The 5th R, Jungle Rescues, And 2012 Survival Parties—Live From Belize
“I told you about Harvey Kidman,” writes Belize Correspondent Ann Kuffner this morning, picking up where she left off yesterday, keeping us connected with the goings-on at our Live & Invest in Belize Conference taking place in Belize City this week.
“Harvey came to the conference because he thought Belize might be a good place to set up his next non-profit vocational school. His goal is to help train Belizeans in new skills that will lead to jobs. But he knows that his plan will work only if he is able to connect with influential Belizeans willing to support his mission. That was his objective for joining us for this week’s event–to meet Belizean political figures who would appreciate how he could assist them to retrain Belizeans in need of a job.
“When I spoke with Harvey yesterday, he was on his way to dinner with Arturo Lizarraga, the official here at the conference representing Belize’s Free Zone. This morning I ran into Harvey and asked for an update. He reported that Arturro offered to rent him a three-story building in the Free Zone. He already has figured out how he’ll use the building for his non-profit operations in Belize (the first floor will be for vocational training, the second for technical training, and he and the instructors will live on the third floor while they are in the country), and he is discussing with Arturro what types of training would be most valuable for Belizean workers.
“I asked Harvey if all this weren’t a bit pre-mature, considering he hasn’t gone looking for funding yet? He told me he isn’t at all worried about the funding. Apparently, that’s his talent and his experience. His concern was whether he would be able to connect with Belizean government officials whose support and assistance he knew he’d need to get the project off the ground. He managed that Day 1 of this week’s event.
“Harvey is also looking to connect with people who share an interest in his project and who may have training ideas. His company is Champion Technical Training Center. If you are interested in learning more or in becoming involved, you can contact Harvey at Harvey.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What else is going on here in Belize City this week? We’ve heard from more than 20 speakers at this point. Here are some highlights:
“International asset protection attorney Joel Nagel explained:
“‘Just like Belize, the United States has bank secrecy laws, too. Here’s how it goes in the U.S.: Your bank is required to give your personal information to the IRS…but to keep the process a secret from you. It’s like the world of the Mad Hatter.’
“‘Interest in foreign residency and expatriation has escalated dramatically during the last five years. A little old lady came to talk to me recently to tell me that she was seriously considering expatriating. This really took me by surprise because she reminded me of my grandmother. It made me realize how much things are changing and how quickly. It used to be that 200 to 300 Americans expatriated each year. More than 8,000 Americans expatriated last quarter…’
“American expat Phil Hahn, who lives part-time in Belize, explained:
“‘In Belize, when people say ‘ATM,’ they aren’t referring to a cash machine. They are referring to Actun Tunichal Muknal, a spectacular place in the Cayo. To get there you need to hike through the forest. Next you swim into a cave and then spelunk to get to it. It is amazing and unique in the world. Other countries would not let you visit such a place without restriction or a guide. There are Mayan artifacts everywhere. But here in Belize, this special place is open for everyone to explore.’
“Bob Stevens, a British expat living full-time in Belize for most of his life, told us about southern Belize:
“‘This part of the country is so remote that it is a great place to practice survival rescues. The Brits planned a practice evacuation exercise, and my wife and I volunteered to participate. The Brits dropped us in the tiny Mayan village of Aquacate, on the border with Guatemala. We felt like we were in a 16th-century film. Local Mayans looked after us, fed us. We were supposed to be found and picked up by the rescue team by 6 p.m. that night, but they couldn’t find us. The only piece of equipment we had was a solar-powered phone. Fortunate for us, it worked! I eventually had to use it to direct our rescue party.’
“We remind you often of the 4 R’s of Belize–reef, ruins, rivers, and rain forest. Expat Amma Carey told us yesterday of the fifth R of this country:
“‘The fifth R is for rum! Try the 5 Barrel,’ Amma recommended. ‘You can get it in duty free at the airport for US$11.’
“The Mayans are an important and respected part of Belizean culture and history. They believe, of course, that 2012 is going to be the end of the world. Attendees asked Bob Stevens what he thinks will happen:
“‘I expect it will be stretched out into an extended holiday season,’ Bob explained. ‘There will be a party to prepare for the end of the world, a party when the world is supposed to end, and an I Survived The End Of The World party.’
“Bob, who operates a shipping and logistics business in Belize, had more serious advice, as well:
“‘Customs here typically unpacks only 10 boxes,’ Bob explained. ‘So the first 10 boxes have to be right.’ His group can help with your packing.
“Our focus this week is Belize, of course, but the program also features general information from experts in banking, investing, taxation, and other issues related to taking your life and your money offshore. An international tax attorney told the group:
“‘Incorporate where you won’t pay taxes. The best idea is to incorporate in a country other than where you’re doing business. This can bring you privacy and security. Nevis is my preferred jurisdiction for privacy. The Cayman Islands are the most transparent. You might as well incorporate in the United States.'”
P.S. The fun isn’t finished yet. Ann promises more from Belize manana…