Emory King was shipwrecked in Belize and decided to stay.
Every once in a while people ask about retiring in Belize. Following is the answer I send them.
So you want to retire in Belize? If you have the money and the right attitude come on down and plan to stay two weeks to a month at least.
Visit the whole country and talk to people everywhere. That may tend to confuse you, but in the end you will know where you want to live in our Paradise.
Belize is right now experiencing a wave of prosperity greater than ever before in its 300-year history. The population is increasing. Every city, town and village is getting bigger. Electric power, telephones, water, roads, air services—all are expanding.
The reason we want to attract retirees is to get more U.S. dollars into our economy and to generate more jobs for our growing population. We want you to be as happy in Belize as we are.
Someone once said that if you come to Belize without patience you will learn it. If you come with patience you will lose it. When you arrive in Belize leave “speed, efficiency and accuracy” at the airport. The whole charm and delight of Belize is based on ignoring Western Civilization’s mania for getting things done “NOW”.
Someone else said, “Do you want to wind up with a small fortune in Belize? Start out with a large one—and be very careful.”
There is much truth in that. Belize is a Paradise, but even the Garden of Eden had a serpent. We have more than one. So don’t do anything in Belize you would not do at home.
Would you buy land at home without consulting a good lawyer? Would you give money to strangers to buy “a cat in a bag?” There are a lot of fellows here, Americans as well as Belizeans, who are just looking for a sucker.
Civil Servants are the same all over the world. They get things done—eventually. But, in Belize, many Americans in the past have tried to force Government Officers to hurry up. They have pounded their fists and threw fits of temper. They have even tried to explain to Belizeans that Americans come here to help the country with money and know-how. Therefore, Mr. Civil Servant, quit being ungrateful for what I am trying to do for Belize. Get my paperwork done today.
Consequently, in some Government offices, the appearance of an American is met with stony silence or sullen attention.
The best thing to do is for you to stay away from Government offices. There a dozen young men who earn their living by expediting paperwork. Hire one, give him all the information he needs to get the forms filled out and then, get out of the way and let him earn his money.
Under no circumstances offer to pay a gratuity, fee, tip or bribe to get your paperwork done. We do not want to become a Banana Republic.
If you read the Belize newspapers or listen to the radio news or watch the local television newscasts you will get a somewhat distorted view of the country.
They deal largely with politics, (slapping their party on the back and/or slapping the other party in the face). Secondly, they report crime in the most sensational ways possible, typical of tabloid journalism everywhere. Take them all with several grains of salt.
The Police report that crime is decreasing. Crimes against tourists have virtually disappeared since we introduced the Tourist Police to the streets.
We take our politics very seriously. Keep out of it. Americans, especially, like to tell the Government how to run the country. I should know. I was guilty of it for the first five years I was here.
Fortunately, the great good sense and gentle kindness of the people here resulted in my being ignored.
In spite of all I have said above Belize will take you to its bosom and make you welcome.
I have not only survived for more than 52 years here, I have prevailed—over my shortcomings and folly, in good times and bad, and so will you—probably.
Under the terms of the Retirement Law if you are 45 years old and can deposit $2,000 US a month in a Belize Bank you can qualify as a Retiree under the law.
As a Retiree you may bring into Belize a motor vehicle, a boat and an airplane, duty free, as well as your used household goods and personal effects.
All income from outside Belize is tax free. You may not work in Belize but you can own a business, hire us and watch us work.
Emory King passed away in August 14, 2007. He was a Belizean historian, author and journalist. He served the nation of Belize in a number of capacities, including as National Film Commissioner.