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Belize

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Previously known as British Honduras, Belize became the most recent Latin
American country to be granted independence in 1981, when it became a UK
Commonwealth country. Although English is the official language, Spanish is
commonly spoken. With a British colonial heritage, Belize maintains ties to Latin
America, the USA and the Caribbean.

Located in Central America, Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south
and west by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize has a diverse
culture that retains remnants of the Mayan, Spanish, and British influences. In
addition, there are African and Garifuna cultural influences. It has the lowest
population density in Central America.

The traditions and customs are derived from more than eight diverse cultures. For
generations, the people of Belize have demonstrated a cultural commitment to
preserve the country’s unique charms.

Culture Overview

Cultural Essentials

Personal Relationships/Group Culture
As is often the case in hierarchical cultures, Belizeans are not
individualistic and rely on group affiliations. Since they value relationships,
Belizeans thrive on making and maintaining connections. As such, they
greet people they pass on the street, even if they do not know the person.

Business success is built upon a foundation of strong personal and
business relationships. Like most group-oriented cultures, Belizeans prefer
to do business with people they know and trust. Developing personal
relationships and "fitting in" with others is crucial to business success. It
may take several business trips to develop strong relationships.

Business relationships are between people rather than the company they
represent. Changing a key contact may require the relationship-building
process to start over.

Indirect Communication
Like most other cultures where personal relationships are important,
Belizeans communicate indirectly and subtly so that their words are

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diplomatic and non-confrontational. Their communication focuses more on
form than conveying information. They believe it is more polite to tell
someone what they think that person wants to hear, even if it is not the
absolute truth.

Therefore, they can be uncomfortable giving an overt negative response
and have many ways of packaging their words so that you must listen
closely and pay attention to the context to understand the meaning of their
words. If you are told maybe or we’ll see, you may have been given a
negative answer.

Belizeans rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to tell them
what someone feels. They often trust non-verbal messages more than the
spoken word. They are extremely conscious of the need to maintain
personal dignity in social interactions.

You give someone respect by complimenting them or doing something that
increases their self-esteem. Humiliating someone by publicly reprimanding,
insulting or contradicting them causes that person to lose honor.

Family
The family is the foundation of society, the source of someone’s most
important relationships and takes precedence over other relationships. The
extended family is as important as the nuclear family; both offer a sense of
stability to members. Families provide emotional support and offer
assistance in times of need. Belizeans considers it their duty and
responsibility to help family member find a job. Most young people live at
home until they marry. Elderly parents often live with their married children.

Most Belizean families are extremely traditional. The father is the head of
the family, the authority figure and the decision maker. Mothers are greatly
revered, but their role is secondary. She cares for the children, the house,
and may work outside of the home; yet, she will seldom publicly disagree
with her husband.

View of Time
Belizeans have an interesting approach to time. Like most Latin
Americans, they can seem carefree and not held captive by the clock. At
the same time, the country is has been undergoing a transformation as far
as time since the financial market became such a large part of the local
economy.

As such, business meetings tend to start on time and there is an attempt to
treat time as important. Deadlines may be seen by some as a worthy goal,
but many, especially Generation Y, see the importance of keeping
commitments. At the same time, business often operates slowly because
of the reliance on relationships, which means that everyone who has
something to say should be allowed to do so. Decision making is more
drawn out since consensus is needed when there are too many divergent
opinions.

In social situations, there is generally a 15-minute window granted to
guests, although this may depend upon the particular person.

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Religion

Although there is no national religion and the constitution enshrines
religious freedom, there is a national prayer that includes Christian
references. Anglicans established the first church in Belize in the early 19th
century and were quickly followed by Baptist and Methodist missionaries.
The Roman Catholic Church was established in 1851, and nearly half the
population follows that religion. Protestants account for about one-third of
the population, with the largest denominations being Anglican, Pentecostal,
Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and Mennonite. Evangelical and
Christian fundamentalist churches have been growing rapidly since the
1990s.

The Mayan and Garifuna practice their own mixture of shamanism and
Christianity.

Belizeans tend to be religious and most people claim affiliation with one.
Christian churches of various denominations work with the government to
run the state schools. Church groups are actively involved in the
communities, helping and providing support as needed.

The impact of religion is seen in the respect for hierarchy, the respect paid
towards women, and the public holidays surrounding Easter.

Role of Women

The constitution enshrines equality and has revised its language to be
gender neutral. Nonetheless, women continue to struggle for equality since
stereotypical gender roles are the norm, although this is slowly changing,
especially in urban areas. As the country moves from depending upon
farming and fishing to increasing tourism and business, university-
educated women are getting chances to improve their position. This is
made easier by the years of British rule, which eradicated much of the
machismo culture often seen in Latin America.

Belize has made some progress towards promoting gender equality and
women's empowerment. However, this remains a challenge in the political
arena. The government has made strides to improve female political
participation by offering several leadership training initiatives for women in
rural and urban areas.

About 30% of the Belizean workforce consists of women, although they
tend to cluster in factory or service jobs. In urban areas, women's roles are
expanding beyond traditional norms and gender equality is expected,
especially by Generation Y. Although men continue to hold managerial
positions in large companies, university-educated women are quickly

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it is a good idea to clearly state that your comments represents your company’s position rather than your personal beliefs. confident and professional gives a good impression and reinforces your position as a professional. A businesswoman may be asked personal questions about her marital status and whether or not she has children. women are achieving greater success. This person need not be from your company. try to find a high-ranking person who knows the people with whom you will be working to handle the introduction. The best way to handle such unwanted attention is to ignore it. Establishing Credibility If you are doing business with a company for the first time. Since motherhood is revered.aspx. even if they are not your own. However. you may want to carry photographs of children who are important to you. In smaller companies. Presenting yourself as sincere. whereas the same behavior in other cultures is good manners. Business meals are often used to develop the personal relationship necessary to conduct business.PrintView Page 4 of 39 becoming accepted as equals in their level within the hierarchy. Businesswomen can generally expect to be treated with respect. it indicates interest. Tips for Businesswomen Although Belizean businessmen generally accept foreign businesswomen. . if you are comfortable doing so. There may be cases where a businessman is not comfortable conducting business with a woman.2. When a Belizean woman stares at a man and smiles. Belizean businessmen may behave chivalrously towards women. 8. A businesswoman should extend her hand to a Belizean businessperson during the greeting process. Many Belizean businessmen are familiar with global business behavior and understand the subtle difference. This is an individual prejudice and not a cultural nuance. The Belizean culture adheres to the concept of the extended family.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. View of Foreign Women As in many Latin countries. Address the person using their title and surname. Belizean men may make catcalls or whistle at a woman as she passes. Smiles and direct eye contact initiated by a woman towards a man do not indicate the same thing across cultures.. Belizeans make quick judgments about people and trust their intuitions. Given the remnants of machismo in the culture. which includes close friends.culturewizard.2017. It is more important that the introducer be personally known to your Belizean business associate. it is a good idea to moderate your behavior until you assess the expectations of your Belizean colleagues and they have gotten to know you as a person.. http://kpmg.

So. arrange with your team which questions should be deferred to you as the expert. they are simply using an accepted nickname or shorthand way of speaking. At the same time. If you are the leader of a team.culturewizard. "China man" for Chinese and "black man" for anyone of African descent. even if it has previously been done by the person who initiated the introduction. Saying you are not may cause you to lose credibility. http://kpmg. If you are a business traveler. Belizeans tend to mirror a foreigner's behavior. These terms are not meant in an offensive way. it may take time and repeated meetings before a foreigner becomes part of the inner circle of extended family and friends. even if the decision is the woman's responsibility. This automatically gives you credibility. Without a title of manager or above. Belize has become a favorite tourist destination for anyone looking for a sparsely populated tropical area. View of Foreigners Belize has a long history of immigration and absorbing people of different nationalities into their country with little difficulty. a businesswoman must be careful not to appear arrogant as this is considered negative a characteristic. while polite behavior leads to acceptance. Since foreigners can buy property and become citizens. condescending behavior is responded to by resentment and aloofness. Handle such situations by developing relationships. For the most part. Belizeans are welcoming to foreigners. since it demonstrates your position in the hierarchy.and relative to the hierarchy. which means that the foreigner can afford to be charged a higher price than a local.. They often use what would be considered derogatory terms to refer to foreigners such as "gringos" for Caucasians. They tell others how to behave towards you and where to place you relative to themselves -.PrintView Page 5 of 39 It is a good idea to establish your credentials as soon as possible. Belizeans tend to think that foreigners who move to Belize are wealthy. Foreign businesswomen may find that their Belizean male colleagues are more comfortable going to a male for authorization and feedback. A businesswoman should be authorized to make decisions. you may wish to invent a "business card title" to facilitate smoother working relationships. Titles are important. Belizeans may assume you do not have a position of authority.. This is a culture where being outwardly open and friendly Belizeans will welcome you into their country.2. Before the presentation. your name should appear on the top of the team list. Over the last decade. However. the country is becoming home to American and Canadian retirees.aspx. 8.2017.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. .

• Do not expect employees to display individual initiative. through language and behavior. you need to approach every situation with an understanding of the basic tenets of a given culture and yet remain alert to the specific cultural signals you receive in each situation and adjust your behavior and expectations accordingly. • Be aware that people expect to be treated differently based on their socio-economic backgrounds or levels in the organization. and decisions. • Expect to encounter more bureaucracy in organizations and government agencies. Perhaps the most important tip we can provide is that when interacting across cultures. but in order to describe cultural traits. deadlines. explicit directions regarding duties. they expect to take direction from the leader. surnames and honorifics • The appropriateness of discussing personal matters at work • Appropriate ways of meeting people. • As a manager. • Show the appropriate level of deference and respect.culturewizard. you will be expected to demonstrate an authoritative leadership style. so when interacting with Belizeans.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.aspx.. Please keep in mind that not all people from any given culture act the same. to the more senior members of society. . Hierarchical vs. Formal vs. Egalitarian The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • How society is structured • How power is allocated or earned • Tolerance for social mobility • How organizations are structured and run • The amount of responsibility and control employees are given Belize is hierarchical. building relationships and entertaining http://kpmg.2. Informal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance of appearance and demeanor as an indicator of status • The importance of protocol and etiquette • The appropriate use of titles. which may not apply in some cases. They are designed to help you work and understand people from other cultural backgrounds. you should remember the following tips: • You will need to give clear.2017. Cultural Model. 8. we had to make generalizations..PrintView Page 6 of 39 Cross Culture Tips The following cultural observations are based on the dimensions in the ICAM169.

• In general. These external cues matter to locals. .2.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Status is important and you may be judged on the image you present.aspx. The following will help you when you interact with Belizeans: • People value their role as a team member and identify themselves first as part of a group. • They may be uncomfortable if too much focus is placed on them individually. then as an individual.2017. • Decision making may be a slow process since consensus is important. • Promotions tend to be based on seniority and relationships rather than performance. Individual The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The source of an individual's identity and loyalties • The relative importance of the individual versus the group • Whether legal systems will protect the rights of the individual or focus on the group as a whole • Whether individuals prefer to work alone or be part of a group • Whether work teams operate as a seamless entity or as cooperating individuals • The value of individual contributions vs. preferring the praise to be given to the entire group. • Individuals feel a strong sense of responsibility for family members. • Individuals are not generally comfortable taking credit for their accomplishments. Check to be certain it is proper to use social functions to network. Group vs.. 8. Interpersonal vs. the clothes you wear and where you live and what car you drive.. • Do not ask personal questions in a social setting unless you have developed a close relationship with someone. When you interact with Belizeans: • Address people by their appropriate title and name. people will consult with others before stating their opinion.culturewizard.PrintView Page 7 of 39 Belize is a formal society. it is best to use the formal tense when using the local language. Transactional Relationships The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • What constitutes a relationship http://kpmg. • In general. teamwork in accomplishing and rewarding business goals • The roles and responsibilities of individuals to other family members • The appropriate levels of self-assertion and self-promotion within a society Belize is group-oriented culture. • Check with a colleague or local national about rules of protocol and etiquette about specific circumstances since being correct with etiquette is important. Do not move to first-name basis until invited. implementation may be quite rapid. Once a decision is reached.

When you have business or social interactions with Belizeans.. non-verbal communication • The degree of directness or subtlety in the language • The relative importance of contextual versus tactical information in conveying a message • The need to maintain harmony and dignity when communicating • The degree to which a society uses conciseness and clarity versus eloquent language when communicating Belize is an indirect communication culture. Direct Communication The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The relative importance of verbal vs. once developed. Indirect vs. or professional and personal lives Belize is an interpersonal. • Employing or giving favorable treatment to family members and friends may be good business. 8.aspx. background information. In return. This is how locals learn more about you as a person so that they can be learn if the type of person with whom they want a relationship. personal relationships.. • In general.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Eloquence in verbal communication and meticulous preparation of written or visual communication forms are highly valued. http://kpmg. • Adding some context. • In a business situation.2. • There are expectations that people have of relationship-based behavior. trust and familiarity will likely take precedence over price and perhaps even efficiency. you will want to remember these points: • Relationship building is important and tends to be somewhat formal and ritualized.2017.PrintView Page 8 of 39 • What are the expectations • Whether trust is deemed critical to building social or business relationships • What takes precedence in making a business decision: the people involved or other more objective business criteria • The pace and degree of formalized rituals in building new relationships • The appropriateness of mixing business and pleasure. relationship building takes time and attention. and what may be considered to be "nepotism" in your culture may be openly accepted. entertaining at one’s home or even inviting someone for the weekend and while these may be seen as casual in your culture. and dialog are important to assure understanding. • Expect to be asked personal questions. relationships are long lived. they carry an underlying assumption of friendship. The following tips will give you clues about how you might handle communication with Belizeans: • Non-verbal gestures are important to enhance the meaning and acceptance of the words being spoken. . relationship-oriented culture. which may include going out after work to socialize.culturewizard.

External vs.culturewizard. Fluid vs. http://kpmg.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. . • Show you are considering the subject thoroughly when a topic is presented. schedules • Attitudes towards timekeeping and punctuality • Comfort level with short range vs. • Given their exposure to global business standards. and brevity to maintain time schedules is not considered a virtue.2. • Don't expect changes to be readily embraced and be prepared for considerable resistance even after you’ve been able to demonstrate the value of a proposed change. even deferential demeanor. directive leadership. people generally know that foreigners value promptness and they may strive to comply. Internal Control The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel they control their environment and destiny-or the degree to which they feel their environment and destiny control them • Openness to change and innovation • The preference for rules and structure • Willingness to take risks • The degree to which organizational practices encourage and reward initiative and risk taking. This may be less pronounced when meeting with government officials.aspx. • There is generally a large window of accepted lateness for social events in someone’s house.. • People in this society look for strong. and allow failure Belize is an External Control society. 8. The following tips will give you clues about how you may best interact with Belizeans: • Time schedules and deadlines are not necessarily considered final. Management is often paternalistic and care-taking towards employees. • It may be rude to interrupt a colleague who is taking a long time to deliver a message. longer term planning • The feasibility / appropriateness of assigning set times for social functions or business meetings to start and finish Belize is a Fluid Time culture.PrintView Page 9 of 39 • Take care when making introductions to have a respectful. Tending to relationships may be more important.2017.. you should remember the following tips: • People in these societies are typically quite risk averse and the society is not readily forgiving of failure. Controlled Time The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel that they can control time • The relative importance of relationships vs. When interacting with Belizeans.

Mestizo.aspx. Other languages spoken include Mayan dialects. education and pursuits outside of the workplace. • Family obligations will take precedence over professional loyalties or advancement. Creole. Arab and Chinese. East Indian. Balance vs.2017.2. Many Belizeans speak Spanish or Creole. 8. • When introducing initiatives. status and sense of personal accomplishment are derived from family. • Personal identity. Status Motivation The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance and value attached to professional vs. you should remember the following tips: • Individuals value their personal and family time.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Country Overview The People The Belizean people are comprised of Maya..culturewizard. Garifuna. be prepared for considerable discussion and debate and other actions that demonstrate resistance.PrintView Page 10 of 39 • While employees and colleagues in Belize may show a great deal of competence. don’t be surprised if they don’t show much initiative. In addition.. Mennonite. personal lives • How status and success are defined by a society • The presence or absence of government-sponsored initiatives relating to family welfare benefits • The source of an individual's identity and self-esteem • Tolerance for blurring the lines between professional and personal lives Belize is a Balance-Motivation culture. Nationality: Noun: Belizean(s) Adjective: Belizean http://kpmg. there are a number of expatriates and foreign retirees. • Employees see a clear distinction between work time and personal time and rarely blur those lines. Although English is the official language. Garifuna and German. When interacting with Belizeans. • People are reluctant to permanently relocate and leave family and friends. .

5%. Pentacostal 8. The government wanted a new capital city http://kpmg.6%. It was built with British aid after Hurricane Hattie demolished nearly 75% of the homes and business in Belize City in 1961. Jehovah's Witnesses 1.aspx.3%. There is a rainy season in July and August and a dry season from February to May. cooled by steady trade winds from the Caribbean. Methodist 2. Baptist 3. Hinduism. Coastal areas have a swampy coastal plain with mangrove swamps.culturewizard. none 15. Buddhism. Anglican 4.3%.1%. The climate along the Maya Mountains tends to be cooler given the altitude. a large variety of different species of flora and fauna and the largest cave system in Central America.2017.3%. .7%.6%.7% (2000 census) Religions: Roman Catholic 39.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. other 9. Belmopan Called the Garden City.2% (2010 census) Languages: Spanish (official) 60%. Belmopan is the capital of Belize. and Mormon). The country enjoys a subtropical climate.2.844 (July 2014 est. Belize is known for its biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems. Garifuna 6.) Population growth rate: 1.9%.8%. which are covered by tropical forests and the only pine forest in Central America.5%.) Ethnic groups: Mestizo 48. In the south and interior there are hills and low mountains. wildlife reserves. other 9..PrintView Page 11 of 39 Population: 340. It is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot and it has many jungles.1%. 8. Mennonite 3. the mahogany tree. its cayes (more than 200 small islands) in the Caribbean along the coastline to the Maya Mountains. Maya 10.8%.. the toucan and tapirs. Some species of Belize's flora and fauna include the black orchid. Seventh Day Adventist 5.9% (includes Baha'i Faith. Nazarene 2. which is the second largest in the world. Most of the land is undeveloped and is forested with hardwoods. The north and central parts of the country are comprised of open plains and savannas. Creole 24. Islam.92% (2014 est.7%. Amerindian languages 40% Source: The World Factbook Cities & Regions Belize has a diverse geography ranging from its barrier reef. other (unknown) 3.

The city is so run-down that the government has launched a program to clean up the areas tourists are most likely to see. pets as well as retail and wholesale groceries. Police are visible during the day and when cruise ships are in port.aspx..culturewizard. Government Country name: • Conventional Long Form: None • Conventional Short Form: Belize • Former: British Honduras Government type: Parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm Capital: Belmopan Independence: 21 September 1981 (from the UK) Legal system: English common law Source: The World Factbook http://kpmg.. It offers a look at an old city that remains the main population center and commercial hub of the country.PrintView Page 12 of 39 that was inland and safe from tropical storms. Several cruise ships anchor outside the port.2017. Belize City was once the capital of Belize and is the largest city in the country. clothing.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. It is one of the safest cities in Belize with well-laid out streets and avenues and paved roads. and a building code requiring all buildings be made of concrete to reduce. near the Swing Bridge. Street hawkers selling anything from handmade jewelry. Most commercial activity takes place in the downtown area. with farmers and artisans selling a variety of fresh produce. Some foreign governments were hesitant to move their embassies in 1970. The city has the principal port and is the country's financial and industrial hub. wide open green spaces. . It is laid out around a Ring Road that encircles most of the city. pedestrian ramps. new and used furniture and appliances. 8.2. It has good road signage. which joins North Front Street in the north to Albert and Queen Streets on the south. Market days are Tuesdays and Fridays. when the first phase of construction was completed. marine products. wood carvings and tourist knickknacks are very active.

com/ A comprehensive directory of Belizean government Web sites. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered this growth. Background Note: Belize http://www. food processing. .partners: http://kpmg. bananas. followed by exports of marine products. oil Exports .. fiscal spending is likely to be tight. and garments. led to GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007. Industries: Garment production.2.S..aspx. commonly referred to as the "superbond. Exploration efforts have continued and production has increased a small amount. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies. initiated in September 1998. Department of State.gov/ An overview of government and political conditions published by the U. the government announced that it had reached a deal with creditors to restructure its $544 million commercial external debt.gksoft. 8.PrintView Page 13 of 39 More Government Information Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members in Belize https://www.gov/ An online directory of leaders updated weekly by the Central Intelligence Agency.overview: Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy. Links to Government Web Sites http://www. but grew to 2.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. With weak economic growth and a large public debt burden. and a temporary drop in the price of oil. cane sugar. citrus. natural disasters. Growth slipped to 0% in 2009. tourism. resulting from the global economic slowdown." The superbond represents one half of the country's public debt.culturewizard. Although Belize has the second highest per capita income in Central America. In January 2013.2017. The sizable trade deficit and heavy foreign debt burden continue to be major concerns.state. Economy Currency: Belizean dollar (BZD) Economy .5% in 2013. the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor.cia. A key government objective remains the reduction of poverty and inequality with the help of international donors. construction.

2017.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView..1%.9%. . very hot and humid. low mountains in south Elevation extremes: Lowest Point: Caribbean Sea 0 m Highest Point: Doyle's Delight 1.PrintView Page 14 of 39 US 31.8%. devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south) http://kpmg.gov. 8.aspx.belize.centralbank. Netherlands 4. rainy season (May to November).1% (2012) Source: The World Factbook More Economic Information Ministry of Finance and Economic Development http://www. Central Bank of Belize http://www.bz Financial and economic information about Belize developed by the Central Bank. UK 21.culturewizard.2.org.160 m Natural hazards: Frequent. Geography & Climate Location: Central America. bordering the Caribbean Sea..806 sq km Water: 160 sq km Land Boundaries: Total: 542 km Border Countries: Guatemala 266 km.8%. between Guatemala and Mexico Area: Total: 22. swampy coastal plain.bz Economic information provided by the Belizean government.966 sq km Land: 22. Japan 4. Nigeria 4. dry season (February to May) Terrain: Flat. Mexico 276 km Coastline: 386 km Climate: Tropical.

the Mayans agree to the Treaty of Paris in Europe. the UK agreed not to occupy. the country's status was changed to crown colony under the governor in Jamaica. http://kpmg. fortify.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • In 1941. • 1859. or colonize any part of Central America. The Mayans resisted Spanish attempts at control. • In 1763.2. Labor unions were legalized by colonial governor.note: Only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean Source: The World Factbook History Overview • The Mayans were the original settlers of current-day Belize. demands were made for adult suffrage and the right to elect their government. ties to Jamaica were severed and Belize was granted separate colony status. agricultural runoff.culturewizard. An Executive Council was formed to assist superintendent.PrintView Page 15 of 39 Environment . Belizeans were neither consulted nor invited to participate in this conference that divided the potential spoils of Belize.2017. Geronimo de Aguilar became the first Spanish settler. war ensued between the Mayan and Spanish who wanted to enslave the local population. In 1884. In 1855.. . Three years later. Belize was defined as the 23rd department in Guatemala's new constitution. the Spanish again invaded. water pollution from sewage. there was a rebellion and the Mayan ousted the Spanish from the country. after successfully repelling Spanish invasions for 225 years. industrial effluents. By the following year. conquering the Mayans. The following year. Two years later. as part of a USA-UK treaty. • In 1850. providing for Legislative Assembly. 8. solid and sewage waste disposal Geography .. mass meetings were held. • English laws were declared to be in force in 1840. The UK claimed this treaty exempts Belize as prior settlement. In 1945. Mayan political leaders from the western capital at Tipu started a new independence movement. • The first-known Spanish expeditions occurred in 1508. the Treaty of Versailles was signed with terms similar to Treaty of Paris. the legal system was regularized.aspx. Twenty years later. the population neared extinction. • In 1636.The Spanish officially invaded in 1542. • The Central American region declared its independence from Spain in 1821. • A formal constitution was adopted in 1852. In 1871. This allowed absentee Spain with no troops on the ground to claim. • Belize was officially declared a British colony in 1862 with name British Honduras. In 1546. Guatemala recognized British sovereignty but claimed it signed the treaty because Britain agreed to build road to Caribbean coast.current issues: Deforestation.

the two countries agreed on a draft settlement to their long-standing border dispute at talks brokered by the Organisation of American States (OAS). It is expected that you will greet Belizeans with a warm "good morning" or "hello".2.2017.culturewizard.com/ A complete history of Belize taken from a book on the same subject. . rioting broke out in the capital during a wave of anti- government protests. • A new constitution was enacted in 1954.PrintView Page 16 of 39 • The People's Committee was formed in 1949 to protest devaluation of British Honduras dollar. friendly and gentle.. a semi -ministerial government was introduced but the governor retained his powers. internal security.. terms and conditions of public service. In 2007. Greeting should include small talk and the exchange of mutual pleasantries about neutral topics. The deal was rejected by Guatemala in 2003. Ten years later. The People's United Party (PUP) was formed the following year. Control of local government passed to Belize.belizenet. the OAS recommended the dispute be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). which will quickly be returned in kind.aspx. • In 1975. the UN passed a resolution demanding Belizean independence before next session in 1981. Belize and Guatemala reached an agreement on prohibiting illegal logging. the UK retained control over defense. • In a move towards independence. Social Etiquette Meeting People Belizeans tend to be warm. http://kpmg. PUP begins 30-year winning streak in all general and most local elections. • Belize obtained associate-member status in United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America in 1961. • Belize began commercial exploitation of its oil reserves in Spring 2006. foreign affairs. • In April 2005. • In March 2014. continued tensions with Guatemala prompted the UK to send Harrier jets to Belize. 8. It provided for universal suffrage. the Executive Council of governor became a Cabinet of ministers. In 1955.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. and elected a majority in Legislative Council. and reserve powers were eliminated in 1964. Minimum age for women voters was lowered from 30 to 21. The USA abstained in the first of series of votes by the United Nations on Belize's right to self-determination. We recommend this resource for historical information A History of Belize http://www. • Guatemala recognized Belize as a sovereign and independent country in 1992. In 1980. The UK allowed local government to act in international matters.

pastries.. a brief touching of cheeks or even a light kiss on the cheek. Belizeans exchange gifts with family and close friends for birthdays. Address Belizeans with the appropriate honorific title (Señor or Señora) and their surname until invited to move to a first-name basis. often with a light pat on the person's right forearm. your host will most likely introduce you to each guest. which some believe can be used to cast spells. "buenas noches". there is little social interaction between the sexes. If they know the other person well. say goodbye and shake hands with the remaining guests prior to leaving. there are no prohibitions about the paper color. bring flowers. 8. or "buenas tardes". http://kpmg.culturewizard. • Gifts should be nicely wrapped. Women shake hands with other women. good quality candy. Gift Giving In general.PrintView Page 17 of 39 Belizean men greet each other by shaking hands. At a social event with 10 or fewer guests. When you are ready to leave. or imported chocolates to the hosts. • Do not give red flowers. since it might embarrass the recipient. you are expected to greet people individually as you speak with them. and make an excellent gift.2.2017. Christmas and important events in a person’s life. they may offer a light hug. .com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. If there is an existing personal relationship. Close friends generally hug and kiss on the right cheek. • Avoid purple flowers or marigolds. As such. At a larger social event. Maintain eye contact and include the appropriate salutation for the time of day ("buenos dias". they are used at funerals. Men and women generally greet each other by shaking hands. • White flowers are thought to be uplifting. for good morning. Behaviors are quite different in rural Mayan communities where Mayan traditions are maintained. It is best not to give an expensive gift.aspx. they symbolize death and bereavement. It is considered a sign of good breeding to shake hands with each person. • Do not give yellow flowers. they may use the more traditional hug and back slapping. good afternoon and good evening respectively) when greeting someone.. Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they are permitted under company policy): • If invited to a Belizean home.

• Look at the person being toasted. • Pass dishes to the left. watch what others are doing and emulate their behavior. • The first person to get up from the table is expected to say "muchas gracias" ("thank you") to the hosts. even if it is the latest fashion. • Gifts are generally opened immediately. • You may telephone your hosts the following day to thank them for their hospitality.2017. Entertaining How Belizeans Entertain Belizeans generally enjoy socializing and extending hospitality in their home. When in doubt. • Do not begin eating until everyone is seated and the hostess starts. This is not the time to wear tattered clothing. • Only men give toasts. • Do not sit until the host takes his seat. • If tortillas are served. • A small gift for the children would be appreciated. Invitations are generally given verbally or over the telephone.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. but many Belizeans now expect punctuality. • Dress casually but well to show respect towards your hosts. • Keep your hands visible when eating... Toasting Etiquette • The host generally makes the first toast. 8. http://kpmg. • Table manners are Continental -. • Wait for the host or hostess to tell you where to sit. they indicate a desire to sever the relationship.hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. the stricter the protocol. Table Manners Table manners are relatively relaxed. Keep your wrists resting on the edge of the table. If you are invited to a Belizean’s house: • It is a good idea to ask your hosts when most guests will arrive. At one time.aspx. There may be a seating plan. . a 30-minute grace period was the norm.culturewizard. • Taking a second helping compliments the hosts. The more formal the occasion. They often extend invitations the day of an event.PrintView Page 18 of 39 • Avoid giving knives or scissors. • Meals are generally served family-style.2. • Meals are social occasions and can be quite lengthy. you may tear them into pieces and use them to scoop up food on your plate. • Do not initiate business discussions.

laid back. Belizeans have had a laid-back approach to time and believed that relationships were more important than strict reliance on the clock. the attitude towards time and punctuality is changing and arriving on time is considered courteous in many circles.culturewizard. Generally. they can be sensitive to foreigners who come into their country and tell them what is wrong and how to fix it. the hosts will let that be known. in many cases.15% • Porters: $1 per bag • Taxis: 10% Approach to Time Belizeans have an interesting approach to time based on their Spanish and British colonizers. it is a good idea to ask the host or other guests when you should arrive. • Restaurants: 10 . Tipping The following tipping hints are guidelines. Most restaurants do not have service charges. At the same time.aspx.2. if you are expected to arrive at the stipulated time. Buses do not adhere to strict schedules. 8. Since both politics and religion are taken quite seriously. it is expected from foreigners. When invited to a social engagement. the person who extends the invitation intends to pay.. if there is no service charge. In fact. With the increasing tourist influence on the country as well as the expansion of the financial services and oil industry. The concept of splitting the bill among the guests is becoming more common with Gen Y Belizeans. http://kpmg. make your intentions known when you invite the others. although it is a good idea to check the bill. friendly and eager to engage in conversation. Conversation Topics Belizeans are friendly. Historically. You can find more explicit information on restaurant tipping in the Dining Out section above. In general.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. If there is a service charge. schedules are not posted along the route. Dining Out Although Belizeans seldom tip. leave your glass half full. . although it is generally spelled out in advance. it is best not to raise them as topics of discussion.2017..PrintView Page 19 of 39 • If you do not want anything more to drink. tip 5%. If you want to host a meal. a 10% is acceptable with 15% for exceptional service.

• Do not take photos of official buildings (it is illegal) or inside a church. • Avoid being loud. even a stranger. . They tend to avoid confrontation. Bargaining is not the norm.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Family. • Do not toss objects to a person. they prefer to arrange visits to their home in advance. Dress on the mainland is more conservative. • Do not wear revealing clothing when visiting a church. sports (especially soccer). Eye contact is not held through an entire conversation. no shoes. Faux Pas Keep in mind the following behaviors while in Belize: • Do not revealing clothing in public on the mainland. although it remains casual. • Do not photograph Mayans.PrintView Page 20 of 39 Since they are proud of their country and its culture. and vacations are good topics of conversation. when possible. rude. On the cayes. • Do not point your fingers or feet at a person. except at street markets. When passing someone along the street. 8. It is expected that people will greet shopkeepers when entering a store or business with the appropriate salutation for the time of day. Bathing suits. nodding the head is sufficient acknowledgement.culturewizard. Communication http://kpmg.aspx. • Do not flaunt your wealth. Belizeans are impressed when foreigners take the time to learn about their history and culture and ask interesting questions. For the most part. travel. dress is fairly liberal for this conservative country.2017.. especially children. hand it to them.2. • Ask a local before taking their photograph.. Other Situations Although Belizeans will be polite and hospitable should a guest arrive without an invitation. and women with a thin cover-up over their bathing suit are common sights. Belizeans do not engage in much touching behavior when conversing. or getting noticeably drunk in public. shorts and sandals. Both men and women can wear short sleeved shirts. Longer clothing and covered shoes are commonly worn as protection against insects.

PrintView Page 21 of 39 Communication Essentials Despite the influence of their British colonizers. most residents speak either Spanish or Creole. To ensure that you received the appropriate response. For the most part.2017. . they may look down to show respect and deference. Belizeans have a well-developed sense of personal honor and react negatively to public criticism or calling attention to an error. tactful and respectful communication and avoid confrontation. This is a culture that emphasizes personal feelings and sentiments over concrete facts.culturewizard. English Spanish Creole Yes Si Ahaahn No No No Good morning Buenos dias Gud maanin! http://kpmg. Therefore. even if they did not understand what was asked. It is a good idea to research the specific language background of the people with whom you will be working. It is a good idea to present information with the words "I feel" as they convey a personal attachment to what you are saying. Their personal feelings about you will be more important to them than concrete facts and figures when making a decision. you may re-phrase the question. it is best to ask open- ended questions rather than ones that can be answered yes or no. it is important to provide historical background and information on how the situation arose when addressing a business challenge and/or the need to develop a new solution.2. they may answer "yes" to a question. since it can be as important as what is said. When speaking to someone senior to themselves in age or position. If you are uncertain that the response you received is correct. 8. it is important to invest time in developing a personal relationship with Belizeans before conducting business. it is important that you behave circumspectly and take care not to inadvertently cause offense. Since the communication style is indirect. Key Words/Phrases Although English is the official language.. Belizeans do not engage in extended eye contact when conversing. Therefore. Belizeans strive for polite.. Therefore. Like most Latin Americans. Many expats claim that Belizeans avoid coming to the point and that the listener is expected to understand what is not said.aspx.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. since saying that they did not understand would bring shame to both parties. Belizeans are similar to their Latin American neighbors and have an indirect communication style.

.youtube. Developing a thorough relationship with your translator enables them to argue your points with a level of confidence they might not otherwise have.2017. spoken phrases and links to more information. the translation must be exact. Dictionaries Belize Creole Dictionary prepared by the National Kriol Council http://www. pronunciation guide.youtube.sil.. Using Translators Take care in selecting a translator and develop an early understanding of what you expect--specifically. 8. Non-Verbal Language http://kpmg.specific words and phrases may vary in Belize.com A short video series featuring essential Spanish words and phrases. Have your translator explain to you the most elementary of basic courtesies. To be on the safe side you may want to meet with the translator prior to your appointments so that the person learns your accent and can be exposed to any technical or non-familiar terms that may be used. rather than what the translator thinks each party wants to hear.culturewizard. http://www.omniglot.aspx.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView..2.com The Spanish alphabet.com Videos featuring general Spanish lessons .PrintView Page 22 of 39 Hello (evening) Buenas noches Gud night Hello (informal) Hola! Heloa How are you? Que Tal? Da how yu di du? Goodbye Adiós! Gudbai Pleased to meet you Encantado de conocerle Excuse me Perdón - Spoken Key Phrases http://www.org Language Related Videos http://www.

Think of the first and closing paragraphs as the equivalent of small talk. using the remainder of the letter for business. Belizeans are not a touching culture.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. the communication style remains more formal than in many other countries. It is polite to inquire about a person’s health and family before getting down to the business purpose of your communication. However.2.2017. Email is becoming more widespread. especially before a relationship has developed. Garinagu and Creoles are especially animated. so it is important that Belizeans know something about you as a person. Telephone As you might expect in a relationship-driven culture. but this is offensive to many (especially women). Do not use slang or abbreviations.. In any written communication it is important to maintain the highest standards of presentation.” People might hiss to get one's attention.PrintView Page 23 of 39 Except for their greetings. Public displays of affection are rare and are considered. the telephone is not the preferred medium of communication. Sucking air through the teeth can mean “Give me a break. it is easier to conduct http://kpmg. If you send a letter to schedule your first meeting. include background information about yourself and your company. . Belizeans might indicate direction with their head or lips.aspx. You may schedule an initial meeting by telephone or re-confirm an appointment.culturewizard. When addressing a letter. Non-verbal communication is prevalent in Belize. 8. Once you have a personal relationship. Mail & Telephone Letters/Email Written communication should be in English and follow strict rules of protocol. This is a relationship-driven culture where business is personal. academic or professional title and the person’s surname. Belizeans prefer to see a person when speaking so they can assess their character using non-verbal clues. Staring or pointing at someone is rude. especially among younger workers. use the appropriate honorific. both hand and facial gestures can be varied and complicated..

• May interrupt and speak over each other to show their engagement.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. http://kpmg. Presenter • Have coffee available before the presentation to allow the audience to meet and greet the presenter and each other. • Handouts should be available in both Spanish and English. but it cannot completely replace personal contact. This may lead to tangential conversations. Presentation Slides/PowerPoint • Prefer visual presentations that are well designed. • If you present an outline. 8. you must establish genuine rapport with the audience. do not give a sales pitch. • Concentrate on the content. • Graphics may be used if they are aesthetically pleasing.aspx.. only include 3 – 5 key points. Audience • May arrive late. • To emphasize a point. • Avoid idioms and metaphors that may be unclear or unfamiliar to the audience. Presentations Handouts • Handouts may be given at any stage of the presentation. • In this relationship-oriented culture. original and captivating. quite often their secretaries cannot. even if you have the proper background and credentials. • Presentation materials should be polished and elegant.culturewizard. • Use diagrams and pictures when possible rather than words.PrintView Page 24 of 39 business over the telephone. senior level managers and above have private secretaries who act as gatekeepers.2017. and that the language used is appropriate for the audience.2. • It is a good idea to include a one-page summary as well.. Although many businesspeople can communicate in English. backed up by facts and are to the point. Knowledge of rudimentary Spanish may facilitate getting through to the person quickly and efficiently. • Strive for a cordial yet formal delivery style. In general. • Shake hands with the audience individually when they arrive. • Check with a local national to ensure there are no typos or factual errors. intersperse charts and graphs with written material. • The decision maker may not be in the audience. .

• Thank the audience. Time http://kpmg.2017.and year format with slashes between each number. questions may not necessarily be asked. Date/Time Date In Belize.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.. • A blend of both empirical evidence and emotional appeals are well received. • Technical aspects of the proposal may be discussed if the designated technical expert is present. Years are written in two or four digits.culturewizard. • Limit the presentation to no more than 30 minutes to ensure maximum attention. day. dates are generally written in the month. 2011 could be written 07/11/11 or 07/11/2011. • Invest time in a Q&A period. If the day or month is less than 10. • Repeat important points by rephrasing them to ensure understanding. show results.2. and communicate clearly when you are making a point. Example: July 9. • End with a thought-provoking question or a statement that evokes thought and/or positive emotion. • Include concrete data. • Then give a big picture overview. • Smile frequently and make direct eye contact with the audience to facilitate the way your material is received. • Shake hands with each member of the audience as they leave.PrintView Page 25 of 39 • Speak slowly and enunciate your words carefully so they can be understood. It is important that you show yourself to be an expert. 8. This leaves no ambiguity as to what is the day and what is the month. However.aspx. Closing the Presentation • Repeat the key message again. . Body of the Presentation • Start with the general concept and then work into the specific details. • Give a concise but well-structured presentation that incorporates the conceptual framework of your proposal and addresses the local context. leading zeroes may be omitted. Opening the Presentation • Begin with a bit about yourself and your company. To ensure there is no confusion. you may want to spell out the name of the month..

aspx. 2 o'clock in the afternoon would be 14:00 in the 24-hour clock. it is generally a good idea to check with the local office to determine what the appropriate dress code is in a specific location. Business Protocol Meeting & Greeting • Handshakes are fairly loose and often held a bit longer than in many other cultures.2017.culturewizard. event. Belizeans generally communicate using the 12-hour clock. http://kpmg. • Maintain eye contact during the greeting. Some industries and companies may have less stringent requirements. Business Cards • Business cards are exchanged during introductions with everyone at a meeting. Thus. • Include any advanced university degree or professional designation on your card. Appropriate attire varies within countries based on location. • Business cards are given without formal ritual. 8. As such. • Wait for your business colleague to suggest moving to a first-name basis. . Business Attire The way a businessperson dresses conveys their professional image and their respect for the people with whom they conduct business. although it is not a requirement. what we report is the conservative approach to business attire for a country. • It is polite to engage in social chitchat when introduced to a Belizean. each with 12 hours.. Before embarking on an international trip. • You may have one side of your business card translated into Spanish. and individual organization culture.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.PrintView Page 26 of 39 The 24-hour clock is a timekeeping convention where the time of a day is the number of hours since midnight. The 12-hour clock divides the day into two periods (midnight to noon and noon to midnight).2.. • Address Belizeans by their honorific titles (Señor or Señora) or their professional or academic title and their surname. • Wait for a woman to extend her hand first.

• Initial gifts can include coffee table books about your country or a good-quality marketing item with your company logo. Business Entertaining • Business entertainment is important as it solidifies the personal relationship.2017. 8. • Business lunches are less common because this is considered family time. • Gifts may include your company logo.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. . • Bringing a small gift for the secretary or other staff members who have been helpful at the end of your trip is generally well received.2. • Lightweight clothing of natural fibers is best in the heat. • Ties and jackets are not required.aspx. • Belizean businesswomen generally wear trousers or skirts with a conservative blouse. guayabera shirts are often worn..culturewizard. • Most business entertaining takes place at dinner. • Gifts should not too expensive. Gifts Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they comply with company policy): • Business gifts are not part of the business culture. ask the secretary to recommend a high quality restaurant that her boss enjoys.PrintView Page 27 of 39 • Business attire is semi-casual or business casual.. • If you plan to host a meal. • Belizean businessmen generally wear khaki slacks with a collared shirt. it is a good idea to ask your colleagues if there is anything you could bring them from your home country. • Gifts should not be given at the initial meeting. http://kpmg. • If you will be returning for another visit. or they may be seen as an attempt to curry favor. • The person who extends the invitation generally pays for the meal. • Sandals are acceptable foot attire. although flip-flops are best not worn in business settings. In Belmopan. • Gifts may be given as an expression of good will. • Allow the host to initiate any business discussions.

PrintView Page 28 of 39 Business Hours • Offices: 8:00am-6:00pm Monday to Friday. . provide each person’s title. 9:00am-1:00pm on Saturday. • Who attends: Key stakeholders and others interested in the subject. many shops close for a 2-hour siesta. or for key stakeholders to communicate their feelings and to listen to the feelings of others. the length of which is determined by the most senior Belizean. Smaller companies may not provide an agenda. it merely indicates that the Belizean wants to get to know you as a person. • Role of Leader: Leaders command a great deal of deference and respect.. Plan to devote sufficient time to relationship-building before discussing business. Many businesses close for 2 hours at lunch time. make any opening remarks or welcoming speeches.2. • Who participates/speaks: Attendees are encouraged to participate. Stating that taking a certain action will enhance the honor of the decision maker can be more successful than providing graphs. This is not meant to be rude. Belize has a hierarchical culture where titles are respected and the titles indicate how serious your company is about conducting business. and determine when the meeting ends.culturewizard. Statements are often based upon emotional feelings rather than concrete facts.aspx.. It is a good idea to provide information about who will be representing your company at a meeting. Subjective feelings are more important than facts when presenting a business case. They may be used to announce decisions. the entire meeting may be used to develop the relationship and business may not be discussed until the second meeting. http://kpmg. Meetings generally start after a period of getting-to-know-you conversation. They open the meeting. • Purpose: Meetings serve many purposes. • Banks: 10:00am-3:00pm Monday to Friday • Shops: 9:00am-8:00pm Monday to Friday. Personal relationships are extremely important. especially when dealing with companies that are accustomed to working with international firms.2017. When meeting with a company for the first time.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. for participants at the same level to reach a consensus. When you do this. You may be asked probing personal questions that would not be socially acceptable in your culture. 8. set the pace. • Government offices: 8:00am – 4:00pm Monday to Friday Business Meetings Meeting Essentials • Structure: Agendas are often used.

8. Belizeans want to look good in the eyes of others. although if necessary. Do not let someone think that you do not trust them.aspx.. Calling attention to an error demonstrates a lack of breeding. protocol. . and forms of address.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • When used. • The leader of the meeting will not constrain participants be slavishly following the agenda. Reconfirm the appointment one week before the meeting. • Discussions will often veer off into other subjects. therefore. When in doubt. Show deference and respect to those in positions of authority. It is often difficult to arrange meetings in the two weeks before and after Christmas and the week before and after Easter.2.culturewizard. it is best to let your business colleagues determine when to make this change. Belize has a formal business culture. there remain some older Belizeans who have not adapted to the Western concept of promptness. agendas serve as broad guidelines of what will be discussed. and detailed data. • It is a good idea to forward recommended agenda items in advance of the meeting. Scheduling Meetings Business appointments are required and should be made at least 2 weeks in advance. err on the side of formality in language. Belizeans do not like publicly admitting they are incorrect. Trust and personal relationships http://kpmg. Avoid confrontation.. meetings can often be scheduled on short notice.2017. It is the role of the leader to decide when to re-focus the discussion. however. When dealing with people at the same level.PrintView Page 29 of 39 charts. Agendas • Agendas are frequently used by larger companies or when doing business with foreigners. communication may ultimately be more informal. they judge a person on what they say as well as the way they present themself. Conducting Meetings As a holdover from its British colonizers. Belizeans expect foreigners to arrive promptly for meetings and many Belizeans do. however.

Strive to find a Belizean contact who has a personal relationship with a senior-level people in the types of companies or the industry where you want to conduct business. since the local is more likely to have the contacts that you need.aspx.PrintView Page 30 of 39 are the cornerstone of business. Choose your intermediary carefully since you will be judged by the person who introduces you.. Management Styles Relationships Since Belize has a relationship-focused culture. Belizeans may tell you what they think you want to hear in order to be agreeable. The right connections facilitate business success. The Belize business community is relatively small and your behavior will quickly become public knowledge among influential Belizeans. as you understand them to confirm that you and your Belizean colleagues are in agreement.2017. Appearances matter to Belizeans. learn to ask questions so that a positive response can be given.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. The Belizean embassy in your country. so choose a first class international hotel. Belizeans prefer face-to-face meetings rather than doing business by telephone or in writing. . Maintaining dignity is of paramount importance to Belizeans so it is important that you do not embarrass a business colleague. Management Essentials http://kpmg. Be alert for nuances and hidden meanings when Belizeans speak. Therefore. It is a good idea to use a native of Belize rather than a foreigner who purchased citizenship. Generation Y Belizeans may be more willing to conduct business over the telephone or using Skype or another form of video conferencing.culturewizard. You also lose honor since you have failed to allow your colleague to maintain their dignity. Publicly telling a Belizean that they are incorrect risks could jeopardize the relationship since it causes the Belizean lose honor. it is important to be introduced by a third-party. 8. your embassy in Belize. It is a good idea to repeat details.2.. or the Chamber of Commerce can often recommend people to fill this important role. They will judge you on where you stay.

In large companies. managers may end up with analysis paralysis. Since the culture is group-oriented. although Generation Y and people in smaller companies may have a greater tolerance for risk. since a good network ensures that the manager will not be viewed negatively for a decision that is not optimal. it is a good idea to show how this change is in the best interest of the group and demonstrate how making the change could improve the decision maker's honor and dignity. Schedules & Deadlines Belize has a changing view of time and punctuality and deadlines are more important than they once were.aspx. When recommending a change. . they would be: • Hierarchy • Formal style • Interpersonal relationships • Indirect communication This is a culture where hierarchy and adherence to protocol are extremely important.2017. As such. Belizeans who are familiar with working in multinational companies are generally more attuned to the important of adherence to schedules and deadlines. Interpersonal relationships.2. Risk Tolerance Belize has a medium tolerance for change and risk. someone with good connections is more likely to take a risk where someone without such connections. Many expats report that it is unlikely that a http://kpmg. Spend time cultivating relationships and maintaining them once they are formed.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. This is a country where who you know is often more important than what you know.. Networking is crucial.PrintView Page 31 of 39 If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will see operating in business in Belize. explaining how a missing a deadline could negatively impact others in the organization is often a good way to get greater compliance. A manager's risk tolerance may depend upon his connections.. any transgressions on your part will quickly be known by others. including loyalty to family and friends.culturewizard. are the linchpin of successful business interactions. most employees avoid taking risks and rely on their manager to provide guidelines and instructions. 8. Since the country is relatively small and the business arena even smaller.

Even in meetings. age impacts how a manager deals with subordinates.2. Older managers are often autocratic and do not seek consensus before making decisions.. They recommend building up to a 20% extra into the timeline and then monitoring performance at key milestones. Gen Y managers or those working in multi-national companies may provide a broad outline of what they want accomplished and allow professional employees to determine how best to achieve that goal. The team leader is expected to inspire the team to achieve its goals and to encourage member participation. older managers tell subordinates what they want done and how to perform the task. Managing Employees As with much of the business culture in Belize. For the most part. Decision Making Company Structure Belizean business is hierarchical.aspx. Subordinates follow these instructions without comment. Therefore. Belizeans enjoy collaborating and working with others on a team. To protect their honor and preserve their dignity. roles and responsibilities are well-defined and respected. which is why spending time to develop trust and personal relationships is crucial. Younger managers. Decision Making For the most part decisions are reached at the top of the company. subordinates demonstrate deference and respect towards those who are senior to them in age or positions. Decisions are often based upon the personal preference of the decision maker. Team Focus Since they are relationship focused. 8. . understand the value in going through the process.. it is crucial to confirm instructions carefully.PrintView Page 32 of 39 Belizean company will meet your production or service deadlines. Belizeans may say that they understand instructions even when they do not. which plays a pivotal role in the structure and pace of decision making.culturewizard.2017.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. perhaps by asking the person to demonstrate. Job functions. especially Gen Y managers. The leader is expected to create an environment where members believe that they can state their opinion http://kpmg.

. If you want to compliment an individual team member. . Conversely. which are seen as confrontational. Safety & Security Emergency Numbers http://kpmg. Belizeans may avoid giving a negative response and may prefer to say "maybe" or "we'll see. Negotiations generally begin with small talk and social conversation. Negotiations Since Belizeans prefer to deal with those they trust. Since they strive to maintain their personal honor in every situation. since it shows the proper level of respect. Belizeans will say what they think you want to hear.PrintView Page 33 of 39 without fear of being made to look foolish and thus negatively impact their honor. Since decisions are often based upon the personal preference of the decision maker. For the most part. The leader must actively listen to opinions without imposing his/her beliefs." It is best not to give absolute negative responses.. Business is hierarchical and the person with the most authority makes decisions. invest time developing the relationship before conducting business. This prevents others from losing honor when they are not singled out for praise. this period of social interchange may continue for some time before business is discussed. which may be interpreted as rudeness. Praise should be given to the entire group. S/he must then allow the members to discuss the various options and come to a consensus as to which is the optimal approach in this situation.aspx. That means that affirmative responses should not be taken at face value. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics.2017. Including an executive on your negotiating team gives honor to the Belizean company. spending time developing a strong personal relationship with this person is crucial. Belizeans avoid confrontation. They would rather walk away from a deal than openly disagree. do so in private. 8.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Relationships are considered more important than business documents. Belizeans are polite.culturewizard. Depending upon the level of the relationship.2.

http://kpmg.aspx. Seek information from cultural experts and local nationals whom you have confidence in. how to carry yourself. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers. • Talk with a trusted family member or friend about what types of emergencies might arise in your absence. Hotel Safety • Know how to call for help AND what to say.. • Find out the services your company offers to you in case of emergency. The wise traveler is cautious about hurricanes and earthquakes along with hotel fires.how to dress. obtain and make several copies of important emergency company contact numbers to keep and give to all members of your family who might need them. Be sure to learn details of your location -. When in comes to your safety. and what to do in those events.2017.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. where you can go and where to avoid. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings have simply brought all security concerns to our awareness. we think of political situations as causing safety concerns. Before You Go • Take time to get all of your financial and personal records in order. and many of them revolve around understanding the specifics of where you are. pickpockets and spontaneous political demonstrations. and who to be watchful of. including preparing a will. dial: 911 Safety Precautions Today..PrintView Page 34 of 39 To reach emergency services from a local telephone. • Make copies of all of your travel documents (including detailed itinerary with contact numbers) and be sure two people have easy access to them. how to act in public. • Be sure you have enough of your prescription medication so you are all right if you cannot get a refill right away. don’t be afraid to ask. In-Country So many variables go into being safe. • Be sure someone knows where you will be and how to contact you in emergencies at all times. but ordinary crime. 8.2. take an extra pair of glasses if you wear them. . • Do not display your guest room key unnecessarily. • Do the same with crucial health documentation. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation.culturewizard. weather and geographic problems also pose risks. • Think about the small (and large) disasters that could occur at home during your absence and be sure there is someone prepared to assist you.

(Remember to safeguard your passport. Even groups of children can be working together to divert your attention while one will steal your money.2017. PDAs and cash are easy targets. • Use the room safe or hotel safe deposit box. (They will also arrange for you to have help. but is extremely important so you can understand what may be offensive or negligent behavior. • Travel with a flashlight.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. 8. ◦ Find out all the gender-based restrictions and abide by them. • Don’t let strangers into your room. be very careful to guard your property at all times.. expensive cameras. • Watch out for pickpockets who will try to distract you in many different ways while taking your money.PrintView Page 35 of 39 • Lock your door and do not answer it until you feel comfortable that you know who it is. Know exactly where the nearest fire exits are. The following websites offer specific advice for women: • Travel Tips for Women • Best Women's Travel Tips • Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Tips • Tips for Solo Women Travelers Women Travelers Travel Tips Crowded Situations • When you’re in crowded places. a pair of shoes and some money by your bedside. This is not only wise for business and social purposes. For example.culturewizard. • Hide personal documents. ◦ As a rule. keep your room key. your glasses (if necessary). . valuables and other important items. the safer you’ll be. • Women traveling alone will have different issues depending upon the morés of the society you’re visiting.2. Safety in Your New Home City • Learn about your host country and culture..aspx. if you wish walking you to your room very late at night or escorting you from a parking lot to the hotel lobby).) • Read the fire safety information and know what you would do if you need to evacuate. ◦ Use a hotel known for its security and be sure that whatever type of transportation you use. be extremely cautious and circumspect. • Carry as few valuable items with you as possible when you know you’re going to a crowded area. http://kpmg. ◦ Ask hotel concierge or front desk manager to assist you whenever you have questions about your safety. it is reliable and safe. These people are here to help you. certainly understand written and unwritten laws and codes of conduct. • In the event that you might need to leave your room quickly. • Use your Embassy. • The more you know about your location.

but by identifying sources of local news.aspx. and you never know when a potentially dangerous situation can develop. • No matter where you live—high risk or low risk countries—today’s world is volatile. Be sure you have 24-hour hotline numbers and appropriate contacts who can assist you. Keep informed—not only with your country’s published data and warnings. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation. Keeping yourself and your family safe anywhere you go—whether it is an extended trip within hours of your home or a long-term assignment halfway around the world—requires planning and active follow-through. Nonetheless. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. nor is it a stroke of luck. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies.culturewizard.. Security Issues Security is not simply a state-of-mind. contact: Embassies Around the World http://kpmg.2017. reading local papers and telling your local friends to keep you informed. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. Always check to see what services your company may offer to you. 8. always be sure that close family or friends have accurate contact information so they can find you quickly.2. contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. • For helpful information: Helpful Tips • If you are living in a high-risk location. Don’t underplay the importance of understanding what is culturally appropriate—it may help you avoid some difficult situations..PrintView Page 36 of 39 • Embassies Around the World • Even if you are living in a relatively safe country. your company should have guidelines for your safety. .com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Clearly the length of time you spend and the geographic and political profile of the countries you’re living in--or traveling to--will make a difference in your level of preparedness. practicing common sense based upon knowledge of your location will help you.

and geographic-related concerns. For example. report it immediately to the nearest appropriate Embassy or consulate. En Route • Protect your passport. up-dated information. 8. • For the most current. credit cards and other valuables. we recommend the following government sites as quite comprehensive and easy-to- understand: Australian Travel Advisories Canadian Travel Advisories UK Travel Advice US Travel Warnings • Read about other precautions you should take for weather. • Avoid calling attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewelry or carrying other expensive items.2017.2. • Be sure you know how to contact (and get to) your country’s Embassy and Consulate wherever you are traveling—you need the location details. • Whenever possible carry valuables and important prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.. fire and other emergency personnel. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. • Be sure to respond completely to requests by security officials and avoid comments about security that could be misinterpreted. Prepare For Your Destination • Read about security and safety issues in the countries you’ll be traveling to or living in. http://kpmg.S.culturewizard. computer bags or other luggage unattended at any time.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. keep enough cash on hand so you will be all right if there are power failures and ATM machines don’t work. do not pack valuables in your checked luggage. You may need to reach the police. Be sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. • Use your business address on your luggage tags. phone and hours of operation. • Be able to answer questions about your luggage and be able to open all suitcases and packages immediately. • When you’re on the plane or train. Be sure you know the words to use in the local language.aspx. read safety literature and be sure you know where emergency exits are located. . it is one of the most valuable items you possess--so protect it as you would cash. if asked. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has in- depth information regarding all regions of the world. Embassies Around the World • See if there are any health-related issues in the countries to which you’re traveling. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies.. If it is lost or stolen. The U.PrintView Page 37 of 39 • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. • Do not leave laptops. if possible.

independent taxi cabs may pose specific problems.2. • Avoid disturbances and loud arguments. you may feel safer moving to an occupied car. subways. • Make others aware of your specific whereabouts. give them your valuables—money and passport—and do not fight back. ask colleagues or people who work in the hotel if there are things you should know about that area. offers a wide-range of information to travelers of all nationalities: http://www. Identify the location of the emergency alarm system.culturewizard. Get off if someone suspicious gets on. • Be wary when you are alone in lifts. • Even when you have a mobile phone. • Be sure to know enough of the language to call for help.aspx. Consider marking and tagging the pages of a phrase book with these types of important phrases. http://kpmg. • If you drive.S. • Avoid areas where you can become a victim of crime. • You should also ask your company about specific transportation guidelines they’ve established for your safety. such as poorly- lit streets.state.2017. Otherwise. buses. • Experts say that if someone does attack you. • If you find yourself alone in a train car or compartment after everyone else leaves. Your interpretation of this guideline needs to be based on local practices and customs.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Attire you may think is perfectly acceptable. and never pick up hitchhikers. even when you’re going to business appointments. When they occur. • Learn about transportation in your location—what’s safe and what can be problematic and when. learn to use the local pay phones and keep change with you. • If you cannot speak the local language.gov/travel/ Moving Around Safely • Always remain alert.PrintView Page 38 of 39 • For general information when you are en route.. State Dept. carry the card of your hotel or your address with you at all times--as well as your destination address. you could run the risk of being misinterpreted and perhaps becoming a target if your clothing is provocative or offensive. and deserted train stations. alleys. . Know Where You’re Going • Ask people in the hotel what areas you should avoid. Find out before you go if it is preferable to hire a private driver and car. quickly walk the other way. the U. • Dress conservatively. • Ostentatious jewelry will also draw attention to you.. may not be so you’ll be well served to learn what is appropriate. keep your doors locked and windows closed. • When you have a specific location you’re going to. Trains. 8. Contact your Embassy for detailed information.

PrintView Page 39 of 39 *Sources: U.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.2.. . Transportation Security Administration http://kpmg.S.aspx.. 8.2017.culturewizard.