Friday, March 02, 2007

No One Ever Expects the Spanish Inquisition

We're staring down the pike at an impending phone strike here in Belize. What that means is not only no phone service, but also no cell phone service, no long distance to the U.S. or the rest of the world, no internet or email, for however long it takes for the Communication Worker's Union to settle with BTL (the local phone company) which is short for Belize Telecommunications Limited or Beggars, Theives and Liars, depending on which side of the fence you're standing on. So if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why. The last strike in May 2005 snowballed into a general strike with many of the unions in Belize in solidarity, and then that snowballed into rioting in Belmopan, police special units in riot gear, the Dragon Unit being called in, troops, etc. etc.

I don't blame the people on strike, they have legitimate grievances against the company (BTL). No one wants to strike and lose pay, but sometimes its the only way.

What this also means is no electronic transactions, like credit card processing. So on the day-to-day level, we have to resort to knuckle busting charges manually, and saying hail mary's when we are eventually able to put the charges through, key entered, weeks later.

The last time this happened I swore I would get a satellite system, but time dulls all memories, even of the sharp pain in the pocketbook.

5 comments:

Cream said...

Horrendous!
I would think that you would prefer a BLT any day!

La Gringa said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Aiyyeee, I hope they don't need to strike.

In the meantime, I was enjoying those silks sarongs [posts below].

Caribbean Colors said...

Cream, yes a blt would be nice right now.

LaGringa - let's hope its resolved without conflict, although, if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why.

GG - me too! What is worse, is that even the ATM machines won't work, so even if a tourist wants cash they can't get it. We bank locally, and on the mainland. The mainland banks will be of no use during that time, plus since we're not able to do the final processing on payment, cash will be short!
Bigness is optomistic, and thinks that its a political play and that they are only revving their engines, since the phone compay ownership backs the PUP (People's United Party), is the party in power right now, and the UDP Opposition Leader (United Dempcratic Party) is supporting and speaking out for the would-be phone strikers (National Telecommunications Workers Union). We have countrywide Village Council elections this month, and next year is the election for Prime Minister.

Hayden said...

I feel incredibly naive - I would not have guessed such an enormous impact, despite the fact that it makes perfect sense. I have my fingers crossed for you -