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Old 12-10-2014, 12:42   #16
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

In spite of this particular case which is a nightmare. I like Belize, I have been there often and not had any trouble with the local officials. I am planning on retiring there. There are many positive aspects in Belize and the natural beauty is one of them.
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:51   #17
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belize

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
"Overreaction" in this case DOES refer to getting over excited about potential profit. I've seen it happen many times both ashore and afloat in Belize. An unfortunate negative of the culture.

However, to put it in perspective, if you "bump" a reef in the Florida Keys...that's going to be very expensive and inconvenient too, likely more so...though much less likely to be impossed upon you by corrupt officials. Case in point, I have a friend who now has a felony conviction for drifting into a restricted area in the Keys with fishing gear/spearguns aboard (not in the water, not in use) while drifting along taking a break. They were just relaxing aboard and officials watched them drift over the boundary so knew they were not actually engaging in illegal actvity. Another form of "overreaction".

One difference in Belize, and many other countries, is that the officials (especially the corrupt ones) are rather "flexible" and you can "negotiate" your way out of such situations. I think in this case the folks took actions which were very naive and exacerbated their situation...they went loudly public with the matter right away...bad move...negotiate quietly and quickly in private.

There is another such story on the 'net somewhere about an attorney who had a similar problem in Belize. Being an attorney, maybe he was a bit more astute. He negotiated privately, paid a small "fine" and left with little delay.
It's strange. I have noticed that people living in countries with a lot of corruption seem to get comfortable and defend it. I don't get it. Would it have been OK if the officials had only asked for $2,000 instead? I don't think there is a level of acceptable corruption. It's no different from mafia shake down or a street mugging. You play that game with them and you are walking a tightrope with potentially disastrous consequences. Maybe they should have just passed a few $100 bills over the table. Had they done that they might have encountered an honest official and then been jailed for attempted bribery. Pretty awful to be forced into making such decisions.

In Florida as in most places with a functioning legal system there is a law and a penalty set down. Break it and you know what happens. No bribery, no corruption. The example you gave is not a lot different from a radar speed trap or a police entrapment set up. Sneaky, but very different indeed. Nonetheless, it is possible they did learn a trick in Belize by applying principles seen overseas. Only a few years ago in the US, a large foreign oil company damaged the Gulf environment on a rather bigger scale than the accident in Belize. They spilled oil and conveniently had deep pockets, the President got involved and after the punitive and arbitrary damage payments are made they ended up $100bn poorer.
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Old 12-10-2014, 13:37   #18
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

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In spite of this particular case which is a nightmare. I like Belize, I have been there often and not had any trouble with the local officials. I am planning on retiring there. There are many positive aspects in Belize and the natural beauty is one of them.
Wasn't John McAfee in some corruption related issue also? I remember a number of years ago a British couple that built a hotel on one of the islands losing their hotel to local thugs backed up by the authorities who together made life impossible for them. Not that I have a downer on Belize, there are problems in every country. It was a British colony, so they should have had a good start. I hope my criticism doesn't get me into trouble if I pitch up.
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Old 12-10-2014, 13:43   #19
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

John McAfee, was accused of murdering his neighbor. That doesn't go down well, no matter where you live. I am not privy to the details of what happened with the couple that built the hotel. There have been a lot of changes in Belize, (Mostly good) over the last few years. If you follow the rules then it is hard to go astray. Anytime you think there is no corruption in the USA then you are very nave. They disguise it as lobbying and PAC money, but it still comes out the same. People in the states have learned to sugar coat the pay off money so it is more palatable to the general public, it is still there, none the less.
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Old 12-10-2014, 14:29   #20
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

I guess our group will have to decide if they want to hire a captain, or go somewhere else where we feel safer to Bare Boat


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Old 12-10-2014, 17:26   #21
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belize

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Another example of needing to carry a few Ben Franklin's around. Old Ben was known as a diplomat too.
...and some cold beer, preferably of a foreign variety (Gallo, Corona...) go a long way to resolving problems in Belize.
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Old 12-10-2014, 17:45   #22
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belize

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It's strange. I have noticed that people living in countries with a lot of corruption seem to get comfortable and defend it. I don't get it. Would it have been OK if the officials had only asked for $2,000 instead? I don't think there is a level of acceptable corruption. It's no different from mafia shake down or a street mugging. You play that game with them and you are walking a tightrope with potentially disastrous consequences. Maybe they should have just passed a few $100 bills over the table. Had they done that they might have encountered an honest official and then been jailed for attempted bribery. Pretty awful to be forced into making such decisions.

In Florida as in most places with a functioning legal system there is a law and a penalty set down. Break it and you know what happens. No bribery, no corruption. The example you gave is not a lot different from a radar speed trap or a police entrapment set up. Sneaky, but very different indeed. Nonetheless, it is possible they did learn a trick in Belize by applying principles seen overseas. Only a few years ago in the US, a large foreign oil company damaged the Gulf environment on a rather bigger scale than the accident in Belize. They spilled oil and conveniently had deep pockets, the President got involved and after the punitive and arbitrary damage payments are made they ended up $100bn poorer.

I'm not defending Belizean officials, just stating how it really works. You can choose to find reality unacceptable, but that doesn't change it.

All governments are corrupt to some degree, including the USA...that's how BP skirted saftey requirements in the first place. At lower levels of goverment, corruption is less common in the USA, but just follow the money at the Congressional level if you want a whif of where the real corruption lies...on a massive scale.

Thruought Central America, corruption is more open at lower levels...right down to the lowly street cop. That's not a defense, just a statement of fact.
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Old 12-10-2014, 17:49   #23
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

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I guess our group will have to decide if they want to hire a captain, or go somewhere else where we feel safer to Bare Boat


Rick
Another plus of hiring a local captain is that it will add more local color to your trip...he will know all the people and places.

And the more local experience will be less likely to include a crash course in dealing w Belizean officials. Although, realistically, the odds of that are low anyway.
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Old 12-10-2014, 18:27   #24
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

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Thanks for all of the information. In 2012, our boat was Annie's Toy, 38' or 40' cat and this summer we had the Kia Ora, a 42' cat.
Did you ever have any concerns for safety?


Rick
Should have been more specific in my post, I was asking helv00 which boat he chartered in Belize. I probably know the boat.

Concerns for safety in Belize. Until a few years ago, zero. Belize has historically been a safe place, but a few years ago there was an especially brutal attack on a charter boat. This was a one time event and has never happened before or since. Arrests were made and there have been no more problems. I'm slightly more cautious these days.
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Old 12-10-2014, 18:31   #25
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Re: Bare Boat Sailing in Belieze

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
In spite of this particular case which is a nightmare. I like Belize, I have been there often and not had any trouble with the local officials. I am planning on retiring there. There are many positive aspects in Belize and the natural beauty is one of them.
Yes, many positive aspects to Belize. Officialdom can be annoying, but if you go there on the retirement program then you will have less need to deal with officials.
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