Originally Posted by sandyb
From my experience, it depends on who they are working for.


True.

Originally Posted by sandyb
Still, the wages are extremely low compared to the prices charged by the vendor for goods sold.


I see this comment quite often from both visitors and people who live here full or part time and don't run a business. While undoubtably things in general could cost less for many reasons, there are a lot of factors people need to consider and might not have.

Firstly is how cyclical business is through the year. End of Dec - March. as busy as it will get. Apr - Aug. half bore. Sept - late Dec (excluding a week for Thanksgiving). comatose. This means all profits need to come in the first period, the second period is break even and last period a total loss. The bills still come at an unyielding rate through the year with no drop. Rent, wages, electricity, water, insurance etc.

Rent is high. I would guess the average rent on Front Street for an average size property is US$2,000 per month.

Duty. Almost everything in the Country is imported and has Import Duty tagged on top. 20 - 50% is the norm, and that's before GST and Environmental Tax. Items considered luxury are higher than staples. If a shop owner buys a item for resale and it is US$50. He pays to have this shipped from, say, New York to Miami then Miami to Belize. The cost of both shipping routes is added to the product total and the duty is applied on top this overall total. This duty inclusive total is now double taxed with 12.5% GST added and triple taxed with a 1% Environmental tax. Then there are Brokerage fees to clear the goods from Cutoms and transport to San Pedro. So a $50 product, $12 shipping, $18 duty (@30% rate) $10 GST, $1 Environment Tax makes a $50 product now $91. Add shipping to the Caye, Cutoms Broker fees it's almost double the cost. This is your cost to get the item in your shop. Add the margin for running costs to open your store and it's easy to see why things can cost double their US price. Oh yes. This is without an added profit margin - the whole point in opening your shop!!!!