities in the old town. The UDP party lost the election to the PUP party, but they did reward themselves with a severance gratuity, equal to about one year's pay and a LIFETIME pension forever, from the government. How people like Russel Vellos who only served one 5 year political term qualified for a gratuity and a lifetime pension is beyond me? Especially in a nation that runs the country by loan economics and we are wallowing in an evergrowing, spiralling NATIONAL FOREIGN DEBT. I could see the reward for George Price and Philip Goldson, who pioneered politics in Belize. But the rest, c'mon, they have been well paid through the years?

Without any political OPPOSITION in Belize nowadays, or political debate forum, the NGO's and the environmentalists have offered the only open debate and any opposition to ramrodding exploitive voracious businessmen, like Barry Bowen and his foreign counterparts in recent years. The UDP and the PUP basically think alike. The only debate is INSULTS, to see which crowd gets the gravy from running the country and controlling the treasury and tax flows.

Lacking any differences between the two political parties, due to their local townie, old colonial capital control of the process, and lacking any separation between the executive and legislative branches and a weak judicial system; the environmentalists while annoying many, come like a breath of "fresh air" to the non-existant local politics debate!

Barry is right in a way! Maybe it is sedititious that two local political parties controlled by the old colonial capital, the port town of Belize City are incestuous and lack the variety of opinions needed to build a country! But his remarks should have been directed at the UDP and PUP townie mafia political gangs, not the environmentalists, who are giving the only political opposition and free debate the country has under the current conditions and political structure.

The statistical proof is not in yet, but subjective guages indicate that cancer rates are on the rise in Belize. Dramatically, some observers of the cancer scene say! Blamed are industrial world style chemicals and imported chemically processed foods.

Forty years ago, rural Belizeans did not use money, to survive and raise a family. Life spans were measured in 80 and 90 year olds. Today, the next generation starve without money. Yet their parents never had any and lived well! What are government policies missing in this equation? Why should THIS GENERATION be starving in some cases? How are government policies disturbing the established social safety net?

Police brutatility, human rights violations and extrajudicial police killings of targeted criminals seem to occur in cycles in Belize over the last ten years. One has to wonder if it is a result of the USA deportation program to Belize of US criminals who have served time in USA penitentiaries for violent crimes with weapons? The recent killing this week of a returnee in Belize City the port town up in an attic brings up this problem once again.

One would think that the Prime Minister could present to the legislature a law that would deny and deprive any Belizean born person who has chosen another country abroad to live in, who serves time in a USA penitentiary for a violent crime with a weapon, to any right to Belizean citizenship? Deny them citizen status!

That way, you could refuse entry at the port of entry, when the USA deports these criminals to Belize after they have learned their criminal ways in the USA, on the streets and in the gangs and become alumnni of the alma mater, the US penitentiary system. This Criminal College of violent crime and organized gangs does not serve Belizeans. Belize does not need or want such imports, or USA exports, no matter where they were born.

Guatemala has a brutal police force, far worse than anything Belize has. It also has an unchecked military and a court system too weak to do anything about them. Human rights violations in Guatemala are a staple of Guatemalan life by police and army personel. It is not getting too different in Belize either.

In Guatemala, death threats against judges, lawmakers, and journalists are common by police and military thugs in uniform. Abuse of authority, badge and the uniform as to be so common as laughable. So long as you are not the victim! Dozens of politically motivated murders are the norm and hundreds of wrongful arrests occur every year in Guatemala. In Belize, such things are trumpeted loudly in the press, but they do occur. Albeit in smaller numbers due to a smaller population. But one wonders how the percentages would compare, it you did census ratios? Rural people suffer the most from police and military thugs both in Guatemala and Belize.

Recent polls in Germany indicated more than 45% of Germans think Germany should be racially purified again! The Hitler Arayan, white skin, blond hair, blue eyed mentality is growing by leaps and bounds. Is it going to be another world war? With exploding human populations, it looks like it. Yet, on the other hand statistics show European countries are going to have to import more foreign born in a labor scarce market. Reduced white folks birth rates has left Europe with a labor shortage.

It doesn't seem to matter to Germans, or other European countries, that people with brown skins, black skins, or hooked noses, whose great grandparents came from Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Algeria, Egypt, or central Africa, and were born in Germany, or their parents and they both were born in Germany. They are not considered Germans, or ARAYAN by the supremists sentiment sweeping Europe, once again. They are not TRUE Europeans the white folks think.

In the meantime, the only place in the world that has all the resources and food it needs to survive is the American Continent. The USA is missing the shoe in leadership, in the American continent. If they are going to sqander resources, it should be here at home, in the Caribbean, and Latin America. Solving the problem of autocratic style political structures and encouraging federalism, free trade and upgraded democratic constitutions should be the name of the game, for the USA right here on our own continent.

The American continent could do very well for itself these coming 100 years, but the rest of the world, particularly Russia and Europe and Asia? That is a different story.

In the meantime, what is wrong with the leaders of Caribbean basin countries? Here the Caribbean Basin countries import more goods from the USA together, than Brazil. Why cannot these leaders get together on foreign policy with the USA and use this USA market the US should value, with more effect? Somehow we need to coordinate and use Caribbean country political power, through importation policies and tariffs. Hurt em in the pocketbook, so we get attention. Divide and conquer is the strategy of the USA and Europe and it seems to be working very well in the Caribbean basin individual economies and politics. It's our own fault though! We are too shortsighted locally.

To start with, most of the goods nowadays, at least the appliances are coming from the USA and Europe, but their financiers are having them built in the three China's. Price discrepancies in the bigger Guatemala market, between goods coming direct from China to Guatemala across the Pacfic Ocean, show the benefits of buying and importing direct from China, instead of going through middle men in Europe and the USA. They would still get their profits, but we would get lower prices here in Belize, if we imported direct. Seems to me the local townie Chamber of Commerce and BELTRAIDE are missing the boat and not looking ahead and doing the best for the Belizean consumer. We are wasting 70% of our import costs by importing through a chain of middlemen in Europe and the USA. Import addresses and products from the three CHINAS should be on a web page for local businessmen.

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