REPORT #432 September 2001

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
On the response by Victor Espat about the flawed ACCOMODATIONS LEGISLATION.

Thank you for your inputs from the bz-culture listserve contributors. Very interesting and appreciative for all the interesting asides.

Interesting to know, that Victor Espat, Registrar of Accomodations is alleged to be Cabinet Minister, Mark Espat's nephew, from a listserve contributor. And that it is NEPOTISM in the politics of the port town political party crowd. I always knew of course that the whole purpose of the port city political party crowd was nepotism for friends, family and stuff in jobs for the Government of Belize. It is not just the Forestry Department that is riddled with government jobs for NEPOTISM.

All those useless merchant and educated families in the port town look to government jobs, to make a living. Been talking about it for years. It is not just Belize either. But Lima, Peru and Caracas, Venezuela and so forth. Typical ex-colonial one party rules style of governing. Which is why Africa is such a mess.

You really want to see the results of this giving a large central city population nepotism government jobs, you have to study the effects of the practice on European, Central and Eastern European countries, particularly the parliamentary type constitutional monarchies over the last 200 years. They all failed, big time!

I kind of did not know the difference between one Mr. Espat and another. Apologize for that! Long time ago, quit trying to follow their shenanigans in squeezing jobs out of the government treasury, by the port town useless educated layabouts. BUT such practice, NEPOTISM IT IS!

Basically, when Victor (BTB accomodations head )talks about enforcing the existing legislation, I got a real kick about the contribution from a listserve member, sent to me, explaining how Rauls Rose Garden has it's toilet on the outside. Now there is an accomodation for tourists that Victor Espat did not cover? Ha! Ha! Different tourism niche too. While Hostels rent beds for the night in dormitory accomodation, European style; Raul's Rose Garden rent them by the half hour with government foreign work permitted female hostess attached. Ha! Ha! My generation of oldsters went to old Dickie Gardners "Continental Hotel nightclub"

I just wonder how the legislation Victor Espat is talking about will fit in the Raul's Rose Garden politically protected concept, with tourist accomodations by the half hour, including girl? Do the Belize Tourist Board really collect accomodations tax on half hour room and bed use? Ha! Ha!

The Belize Tourist Board is a problem, or getting to be one. I belonged to a similar organization way back in the 70's, though it was run by the Chamber of Commerce of that same port town Belize City crowd, who kept falsely claiming they represented the nation in their title. It morphed into the government Belize Tourist Board. But back then, it only took one year of belonging to realize that the organization was made up of friends and relatives of the port, Belize City and they were using it to put themselves in positions to make money ( e.g. a salary ), or more likely at that time, a scrabble and infighting for paid government trips abroad, ostensibly for tourism. I quit my paid membership, when it was obvious, the thing was a stacked deck, of port city incompetents.

If the comments from the Placentia peninsular tourist area are true, when they complained that the advertised Tourist Board would visit and seek inputs from the area of Placentia and actually only visited a couple of connected outfits out of more than a dozen. Then what the Belize Tourist Board is; is representing only those paid memberships in the tourism industry. Which are the bigger owners with bucks. Not small operators, who cannot afford the time, travel, and other expenses associated with it. That said; the Accomodations Legislation that Victor Espat, registrar of accommodations in Belize was I believe; constructed by the inputs of these rich paid up members and not by the whole national accomodations industry of the Nation of Belize? These members quite fairly, used their advantage to eliminate lower budget accomodations competition in the legislation. Hence the biased legislation that Victor Espat is using, trying to eliminate from competition of lower budget tourist accomodations, using their Belize Tourist Board legislation as an excuse. This of course is a quasi-monopoly by another name and gives legal authority and status by a government in Belmopan biased toward port town relatives in a position of NEPOTISM. Bureaucrats are tax paid civil servants and their job is to serve the voters and citizens. When there is a conflict, they are supposed to bend over backwards in giving service and accomodating the citizens problems through the bureaucracy and expediting same, to the citizens satisfaction. That is their job-SERVICE to citizens. Not some elite influential group, nor to interpret legislation in favor of some, and not in favor of others. Nor are they empowered to make decisions on which businesses will operate, or not operate. The CUSTOMER makes that decision, not a government bureaucrat. Profit dictates, not a bureaucrat! Bureaucrats that do not understand the concept of service to citizens need a workshop, or seminar on the subject.

These ideas of the bureaucratic BTB are typical monopolistic variations on the parliamentary one party governing model. A distorted result of what was supposedly a representation of what the citizens wanted; which ends up being biased toward the big money players. A short coming, Victor Espat is not responsible for; but which in application he is apparently not applying fairly all around the country. Since it was intended to control low budget competition, I guess it serves the needs of big money investors and politicians who look for bribes and political party donations. It is not building a nation though, or the economy.

Basically, the legislation is flawed and needs to be amended, so it covers ADVENTURE tourism niches! Many of which use tents for accomodations and holes in the ground over a sitting log for toilet. ( to the satisfaction of the paying customer, by the way- and not some port townie educated security conscious salaried flunkie who has theories on how businesses should exist and operate. ) How do you teach security orientated salaried bureaucrats, what entrepreneurial business is about? Where the CUSTOMER decides what they want to pay for, not a bureaucrat? But in this political system, there is no methodology to get legislation amended. Elected Representatives are supposed to represent their citizens desires. They delegate authority to bureaucrats like Victor Espat; which doesn't allow any methodology of their citizens to tell the Minister of Tourism, how to amend faulty legislation. In Belize and other countries too, this political framework results in government by confrontation, crisis and revolution, with guerrillas and assassinations of bureaucrats and political figures in bigger populations, like Guatemala and Colombia. This is a lousy way to run and govern a country, when your only recourse is to make a cavalcade of buses to the capital, marches, protests, signs and burning tires in the street, like the recent fiasco of the shootout at the Tower Hill bridge over a denied village bus drivers license. Or hire moped youngsters as hitmen, to get your point across, as in Colombia, Jamaica, Barbados, or Guatemala, or Nicaragua.

Every time you come to a problem in governing Belize, it turns out to be the faulty Constitutional framework. But which the port town crowd like Victor and and a hundred wrongly educated others in that port are milking to the maximum, through nepotism, to make a living off the tax payers from rural districts and the treasury.

As to the Accomodations Legislation. Will the PUP fix it? Will the Belize Tourist Board start to represent citizens and small players in the tourism niches? Should I go ahead with an investment for a sailplane and hangglider port up in the Mountain Pine Ridge, where accomodations are going to be in portable tents and port-a-potties? Water will be trucked in. How will the Government make this legislation accomodate the coming group of Adventure niche tourism operators? Or will they just deny them licenses for accomodations and eliminate and discourage tourist industry expansion? European style Hostels are not the only ones effected by the attitude and legislation of port town bureaucrat and alleged nephew of Cabinet Minister, Espat extended family, Victor Espat, registrar of tourist accomodations. Rauls Rose Garden is effected, the accomodations out in the Chiquibul Forest are effected for University Biology students, Calabash Caye foreign Marine student accomodations are effected. All kinds of existing and potential accomodations are effected.

There are several problems in governing Belize exposed here. For you new generation of students and future bureaucrats here are some I can think of:

1) The Belize Tourist Board does not represent tax paying accomodations in Belize. They only represent a paid membership, or favored few. How to fix it? If you don't want to join and make those trips to the port, what can you do to get input, where they come to you for your opinion, rather than they sample a select few?

2) How do you fix faulty Belize Tourist Board legislation? What mechanism exists?

3) How do you prevent salaried bureaucrats from writing legislation, that is coming from an academically educated theoritical intelligentsia that by their nature opt for safety, security at a low pay of a salaried government worker? When that legislation effects a different type of individual personality and character of an entrepreneur? The ideas, needs and methods of thinking are contrary to each other and in consistant conflict. Shouldn't the entrepreneurs write the legislation, or approve, or amend it at will?

4) How do you stop government from concentrating all the departmental offices in the one port town of Belize City? Why can't the Belize Tourist Board office be in Corozal, San Ignacio, or Punta Gorda? Sure it is a convenience, but convenient to who? It is not convenient to any rural district citizen. Can you build a nation this way? I don't think so, in fact I know so, as a student of history and comparative political systems.

5) How do you spread government salaried jobs to a wider population in the other five districts, instead of the NEPOTISM concentration of the one port town of Belize City? We have a nation to build, it cannot be done this way. With modern telecommunications, tele-conferencing, instant messenger, video cams in Belize now operating. Is it really proper to keep putting central government departments in the one only port town? Communications is no longer the problem it once was around the nation of Belize. You can put any government department anywhere nowadays, if you want. Would it not help to build a nation to spread such departments out geographically?

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