Caribbean Report 29-05-2000



Table of Contents

1. Headlines: (00:00-00:28)
2. A history of British colonialism is what binds Belize to the region and as Prime Minister, Said Musa, stated in an interview with Orin Gordon, Belizeans share the same concern as CARICOM – the vulnerability of small states. For example, the age-old problem with Guatemala, natural disasters, trade, and the problem with banana. With regards to location, Mr Musa said that some persons are not sure whether to place Belize in the Caribbean or Central America. In terms of travel, there’s no direct connection to the Caribbean, and he has to go through Miami to reach Jamaica or Barbados. (00:29-03:15)
3. Dee Lindo was Leader of the Opposition in Belize when he was asked how they could be effective with only 3 of the 29 seats in Parliament. He likened the experience to cricket, stating that once two players get settled in they could make a century or two, so you don’t need 11 people to be batting. Regarding the closeness of Belize to CARICOM, Central America and the US, Mr Musa said Belize is more involved in Caribbean affairs than with Central America. (03:16-05:58)
4. Manuel Esquivel is a former Prime Minister who descended from Spanish stock. He said that it is the Hispanic Belizeans who are most strongly opposed to the attention of their neighbour [Guatemala]. He said that their ancestors came to escape the turmoil and dictatorial practices of the Latin-speaking countries around Belize. In the case of Mexico there was persecution, and in the case of Guatemala – unending revolutions and turmoil. (05:59-06:58)
5. The tension between Guatemala and Belize was not apparent when Orin Gordon visited the border. A British troupe presence near the border is probably what keeps Guatemala in check. Officer Craig Muller stressed that they were there for the jungle training, and noted that the threat to Belize from Guatemala has been significantly reduced. (06:59-11:26)
6. San Pedro is the only town on the Ambergris Cay. The reef is the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, starting in Mexico and running the length of the Belize coastline. It is dotted with hundreds of cays. (11:27-12:22)
7. Fishing was the main activity before the resort sprung up on Ambergris Cay. The Tourism Minister said traditional exports are in jeopardy because of the loss of subsidies or special pricing arrangements. He believes that the proximity of Belize to the richest economies in the world, along with Belize’s natural inclination towards hospitality puts them in a unique position to develop tourism. (12:23-14:58)