Doctor Love

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 45            December 7, 2000

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Dr. Love is the island's and possibly the world's greatest authority on just about everything. The Doctor answers questions concerning any subject except religion or politics. Persons needing additional assistance or counseling should contact the Family Services Division at 02-77451.         

    You may write to the Doctor at P.O. Box 35, San Pedro Town, Belize, fax  026-2905 or e-mail at sanpdrosun@btl.net

Dear Doctor Love,

    Last week you had a letter from someone who had got their bill from BTL. The same thing happened to me.

    They have charges on my bill for what they call metered calls. There are charges for calls to find out the time. They bill me for all of this in addition to insulting me by charging a maintenance fee for the month.

    We could not have possibly made any metered calls or any calls to find out the time. We were gone the week before the storm took out the telephone lines and besides we do not call for the time.

    How can the government allow this monopoly to steal from us like this?

/s/ Burned Up

Dear Burned,

    Almost everyone had mysterious charges on their phone bill. This leads to the obvious conclusion that these "mistakes" are built into the billing system. Had it not been for Hurricane Keith taking out the telephone lines no one would have known about it.

    If every subscriber in Belize has five dollars worth of "mistakes" on their bill each month, this adds up to thousands of dollars of extra profit for BTL. Who actually goes over their bill phone call by phone call to make sure the phone company is not stealing from them? No one does. No one should have to.

    As subscribers to one of the most costly and inept telephone services in the world we deserve better treatment than this. One thing we can do is appeal to the government to allow another phone company to operate. Then at least we would have a choice. Competition helps bring about improved service and a variety of services offered. We could then choose which company we thought provided better service and not be held hostage by any business that operates solely to fill their pockets at others expense.

    There also could be other reasons why no one has officially stepped in to stop this sort of thing such as the increased tax revenues generated from the over-billing. Have you tried contacting the Public Utilities Commission? Helping people in this type of situation is one of the reasons it was formed.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I have been watching the election results from the US and I think the whole thing is ridiculous. I do not understand why these people cannot reach a decision and stick with it. The US is supposedly a shining example of democracy in action. What kind of an example is this for the rest of the free world?

    Since every decision that has been made seems to get overturned what will happen when a winner is finally declared? Can someone still challenge the decision in another court? Could the president of the US be deposed if the ruling is overturned later?

/s/ Confused

Dear Confused,

    The Florida Supreme Court has problems with decision making. The Doctor does not. The Doctor believes that Gore and Bush should be given dueling pistols. The survivor could have the honor.

Dear Doctor Love,

    Here we go again. I went through customs and they charged me a fortune in duties. This was in spite of the fact that I had an approved list of items I could bring in duty free. These items were to replace the household goods I lost during Hurricane Keith. At the airport the office told me I had to get a broker for those items. A broker would cost me $150 just for his services. Then I would have to pay at least one round trip ticket on the local airlines, pay storage for the goods and pay freight or pick them up personally.

    All of these expenses could easily be $500. I paid less than $1000 for all of these things in total. Why should I be penalized by the Belize Government because of a natural disaster?

/s/ Ripped

Dear Ripped,

    Natural disasters are made to order for a third world country's governments. When natural disasters happen it is like having money dumped in their laps by every rich government in the world.

    There is a lesson here. The lesson is that you should make your house as hurricane-proof as possible. Then you won't have to deal with customs.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I have been in San Pedro for two weeks and I was looking for some property, thinking of moving here. A recent incident with a local resident may have changed my mind.

    My wife and I were driving a golf cart along the beach between Lily's Restaurant and the disco. When we got to the church I waved hello at a man who was passing. He stopped me and asked me why I was driving on the beach. I told him that we had been driving on the beach all day and no one had said anything to us. He wanted to know if we saw anyone else driving on the beach. He asked if we could not tell the difference between a road and a beach and became very insulting.

    I see nothing wrong with driving on the beach except that some places have posts that won't let a golf cart pass. Does everyone here feel the same way about driving on the beach? I'm not sure I would like to live in a place where people are rude to you for something as simple as driving on a beach.

/s/ Visitor

Dear Visitor,

    We lost a lot in Hurricane Keith. Among other things blown away were the signs that said, "No Motorized Vehicles Allowed on the Beach," or words to that effect. Until the hurricane, driving on the beach brought the risk of a fine if the police caught you.

    We also have one-way streets that no one (locals and visitors alike) seems to know about. Most of the locals still follow the one-way streets out of habit, but without markings there is no way to tell which ones are one-way.

    While we are at it, mention should be made that Barrier Reef Drive is supposed to be closed to vehicles Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 6 p.m.

    Why don't we drive on the beach? We just had that pretty white sand pumped in and we don't want it eroded. Also driving on the beach is illegal and the company that rented you the golf cart should have informed you of this.

Dear Doctor Love,

    For some reason, the garbage truck quit picking up our garbage. Before the hurricane, they came by regularly. I know they were overworked with the hurricane clean up but they should have some kind of schedule by now. I can see the workers pass with the truck on the next street but they never come down ours. I thought maybe they didn't pass this way because they didn't see any trash, so I took the garbage out to the street. It stayed there for three days and we finally had to haul it away because it smelled bad. Right now we take it with us when we go into town and put it in other people's garbage cans. How can I get them to stop by my house again?

/s/ San Pablo

Dear San Pablo,

The garbage trucks are back on a schedule but they are still overloaded. It will take several months before things return to normal. If you see the truck on the next street, why not make it a point to chase them down and remind them? If that doesn't work, you can always visit the office at the Town Council.

Dear Dr. Love,

    I just got my bill from BTL and my blood is boiling! I have not even had a phone line since September the 28th. I went to the office to inquire about when the phones would be connected and was informed that my number had been disconnected for non-payment. How can you disconnect a phone when there is not even a phone line?

    I was charged $2.00 instrument rental on a useless phone. BTL charged me $20.00 for line access and maintenance when there is no line to access and no one has maintained it. I was charged $5.85 for metered calls. How can you make a metered call without a phone? Furthermore, according to BTL, I used the time service on October 22nd. Are these people complete idiots or are they outright thieves? My total charges were over $25.00 and there is no telephone wire on my part of the island.

/s/ Help! Thief!

Dear Help,

    So what is the problem? How else can you expect this company to continue to rake in over 40 million dollars in profit a year from a country that only has a population of around 240,000 people? You must also remember that they still do not offer phone service to parts of the country. This forces them to squeeze more money from the poor suckers that are forced to deal with them. Remember, you are dealing with a monopoly; they have no reason to care if something is fair or not.

    The Doctor has a suggestion to help you feel better when you pay the telephone bill. You must write the check for October whether you like it or not. When you hand over the check, ask the security guard to pull his pistol and hold it to your head. That way, when you are being robbed, you feel like it is forcible theft, which it is. They have the ability to make you pay this ransom and there is nothing you can do about it-and they know it.

    That little trick with charging you for a call to the time number is cute, too. It only costs 5 but if they can slip one by every captive customer in the country, who would know? Multiply that by the thousands of BTL customers. It probably adds up to enough to buy a few beers for the staff Christmas party.

Dear Doctor Love,

    My friend claims she saw a UFO last week. It was a bright light streaking across the sky and it made an eerie glow. A lot of other people saw it, too.

    My friend's husband says these UFOs are a bad sign, like maybe the end of time. I don't believe him but it makes me feel spooky.

    Has anyone else written to you about the UFOs? What do you think they are? Are you worried about aliens landing in San Pedro?

/s/ Spooked

Dear Spooked,

    The doctor has witnessed many UFOs. UFO is an anacronym for Unidentified Flying Object. If it is in the sky and you don't know what it is, it is a UFO. Once you find out what it is, it becomes an IFO, an Identified Flying Object.

    If you see the lights at dusk, it is usually a plane landing. When seen from a boat, it looks like lights hovering over San Pedro. The other lights are usually meteorites or space junk falling from the atmosphere. Over the years, we have witnessed many of these flashing light shows. When the object reaches Earth, it is often as small as a marble, yet it leaves a fiery trail in the sky.

   Your friend's husband is full of something to tell you such things. How can there be an end to time? That's like saying where a ring begins. There is no end of time because after the end, how long is it until the next second or hour begins? Tell your friend to discontinue her husband's subscription to the National Enquirer and Star.

    As for aliens, the Doctor definitely believes in aliens. Look around you, many of them reside here on a permanent basis.

Dear Doctor,

    I have been trying to remember the name of a song and I hope you can help me. The song was by Cher and it had something to do with gypsies. It was popular in the sixties or early seventies, about the same time as "I Got You, Babe."

/s/ Clueless

   

Dear Clueless,

    The Doctor can distinguish between only two songs. One of the them is "La Bomba." The other one isn't "La Bomba."



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