Doctor Love

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 4            January 25, 2001

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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 on almost anything except religion and 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

Dear Doctor Love,

    I thought your answer to the phone call from the BBC about the television show "Temptation Island" was terrible. How can you say anything negative about something that is so positive for this island? This show is worth millions of dollars in free publicity for Ambergris Caye and we should say everything encouraging about it that we can.

    What is wrong with you? Don't you want progress for Ambergris Caye?

/s/ Believer

Dear Believer,

    Not particularly. What is so great about progress? Besides, if progress is what you want, why are you still in Belize; a country not exactly noted for its progressive ways or thinking?

    In case you did not read the BBC's question, they wanted to know what advice the Doctor had for the participants in the show. The answer included some advice to viewers which was thrown in for free.

    The show is truly a wonderful advertisement for San Pedro since it shows it in a light that is almost embarrassingly flattering. Wait until we have visitors show up here looking for a Thousand Foot Waterfall or a Blue Hole somewhere between Mata Chica and Captain Morgan's Retreat. "Lucy, you got a lot of Žsplaining to do." That should be fun.

    We have derived obvious advertising benefits for Ambergris Caye but that doesn't mean that "Temptation Island" will win any EMMY Awards. The Doctor understands why the show had sixteen and a half million viewers last week, though. It is surprising that those viewers were not pulled bodily into their TV sets because the premise behind this show really sucks.

Dear Doctor,

    I have some clothing that is made by a company called Banana Republic and I am familiar with a song by Jimmy Buffet called "Banana Republic." I have even heard characters in movies refer to certain Central American countries as "Banana Republics." Somebody told me that Belize used to be considered a banana republic.

    Can you enlighten us about the origins of this term? Do we still have "banana republics"?

/s/ Curious

Dear Curious,

    Before the turn of the last century (1900) the banana was hardly known outside of the Americas. The fruit spoiled so quickly after being picked that it was difficult to even get it to major markets in the US. Once the problems of storage and shipping were worked out, the fruit became extremely popular. Large companies like United Fruit Company discovered that with their financial clout they could buy the entire government of many Central American countries. If you buy the government you own the country. Countries like Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua became "banana republics" with the company dictating government policy.

    The great short story writer, William Porter, who wrote under the pen name O. Henry, wrote short stories based on his experience as a plantation manager in a banana republic. They make for entertaining reading.

    There are no banana republics. This is because bananas do not show enough profit to hold an entire government and its people hostage. Now, we have telephone republics. That's where there is enough profit to dictate to an entire government.

Dear Dr. Love,

    I work with a group in the US that is dedicated to helping the mentally disabled. Does Belize have facilities to help the mentally handicapped? How about Ambergris Caye? Should we consider opening a chapter of our group here? Where could we find volunteers?

/s/ Visitor

Dear Visitor,

     You should contact the division of Family Services at 02-77451. I'm not certain what sort of response you would get.

    Belize already helps the "mentally challenged" by providing employment to them, usually in the government sector or in a monopoly controlled utility. That is the only explanation most people can think of when they go to one of these places and see 20 employees sitting around doing nothing, while busy people with real lives and jobs are forced to wait hours to receive a ridiculous explanation to a question or complaint.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I would love the opportunity to play a round of golf in Belize. The only course is the one at Caye Chapel and it is not open to the public. Why doesn't someone build a golf course on the island? I'm sure that a lot of visitors would like to play golf.

/s/ Winter Resident

Dear Winter,

    Have you checked out the price of real estate on this island? Who can afford to build a golf course here? It would be cheaper to build a condo and rent it. That's why we have a lot of condos and no golf courses. The Doctor suspects it will stay that way.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I went to a restaurant and they had rice and beans and pigtail on the menu. Do people actually eat pigtail here? I find the whole idea revolting.

/s/ Picky Eater

Dear Picky,

    The Doctor agrees wholeheartedly with you. Rice and beans and pigtail is revolting. Pigtail should always be served with stew beans and rice.
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