Sunday, July 6, 2014

Belize customs (duty) revisited

Wow, when I mentioned my frustration with the customs practices during a recent get-together I found out so much more.  Belize is struggling with poverty vs graft vs foolishly devised laws.  More friends had distressing tales of people in the US trying to help, but being stymied by customs.  I was told about a lady who collected a huge supply of books to bring down for the kids.  She found she would have to pay a substantial duty besides her shipping, so wasn't able to follow through. 

A Belizian friend has worked closely with a group from Pittsburgh through his church.   In past years they've come down to bring things to the villages and have been accompanied by Drs. who volunteer their services and bring medicines.  They can no longer afford to take their time, pay for their tickets to come and then be charged duty on all the supplies that they bring in.  This conversation included a concurrence from a member of Rotary who said that they've encountered the same situation.  They've been encouraging doctors and dentists to volunteer their time and services here in Belize, but find that they are discouraged and charged duty on anything they bring in.  They even had to pay duty on a container of wheelchairs that were donated.  

It makes me proud that Americans are opening their hearts to help this little country, but the message seems to be to just SEND MONEY.  Phooey on that.  It will just find it's way into someone's pocket rather than help the villagers who could so use the services and supplies.   

3 comments:

Emily said...

How sad! I hate that the Belizean government is allowing this to happen. Seems to be all about money-grabbing. All supplies to be donated should be able to brought in duty-free. Shameful.

Agatha Z. said...

Hi Gale! I've been a little out of touch due to work and moving from Brooklyn NY, but I did bookmark your blog...hubby and I have not given up on Belize, despite the crazy things the Belizean govt will allow to prevent progress. We will still visit! And I guess, the amount of aid that gets through is also dependent upon who you know in govt. I am a member of a few Facebook groups that are Belizean wildlife supporters and they get a TON of aid, apparently.

sandy a said...

there is supposed to be no duty on books.from the GOB website: Text Books, School work books and other educational texts in question and answer format with spaces for insertion of answers, children's picture and painting books exercise books.