"THE NUMBER 1 MAGAZINE ON TRAVEL, LIFE, AND RETIREMENT ON THE CARIBBEAN COAST"
VOLUME III, NO. 1
ON-LINE TEXT EDITION
COPYRIGHT 1995 BY LAN SLUDER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Traditional magazine edition with maps and photos also available. Contact Belize First for details.
LATEST SCANDAL: TAIWANESE INVADE BELIZE
As many as 10,000 Taiwanese have been granted residency or citizenship in Belize since 1989, according to reports in Belize newspapers. Following the resignation of Minister of Human Resources Phillip Goldson as head of the Immigration and Nationality Department, and the firing of two senior officers in the department in June, figures have been flying on the number of new residency permits issued to Taiwanese and others, both under the current UDP and former PUP regimes. Almost 17,000 individuals, a majority of them from Taiwan, have been granted permanent residency in Belize since 1989. The Immigration Department reportedly approved more than 2,000 permanent visas for Taiwanese nationals in the first five months of 1995, and hundreds in the month of May alone. In many cases, the recipients of these residency cards reportedly have never visited Belize. To help clean up the mess, the government has transferred the Immigration and Nationality Department to the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Merlene Martinez has been named the department's new director. At least 25,000 aliens also have come into Belize in recent years from other Central American countries, most crossing borders illegally.
RAOUL'S ROSE GARDEN CLOSED
The famous brothel near the international airport is dark, a victim in part of the British Defence Forces departure from Belize.
CAMEL TROPHY: HELP OR HYPE?
The Mundo Maya Camel Trophy teams which motored about Belize in May and June have been praised as bringing world attention to the country. But Camel Trophy also has been criticized for being 99% public relations and only 1% a real sporting event. Others note it indirectly promotes cigarettes, although Camel Trophy is sponsored by a corporate division which markets Camel clothes, not tobacco. Land Rover also sponsors Camel Trophy. Belize Department of Fisheries spokespeople also objected to Camel Trophy organizers serving lobster tails to more than 500 dinner guests at Xunantunich, at a time when lobster season in Belize was closed. For the record, a team from the Czech Republic won this year's event. The countries which hosted the Trophy, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, did not have teams participating in the event.
CRUISE SHIPS DIVIDE TOURISM INDUSTRY
A 'tourist village' at the old customs warehouse in Belize City has been proposed, with a focus on cruise ship visitors. Whether or not this plan is approved, the government appears to be moving ahead on improving the Belize City port area in ways that will make it more attractive for cruise operators. However, most hotel operators oppose cruise ships in Belize, claiming that they do not contribute much to the local economy, presenting more negatives than positives. Shop owners, taxi operators, and some tour operators, and bar and restaurant owners support expanded cruise ship facilities.
BRUTAL ATTACK ON AMBERGRIS
In May, a little more than a year after the murder of U.S. citizen and San Pedro resident Ann Reilly Dines and her British husband in a late-night attack on the beach in south San Pedro, another U.S. expat and local resident was brutally attacked on a dark area of beach in the same area. Jacqueline Devine, a popular and civic-minded member of the San Pedro community, was struck from behind as she walked home in the early evening. She suffered two broken arms, a broken wrist, several broken fingers and a concussion. Lighting for the beach, planned after the Dines murders, but never installed, is at last being put up. Despite aggressive efforts by businesses and residents on Ambergris to reduce crime, some serious incidents continue. In March, a U.S. visitor and her 12-year-old daughter were attacked and robbed near a resort north of San Pedro.
HOTEL OCCUPANCY IS DOWN
in Belize City this summer. Hotels are running specials, including US$69 for any room at the Radisson Fort George. This flagship hotel is undergoing a major, and much-needed, renovation.
DENGUE FEVER WORST IN YEARS
More than 40,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Central America. Dengue fever is a disease which can cause flu-like symptoms and in some cases internal bleeding. It is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. El Salvador, with more than 6,000 cases, has declared a state of medical emergency. Thousands of cases have also been reported in Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and elsewhere. It is thought there have been a few hundred cases in Belize, mostly in the south. At present there is no prevention for dengue fever, except avoiding mozzie bites. The usual treatment is Tylenol or its generic equivalent; aspirin products should be avoided, since they thin the blood and more internal bleeding could occur.