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: December 12, 2006
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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The Village Council Act was adopted
by the Legislature on the 28th day of
January 2000. The purpose of the act
was to empower the Villages and give
them the autonomy to enable them to
conduct their own affairs.
The Prime Minister, the Hon. Said
Musa, presented the act to the villagers.
He held up a copy of the act and spoke
of the struggle that he had with the other
Ministers in having Village Council Act
passed to become law.
But the Villagers were to learn that
the struggle was just beginning.
There were Ministers that coveted the
powerthat belonged to them. Theywere
to learn that instead of gaining power,
the Villages would be stripped of
authority that had always been
recognized as theirs.
The act provided the Villages with the
right to draft and have approved
Legislation thatwas necessary to govern
them. Yet none of the Villages have been
able to take advantage of the act. There
were Ministers who, like piranhas,
devoured the Villagers' rights.


By: Judy Duplcy
Directac, B3 e Htel Asaociaticn

Why would 34 hotels throughout the
country ofBelize offer free rooms to guests
for 4 nights in December? Maybe
because, after a bad "off-season", they
wantedto prove that Belize is just as great
during this time as it is when it is busy? In
fact, some people like it better when it is
not crowded and they have Maya sites,
caves, rivers, trails and coastal activities
virtually to themselves.
From December 3-7, nearly 100
people enjoyed fme rooms and one of
them,Yvonne Rose, a US citizen, was the
winner ofa US$1,000.00 BankAccount
donated by Atlantic Bank. We didn't get
a photo ofYvonne, because she had gone
from Cayo's Crystal Paradise Resort to
Caye Caulkerwhen the drawing was held
on December 6, but Efren Perez from the
BTIA office tracked her down and her


Pursuant to the act, the Village of
Placencia proceeded to have their By-
Laws and the Legislation that was
necessary to carry out the functions of
the Village prepared. So that everything
would be proper in form they employed
an eminent attorney to assist them.
The completed legislation was
forwarded to the Human Development
Office for its approval. The office gave
its approval and forward the proposed
legislation to the Solicitor General's
Office, for him to place the Legislation
before the legislators for its final
approval.
The proposed legislation rested on
the Solicitor General's desk for two (2)
years,without further action. In the
meantime, there were many aspects of
the affairs of the Villages that were
causing problems. Among the problem
were, lack of building restrictions.
People were building up to property
lines without proper set backs for light
and air. There was the inability to raise
funds necessary to conduct Village
affairs, licenses were granted without the
Villages approval.
The Village's Legislation that had been
approved by the Human Development


prize will be awarded to her in New York
next week. He also did an outstanding
job of keeping the website up to date
and the information flow going.
The general consensus of the people
who were lucky enough to take advantage
of the free rooms is that Belize is a great
place to visit and they will tell their friends
about it. Some of them said that they
wouldn't have thought of coming here but
were very happy hey did. And we all know
what our best advertising is work of
mouth.
Belize'sAdvertisingAgency, RFCP did
a great ob of getting the word out on this
program and it received publicity from
several major US newspapers, radio
stations and websites.
Dani Pop from the BTIA office did a
great job of creating an instant website
where people could log on and make their
own reservations.
A lot of people were skeptical about


Office remained on the Solicitor
General's desk. It stayed there in spite
of the PUP's promise in their 1998
Manifesto that, provided: "a Village
Council Act will be passed taking into
full account the proposals of the
Villagers. Ministerial power over all
these bodies will be phased out".


our really offering free rooms and thought
it was some sort of scam. Ms. Rose and
a lot of other people can assure you that
itwasn't.
Our overnighttourism business is shaky
at the moment and our occupancy isthe
lowest in the Caribbean. A few of the
reasons could be:
The cruise industry is a deterrent to
eco-tourists who respect the environment
and culture, spend time learning about
places they visit and appreciate where
they are. These folks, along with alot of
people in the overnighttourism industry,
believe in truth in advertising and don't
think that we can court massive cruise
ships and present ourselves as an eco
destination at the same time.
Crime scares people away. People
who read before they come wonder why
the private sector had to provide reward
money and equipment for recently
(Please Turn To Page 13) *E


Nothing has been phased out.
The UDP had responded in their
1998 Manifesto that "The new UDP
Government Rape of a Village will
introduce Legislation for a Village
Council Act to provide autonomy to
Villages".
(Please Turn To Page 13) *E


Inside this Issue

Bend presented to
National Assembly
Pg. 3


TOD little, t late



Dcn't destcy the
bedrock
Pg. 5


Total Madness



Crime and the
Beizean Society
Pg. 8


(Photo courtesy Destination Belize)


I OR


By -c)ial CmYespaitnt







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


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- aiIodEneprs









P0. Box 666
Belize C.A. 0


Hard to swallow

Madam Editor,
I had a little difficulty
swallowing Meb Cutlack's Shrimp
Scampi. He opened his piece by
cursing a proposed GOB decision
to ease the tax pressure on the
shrimp industry as "the most
extraordinary crony deal yet
devised." Yet, in the third paragraph
of his article he states that this tax
relief is coming "at a time when the
international shrimp market has
been hit by an unprecedented glut
of Asian shrimp which has lowered
the price of shrimp internationally
to less than the price of chicken in
many countries!"
In the fourth paragraph Mr.
Cutlack concluded that there is no
way Belize "can possibly compete
with the rising Asian shrimp
industry."
Indeed, Madam Editor, can we
compete with Asia with anything?
If we follow Cutlack's logic we
should have closed down the citrus
industry when Florida and Brazil
had us squeezed these last two
decades. And we should have
closed down the sugar industry a
long time ago too. Please, what is
to become of us?
I got the sense from the article
that the author has a strong bias for
tourism. I also got the sense that
he has a problem with mega
projects (which I share), and that
the scale of tax relief for shrimps
is the real bug. On the latter matter
he would have had to do more
research, punch in numbers to
justify condemnation of the
government's PROTECTION.
The reality is that our government
must do what it has to do to protect


FYES 1


Send me


Belizean agro-industries and
manufacturing. It did not do enough
for citrus during the hard times. It
is not doing enough for sugar in
these hard times. Maybe it is not
doing enough for banana, yes, and
tourism at this time. I will not
condemn it if it does enough for
shrimp to help us weather this
storm.
In respect to mega projects, Jim
Hyde, one of the pioneers of the
shrimp industry, was a firm
believer that Belizeans should
participate in the shrimp and fish
farm industries, not only as
workers, BUT AS OWNERS OF
SMALL FARMS. He felt that such
farms are not only financially
viable, but that they are important
for our social structure. I am
certain the farm models he
designed and advocated are on
files.
Finally, there is a certain irony
to the present shrimp situation. Mr.
Cutlack noted in paragraph four of
his article that the Asian glut "has
lowered the price of shrimp
internationally to less than the price
of chicken in many countries!" I
was told that Keith Jackson, who
brought his money from Texas (?)
to start the shrimp industry in
Belize, dreamed that shrimp would
one day compete with chicken for
Sunday dinner!
Respect,
Colin Hyde

Missed a good speech

Madam Editor,
Thanks for the tone and quality
of information in your newspaper.
I especially like your news stories
on what hoteliers are doing to fight


a crooked government, and,
government's complete tax
giveaways to the shrimp industry.
Those stories may well have played
in other papers. I don't think so. But
no one is reporting that essential
information.
You did not carry Dean Barrow's
speech to the Better Business
Bureau, probably because you
didn't receive it.
However the Guardian reprinted
a copy and I was impress with the
Opposition Leader's first call for
reform: The right of the people to
recall a minister or Government if
they determined they have been lied
to or they need to stop an ongoing
situation like these Pirates Using
Politics (PUP) to loot the Belizean
ship of state.
I have been screaming for that
reform from down in P.G (which
is out of the loop) because that
truly ensures that power stays in the
hands of the people.
The right of the people to recall
a minister or Government for
cause-either for promising what
can't be delivered just to win an
election, or, once in office, doing
what the politicians wants because
they rule by right for five years-
is an essential way we the people
can control the people we elect to
government. For that reason I urge
you to reprint Mr. Barrow's speech.
... .you will realize that the PUP
has built a masterful
misinformation system that the
UDP, for some reason, has not
really responded to. So you see the
INdependent is truly needed!

C. Eddie Edmondson
Punta Gorda
(Please Turn To Page 14) N --


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as BZS30.00 (US$30.00 international)


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Belize


App roval
The Government ofBelize announced Assembl
thatitwill seekthe approval oftheBelizean preceded
National Assembly forthefinancial teams of consultai
an offer to exchange most categories of advisers
Belize?s outstanding extemal commercial financial
indebtedness fornewU.S.DollarBonds (the sought a
?New Bonds?). If approved by theNational forecasts
Assembly, the exchange offerwill beformally Intematic
launchedlaterthismonth. Belize'sn
The decision to seek the National andtake;


Naticnal Assembly


fcr


ly's approval for these terms was
d by four months of intensive
tions by Belize and its financial
with the affected creditors. The
terms forwhich approval is being
re based on economic data and
that have been published by the
onal Monetary Fund as part of
mostrecentAticlelVConsultation,
account of the views expressed by


ExchangE
creditors during the period of consultations.
The creditor consultations were very
helpful to us in defining the terms forwhich
parliamentary approval is nowbeing sought,
said Mark Espat, Minister of National
Development ofBelize.Aconsensus seemed
to form around the maturity date oftheNew
Bond (twenty-two years), as well as on the
desirability of preserving principal at the
aggregate level. The most debatedissuewas


Of far


the proper coupon structure of the New
Bonds. Some creditors proposed total debt
service holiday in the early years, followed
by an immediate jump back to very high
fixed coupons. Others advised a more
gradual, step-up coupon structure, consistent
with Belize's proj ected capacity to pay.
We concluded that Belize can afford to
make some coupon payments, even in the
(Please Turn To Page 15) *M '


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 4


Too little, too late


Karla Heusner Vernon

Finally, there is somethingworth reading
intheBelize Times. WhetherornotGodfrey
Smith's column "Flashpoinf' is actually a
reflection ofPUP insider thinking orjust a
good gimmickto pull in readers is not yet
clear, but the first two installments have
certainly beenthoughtprovoking.
Frankly, many ofus could care less ifthere
is a wall atthe tourism village or not; most
Belizeansaremoreinterestedinttyingtokeep
thieves out of their own homes and shops,
not dividing up the money pie at the Fort.
But I have to admit I did enjoy Smith's
reference toPink Floyd's song "The Wall,"
even though it dates a great many ofus since
the youngerfolks aren't tuned in to the type
of music we enj oyed as teens.
It was a great metaphor forwhatthe inner
sanctum ofthis country's political partiestend
to do: erectbarriers,brickbybrick,toinsulate
themselves from the real world. I know, I
know, he didn'tmean itthatway, that'sjust
howIreadit. The beauty ofwritingisthatit's
often subjecttointerpretation.
I suppose the very last brick of that wall
was placedthisweekwhen Smithwrotethat
he believes Ralph Fonseca should not run
again forthe sake ofthe party. Hmmm, now


that is novel thought. We must have been
mistaken when we thought that was what
MarkEspatwas sayingwhenhecalledhim
"Chief Crony" inpublic. Andexcusemeif
I am wrong but wasn't that what the
cabinet revoltwas all about all those months
ago? Godfrey Smith would have
remembered that and referred to it,
wouldn't he? After all, wasn'the apart of


health care system run brokebytheFonseca/
Musa administration, MarkEspat is outthere
tryingtogetthe creditors offthe country'sback
aftertheFonseca/Musaadministrationmaxed
out the credit cards and gotus billions in debt,
Johnny Briceno istryingto cleanup the mess
theFonseca/Musa administration gotthe real
estate marketinto and sortoutthe duplications
of land grants and titles and leases listed to


thatlitdleparty?Atleast, inthebeginning. To
give him the benefit of the doubt, let's
suppose his is a strategy of reform, reform
from the inside. Why, he is so effective he
can now call forRalph's head right from
the pages of the party's own newspaper.
That's really something. Talkaboutfreedom
ofthe press!
Let's track downthe rest ofthe G-7 now,
shall we? Eamon Courtenay is now head
ofForeignAffairs and trying to repair the
damage to Belize'simage abroad done by
the Fonseca/Musa administration, Jose
Coye is trying to piece backtogether the


multiple owners. Cordel Hyde? Well, not sure
what he's up to these days, but we can't wait
to hear all about it. Unfortunately, Ican't quite
remember the name of the other member of
the 7-ohyes, Servulo Baeza! Hmm, is he
still ingovemment?
As interesting as all the speculation-and
gossip- is about whether or not Ralph
Fonsecawill run again, is running Ralph out
on a rail going to be enough to put the PUP
back on track with the voters, dig Belize out
of debt, smooth overthe scandals, or raise the
PrimeMinister'sratings?
Its not new forFonseca nottorun for office


but end up with choice ministries anyway.
Why shouldthistimebeany different? Why
shouldBelizeans have any reasontobelieve
hewill not simply sitoutthe election andthen
sit backin Cabinet once more?
Sofar, Belizeans aren'tbuyingit, anymore
than they believe pumping money into
Universal Health Services is going to
guarantee universal health coverage for all,
orthat THIS timetheNHIreally IS goingto
"Roll ouf' on the southside or northside or
Toledo side or any side at all. Next to the
Orange Walk By-pass, NHI roll outs are
probably among the longest standing
campaignpromises ever!
We did,fin&ay,gelby-laSSrbudfe ngforit
inaboutl0orl2buder.adin .isomybe...stranger
timgshavehapp~ned
But we're sorry, Mr. Smith, askingRalph
Fonseca not to run is way, way over due to
do the PUP any good. As for the nice little
wall you'vebuilt aroundyourselves, well, any
real engineer could tell you its got so many
cracks in it any little tremor, even offshore, is
likely to bring it down around your ears.
FormanyfBelizeans, the only actions that
could save the PUP isifboth party leaders
were to announce they would not contest
the next General Election, have the party
chose a new leader and give the country the
assurances neither Fonseca, nor Musa,
would be given seats in Cabinets, or any
portfolios at all.
Shortofsuchdrasticchange, anything else
istoolittle,toolate.


Manf! Vic izatlop ? AB e, izeedak'L 7/7doof th e CQodS....4 7/ ) v 4 7), ee
go speak Up M017 f/


.is n Raih at n a rail

gcirgto be erh to put the JP

back n tack wLth the wtrs..0*







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 5



Don't destroy the bedrock


By Meb Cutlack


The bedrock, upon which the entire
tourism in Belize is built and based, is
the environment: the Barrier reef, the
country's rivers, beaches, streams, wild
life and the hundreds of varieties of flora
- ranging from the tiny black orchid to
the magnificent mahogany and giant
Guanacaste trees and, as important as
any of the above, Belize's extraordinary
Mayan past.
All of the above mentioned treasures
of Belize are now under some sort of
siege from recent government policies.
The bedrock upon which so much of
our tourism is based is being deliberately
chipped away by projects such as
Chalillo, the Ara Macao project and,
most dramatically, by the entire cruise
ship industry.
Ruined rivers (some of which now
carry lead and other poisons) don't
bring visitors. Vanished forests,
despoiled Mayan cave networks and
eroded beaches don't bring visitors.
Instead, cruise ship tourists, who gape
but don't buy chase away overnight
and long stay visitors.
The same long stay visitors, are the
true breadwinners for Belize and
Belizeans. Their money does not just
slip into a bottomless ar labled 'General
Revenue' for our prolific government to
waste as It sees fit. 'Long stay' money
spreads like a bountiful tide across the


country touching small lodges and
restaurants, guide services, taxi drivers
-in city and districts and yes, hair
braiders too.
Long stay visitors come in dignity and
often with a deep interest in Belize and
Belizeans. Cruise ship tourists, more


likely than not, see Belize asjust another
grubby port city where they are warned
not to eat or to drink the water.
One of the cruise ship companies
even displays a poster depicting a
person with bloody facial wounds and
carrying a warning about Belize.
One day our grandchildren and their
children will ask: "What happened to
Belize? Didn't it used to be a beautiful
unsploilt country with great forests,
mighty rivers, wildlife, precious coral
islands and beaches?


They will only see giant projects
managed from abroad, huge tourism
enterprises locking thousands of "new
tourists" into stategic compounds safe
from local contamination except for a
very few local staff struggling to survive
against imported labour sanctioned by
some crooked minister or another.
These enterprises are like beached


cruise ships,which already exist in
Mexico. Without exception they are
owned from abroad or "offshore" and
that's where the profits flow- offshore.
A Belize Hotel Association board
member recently likened cruise ships
tourism to a Trojan horse -a trick the
ancient Greeks employed by hauling a
huge wooden horse into the forecourt
of the castle of the Trojans. It was
offered as a gift with barrels of wine and
other goodies.
The wise men among them suspected


Fbr an cnline version of the

INdependent Reformer

visit ius a

http: //www .bl iz=rrth.cn/ I

independent eformer .htm I

OR

Shttp://belizews.crna/ I

independentanline .pf





Visit The


Belize Zoo


We Belizeans Against the Dam


0ATLT.TO DEM is still a LIE


icr electricity bills hae skyckete
Ih fish are rEt safe to eat
The JMacal River locks and sells bad
W e dcn' t knew how safe the M Jcal River waterr B-
to cdrk cr to sAim in.
W e still don't k-rwhAt to cb if t-reis

a dam break emergency.


Fbrtis/BS L failed to keep their

prmises cn the Chalillo DIm.
On Vaca anm, estimated ccst of BI$50 million!!

they are rot mrakrg prmies (crly profits)


a trick and warned against accepting the
gift, but no one listened, and the horse
and gifts were duly hauled into their
fortress. The Trojans merrily drank the
wine in celebration as they considered
the horse, the wine and the whole affair,
a surrender by the Greeks.
It wasn't. When night fell, and all
were "in a drunken stupor", the Greek
soldiers hidden in the horse came out
and sacked the city of Troy.
Hence the expression, "Never trust
a GreekBearing gifts"! Well, translated
into modem terms, relating to Belize, that
means don't trust the lavish promises
made by huge foreign enterprises.
Check out what has happened with
BEL, with BTL and, what is still
happening, with our disputed water
company.
Conversely, labeling
environmentalists and "greens" as some
type of Enemies of the State is a
deliberate ploy by the friends of big
business to lull Belizeans into accepting
their Trojan horses labelled "Ara
Macao", "BEL", "BTL" and "cruise
ship tourism" through the gates of
unspoilt Belize.
A single terrorist attack on a
cruise ship could sink the whole
cruise ship industry and a huge
chunk Of Belizeans resources and
debt, which are sunk into it, along
with the industry.
Think about it!







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


In


nitv


By Chet Schmidt

What helps to rally and unite people
in need? One thing is a plan to satisfy
their needs. Who are the people in
need? In the Toledo District everyone
except the very rich are in need. The
poor obviously need gainful
employment. The middle class need
security and income to maintain their
wealth. When the poor are desperate
they resort to stealing from those who
have.
The middle class often have
borrowed to develop their land and
businesses. If they can not make the
money they need to pay their loans
they can lose what they have. Both
the poor and wealthy can succumb to
the temptation to drugs and alcohol.
So the plan must be for everyone, the
rich and the poor. Aplan that everyone
can identify with. Aplan that they can
see will help them. Is that all that's
needed to rally the majority of the
people? Yes, but to get the support
of all the people no!
The fact is there is a small number
of very rich and powerful individuals
and groups who are not interested in
truly changing the situation. They are
battling to safeguard their power and
profits by opposing change. Right
now in Toledo and the rest of Belize
there seems to be a stand-off between
the concerns of 90% of the population
and the prerogatives of the
corporations, the heads of our
government, the wealthy elites who
benefit from things as they are. They
do not want positive change for the
people. Ironically, the "Peace" Corps
and other volunteers are supporting
them.
Some of our top political rulers
understand implicitly that their system
is established to suit the needs of the
few, not the many, and that the people
cannot therefore ever be permitted to
question and alter their rule. They will
propose and fund projects doomed
to failure, but not those that will
succeed.
Our government and those non
government organizations who work
so well with them, have worked
incessantly to see that important issues
like the Toledo People's Eco Park are
never publicly debated, or allowed a
chance. The poverty forums, the
many meetings and seminars, and the
most recent, Toledo.
Strategy and Action Plan 2006-
2009 clearly shows This- the
lawyers call it"proof by omission."
The Ministry of Economic
Development has been forced to
admit that the results of their previous
projects have been "disappointing"
and the level of disappointment has
reached a point where residents are
wary of development projects and
external aid, that come in the same


there is strength

states, "a conscious attempt was
made not to focus on the negative
packages. features of the prevailing environment
The obvious question is then, if our in the Toledo District". Why does
government truly believes this, why government not want to focus on the
did they not support the Memorandum negative reasons for the previous
of Understanding in support of The projects failures and for our growing
Toledo People's Eco Park Plan signed poverty? Because they don't want
by leaders from across the board in radical change in the fallacious theory
Toledo? It was designed by and for that guides their policies--that one can
the people of Toledo, using the reach the poor by expanding a
democratic participatory planning process controlled by the rich.
process. Belize's official aid diagnoses is the
The present Minister ofEconomic poor are poor because they
Development has stated in the lackcertain things, credit, good roads,
forward to the "new" strategy plan, better seeds, etcetera. But what the
that, "there is no better recipe for poor really lack is power, power to
success than a government that secure what they need. Our
coordinates and plans, then uses the government policies focus on the lack
plans to guide investments". The truth of materials. Their focus should be on
is the "best recipe" for a truly free and the lack of power. Therein lies the
participatory democratic government, fundamental difference. Some of our
is when the government listens to the government leaders have made a big
plans that the people design and name & money calling for "power to
develop, and then helps to coordinate the people". But today you have to
and find investment for them! When address them as "Your Excellency"
our present system begins to walk their while the "poorest of the poor" are
talk, when they abandon dishonestPR worse off then ever before.
and buying elections, permits a The Memorandum of
representative media and is Understanding in support of the
comfortable establishing a genuinely further development of theToledo
equalitarian participatory democracy People's Eco Park Plan was signed
because it no longer fears the power on September 12th 2003 by
ofthe many, then Belize will shine and representatives of all the
be truly free. democratically elected leaders of
Neo liberalism is the defining Toledo District. The major
political economic paradigm in Belize conservation and development
today. organizations, The Toledo Civil
It refers to the policies and Society andothergroupssigned. The
processes where by a relative handful USA Peace Corps, seeing this
of private interests are permitted to consensus, later signed.
control as much as possible of social Although two acting heads of the
life in orderto maximizetheirpersonal Ministry of Economic Development
profit. were personally presented with the
President Hugo Chavez of Toledo People's Eco Park Plan
Venezuela held up a book at the Memorandum of Understanding and
United Nations that tells more about project description and plans, they
this. refused to support the peoples
Our government leaders' speeches request for the further development of
sound as if they are doing poor the plan. When pressed,one PUP
people, the environment, and government representative said.
everybody else a tremendous service "Look if we allow you to try your pilot
as they enact policies on behalf of the proj ect in three or four villages and
wealthy few. The economic PG Town as you want, and it is
consequences of these policies have successful everyone will want to do it
been the same. A massive increase in and there will be no stopping them".
social and economic inequality, a huge The government has been very
public debt, a marked increase in successful in supporting projects
severe deprivation for the poorest of designed in London, Washington,
our people.
The 2002 poverty assessments
indicated that 79% of the people of
Toledo are poor and 56% are very Com i1
poor or indigent. Although well over
61 million dollars in foreign aid has Suggestiol
been allocated to the district since
1978. (note: this does not include to share yo
governments counter part funds.) the
people of Toledo are poorer now then Em ail
ever before.
In the foreword to the Strategy and
Action Plan for 2006-2009, the I pen. s
Minister of Economic Development


Belmopan or elsewhere which have
failed miserably.
Sometimes the same consultants
have been used-locally we call them
"consultants for failure". However
they will not support a program
designed by the people of Toledo.
Today they have another project
financed by European Union, The
Belize Rural Development Project, to
the tune of millions more. It is very
similar to the previous failed projects.
How can the government Ministers
and these funders be so blind? Who
doesn't know that it is unreasonable
to expect different results when
continually trying the same methods?
These Ministers, banks, and the
NGOs they fund, have made a lot of
money. If they truly wanted different
results, they would surely try different
approaches. Any good
businessperson knows they will
quickly go out of business if they
continue to waste their capital. The
people of Toledo are not as ignorant
as our government and the funders
want to believe.
The current Minister of Economic
Development for the rich, is correct
when he writes, "a spirit of
consultation fatigue prevails in Toledo
District".
The level of disappointment has
reached the point where residents of
the District are wary of development
projects and external aid. Why
then doesn't our government
give the peoples plan a chance?
Some who don't know about
what we Belizean's have
traditionally called
"victimization", may ask why
the leaders and respected civic
leaders who signed as
witnesses, the head of our
Justices of the Peace, and
another JP who was awarded
The Order of the British
Empire, and the many ordinary
citizens who appreciated their
standing up to the plate and
asking that the people's plan be
given a fair chance don't
protest?
The simple answer, is because of
our legitimate fear of those more
powerful in this little-changed, post
colonial, hierarchal, often quasi feudal
political and social structure.
But we can longer afford to be
afraid. "More power to the People of
Belize".



Lents?

is?or want

ur thoughts

I us at

maper. b2(L maiL com







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


Total madness

By: Tr~~r Verncn


Last weekthis
newspaper ran a
cartoon (see
December 5,
2006 issue)
which I believe
captures the
essence of a
fundamental
of government we D/iiletm ay
sheep, we adopted it, never
contemplating the camel trading that
was to come, or the politicians that
would arrive on the scene, with egos
and complexes to rival that of
Napoleon with Jack Palance's face.
Something is fundamentally flawed
with our "Parliamentary Democracy
that is based on the Westminster
Model". We all learned about that
idealistic government model, some us
at StMary's Primary back in the early
1970's. It was the royal ideal for us
natives.
But, somewhere along the line, the
royal ideal was contaminated. We are
left now with a system totally out of
step with the optimistic perceptions
that have the Belizean people electing
and re-electing two political parties
that enrich not the country, but
themselves.
Where are the Englishmen who
taught us right from wrong? All we
get now is their snotty rich offspring
pillaging what their own fathers tried
to create, and leave as their legacy.
Many in Belize, particularly the
older generation still revere that
legacy. I was out distributing this
paper's first issue a couple weeks ago
and approached an "ageable" lady. At
first, she was reluctant to take a free
copy of the IN so I had to convince
her. In a flash of insight, I blurted out,
"We have a great picture of the Queen
with a local man presenting
credentials!' The lady melted: "Is she
still alive?" Oh, e luk good! Mek a
read it, man". How incredible, that
we have forgotten that there is still a
Queen and that she is still our titular
head of state.
Now I am not a constitutional law
expert, nor have I consulted one. This
is a layman's commentary on the sad
state of affairs that exists in this, our
country, today. It's a slightly different
take, so stay with me.
I believe that the judiciary needs
to be much more independent, in both
public perception and reality. Way,
way, way more so. Hire some
constitutional experts to amend the
constitution to give teeth to the
guarantees of the total independence
of this branch of government. But do
SOMETHING! I used to think that
busting up the old boys' club would
do it but these days I am not so sure.
I used to think that we should change


the system to admit anyone and
everyone with a degree and
experience in the courts should be
admitted. Some still think this would
make a huge difference.
Back in the upper Standards at St.
Mary's, I was blessed with great
teachers and they hammered this
parliamentary democracy thing in my
head. When the other branches can
run roughshod over the Judiciary like
they did during the recent BTLAGM
meeting, I get real nervous. I feel
altogether hopeless when the
constitutional opposition appears to be
on board with the bastardization of our
"parliamentary democracy based of
the Westiminster Model".
This malignant condition however is


CHUC


wwk 1


week


week 4


Uniclainri. JNo


not without remedy; but, the solution
must be multifaceted in its approach.
Additionally, I think the constitutional
reform must also provide for elections
within the judicial branch itself and
extended to include an elected police
chief, free from Minister's whims &
fancies; elected judges free from the
Legal Adviser's whims and fancies;
elected magistrates, free from theAG's
arrogance; elected DPP free from
overbearing influences, and an elected
Registrar General to give that office
total freedom from extra-judicial
pressures. Elect them all and provide
budgets for each office, each with
constitutional guarantees and
adequate comforts to provide real
protection to the rule of law.
In seeking to right what many
Belizeans are seeing as a betrayal by
those who are currently elected to
office, it seems reasonable that we
should focus on separation of powers
among the judiciary, the legislative,


and the executive branches of
government. Of the three branches, it
appears the Judiciary needs to be the
most separate from the other two. The
judiciary must be given even more
constitutional protection to be
able to isolate itself from the
other two highly politicized
sectors in this triad. And the
way to make the judiciary more
independent rests not only with
the charades and pretenses of
superficial change. Somehow, some
way, we must alter the facade of the
constitutional structure of this
inherited Westminster modeled
parliamentary democracy to ensure
that we are truly democratic and as
free as possible from egomaniac
influences, and unscrupulous
individuals, who continue to crucify
her with an expired mandate from the
people.
Wake up Belize and take the camel
by the hump.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


CkIMIE ANID BELIZIEAN SOCIETYY


By Richard Hulse


This is not an article which has been
writtento examine the root cause of crime,
but a hint ofthat will be provided as well.
There is no doubt that a demographic
area, where a person resides, assists in
the shaping of his character, but again one
cannot underscore the fact too that while
schools serve to educate, there are
delinquent student mentors who are at
these institutions of learning assisting to
miseducate anyone who has an inclination
to do so. One of my friends was raising
his children in the inner city, but after he
moved away to a more appropriate
residential area, the change in his children
was so dramatic and so thorough, it is hard
to believe and would also take a lot of
time to explain. There is no secret to the
dramatic change, because living in certain
demographic areas is like living in a
vacuum. In certain of these areas some
youths are forced to become gang
members for their own protection,
otherwise they may be the targets of abuse
for their own neighbourhood. They may
not have more friends either, if they are
not attending school. In short they will be
like an outsider in their own
neighbourhood.
It seems too that many of the killings
hasto do with women, sinceBelizeanmen
are always controlling and seems to push
the boundaries of a relationship beyond
it's perimeter, long after it's over. They are
women too, one of whom I know
personally, who keeps gang boys and
have them perpetrate violence against the
previous one she left, and she tells women
clearly too that if they slip up with her, her
boyfriend is going to shoot them.


The main source of the killings in
Belize, though, seems to be revenge
killings, where one shooting is inextricably
linked to the other. The pattern of revenge
just keeps going and going without
stopping. If one worked around the
courts, one would be able to see that there
is one set of people consistently coming
before the courts. What is even worse than
a person who has been convicted twice
orthrice, at least something is known about
him, but a person who has been charged
for nine counts of attempted murder and
convicted fornone:thishasadeepermeaning
than it appears on the surface. It means that
apart from perpetmlingviolence, this person
isknowledgeableofhowtogoaboutinstilling
fearin others. Theveiythingwhichweakens
the state's capacity to prosecute. And any
socdetywhichallowstoomanyviolentpeople
to run amok, will cause that society to
becomeviolent; because peoplewillhaveto
think in aviolentframe ofmindto deal with
them.
We are also living in a society where the
bad guys cany guns andthe good guys carry
none, in short the good citizens are
unarmed. When a good guy shoots abad
guy the police have no problems finding
witnesses. The case in point, is that the
good citizen is afraid of being a witness,
because he may suffer the same faith as
the person who was killed. In the case of
the bad guy, it is the other way around;
whenever a bad guy or a gang member is
shot, there is automatically a lot of witness,
with the exception of those who say we
will settle it in the streets: meaning they
will simply shoot the person when the
opportunity arrives. The essential pointthat


is being made here is that licences for
guns should be given out more liberally
i.e. a person who has been consistently
employed for ten years along with two
testimonials thatheisnot an uncontrollable
drunk, should be able to get a gun without
a problem. Again too, any person who
wants a gun, should get a replica firearm
and see how well they can safe guard it,
or whether there may be a possibility that
they will get shot with their own gun. And
most importantly, if they can figure, how
it disappeared or who went with it, all
these experiments I carried out to weigh
the pro's and con's of keeping a firearm.
Keeping a firearm is one thing, but to be
prepared to defend yourself at the spur of
themomentis anotherthing: things criminal
happens so quickly.
I think too, even the definition of
police protection, some people have
misled themselvestobelievethatthe police
should be like magicians, to appear out of
nowhere when some breach of the law is
occurring: that happens in the movies, not
in real life. No thief is going to make it
known he is going to burglarize a house,
to have the police waiting for him -that is
undermining the purpose. Thieves don't
like danger just like everybody else, so
they only burglarize places they have
knowledge of, or have been provided
information about.
I would like to emphasize here too
that the people who utilize the services of
the police the most, are some of these
same people who are criminally inclined,
and who spend their time criticizing the
police. Some of these people can't even
control their own children, in other cases
children are encouraged because they
come from crime families. When these
people appear at court, they don't come


there weeping or crying, they come well
prepared. They come with their lawyers,
they know howto acquire bail, they know
all the right procedures and most of all
they don't waste time getting emotional
and crying all over the place, their affairs
are well organized.
The main problem, which I think is
affecting the courts, which is the root cause
of cases falling apart, is the problem of
locating witnesses. This task falls on
policemen; and most people knows that
if the police goes looking for someone in
a crime riddled area: the only response
the policeman will get is "he doesn't live
here" or "I don't know who you are
looking for". Thisjob oflocating witnesses
should be considered of paramount
importance, because when you are in
court, if you have witness you may have
a case, if you don't have no witness you
don't have no case, it's as simple as that.
Apart from that it's who the jurors believe.
Once the system cannot procure these
witnesses, the system has been
undermined. A suggestion here which I
have spoken openly about, is the idea that
the courts should hire several process
servers, who knows their way around the
town, and who is not a policeman. It is
self evident that as some people see a
policeman, their jawbones become
locked, in a society like Belize, once you
have lived on the Southside of Belize City,
you notice that many people hide from the
policeman, the bill collector and the
landlord. It should also be noted that the
offices of the Director of Public
Prosecution's, is and has been for many
years, under several previous directors,
understaffed. I can recall many many years
ago, the entire criminal calendar for the
year was about three cases, but we are a
(Please Turn To Page 12) E0 m "


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 10









Law and Politics: Integrity in public office and preventing corruption


Tuesday, December 5, 2006, Caribbean News Network

by Lloyd Noel
"Corruption makes the poor poorer, because part of their already meager
earnings, and their non-existent disposable income, mustpay for basic services
which otherwise should be free."


Lloyd Noel is a former Attorney General
of Grenada, prominent attorney at law
and political commentator

Those were the words from the
chairperson of "Transparency
International," Huguette Labelle, at the
seventeenth conference of the OAS in
the lecture series of the Americas.
Transparency International is a civil
society organisation dedicated to the
fight against corruption worldwide.
It was created by the OAS
Permanent Council to promote
democratic principles and values in the
countries of the hemisphere, and when
the conferences are held recognized
speakers are invited to speak on such
key issues as stated in the above
headline.
The chairperson pointed out, that free
elections have produced a new
generation of leaders in the OAS region
and many of them were elected on "anti-
corruption" platforms.
But as we know only too well, in the
CARICOM region many of the states
are riddled with corruption and lack of
integrity in public office.
Readers will recall that, only very
recently, the same body produced a
report in which Barbados got very high
marks and praise for its transparency
and honest dealings; while Grenada was
lumped together with Trinidad and
Tobago and Guyana as the most
notorious trio for corruption dealings and
lack of transparency and integrity in
public office in the region. Avery black
mark indeed.
But, from the record of the dealings
by our politicians, at least some of them,
during the past ten years in office, who
can argue with the accusers or the critics
about our saddened state of affairs?
And the very few who do try to paint
a different picture in public forums end


up being ridiculed for their poor efforts
because, as it is said in another circle,
you cannot defend the indefensible.
The latest corruption charges,
surrounding the Deputy Prime Minister,
Gregory Bowen, have taken on such
widespread proportions at home and
abroad, that they are even impacting
negatively on what appears to be quite
genuine development investments now
coming on stream.
And, in addition thereto, the scandal
that seems to have put a serious damper
on the people's prospects of benefiting
from gas and oil dollars is now magnified
by the economic hell they are catching,
because of the very poor state of the
economy which was brought about by
"Ivan and Emily." The interest being
shown by all and sundry, young and old,
and quite ordinary folks, who normally
pay little or no heed to such matters, is
a clear indication that they view this
scandal in a quite different light from
those that went before.
And the long standing period of
secrecy, and the total absence of
transparency have made matters far
more alarming.
When questions were being asked by
MrReynoldfBenjamin in public articles,
and Mr Grynberg himself, in a letter to
the Prime Minister, dated February 28,
2003, told him .... "I have refrained
from getting involved in Grenadian
polities and have refused to respond to
MrReynold Benj amin's many inquiries,
in his preparation for the Grenada
elections between now and March of
2004. I have also refrained from going
to the press." Even after all that nothing
was said to the people, nor to
parliament.
The entrance of the Russians into the
billions of US dollars scandal and the
allegation that $10 million US dollars
had been paid into somebody or bodies
bank accounts, certainly not the
Treasury of Grenada, seemed to have
brought the scam to the boil, which
overflowed in the brave move to
terminate the agreement between RSM
and the Grenada government.
That move triggered the arbitration


action in London, since last year against
the government, but still nothing was said
to John Public nor the people's
representatives in parliament.
And it was only when Mr Grynberg
and his company brought the case in
New York on the 1 st November this
year, and named the Russians and
Gregory Bowen as the conspirators to
defraud them of the benefits under the
1996 agreement that Mr Bowen saw it
fit to make a public statement, and in so
doing put all Grenadians to shame.
Since that press conference and the
denials that amounted to naught, and the
ludicrous statement from the Prime
Minister that others in the society are
also corrupt, not just the ministers of
government words to that effect -
nothing else has been forthcoming from
government.
The hue and cry is for some form of
inquiry or investigation whether by a
parliamentary selected body, or the
police under the direction of the DPP,
but not another farce by the governor
general and his one-man commissioner
- and that Mini ster Bowen should step
down from the position in which he
brought shame and scandal to the
people and the government he
represents. But no response to date.
If any little public (civil) servant is
accused of any wrongdoing by his/her
Permanent Secretary, the first action, by
the Public Service Commission (PSC),
is to send that officer home while an
inquiry is carried out so why should
there be one brand of treatment for the
little fry, and a wholly different brand
for the big fish?
After all, they are both public servants
and must be subject to the same
standards of discipline and
accountability. And, as was forcefully
underscored, in that conference on the
evils of corruption at the OAS last
week, "Fighting corruption strengthens
democratic institutions and prevents
distortions in the economy, improprieties
in public administration, and damage to
a society's moral fiber." In this case of
a Cabinet Minister being accused of
wrongdoing, the PSC has no


jurisdiction, but the Prime Minister and
his cabinet have every such authority to
act in the public interest, and in the
preservation of the good name and
image of his government.
And it cannot be repeated too often,
when those at the highest level of the
society's structure-- entrusted with the
mantle of power and authority, to carry
out or to operate the people's business
for the benefit of the people in general
- behave in such reckless and
disgraceful manner, and everything is
just glossed over and excused as no big
thing, the message and example being
sent to those lower down the ladder of
authority, can only be, that it pays better
to be dishonest and untrustworthy.
And it goes without my saying so, that
what is being cultivated among those
whom we should be training, and
preparing to take over the leadership
of our people and country tomorrow -
is a recipe for cheating and a culture of
corruption.
And strangely as it may seem to many,
I am not hearing any comments, or
seeing any statement by the conference
of churches in Grenada, the TUC, nor
any of the stakeholders in our civil
society like the chambers of
commerce for example. These groups
are the so-called social partners that the
same government is always referring to,
or calling upon when it suits them to put
on a show of solidarity.
Is John Public to understand, that
none of them see this scandal as
deserving of any observation from their
memberships?
The same way the top brass of the
Catholic Church, were ready and willing
to visit the National Stadium, no doubt
at the invitation of government, and
shower praise on the Chinese workers
and the administration for achieving
almost the impossible, so too, in my
humble opinion, the same spiritual
leaders should be prepared and
forthcoming, in marshalling the
conference of churches to make
representation to government to clear
the dark and cloudy atmosphere and
to be seen openly to be so doing.
All over the global village nowadays,
we're hearing on the airwaves and
seeing on TV the people, the
stakeholders of their country's heritage,
the ones who are getting poorer and
poorer because of their leaders corrupt
(Please Turn To Page 11) l 1







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Vhe


Each December members of the
Belize Audubon Society and other
volunteers carry out the Christmas
bird count, all over Belize. They
count hundreds of species of local
and migratory birds, but beginning
this week, Independent Weekly will
give you some information on 11
birds described in a very useful, and
charming, field guide, "Jungle
Walk" by Katie Stevens.
We begin the series with a
trusting little fellow, the Booby Bird,
who appropriately enough, has on
his Christmas boots.
Webster defines booby as "an
awkward, foolish person, and
indeed, our beautiful red-footed
booby birds (Sula sula) are trusting
of man to this day, despite the fact that
seafarers used to walk right up to
them and bash them on the head, a
carnage which almost extinguished the
species. Today their persistent
stupidity allows us the wonderful
opportunity to see them up close: the
platform provided at Half Moon Caye
by the Belize Audubon Society rises
right into the middle of the colony, so
that you are literally within easy reach
of the nearest nesting boobies.
Luckily, they are now protected by
law!
There are two other species of
booby in Belize, the masked booby
(Sula dactylatra) and the brown
booby (Sula leucogaster) but neither
can compare with the red-foot for lack
of color-coordination. It has two adult
color phases, one a dull grayish brown
similar to any other booby, but in the
second phase its feathers are tinted
golden white, with black trim along its
wings tinged in blue and pink. But all
this refinement is more than undone
by its rather large, outlandishly red
webbed feet-like a guest at a formal
masquerade who forgot to remove his
galoshes at the door.
In flight, the booby tucks these feet
discreetly up under his feathers. In its
search for food, it heads out to sea
rather than along the coast. Flying fish
stirred up by early morning ships are
a favorite catch, as are squid glowing
phosphorescent in a moonlit night.
Like its relative the pelican, the booby
has air sacs beneath its skin to cushion
it when it dive bombs into the water,
often at a good 100 degree angle,
wings folded behind its back. So deep
does it plunge that propelled by both
feet and wings, it approaches its prey
from below, often gulping it down
whole while still beneath the surface.
Again like the pelican, it has a throat
pouch which enables it to swallow
larger fare than it looks at all likely.
Egglaying takes place as early as
November and as late as April,
January being the most popular


11


birds FhR knsmcs


month. Usually two eggs are laid, but
only one will hatch its shiny black-
skinned inhabitant with the black face
and the big black bill. Soon the baby
booby will sport tufts of white down,
more and more until it is thick with
fluff, a ridiculous sight. Agreed only-
chick, it tries to climb head first into
now one, and then the other, of its
parents' craws to get at whatever
partially digested repast might lie
there. And it grows disastrously fat.
Finally its parents refuse to feed the
little glutton any longer. It hangs
forlornly around the nest for a few
days, then resignedly plops into the
water, but still it may swim around for
another ten days before it has used
up enough of its fat reserve to be
light enough to fly, and so to fish for
itself.
It is thought that the Half Moon
Caye booby bird colony has survived
for over a hundred years, despite
heavy egg and chick predation by
frigatebirds (men o'war) and rats, and
until very recently, men. The only other
known red-footed booby colony is
off the coast of Trinidad.


Law and Politics: Integrity in public

office and preventing corruption


--i (Continued From Page
practices, they are rising up and
protesting in one form or another,
against the malpractices of those in
authority over them. We too, in little
Grenada, did likewise in the brave
old days when people had dey belly
- including priests, and
businessmen, and youths.
And protesting against
corruption and graft by our
leaders Yho are responsible far
the public purse has nothing to
do with which party you
afpoting, bt eeythg to dD
with the lo c yar cnrtry, ald
the caring caem far the legacy
to air childrE and dthse yet

So whether it is NNP, NDC,
GULP or PLM, or any other "PP",
our concerns and protestations
must be the same.


Why, therefore, is this deathly silence
from those groups which are expected
to lead their members and their flocks?
The few voices crying in the wilderness
are simply too few to make the required
difference.
And just by passing a law in parliament
about"Integrity inpublicofficewithpenalties
for corruption" will not make those who get
into the parliament buildings, twenty-first
century saints by any means.
We, the people, have to constantly
monitor their performances, and when
needed, tell them what they are doing,
or have done in our name is wrong, and
they must account and pay the price by
stepping down.
So long as we, the people, neglect to
demand accountability and transparency
and responsibility for wrongdoing, we
will never achieve the goal ofintegrity in
public office and the eradication of
corruption from our public trustees.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


Airport discrimination



A young mother married to
a Belizean, but carrying a US
passport and travelling with
her three young children, was
not only pulled from the exit
line at the International
airport but then told that
she could only pay her exit
tax in US dollars. Her offer
to pay with Belize dollars
was refused. Her husband,
who was there was furious:
"How come they don't
charge cruise ship
passengers exit tax at all?
There is something crazy
happening in Belize. I
believe the government has
gone mad!"


Restaurant Tax


There is a strange unreality
about restaurant sales tax
collection in Belize. Many
local Belizean owned
restaurants are 'hit' each year
with a team of accountant types
who descend with their briefcases
and suspiciously go through every little
sales tax receipt for the past year. Their
mere presence suggests total lack of
trust and yet there are hundreds of
restaurants in the country-big and small
Chinese included which are never
bothered and for the most part
don't even appear to keep their
sales receipts.
I was told: "Oh Belmopan
looks after them!" Is this true are
there two sets of rules? "It's


because", the same person told
me, "they don't speak English!"


PUP in Belmopan

The defeat of Tony Chanona
in Belmpan PUP is, in a way,
a sad testimony of the fact that
talent, intelligence, and history
of extremely successful leadership
of Belmopan City, doesn't
necessarily win friends and
influence people. My own advise
to Mr. Chanona is to stand as an
Independent candidate in the
coming election. It's time that
some of the stalwart and less
contaminated PUP hierarchy
realized that its better to survive
and serve as independents than
godown with the sinking PUP ship.
They could form part of a new


Belizean democracy ruled from the
centre and by a middle group if
independents falling between the,
almost sure to be victorious, UDP
and the, sure to be defeated, PUP

Ard IntLeret cafes

41 r Much the same can be
said for internet cafes. Some are
taxed and some are not. It
appears to be that if you sell
coffee or food you are liable
to also be taxed for internet
usage but not for pure
internetting. It's time our
government really looked at
the manner in which they are
destroying all small
businesses in Belize for the
sake of their 'big' friends and
cronies with Belmopan
connections.


Negotiations Continue At Oas C R I M E A WD

Towards Declaration On ]B EL I Z E AI

Rights Of Indigenous Peoples C O T V


The Organization of American
States (OAS) today opened the
eighth meeting of negotiations on
the draft American Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
seeking to make substantive
progress on issues related to self-
determination, individual rights,
fundamental freedoms and
collective rights for the native
peoples of the hemisphere.
The Chairman of the Permanent
Council Working Group on this
topic, Ambassador Juan Le6n, who
is Guatemala's Alternate
Representative to the OAS and a
member of the Pueblo Maya K'iche
indigenous community, said at the
opening of the meeting that the
approach to the concept of self-
determination will be a key focus of
this five-day round of negotiations.
He called on representatives of the
member states and of indigenous
peoples alike to bring creativity in
seeking outcomes that
"unconditionally reaffirm this right
and at the same time ensure unity,
confidence and balance among all
the players in each member state
and the OAS as a whole."
Ambassador Le6n said, "We
should spare no effort to imagine a
future in which indigenous peoples
can be totally free to determine and
decide on their own affairs, in terms
of what is best suited to their
economic, political, social, cultural,
educational and legal development,
among other rights."
He recalled that the indigenous
representatives have "on every
occasion" reaffirmed their view that


self-determination does not imply
the end nor the destruction of the
territorial integrity of current states,
an assurance that "instills
confidence that a satisfactory
conclusion can be reached on this
matter."
The Guatemalan diplomat said he
was optimistic that the Working
Group could make progress
cleaning up the text under
negotiation, saying he was confident
"the necessary consensus will be
achieved." He conceded that
consensus on certain aspects of the
Declaration is not easy, but will
depend on "all the delegations being
flexible and broad-minded."
Among others participating in the
inauguration was Natalia Sara-pura,
representative of Argentina's Kolla
indigenous community, who said that
"self-determination is an inherent right
for indigenous peoples." She urged the
OAS member countries to join the
United Nations Human Rights Council
"in recognizing that indigenous peoples,
like all other peoples under international
law, have a right to free self-
determination."
The last round of negotiations was
held in Brasilia, Brazil, last March.
At both the Fourth Summit of the
Americas, held in Argentina in
November 2005, and the last OAS
General Assembly, in June of this
year, the governments of the
Americas reiterated the importance
of a successful conclusion to this
process and the eventual adoption
of an American Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
(Press RPelease)


--' E (Continued From Page 8)
far cry from that piece of nostalgic history,
we are in the present day 2006. The
problem oftheD.PP's office understaffed
is neither a new one, or is it of any
directors making. The growth of the
D.P.P.'s staff was never commensurate
with the increase in crime; simply meaning
that while crime grew, the D.P.P's office
didn't, and the place was structured to
deal with a few cases. Again, locating
people for some of these long drawn out
cases may also be a problem, because I
notice that very few people live in a house
in these crime ridden areas longer than
since months and are paying rent. Some
just wait out their landlords, and rent out
space in their landlord's house as well. In
Belize people seems to move from one
place to the other consistently and it is
sometimes difficultto locate them. Without
a shadow of a doubt, I think the Crime
Commission should take into accountthat
the problem of sending policemento serve
summons should be fixed, with the
employment of Civilian Process Servers.
If they have any doubts, many defaulters
on their loans can attestto the effectiveness


of civilian process servers.
The matter of white collar crime is an
area, which is a grey areaboth for the law
enforcers andthe court, because many white
collarcrimehastogounchallenged, because
these are grey areas which require civil
prosecuion,whichmeansnoassistancefrom
the state or the police department and the
hiringoflawyersis out ofthequestionforthe
workingman who can hardly paytheirbills.
Soifthey don'tlefitherichmantotakewhat
he wants, theyjust simply simply settle the
matter by the gun. Amatter of paramount
importance for the working man is the fact
that civil lawwas developedby rich men for
the purpose ofextracting or extortingmoney
from other rich. It's a system that has been
developed over hundreds ofyears.
Thefinal problem isthe oneof a so called
witness protection program, which hasbeen
in the air for years, it is a problem for the
mostly military men at the establishment
department in Belmopan, who keep their
families and themselves out ofthese crime
ridden demographicareasliketheinnercities
ofBelizeandwhethertheyignorethe subject,
don't care, or are withholding funds on
purpose is a question only they and the
politicians can answer.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 13


Rapule
- E (Continued From Page 1)
In an attempt to have the matter
resolved. Placencia's Village Chairman
and Committee members traveled to
Belmopan on four (4) separate
occasions to keep appointments made
with the Solicitor General. On every
occasion, there was some excuse why
the Solicitor General could not meet with
them. On the fourth occasion, they were
told that the matter was being turned
over to the Minister for their District,
Stann Creek West, Minister Rodwell
Ferguson.
Turning the matter over to Minister
Ferguson did not worry the Villagers.
Afterall, in order to obtain his
nomination for his office at the PUP
convention Ferguson had supported the
Act. Soon enough, however, the
Villagers were to learn of Rodwell
Ferguson's treachery.
At the time there was a condominium
development named Chabet Mar being
constructed on a Placencia beach. The
developer had not gone through the time
honored procedure of first obtaining
approval from the Village Council, prior
to applying for Government permits.
Instead, the developer obtained them
with the approval and assistance of
Minister Rodwell Ferguson. The Village
Chairman approached Rodwell
Ferguson on the matter and he told them
flat out he was not going to have their
proposed Legislation approved.
They would receive no benefit under
the Village Council Act. That was the
one thing that Ferguson was truthful
about, the fact he was depriving the
Village ofbenefits.
Minister Ferguson, then proceeded
to disolve the Village's Lands
Committee and appoint a new one with
his own with an associate, Fred Cabral,
as Vice Chairman, and Ferguson's
supporter, Percival Neal, as Chairman.
Rodwell Ferguson's family and
associates then began what can only be
described as an all our land grab.
His wife, Ana May Ferguson,
received 10.011 acres along the
Placencia lagoon. There were seven (7)
other land grants made either to
Rodwell Ferguson, his wife or his son,
which totaled 280.61 acres. Fred
Cabral received 2 acres along the
lagoon. There was a conveyance to
HANDS Foundation, Rodwell
Ferguson and Fred Cabral of 450 acres
plus 14 acres on the Southern Long
Caye. There was 6 acres along
Placencia lagoon and 50 acres on Flour
Caye given to Percival Neal and his
wife.
Rodwell Ferguson's next machination
denied the poor. He had assumed
control of the HANDS Foundation that
was conveyed property. The HANDS
Foundation was the brainchild of a
husband and wife in Placencia that had,
before they came to Belize, successfully
operated a similar Foundation to
provide education for poor children.


a Village
The couple made one mistake. Fred
Cabral, who worked near the wife,
learned of the planned Foundation and
became involved. Soon Rodwell
Ferguson was also involved and in
control. Assertions were then made that
HANDS was Rodwell Ferguson's brain
child. However, the wife remained as
Treasurer. The Foundation did well in
soliciting money, particularly from those
who needed favors. Among the many
donations was $50,000 from the
developer of Chabet Mar and a latter
publicized $125,000 fromAraMacao.
When checks were requested for
expenditures that were not appropriate,
as Treasurer, she refuse to issue the
checks. Those who wanted to dip into
the funds were not going to be deterred.
As more money came in, accounts were
changed to where the treasurers


signature was not required. Money from
the account was used to purchase new
vehicles for the officers. Fred Cabral
received one of the new vehicles. The
new account had aspects of a slush fund.
Seeing the Foundation deviate from its
intended purpose, the Treasurer
resigned.
The Foundation did provide funds for
tuition, but not in the numbers and
manner claimed by Ferguson. The
principles of the schools requested that
the money be used to help the poor
with their education, HANDS
Foundation refused. The cost of
education involves fees for registration,
tuition, books and other charges, books
being the greater expense.
The Foundation did provide tuition
for students who lived in Rodwell
Ferguson'svoting District, Stann Creek
West. However, the exorbitant cost of
books was left for the parents. The
Foundation provided nothing for
students from Toledo who attended


school at Independence Village, that
was in Ferguson's voting District.
The poor from Stann Creek West
were without books, and the poor that
came from Toledo had neither books
or funds for tuition. Prior to HANDS,
the schools had a means of assisting
the poor. They had donors from whom
they could solicit funds. HANDS
solicited the same donors and doing so
obtained the funds that previously went
to the schools. HANDS dried up the
school's sources of funds. There was
no longer funds to buy books for
children of poor families in Stann Creek
West or help the students from Toledo
in any manner.
Rodwell Ferguson activities were
certainly not exemplary for one who
holds the position of "Minister of State
in Education". Is it greed? Or does he
thinkhe is better than them and doesn't
give a damn for the poor?
Placencia Peninsula is limited in area
(Please Turn To Page 15) i*W








Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 14


Free Stay Belize update


-- ME(Continued From Page 2)

FiasD cn top fiasLo=

Dear Madam,
If I had a newspaper, my headlines
would scream 'YOU OWE $XXXXX'
The article would give a breakdown of
the actual cost of the debt and the amount
owedby every single Belizean for the next
22 years. The point also needs to be made
that you are paying this for services and
resources that you have already received.
This is not to develop the country and its
infrastructure for the future.
The more I sit here an look at this the
more infuriated I become at the absolute
incompetence and spineless leadership
that has led to this scenario.
The hospital fiasco just adds more fuel
to the already blazing fiscal fiasco. These
are supposed to be educated and
intelligentprofessionals; one ofthembragging
that he had 165 people onhis payroll. Given
all thebreaks and tax credits, they can't even
run a small institution. Damn, I had close to
200 on my payroll with about a 5M annual
operating budget and never once ran in the
red.
I need to go sailing!

Kobuh
Tuh Gawd nuh, di monki
deh di run di zoo fitru

ing ny hair at!

Madam Editor,
I need to vent and nobody else is round
but you guys, so here goes.
GST. The government implemented
this monstrosity without thinking through
the consequences or properly training
businesses. As a travel agency based in
Belize, I have to pay GST on the
difference between what I pay to the
resorts and other tour operators on GST
applicable items, and what clients pay to
me. Basically, that means my commission
on tours, meals and transfers. The thing
is, most times I don't make a commission
on any of those things from hotels only
the hotel room, which is not subject to
GST. However, under the GST law, I
HAVE to have a GST compliant invoice
to show that I paid GST to the resort
even if the net gain to me is zero. So, if
the resort charges me $200 for meals and
transfers, they'll also charge me $20 for
GST, which of course I pass on to my
client. When I pay the hotel, I pay them
$220. However, if I don't have a GST
compliant invoice for the hotels showing
that they charged me $220, then the law
says that I have to again pay the $20 to


the GST folks.
Problem 1: Only travel agencies in
Belize have to have a GST invoice. There
are only maybe 20 of us in the country.
That means that resorts have to change
their entire procedure for a handful of
people maybe only 4 or 5, since not all
travel agents in the country represent a
full range of resorts and lodges. That
means we're a problem, and it's much
easier for them to deal with out of country
agencies and not have to deal with all that
paperworkAND get paid inUS dollars.
Problem 2: The government has
basically made the travel agencies
responsible for enforcing the law. If we
don't have the proper GST invoice, then
we're the ones who are penalized by not
being able to claim a credit for the GST
already paid to the hotel. The hotels and
resorts already find us a problem to deal
with (see problem no. 1) and ifwe make
too much trouble, they can just cancel
our reservations or refuse to accept
them, so we don't have a lot of leverage.
Problem 3: No matter how many times
I carefully make a list of what has to be
on the GST invoice, include a cite to the
Web site for the regulations, and even
the section number of the regulations, I
find it's almost impossible to get an
invoice that satisfies the regulations. (FYI,
if you're interested, the GST invoice
requirements are in Section 13 of the
regulations, which can be found at
www.gst.gov.bz. They're not difficult to
understand, believe me.)
Problem 4: Other travel agencies aren't
aware of the full requirements, or don't
seem to care. Two ofus actually went to
see the GST Commissioner to clarify
what is required, but we don't seem to be
able to convince any of our cohorts that
the law means what it says, and so does
the commissioner. Consequently, I'm told
by a few resorts that I'm the only one
asking for this kind of GST Invoice. Any
suggestions? I've begged, cajoled,
suggested, corrected, etc., etc., etc. Of
course, not everybody is a problem, but I
now have 6 files sitting on my desk from
last month, and 4 from this month for
which I don't have correct invoices. I
can't do my taxes for last month without
them, and the ones from this month
keep piling up. At this point, the only thing
I can think of to do is tattle, which will
make me highly popular- or move out
of the country so I don't have to deal
with all this.

Anybody want to buy a wholesale/retail
travel agency?
Mary Toy
Destination Belize, Placencia


~-- m(Continued From Page 1)
arrested bandits. They think that this
should be a priority of the government.
Could they be correct?
High cost. Our small towns used to be
full of back packing tourists. Now they
are empty. This means the whole
economy suffers. You can still get a basic
room and meal for not too much money,
but it is costly to get out to points of interest
and then when you have to pay $37.50
just to cross the border, you may want to


stay in Mexico or Guatemala instead. A
couple who has to pay $75.00 for the two
ofthemjust to get out of the country could
insteaduse the money to stay another night
in Belize, directly supporting the local
economy.
The Belize Tourist Board, in spite
of the fact that its maj or source of
income is the accommodations tax,
does not have a place on the board
for a representative of the hotel
industry. Should it?


SFr an cnmine version of the

INdependent Reformer

visit flzat

http: //www .belizanr th. cm/

I independentreformer. htm
* o
OR

Shttp: //belizras ccmV
S independentcnlie. pdf







Tuesday, December 12, 2006 The INdependent Reformer Page 15


ARIES
(Mar. 21- April 20)
Don't get involved in joint ventures.
Help elders with their concerns.
Confronting a situation will only result
in indignation and misunderstandings.

TAURUS
(Apr. 21- nay 21)
Romance could develop through social
activities or short trips. Your home
environment may be hectic, which could
result in emotional upset if you aren't
well organized. The only thing you'll
accomplish is a bad reputation.

GEMINI
(May 22-June 21)
Take the time to help those less
fortunate. Don't overspend on friends
or children. Entertainment should
include sports events or physical
activities.

CANCER
(June 22-July 22)
Help elders in your family. You can
make a difference if you offer your help
at functions that involve children.
Limitation could set in if you've been
spending too much.

LEO
(July 23-A-g 22)
Problems with skin, bones, or teeth may
mess up your schedule. This will be a
very hectic day ifyou've made promises
to too many people. Social get-together
will bring you in contact with intelligent
new friends.

VIRGO
(Ag. 23 -Set. 23)
Pleasure trips will be favorable and
bring about possible romance. Be
cautious while traveling to foreign
countries. Keep your feet on the ground,
if you can.

LIBRA
(Set. 24 -Ct. 23)
You can deal with large institutions or
government agencies successfully today.
Travel will turn out to be far more
exciting than you imagined. You may find
that someone you live with may be
irritable; you're best to leave them
alone.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 24 -NTv. 22)
Romance can develop; however, it will
most probably be short-lived. You can


make some favorable changes to your
looks. You can enjoy your involvement
in organizations that make charitable
contributions.

SAGITTARIUS
(abr. 23 -D3. 21)
Your involvement in interest groups may
bring you popularity. Put your energy
into your work or moneymaking
ventures rather than into your emotional
life today. Don't be too quick to voice
your opinion. Listen to others carefully.

CAPRICORN
(Dc 22.- Jan. 20)
Some of your new friends may not be
that trustworthy. You won't impress
anyone by being overly generous.
Travel will also entice you.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You will be able to borrow money in
order to invest. Be cautious of making
any residential changes today. You
need adventure and excitement in
your life.

PISCES
(Feb. 20-Mar.23)
Be sure to sidestep those who are
eccentric or unpredictable. You may be
frustrated by the way situations are
being handled in your personal life.
People you live with will not be terribly
happy with you regardless of what you
do today.


Your weekly


Rape oil
-nJi(Continued From Page 13)
for expansion. The Villagers have been
trying for years to procure land on the
Peninsula where their children can
live with their families when the
children grow up. Their desires are
simply a commendable means of
keeping family's together.
The Villagers' desires have not
been fulfilled. Hundreds of acres
have been given out to Ferguson's
family, friends and supporters. Land
is to be developed and sub-divided
much of what will be sold to
foreigners while the Villagers
families go without.
There are Government Ministers
who still use the Villages as feeding


Belize Seeks

Naticrmal Assembly-


--M (Continued From Page 3)
earlyyears, addedMinisterEspat, andthat
itwould be unfairto our creditors to ask for
a complete debt service holiday. We will
therefore be following a step-up coupon
approach. The level of these coupons,
however, has been set well above Belize's
indicative restructuring scenarios. They are,
in effect, at the outer edge of what forecasts
show as being affordable for the country.
The Government is seeking National
Assembly approval for theissuance ofNew
Bondsthatwillmaturein2029, withpincipal
payments commencing in 2019. The New
Bondswillbearinterestinthefirstthreeyears
after issuance at a fixed per annum rate of
4.25%. In years four to five, the rate will
increase to 6.00%, and thereafter through
the maturity of the New Bonds the interest
rate will level off at 8.50% per annum. All
coupons will be paid in cash on their
respective due dates.
The terms of the exchange offer are


expected to provide that all participating
creditors will receive a cash payment atthe
closing of the transaction equal to unpaid
interest on their tendered claims accrued
through the closing date. Consequently,
interim debt servicepayments onthe existing
debts eligibleforthis exchange offerwill cease
immediately.
This communication is not an offer of
securities for sale in the United States.
Securities may notbe offered or soldinthe
United States absent registration or an
exemption from registration under the
SecuritiesAct of 1933, as amended. Any
public offeringofsecuritiestobemadeinthe
United States will be made by means of a
prospectus that may be obtained from the
issuer or selling security holder and that will
contain detailed information about the
Government ofBelize. No public offering of
securities intheUnited States is contemplated
by the Government ofBelize atthistime.
(GOB Press Release)


troughs for their own gain, while
Villagers suffer. It becomes clear
that there are Politicians who have
no conscience. They will promise
anything to get elected. Is it a form
of Political prostitution? If so the
prostitutes should not be re-
elected.
The voters should learn a valuable
lesson. Do not believe Party
Manifestos, they are a form of hot
air that cools off and is forgotten
when the party gets into office.
The voters should take into
consideration all of the false or
broken promises previously made
and not re-elect any of those who
made the promises.


atmr


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