Title: Independent reformer
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: November 28, 2006
Copyright Date: 2006
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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I Vo. N. Teda, ov mbr 8


Ae or g e spoils.',
This ancient creed for war is what
drove both conquering armies and
marauding hordes of barbarians and
bandits throughout the millennia.
Translated into our modern
context, the "spoil system," as the
political scientists call it, generally
means the political party that wins
an election in a particular country has
the opportunity to loot the national
coffers and through the tax system,
its own citizens.
Such a system has existed in
Belize for the past 25 years, ever
since "Independence." The pillaging
continues, no matter which party is
elected to office, because there are
few laws to prevent it. Those which
do exist are not enforced.
The corruption presents itself
in many forms. The most obvious
manifestation is the bloated contracts
given to high and unqualified bidders,
instead of to the low and qualified
bidders. The excess money is shared
between the interested politicians and
the country often receives an inferior
job, which on some occasions has to
be done over again.
Then there is the purchase of
property from a party crony for
an excessive amount. The reverse

"Free Stay


lth edthY g of
Government businesses and land
far below their appraised values.
Was the difference in value split
between politicians? Or did they
obtain an undisclosed interest in
the business or property?
Either way, and in so many other
ways, corruption prevails as the order
of the day.
But it does not have to be this
way. There were efforts to change
the spoils system. In June of 1997,
under the auspices of the United
Democratic Party (UDP), a joint
Select Committee on Political Reform
was established. Unfortunately, it
was not productive because partisan
politics prevented any progress.
During the campaigning for the
1998 national elections, both major
parties addressed political reform as
a major issue and made promises of
reform.
Belizeans thought the winner of
that election, the People's United
Party, was serious when on January
13, 1999 Prime Minister Said Musa
appointed his own Political Reform
Commission.
On January 13, 1999 at the WASA
conference room in Belize City he
addressed their first meeting with

In Belize"


A Tourism Industry Protest?


B y: Meb Cutlack
The Belize "tree stay program
offers free rooms in select
hotels all over the country"'
That's from the BTIA's 'Media
Release'. But, what they are
not saying is that in fact their
stay free program is a subtle
way of hitting government in
protest at high taxes and yet
giving a free tax ride to the
Shrimp industry.
"We were devastated to read
that the first reading of the
new Shrimp Act take all taxes
off the shrimp industry, which
is unsustainable against
world competition even with


subsidies, but continues to
tax tourism out of existence,
"a BTIA member told me.
(SEE SHRIMP STORY PAGE
3). She added: "The BTIA and
BHA are reluctant to come
right out and say it but free
nights means no bed tax for
four days and a financial 'clip
on the ear' for government to
start to listen to the problems
the industry is facing." The
beauty of this strike is that it
is a weapon the hoteliers can
use at any

(Please Turn To Page 11)


a stirr
membc
"Th


Prime Minister Said Musa (r) and Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow
inside Holy Redeemer Cathedral. Preying for a miracle?
ring speech. He urged the will enhance our democracy and
ers to remember that: give all our people a greater stake
ie people of Belize are in their nation".


"- JV-I -j ---
depending on you to carry out fair
and fearless consultations and
deliberations and to make timely
and worthy recommendations that


(Please Turn To Page 9) FW


,_ - - - - - - -





Belizeans often criticize their
church leaders for shying away
from social issues or failing to
comment on serious national
political or financial scandals.
(Please Turn To Page 6) i

Inside this Issue

Shrimp Scampi pg.
3

Magga Dawg pg.4

Anti-corruption
Conventions pg. 5

Canon Leroy Flowers, President of the An audience with Her
Belize Council of Churches.








Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


EdiorilDirector






I bCuIac



Editor




KarlaheuTTerVerno


welcome readers, to the first
editionn of the INndependent
K rmer"
No doubt you have already
noticed several things about us
which make us different from the
other newspapers in Belize.
First, and perhaps most
importantly, the Independent
contains almost no "hard news. "
This is a conscious decision by
the editorial board which believes
there is more than enough reporting
on the news of the day in Belize
by the primary papers, radio and
television stations.
For the most part, we will focus
on opinion and editorial pieces and
regional and international news that
could have implications for Belize
or represents significant worldwide
trends or activities Belizeans would
do well to consider.
In terms ofpolitics, the atmosphere
is already highly charged as we head
into the election campaign. Few of
us think the current administration
will wait until 2008; in fact
many are expecting an imminent
announcement setting the date of
the General Election.
Things will get hot and heavy.
Sooner rather than later But let
us get one thing straight from
the outset: while the Independent
welcomes articles and press
releases from all political parties
and their/ '1 y irtLer, (not to mention
advertising!) those items which
focus on reform have the greatest
likelihood of being given space.
As long as what is being discussed
is aimed at improving the political
system, the lives of Belizeans, as
well as how partisan politics as it is
played out on the Belizean stage, we
will consider it. Whoever writes it.
In fact, we feel so strongly about
the need for reform we have decided
to use the recommendations of
the Political Reform Commission,


selected by Prime Minister Said
Musa in 1999 and which published
its report in 2000 after many group
meetings and public consultations,
as a blueprint for future issues.
There are so many well thought out
recommendations, only a fraction
of which were ever adopted by the
government. The rest were shelved,
perhaps never to be retrieved
again.
This is a terrible disservice
to the dedicated members of the
Political Reform Commission and
disrespectful to the citizens of this
country.
We urge the Prime Minister
and the cabinet to revisit the
recommendations. They may find
that a good many of them, had they
been made into law, might have
prevented many of the "mistakes"
and messes the administration has
made, which they must now try to
correct and untangle
Starting a newspaper in Belize
is a risky venture. There are those
who already standpoised to try and
pull it down as Belizean crabs are
prone to do, and political figures
and partisan diehards who simply
cannot comprehend anything that is
not overtly blue or red. They will sit
there scratching their heads trying
to decide if we are pro-government
or anti-government, pro-opposition
or anti-opposition and come to their
own conclusions no matter what we
say or do not say.
That is the nature ofsome political
animals. Paid and unpaid. For as
we all know, in any election season,
the party payroll swells to include
many individuals who masquerade
as private citizens.
Fortunately, Belizeans can see
them coming from far.
Legitimate readers and citizens,
such as yourselves, will make up
your own minds whether or not to
support this newspaper


independendent.newspaper.bz@gmail.

11 YES! Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as


1 '11. I P

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We hope you will not only read the
INndependent Reformer interest,
but share your copy with others.
We invite you to contact the editor
at karlavernon belize@yahoo.com
or write to the Independent at P. 0.
Box 2666, Belize City to share your
views, submit letters to the editor or
short articles.
While it is always preferable to
attribute a particular article or
letter to its true author and Belizeans
(both born and naturalized) should
feel free to sign their names, if
you feel the need to preserve your
anonymity we will respect that.
But perhaps you will find some
,irngih, as we have, from reviewing
a document far more important that
the Political Reform Commission
report. That is the Constitution of
Belize. Here is an excerpt from the
only entry which appears to address
the fourth estate, the press:
12-(1) Except with his own
consent, a person shall not be
hindered in the enjoyment of his
freedom of expression, including
freedom to hold opinions
without interference, freedom to
receive ideas and information
without interference, freedom to
communicate ideas and information
without interference (whether
communication be to the public
generally or to any person or
class of persons) and freedom
from interference with his
correspondence.
Long live freedom of expression
in Belize.
Thanks for reading.


P.P ID, III IIII 101,11LI F-1 IIIH lll 1AII F







Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


SHRIMP SCAMPI:

Farmers lobby for

Tax Free-Zones
By: Meb Cutlack
In the most extraordinary *All imports are exempt
crony deal yet devised the from customs duties, tariffs,
Musa Government is poised to consumption taxes, excise
hand a tax free golden deal to taxes, trade turnover taxes or
Barry Bowen and the shrimp other taxes. The exemptions
industry, apply to fuel as well.
In a deal valued at millions *No quotas apply to imports
government will take all taxes into EPZs.
off the shrimp industry *No export licenses required
export tax, import tax and for exports from EPZs.
every single tax related to *Exports are exempt from
growing and selling shrimp, customs duties, tonnage
This is at a time when taxes, consumption taxes,
the international shrimp excise taxes, trade turnover
marOket has been hit by an taxes, foreign exchange taxes,
unprecedented glut of Asian or other taxes.
shrimp which has lowered the *Standard taxes and duties
price of shrimp internationally apply to exports of EPZs into
to less than the price of chicken Belize.
in many countries! *No license needed for
There is simply no conducting an EPZ business.
way in the future *No price controls apply to
that Belize, with high products or services sold by
production, processing and an EPZ business.
labour coasts, can possibly *No rent controls apply.
co-ipete with the rising *No regulations or restrictions
Asian shrimp industry, or prohibitions apply regarding
The new Act will provide a the sale or purchase
straight forward subsidy to the of foreign currencies.
few rich entrepreneurs who *EPZ businesses are free
make up the ailing industry at to maintain accounts in any
the very time that local tourism, currency.
mostly Belizean-owned and *No import license needed
once Belize's premier foreign for an EPZ business.
exchange earner, is being *No quotas apply to imports
bankrupted by excessive costs into EPZs.
and taxes. *EPZ businesses are exempt
Just driving along the from income tax, withholding
Northern and Western tax, capital gains tax, and any
highways These days new corporate tax for 20 years
you see the carcases with option to extend.
of a hundred small The Act was revised in 2004
Belizean-owned businesses to curb abuses. The main
which have been brought changes introduced by this
down by high operating costs, Act from a tax perspective
taxes and the new border were as follows:
fees. a) Duty free fuel imported
According to a confidential into EPZs was limited
cabinet document leaked to to "only such fuel ... as is
the media the shrimp industry required for energy generation
will be allowed to revert to the purposes...."
1990 EPZ Act under which: b) Vehicle imported duty
*No import license needed and tax free were restricted
for an EPZ business, to "only service

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vehicles together with spares
for such vehicles".
c) Foreign exchange
regulations applied to all foreign
currency transactions.
d) Carry forward provision
in respect of losses incurred
during the first 20 years was
limited to five years after
expiration of tax holiday.
e)EPZs subject to Business
Tax at the rate of 2%.
The Shrimp Growers
Association now want these
changes eliminated and want
to revert to the 1990 Act.
Given even one quarter
of these tax benefits and
concessions, including the
border tax, the locally-owned
and run tourism industry
could once more bloom, would
once more not only be a major


foreign exchange earner but
also allow to survive hundreds
of small Belizean businesses
that are dead or now dying.
It is almost as if the Musa
government is Deliberately
intent upon turning the clock
back in Belize and building
an oligarchy of the very rich
to 'supervise' and rule all
others even to the extent
of creating a new pool of
the very 'poor' These new
Belizeans poor would service
the rich and their enterprises,
such as shrimp farming, and
perhaps, by their thinking,
even allow competition with
the lowwages in Asia!
Alright, it is probably not
a deliberate plan but it is a
monstrosity!


We Belizeans


Against the



Dam (WeBAD)



applauds the



start of the



INdependent



Voice of Belize







Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Views & opinionS


Magga

By: Karla Heusner Vernon
What were they like as little
puppies? Were they eager to please,
mischievous and playful? Were they
affectionate and loving; impressing
their handlers with their intelligence
and readiness to obey commands,
using different barks to communicate
or warn their owners of attack?
Or were they born mean-spirited?
Nipping at the hands feeding them,
growling at small children, a wild,
untamed look in their eyes?
Would these dogs have turned
out differently if they had not been
abused or trained to kill?
Perhaps in the beginning, or even
for many years, they displayed an
admirable loyalty to their political
parties. Somewhere along the way
they crossed the fanatic line.
Even if they wanted to, it is
probably impossible for them to
walk back over, to regain credibility
lost. It is sad for them, but also for
Belize.
Granted, a great many people say
and do things during an election that
they might not do and say otherwise.
Tempers flare, hackles rise. All the
whoopla can awaken a primitive
need to belong to a clan, a dominant
tribe, to be a member of a collective.
The mob mentality can overcome
anyone.
But why are some people able to
regain their perspective and return
to real life afterwards while others
continue the campaign, mercilessly
attacking anyone who criticizes their
leaders. Even in peace time. Even
when those leaders are admitting
there is a need for reform?
Part of me despises these people. I
change the station when I hear their
voices, I turn the page when I see
their letters and columns, I block
my inbox so they cannot pollute my
list serv, attempt to rent space in my
brain, set a worm lose in my hard
drive.
I wonder how others can tolerate
their vile and venomous poison, even
bait them into spilling forth more.
I can only surmise that are somehow
fascinated by the rabid dog's foaming
at the mouth, crazed look. But it is not
a joke, they carry disease.
Then again, maybe watching
the pot-lickers roaming the streets,
desperate for scraps, makes the rest
of the society feel better about their
own pedigree.
Certainly it makes their superiors
feel superior. Need a job done?
Send in the canine corps. No need
to handle a challenge man to man,
woman to woman.
There is always someone willing
to do the dirty work. As emaciated as


Dawg
they are, the dogs of war always have
the energy to rip someone to shreds,
in exchange for a chance to mount
some bitch in heat, or become her to
get extra treats.
It is tempting to pity these canines.
To image them differently, if things
had gone differently and they had


Wiwse


-ewkMmz to& ebem dm


*pmos & 41 M4m


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DIi-T


made other choices, valued their own
skills and intelligence and integrity
more.
How highthey might have limbed
a corporate ladder in some other
country, rather than sneaking
into someone else's office through
the brukup back stairs in Belize.
How their keen ears and eyes might
have been a useful warning system,
alerting us to the dangers of the night,
the presence of evil strangers, instead
of honing in friends just trying to
cross the street in one piece.
Tmnainif thpc Ancra- zxro r nt


standing guard in some rich man's
yard, but protecting a loving family,
proudly guarding a shop, riding atop
the fire engine or sniffing out drugs
at the borders. How much better off
we all might have been.
But instead, we must now view
them as a menace. No longer
entertainers, but dangers.
The old people warned us, but we
so seldom listen, "Sorry fi magga
dawg, tun round bite you. "Turn them
off, shut them down, and do it now,
before they infect us all.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


The various anti-corruption conventions


By: Trevor Vernon


The first
annual
SPEAR
(Be lize )
scientific
poll confirms
w h a t


Transparency International
Indices have been saying over
the past decade: Belizeans no
longer have confidence in the
management of the country's
economic affairs.
The TI Indices suggests that
either the rest of the world is
cleaning up their act, or GOB
is getting better at "poverty
alleviation," but only at the
party level.
Back in 2000, when I heard
World Bank President James
D. Wolfensohn announce at
the Bank's Annual Meeting
that member governments
must put every effort into
fighting corruption if they
intended to fight critical
poverty, I almost fell out my
chair. Prior to this truly earth
shaking announcement, all the
Bretton-Woods organizations
had basically turned a blind
eye to what everyone knew, or
least strongly suspected, to be
standard practice worldwide.
This was a heavy message
to deliver to heads of state.
Most were skeptical. How
would they enforce this in
the Heavily Indebted Poorer
Countries, HIPC? Ridiculous!
But, it stands to reason: the
poorest countries have the
worse marks in the perception
of corruption Index.
Sure enough there followed
an avalanche of Anti-
Corruption Conventions
before the various political
bodies: UN, OAS, SICA, and
soon enough we can probably
expect one from CARICOM.
The OAS' Inter American
Convention against Corruption
was signed and ratified at the
first opportunity, post haste
and with much fanfare at the
2001 General Assembly by the
Musa Government. Perhaps
GOB officials suspected a
more rigorous UN Convention
was coming down the pipe
and wanted to make a big
statement with this relatively
toothless one. Besides, given
the new push by Wolfensohn,
the OAS found it opportune
to revive an earlier effort of
1996.
Interestingly, at that time,
Belize's Foreign Minister,


Dean Barrow, refused to sign
the original convention despite
the fact that majority of the
region's other countries (22
of the 34 OAS members) did.
With political glee, the Musa
government used this as an
example to Washington that
this PUP government was
serious, indeed dedicated, to
the fight against corruption,
comparatively speaking.
Barrow got egged in
Washington again, the Musa
administration looked good: it
was master politics.
As for the Convention's ability
to put an end to corruption;
there was a huge legal escape
hatch: the OAS required that
the monitoring process involves
only country self-assessments


based on a questionnaire and
indicators. What's more, this
data is published subject to the
agreement of the country.
In other words, all the
"information" on a country's
level of corruption being
fed back to the monitoring
agency is supplied by its
own government. All experts
monitoring the government
must be appointed by the
government. Its impossible
for the rational womann not
to agree that this convention
could never be enforced.
More recently, the OAS has
tried again. International news
sources reported just days ago
inGuatemala:
'OAS' esteemed Secretary
General Jose Miguel Insulza


attended the opening session
of the 12th International
Anti-Corruption Conference,
in Guatemala starting
Thursday, November 16,
2006 with the expected
participation of Central
American presidents. Belize
delegation was headed by
the Honorable Deputy Prime
Minister, John Briceno."
We could assume Briceno
signed off on the convention,
although there was no local
announcement. With that
news report, we also have
the Central American Anti-
Corruption Initiative signed in
Guatemala "to make Central
America a corruption free
zone."
(Please Turn To Page 9) e E


w oil) P
-161M








Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page

Excerpts Canon Flowers, independence Sermon September


Cannon Leroy Flowers of the
Anglican Church delivered a
sermon at the Independence
Ecumenical Service that got
everyone's attention.
Two months later, Belizeans
are still talking about his fiery
reminder to us all that Belize is
reaping the fruits of social, political
and religious strife sown before
Independence and that everyone,
from parents to politicians to
church leaders, has had a hand
in our national downfall and
must therefore play a role in our
redemption. Independent Weekly
has reproduced some excerpts for
those who missed the presentation,
or would like to review his main
points once more.
"Amidst the beauty of our
homeland we face many social,
economic, political and spiritual
challenges. My brothers and
sisters, 25 years ago we gained
Political Independence as a
divided people...
There are many who continue
to carry this resentment
of bitterness, and in some
instances, hatred to this day
in their hearts. Listen to how
they speak of Independent Belize
and our leaders. Sad, but true,
even among some who claim to be
intellectuals of the society...
"Our people have a right to
their political beliefs; but we
should not allow our differences
to stunt our growth or mar
our progress. Disagree about
policies, but put an end to
personal attacks and character
assassination that has become
the buzz word in our political
social discussion.
"Yes, we must acknowledge
that Independence was a long
struggle. Many were displaced
socially and economically, due in
large measure to the political
reality of the times... Many were
force to migrated; while others
stayed and sought to undermine
the very development of the
nation. Some still do today and
fail to acknowledge the reality of
our progress 25 years hence...
Free to disagree. 'qt is sad
that we seem to think that
everyone is corrupt simply
because they disagree with us,
or we cannot have our way,
or they think differently from us.
Our democracy demands that we
are governed by laws. How sad
when we use our freedom to
destroy each other by gossip
and rumor! The courts of our
land within the judicial system
is given this responsibility to
determine guilt or innocence-
not the talk show hosts, nor
the print media. If we do not
like the laws, then work to
have them changed. But in this


democracy there is a specific
process where that can be
done. We must all uphold the rule
of law to make Belize great.
This is our heritage.
On Families. "Our families
are in disarray. Too many of
our men continue to simply
impregnate without taking on
their responsibilities. Too many
parents have given up on their
children. Domestic violence and
child abuse is too frequent and

oo ff f M4 1d1nianut
varen, arrogantncandie filled
)fplrid6eo Weiy dlniliotarkdiow
I-r4c rnonmniau lls, mnilr aiN antr
spiritually. There are too many
broken homes, unwanted


pregnancy, and teenage
pregnancies. Too many men
continue to support two, three
families. This is financially
impossible. Abortion, though
illegal, continues to be used by
some in the medical profession
as the means of birth control,
despite the psychological and
spiritual decay this brings to
so many of our women.
Poverty. "Poverty is breathing
ii hopelessness and
hority despair for too many of
with our citizens. Gambling
F how for so many is now
the sport of choice,
with casinos opening
all over the place thus bringing
more pain and hopelessness to
countless families.
On Disrespect and Arrogance.
"Disrespect for each other is


the norm characters are
destroyed behind the telephone
on talk shows with little
regard for respecting the rights
of others. Too many of us in
authority are arrogant and filled
with pride. We do not know
how to serve, and the power
of service as Jesus showed us
in humility and love for the
least among us as the most
powerful means of service,
seem to escape many of us in
government, private sector and
the church.
The Way Forward "We need to
remind ourselves that more than
12 of this nation's population
was born after Independence.
This is a great challenge and
a grave responsibility for us as
a nation. As Belizeans we have
the responsibility to make this
(Please Turn To Page 7) E m







Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page



TOPICLAL1 TIDBITS~


A& Name those holes
A lesson for Belize: In Costa Rica,
to bring attention to their pothole
situation, a group of residents of the
Comunidad de las Mansiones, in
San Rafael de Montes de Oca, San
Pedro, have dedicated each pothole
to a government minister, including
the president himself.
The residents erected signs with the
names of Oscar Arias and the entire
cabinet, including Karla Gonzalez,
the Minster of Public Works &
Transport. By the giving of names
to the potholes it is hoped draw
attention of the powers that be to
repair their road.
Even a bus company and taxis
have stopped using some streets
and taxis, won't come on the street,
affecting the residents.
The problem in Belize, particularly
along the Northern highway and in
San Ignacio is that the sheer number
of signs would block traffic!


Here's a tip from Atlantic Bank
Recently an AtlanticBank customer
complained that he was being charged
a percentage by stores for using his


Atlantic credit card. It's not legal and
the bank advised this customer to
keep his receipt with the charge listed
and they would discount the amount
from the stores account and credit it
to the customer! Good One!



BDF spotted tiefing

An alert citizen noted, twice in a
row, a BDF member drawing gas
from the tank of one of the new BTB
sponsored BDF expensive patrol
vehicles for another vehicle!


c Mask them e7

Government ministers and civil
servants should perhaps wear masks
when hanging out at the Casino A
former senior official in southern
China has been sentenced to 20 years
in jail for gambling away some 14
million US dollars in public money
in Macau and Hong Kong.
Li lost most of the money during
257 visits to Macau and Hong Kong


, autonomous Chinese territories
between 2000 and 2004. He was
also found guilty of taking 216,000
dollars in bribes.


And the frontiers
Talking of cheating, all our border
towns are now oozing contraband! It
is part of a growing 'black economy'
which makes a mockery of the
Government's ever increasing tax
burden. It also means that there is a
whole new crew of crooked C & I
officers making a lot, a lot of money
indeed, for looking the wrong way.
They are caught in the same trap
- cheat or go under with normal
wages no longer able to sustain
decent life.


tiny quanity of weed and the raiders
suggested that this little problem
could be easily "solved". The couple,
who knew nothing about the weed
which could have been the property
of any number of tourists to their
lodge, were then surprised when
the police, who had searched every
inch of the property including the
couples yet unpacked bags, took all
the young lady's jewelry! Police
still have it and would not even sign
a note acknowledging that they had
taken it! Behaviour like this is a
r especially just when the
BI police in Cayo seemed to
g so well together!

Expired products
which are resold


'Home coming shock'
Young couple, owners of a small
lodge in Cayo,returned from their Watch carefully what happens when
holidays a week ago to once more you return a weevil filled packet of
holidays a week management from their biscuits, bread or cornflakes etc., to
area. To a tr, b r the local Chinese for replacement.
caretakers. Two days later, before
they had even unpacked, a police They usually put it straight back on
y' te f a "h d the shelf- with a small slick of cello
squad'raided them after a tip off '
looking for "a gun". tape to hide the intrusion! It's not
They found no gun but did find a only a sign of petty crookedness but
also a sian of this Government's tax


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


This week: Ara Macao Statement From Peninsula
Citizens for Sustainable Development
So many questions remain medical care come from?
unanswered about this huge Although the developers submitted
development that may irreparably an EIA, these questions still have not
damage the Placencia Peninsula been answered at least not to the
For example, does the design of the satisfaction of international experts
proposed Ara Macao marina greatly who offered their professional
increase the chance that the Peninsula expertise in evaluating the Ara Macao
will be split by a maj or tropical storm EIA free of charge simply because
or just a Category 1 hurricane? Is of their professional concern about
there enough water for another our very fragile and very unique
7,000-13,000 people on the Peninsula Peninsula and its environmentally
from the same aquifer that currently sensitive eco-systems.
provides water to Placencia, Seine Jobs seems to be the holy mantra
Bight, Independence/Mango Creek for Ara Macao supporters. But, what
and Big Creek? How will run-off good are new jobs if the new jobs just
from the millions of cubic yards of fill replace existing jobs at all the small
from Ara Macao affect nearby coral local Peninsula businesses that fail
heads, seagrass beds, and lobster and because of beach erosion, lack of
conch fisheries that currently provide good water, or simply the presence
Riversdale residents with most of of a huge gated resort that drives
their incomes? Will the marina away the backbone ofthe Peninsula's
groins stop sand from reaching the already successful tourism industry
rest of the Peninsula and destroy its the independent travelers who
beaches? How much money will come to the Placencia area to get
actually filter into the local economy away from the Ara Macao's of the
from this gated, all-inclusive resort? world.
Will local people really be welcome The developers stand to make
there? What happens to the 66 foot hundreds of millions of US dollars
beach reserve after they cut into the from this development. If we're
shore to make the canals for their going to give investors (foreign or
marina? Where will the money for domestic) the chance to make those
extra police protection, schools and kinds of bucks off of precious natural
,- sources that belong to all of us,


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Aries
Karma works on its own unpredictable
schedule, so if you're wondering when
you'll be paid back for all the points you've
been racking up, you're wasting your time.
Just like a watched pot neverboils, a watched
karma account never pays off. You have to
stop looking for payback. Getting benefits
from good behavior is merely icing on the
cake. Get back to doing the right things for
the right reasons.

Taurus
Some controversy will pop up early today -
stand up for what you believe, even if your
peers totally disagree. You will find that you
and a big-time power broker have a common
goal, which means that might will be on
your side. Are you prepared for your plans
to come to fruition? Let's hope so, because
you just may make a very valuable friend
today. This is a cause for celebration! Why
not pop out this weekend and buy yourself
something lavish and unnecessary?

Gemini
If you've been dreaming about making a
change, today is the day to make that dream
come true. All you have to do is make the
initial step. Don't make the mistake of
expecting major transformations to happen
overnight. If you need to end a relationship,
you don't have to say good-bye today. Just
set up a time to meet and talk. If you're
working on a physical change, take each day
as it comes. Time is the missing ingredient
that will help you accomplish your goal.







LIQUOR LICENSE NOTICE

Notice is hereby given that Dalmy Ramirez of
San Ignacio is hereby applying for a Restaurant
Liquor License for Delmy Restaurant in Kontiki
Area of San Ignacio, for the year 2007 under the
Intoxicating Liquor License Ordinace, 1980.


LIQUOR LICENSE NOTICE

Notice is hereby given that Rosa Maritza
Galeano of Santa Elena is hereby applying for
a Restaurant Liquor License for Cozy Inn on
Carillo Puerto Avenue, Sant Elena, for the year
2007 under the Intoxicating Liquor License
Ordinace, 1980.


LIQUOR LICENSE NOTICE

Notice is hereby given that Doroteo Chan
of Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo, is hereby applying
for a Restaurant Liquor License for Andrea's
Restaurant in Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo, for the
year 2007 under the Intoxicating Liquor License
Ordinace, 1980.


LIQUOR LICENSE NOTICE

Notice is hereby given that Tarcito Coc of San
Antonio, Cayo, is hereby applying for a Malt and
Cider License for Cool Spot Bar in San Antonio,
Cayo, for the year 2007 under the Intoxicating
Liquor License Ordinace, 1980.

\_____________


Cancer
Your normal 'roll with it' philosophy might
not be enough to get you through the trials
and tribulations that this active day has in
store for you. Get a grip on a more aggressive
philosophy in order to make your point and
get yourself noticed today. You need to be
careful not to step on anyone's toes, but you
don't have to worry about hurting anyone's
feelings. Your built-in sensitivities will
take care of that for you. Embrace a more
powerful way of doing things.

Leo
Hopefully, you don't have any major
shopping plans for today, because now is
not a good day for financial dealings with
others. This isn't a situation where you
should mistrust anyone rather, it's a time
to be more considerate in how you handle
your money. Your generosity is something
you should value, but are you too focused
on immediate gratification? Put off buying
yourself a reward for a few more days, and
it will feel all the more rewarding.

Virgo
Getting involved in new projects or
relationships isn't the best use of your time,
so say no to any invitations today, even if
the opportunity seems promising. You just
won't be able to devote the energy you need
to ensure its success, and you won't end
up making yourself proud. Stick to what
is already on your plate, and to what you
know you can do well. Peer pressure will
get under your skin more than usual today
- the best way to deal with it might be to
isolate yourself from the herd.

Libra
There could be a clash of the titans today,
so keep your head down and mind your
own business. Getting caught up in a power
struggle between two giant personalities
would not be a good move. Even if you try
to stay objective, it simply won't be possible
- at some point, you'll end up with your
back up against the wall. If someone asks
you to get involved, you should say no and
accept the consequences.

Scorpio
The line between your real life and fantasy
life will blur today, when some amazing
coincidences lead you to believe that the
hands of fate are pushing you in a very
particular direction. This will create a
building sense of energy, and your job today
is to give it someplace to go! Get involved
in a project the more artistic the better
- and let your creativity take advantage of
all the exciting feelings that are starting to
blossom inside you.


Sagittarius
There are many distractions around you right
now, and they represent many tantalizing
options for self-promotion. Let yourself
explore these many ideas, but try not to let
go of your grasp on reality! Harmless yet
slightly annoying wrinkles, such as losing
things or forgetting where you're going
when you're halfway out the door, could
result. Strive for balance focus on the
fun things your future may hold, and on the
satisfying things that are already in your
life.

Capricorn
Even if you don't finalize all the details
you wanted to finalize today, you are
making headway toward a great goal. As
you advance on this project, think of other
people who either will benefit from what
you are doing or can get involved and help


you get to the finish line faster. Today is a
day to rally the troops and remember what
you are doing all of this for. Keep your eyes
on the prize.
Aquarius
Don't assume that the money you think
you have in your account in actually in your
account. If you have any automatic payments
set up, are waiting for a transfer, or share your
account with someone else, there could be
recent withdrawals or fee payments that you
are not aware of. Consequently, hold off on
making any big (or even midsize) purchases
today. There is no rush to get these things,
and the risk just isn't worth it.

Pisces
Right now, experimentation is the key to finding
a new formula for happiness in your life so
put on your lab coat and dust off your mental
microscope! You have to try out new ideas or
projects today, and urge yourself to step a bit


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Tuesday, November 28,







Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Excerpts Canon Flowers, Independence Sermon September 2006


-ME (Continued From Page 6)
land better than we found it.
What we can do:
1. "We must develop personal
responsibility and self esteem..
... We find it impossible to love
Belize or our opponents because
we do not love ourselves. We
belittle ourselves too much...
We find it difficult to praise and
honor each other as a gift and
self expression due to hatred,
fear and lack of the holy spirit
within us......EVEN among SOME
Church members.
...It seems unless the politician
affirms us we are nothing and
have no contribution to make
to build Belize...This nation
belongs to NO politician...This
nation is ours...Awake from
your slumber.... Belizeans... The
United Kingdom will help us...
but cannot and will not save us...
Only we as Belizeans can do that
with the help of God, by working
together.
2. All Belizeans need to honor
the value of work. We all need
to develop a positive work
ethic and culture. Employers
must also seek to treat their
employees with dignity and
respect. As they demand a fair
day's work for a fair days wage
from the domestic worker to
the CEO. Each worker must be
validated.


3. "Collectively this nation
needs healing. We need to seek
to forgive each other for the past
hurt in building this nation... Our
political leaders must remove
the personal attacks and find
common ground for the good
of our people, while religious
leaders must set the tone
and lead our people to God...
but more specifically call on our
members who are fanatical in
their politics to put God first and
to repent and not preach to their
aching ears...
4. "We need to become a
compassionate people, across
political, ethnic, social and
religious barriers. With 40% of
our people living in poverty,
there is much work to be done for
more of our citizens to enjoy
the fruits of an Independent
Belize. The Jesus of the Gospel
is truly the man for others.
He demonstrates throughout
his ministry the importance of
taking seriously the poor, the
marginalized, the suffering, the
hopeless, the homeless, the
broken, the unlettered, and
the despised. In other words,
the way compassion is not
simply a device for dealing
with the pain of the world, it
is more significantly the way of
Salvation for the world.
5. Cherish the children. "Too
many children have no sense of


identity. Fathers need to gather
their children to them, become
more responsible. Extended
family members need to play a
more positive role in the lives of
our children, rather than seeking
to undermine their children's
homes. Our children need to
grow up in secure, caring loving
environment where they are loved
and can be children."
6. Religious leaders must lead,
"not only show up in crisis,
but work daily to challenge and
change the society in breaking
the cycle of sin that is engulfing
our people and the way of life.
More importantly, the church
must remain the prophetic voice
of the Living God in practical,
loving caring ways as our Lord
himself did. Remember, He lived
under Roman domination. He
came to change men's hearts....
to live as God intended....WE
must therefore embody the
transforming presence of the
living Christ...
7. Educational/Textbook
reforms. "The church state
partnership has served this
nation faithfully in the past. The
church must be willing to be
transparent and open with the
public purse funds and willing
to become more accountable, as
we demand of the Government.
.. How sad that after 25 years
we still face a crisis with simple


text books causing so many
vulnerable children to drop out
of school or not to go to school
at all, or if they do, fail for
lack of materials that are so
basic and which we have control
over. .. Are our church schools
governed by the principles of
love, care, and forgiveness?
Why are so many of our poor
children disenfranchised by the
education system largely run
by churches? ..Why so many
of our children and parents
literally afraid of Principals /
Managers / Teachers?
The church partners, unions
and the Political directorate
need to come to the table today
and resolve the inadequacy
of the funding of secondary
education for Belize. There can
be no sacred cows with tax
payers money. Why are some
children treated more equal than
others? This is morally repugnant.
Each child has the same right to
education.
We owe it to Belize, and
to Our God, to meaningfully
address these problem before the
next school year.
8. Ethnic diversity "We must
seek to cherish and advance our
ethnic and cultural diversity...
We need not be afraid of any
ethnic group. This is the tapestry
that will make us strong and
proud. As a people and nation,
with common values and goals
to build a Belize where justice


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Costa Rica to Compete

For Regional Refinery


US-Guatemala

Deportations on Rise


The Minister of the
Environment and Energy,
Roberto Dobles, announced
that Costa Rica will compete
with Guatemala and Panama
in a bid to become the
headquarters for a regional
refinery that is worth some
us$7 billion dollars in
revenue.
Dobles said that the Costa
Rican proposal is to construct
the industrial centre in
Barranca, Puntarenas and
that is Costa Rican wins the
contest, construction could
start as early as 2008.
The minister explained
that the location is close to
the three area ports on the
Pacific and the Caribbean
ports can be accessed by a
oil pipe that already crosses
the country.
The refinery will be built of
900 hectares, refining Mexican
crude for export to California

Mexico gets

'parallel'

president
Andres Manuel L6pez
Obrador, the defeated
candidate in Mexico's
presidential elections,
has been "sworn in" as an
alternative president.
He wore a red-white-
and-green sash like those
of Mexico's presidents as
he told his supporters in
Mexico City on Monday that
his "legitimate government"
would work for the poor.
L6pez Obrador, a left-
winger, lost the presidential
election in July to Felipe
Calder6n, a conservative, by
less than one per cent and
contests the result.
"There are millions of
Mexicans who are not willing
to accept more abuses," he
said during the ceremony in
Zdcalo Square.
L6pez Obrador said of
Calderon in an interview in
La Jornada newspaper on
Monday: "He knows that
he didn't win, that he is
the product of an electoral
fraud. That can not give him
(Please Turn To Page 9) 1 E


as its main market. The project
is waiting on the decision of the
Mexican Institute of Petroleum
and the Mesoamerican Energy
Integration Program (PIEM, its
Spanish acronym) to give out
the contract for the refinery and
the selection of the country will
follow.
Costa Rica is one of 11
countries in the contest.
However, the strongest
candidates for the project are


The increase of deportations
from the United States brought
about concern in Guatemala
where 569 repatriates arrived
last week.
"An average of 400 people
are deported every week",
declared to Prensa Latina
Marta Altolaguirre, the
deputy foreign minister of
Immigration.
The foreign ministry also
revealed that some had been


living in the US for over 10
years without criminal records
and working permanently.
Early in this month
representatives of the Union of
Guatemalan Immigrants (UGE)
denounced to the Congress of
the Republic the existence of
a plan to repatriate about 30
thousand fellow citizens in a
short period of time.








'hTWiilW"M~it i iTVITVi- 7-I7'LIA,"IT I I'MII -.


B E (Continued From Page 1)
In addition, the Prime Minister
admonished the Commission to do
everything possible to afford any
Belizean "the opportunity to present
his or her views".
The Commission followed his
instructions. They held public
forums and published and distributed
booklets that were utilized to solicit
the views of the public on twenty
different issues.
Public consultations played a
major role in shaping the final
report; in many areas it reflected the
views of the citizens and set forth
specific reforms Belizean citizens
requested.
Mismanagement of public funds
and bloated contracts were key
concerns for the people. So was
the illegal voting by Guatemalans,
lack of accountability by politicians
and the need for those who steal the
people's money to be held criminally
responsible.
Contributions to political parties


Mexic

'parallel'

^ fl(Continue From Page 8)

peace of mind. No matter how
cynical he is, he can not feel
secure. Calderon is the lowly
servant of the white-collar
criminals."
Police barricades
Federal police have already
set up barricades around the
chamber of deputies to prevent
L6pez Obrador's supporters
from setting up new protest
camps before Calderon's
inauguration ceremony on
December 1.
Followers of L6pez Obrador's
Democratic Revolutionary
Party have threatened to
disrupt the ceremony, saying
that the election was won by
fraud and that the president-
elect "is undeserving of any
respect or consideration".
The launch of the opposition
government was timed to
coincide with the anniversary
of the 1910 Mexican revolution,
when Francisco Madero,


and election financing was such
a major issue the members of the
commission said legislation to limit
contributions MUST into effect
BEFORE the next general election
in 2003.
They didn't. And they still are not
law as we head towards the next
General Election in 2008.
While some of the more minor
recommendations were passed by
the National Assembly, by and large,
those which could have had the most
far reaching and meaningful changes,
were ignored by the PUP, and never
followed up on by the members of
the Opposition UDP.
Why? Because the leaders of the
parties have total power and they
want to keep it that way.
The spoils are indeed going to the
victors, and this practice is spoiling
the economy. As the Minister of
National Development, Mark Espat,
recently asked, "Why is Belize so
rich and our people poor?"
Much of the poverty, corruption


o gets

president

Emiliano Zapata and Pancho
Villa took up arms against
conservatives to found modern
Mexico.
The former mayor of
Mexico City has encouraged
supporters to donate to his
alternative administration on
his website.
Since Calder6n was
announced the winner, L6pez
Obrador and his supporters
have carried out a number
of demonstrations to protest
against the decision but much
of his support has faded since
the courts refused to overturn
the result.
A poll in the Reforma
newspaper on Monday
indicated that 56 per cent
of those questioned opposed
his decision to name himself
"legitimate president" while 19
per cent supported him.


and financial problems Belize is now
facing could have been prevented
if all the recommendations of the
Political Reform Commission had
been adopted.
But six years after the Political
Reform Commission presented its
recommendations, it will be hard to
convince party officials to pick up the
document and look at it again.
There are those who cringe when
they think of laws that would make
them criminally responsible for their
acts. They want prison for the poor
but not for themselves. They seem to
lack the courage to stand up for what
is right and have used the ineffective
laws to loot the Country.
What the people want doesn't
seem to matter. Greed continues to
control their actions.
And what of Prime Minister Musa's
initial enthusiasm after he reviewed
the Commission's Recommendations
back in 2000?
Has his loyalty to his inner circle
overshadowed and obliterated any
The various ant


g gf(Continued From Page 5)
This is a Central American
Integration System (SICA)
Secretariat initiative. I have
not read the document yet, but
strongly suspect that, while
some members of the Musa
Government have cause for
concern, this too is toothless.
But with Belize set to take the
Chairmanship of SICA shortly
again, it would have been
difficult not to sign.
Finally, we take a quick look
at The United Nations's Anti-
Corruption Convention which
Belize's government has been
dragging its feet in signing.
"The Convention was adopted
by the General Assembly
of the United Nations on
31 October 2003 at United
Nations Headquarters in New
York. It shall be open to all
States for signature from 9 to
11 December 2003 in Merida,
Mexico, and thereafter at
United Nations Headquarters
in New York until 9 December
2005, in accordance with
article 67 (1) of the Convention.
The Convention shall also
be open for signature by
regional economic integration
organizations provided that
at least one member State of
such organization has signed
this Convention in accordance
with its article 67 (2)."
So far, the Government of
Belize has excused itself from
signing this convention. Has
the window closed on the
Musa government to become


love he may have had for Belize and
its citizens?
We can only speculate as to what
went wrong. But it is the view of
this contributor to the Independent
Reformer that without legislation
on campaign contributions before
the next general election, a fair and
honest election cannot be held in
Belize.
Future articles will analyze and
report on the Recommendations of
the Political Reform Commission,
tackling not only the issue of
corruption and accountability, but also
excessive centralization of powers,
regulation of campaign financing,
the House and Senate as a rubber
stamp, dictatorship of the Cabinet,
making the system work for the poor,
protecting the rights of citizens to a
basic education, decreasing official
waste and considering the Village
Council Act and the rights being
denied to the Village Councils and
Thank you for
reading this edition
of the INdependent




a signatory? Perhaps. The
missed opportunity, some
might say, was deliberate and
calculated.
The best comparative analysis
that clearly delineates the
differences among the various
anti-corruption conventions
can be found at http://www.
u4.no/themes/conventions/
convpoliticalcorruption.cfm
But what exactly are they,
these various anti-corruption
conventions? According to
Transparency International...
"Anti-corruption conventions
are written international
agreements signed by state
parties [Governments] which
establish international
frameworks of agreed rules
and standards for countering
corruption, in addition to
serving as an expression of high
level political commitment.
These conventions are
intended to produce better
policies and practices in and
among member states in
the prevention, detection,
investigation, and sanctioning
of acts of corruption."
If this is what they are,
who can blame the Musa
Government for not wanting
to sign on to the UN's version?
He has nothing really to gain
at home, since the natives
are no longer restless and
nothing to gain abroad, after
the showtime signing of the
Inter American Convention
at the 2001 OAS General
Assembly.


Page


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Is there more t


There are at least two aspects to
the recent missing passport fiasco
since retired Police Commissioner
Zetina took over as Immigration
Director. On the one hand, we have
the pesky political fundraiser issue
and the other that is not so obvious.
In focusing on the other angle, we
have to look at the Zetina timeframe
because it coincides with a rather
public USA Federal Government
initiative that GOB (driven by Mr.
Results) signed on to.
It was called the machine readable
passport initiative.
The USA, post-9/11/01, clamored
to get better information on people
traveling to and thru the USA. So
it convinced as many countries as
it could to imbed in its passports
information that US INS/HS
equipment could read.
They offered equipment
& training to these
countries who "expressed
an interest" in cooperating
and to fund the transition.
The equipment sits in
boxes, the new passports
received, and the training
remains spotty.
Now a few countries,
including Belize,
which hadn't already
had the machine
readable passports, began
to waiver and basically
backed off the initial
agreement realizing that
many of its nationals
whose background were
suspect would be targeted
and they couldn't have
that.
Now, it is well
established fact that
a sizable number of
prominent as well as
not-so-prominent [but
well heeled all the same]
Belizeans "haven't
traveled outside Belize"
for a very long time.
Some of them cannot get
a USA visa or have had
it revoked, or in a few
instances have the visa
but know what awaits
them in Miami. To travel
anywhere outside the
SICA countries and Cuba,
most Belizeans have to
first "transit" the USA...
unless you own and/or
control your own little
airline company.
Given the heightened
alerts on travel since 9-
11, the USA would love
to have the opportunity
to converse with a few
people a little more more,
including some of our
well-heeled Belizeans.
Therefore, if Belize


I


o the Perpetually Missing Passport Reports?
were to rush to comply with the of troubles. international relations are not the
USA's machine readable passport You may have noticed that strong suit of our media houses, so
initiative, many in Belize who travel Belizean Embassies are no longer the public cannot rely on them to get
frequently to the Middle & Far East issuing new passports as was the the sense. And, those officials only
could come under a lot of scrutiny, practice, pre-9/11. They will only answer the questions they are
As well, many outgoing officials may stamp in renewal/extensions on the asked and offer no new meaningful
come under a lot of scrutiny after the validity of an old passport. If you information... for national security
next general elections. These pesky live in London, for example, and purposes, of course. Meanwhile
little machine readable things would your passport is fully used and needs US Embassy is mum on what must be
leave a telltale trail. replacement, sorry, you get one from a super-sensitive bilateral issue.
So, my argument is that GOB is Belize. Visit one website to verify: Finally, you will note the comment
stone-walling the implementation www.embassyofbelize.org. made by no less than Belize's highly
of the machine readable passports The disappearance of Belizean honorable Foreign Minister on
and seeking to justify this delay by passports from immigration offices the matter: No terrorists have our
pointing out that those machines is just another of those high-end [missing and presumed stolen]
are not secure. Two were found in games that usually escapes the passports... or words to that effect.
use in China, as Zetina was quick to general public and the local media's Cleverly chosen words. (See www.
point out. If they can be altered then attention. The government can't lovefm.com for Friday, September
they must not be effective as a USA explain it all to you publicly, you see, 30, 2006, for the exact quote.) His
security tool. In other words, we'd or America might get upset. So you statements were meant for Foggy
love to help you but this thing is just have to read between the lines. Bottom and not for you, Belize.
not secure and is causing us no end Sadly,foreign affairs and This is just analysis, mind you.






Tuesday, November 28, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page


Social Page


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II meets Belize new High Commissioner to the UK,
H.E. Lawrence Sylvester and his wife Pauline.


Father Dorrick Wright has been named by Pope Benedict XVI to replace
Bishop O.P Martin as Bishop of the
Roman Catholic Church who retires
later this year
(Photo courtesy Manolo Romero)
"Free Stay In Belize"
-in (Continue From Page 1)
time they WISH unless
government now sits up and
listens to their complaints.
The other pure plus for the
industry is the huge amount
of publicity it is engendering
aboard with world wide write
ups, which include newspaper
coverage in Seattle and
Washington and at least one
international business TV
team coming to cover the
four day event 'The 'strike'
could in itself also turn out
to be one of the most potent
and far reaching
promotion campaigns ever
carried out in Belize.


If you haven't checked it
out as yet, then chances


are that you might be
missing out.
We therefore encourage
you to log onto














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