REPORT #508 July 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Talking about the Bear Market and the coming American world recession, stimulated some thought. Belize is about nine years behind on the development curve, in regards to technical applications. This is of course because the type of governing structure we operate favors monopolies and actually creates them in one disguised form or another.

Actually a Bear Market in stocks and a recession is to Belize's advantage. It gives Belize a second chance to catch up and go with the front runners, for when we come out of the next depression.

Belize needs to get the internet into every farm and village home. At high connection speeds, which is over 1,4 million buad. If either this government or the next one, can do that within three years, Belize has a chance to catch up to the world and be on the forefront developmentally in about five years, when the USA starts to pull out of the economic recession.

There is talk of using electrical power lines for high speed internet access. I believe they are already doing it in prototypes? I forget the tech talk now, but it had to do with filters and some kind of special transformer. But you can look it up on the internet and if memory serves me, the connection speeds are big, like 2.5 million baud rates. Which means a whole lot of new technological business applications that Belize can take advantage of.

While wireless internet seems to be the favored development of the PUP right now and probably the correct choice for the next two years, their problem is putting such changes into monopolies. Which monopolies essentially freeze the status quo and put us behind again in competition. Monopolies equal stagnation! Obviously electric power lines are going to replace wireless very rapidly? By the time GOB get wireless installed, it is going to be obsolete. thus the danger of offering investors, monopolies for thirty to fifty years in any field in Belize. This denies Belize the chance to stay up with technology advances economically.

Education is changing too, so are libraries. George Gabb Jr. up here at MDCCollege is a Computer Chairperson. He has already implemented a bunch of new Associate Degrees in Computer Software Programming and various industry type certifications in computers. MDCC was behind about six years behind the changes, but is more or less equal to current requirements now thanks to George. But some things are going to change again. Take in libraries. E Books have been floated for five or six years, but they are still too expensive. About a $100, a palm reader. Silvia is waiting for the darned things to come down in price to $30, then they will be practical. Once you get E Books, then data bases, being able to carry twenty books home, you download at your library will essentially eliminate all hardcover books, except as antiques and curiousities. Silvia and I talk about this all the time, looking for the future trend. Currently, not much people are using electronic book data bases. Until library budgets can buy the palm readers at a reasonable price, then the book data bases will explode, for a rental fee of course.

In the Reporter newspaper the other day, there was a complaint in a letter, that some Belizean engineering student could not get a GOB scholarship to carry on his studies in the USA at a University. That student is wrong and the GOB is right. The University of Belize should now be able to give him the same course from the same USA University over the internet. By a station that has a tv screen and a microphone. In some fields in Florida this is already common. My daughter Sharon is taking her Bachelors Degree in Agriculture this way. The fact that Cabinet Ministers children and nephews and nieces are getting such scholarships as insinuated in an article the other day, is more about corruption than about the right way to educate in Belize of today.

George Gabb Jr. up here from Belize City, has the same problem. He has to figure out what certifications and licensing and degrees will be needed by his department five years from now and start implementing the two year process it takes to line up the course material, professors and teaching. And have it implemented about the third year from now. Things are changing that fast.

For anybody who runs the government of Belize, the message certainly is, to do away with monopolies. A monopoly is going to stagnate development and push the country backwards into obsolescence.

The Cabinet as in Said Musa and Ralph Fonseca apparently either don't get this, or they have other reasons the rumor mill always insinuate is the case, with the electrical monopoly.

Obviously the right course, is to set up an electrical producer selling formula, so independents can sell electricity however they produce it, to the National Grid. Since Fortis have the retail and distribution grid system and prices fixed in their stock ownerships. It should be fairly easy to allow independent electrical producers to sell electricity to whoever operates/owns the National Grid. As it stands now, Fortis would make their profit on the wholesale distribution markup, then another profit on the retail aspects of selling the electricity. Right now they make three profits. The producers profit, the distribution profit and the retail profit. Fortis would lose some profit at the producer end, but not likely much and they would get rid of a lot of capital expense and bothersome maintainance and operating expenses. They would end up with little or no work and pure profit. Which should improve Fortis bottom line.

The FUTURE is what Belizeans make it, or should be. Unfortunately the British spoils political system is killing the future for development of Belize.

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