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: January 5, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Volume ID: VID00005
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oman of the Year


The INdependent Reformer
Weekly is proud to announce our
selections for Man and Woman of
the Year. Our editorial board has
chosen Jules Vasquez and Lois
Young Barrow this year.
Jules Vasquez is widely
recognizable all over Belize as the
fearless Reporter and News
Director of Channel 7 News. But
this apparently sociable and fearless
journalist was not always able to
express himself, let alone put Prime
Ministers on the spot. a
Jules was born in Born Belize Jules Vasquez Lois Young Barrow
City in 1970 and went to school at
St Catherine's Elementary School, Ysaguirre, now deceased. With a chronically shy, so intractable
St. John's High School and Sixth perfectly straight face he says "The condition it posed a serious there
Form and Florida Atlantic woman saved my life. I was to my continued education. TI
University, where he dropped out ay
at the end of his junior year to get Bef ing I TKO: B lizea fs ge
an education from a TV station. In
1993 he started working seriously At midnight on December 26, just Probably because no one is buying
at his family owned TV station, twenty four hours after Santa delivered anymore.
Channel 7 presently the longest his goodies, Scroogetook over. Regular The rumor mill had been work
serving broadcasting entity in fuelpricesjumpedfrom$9.37agallonto overtime overthe Christmas and wc
Belize, dating back to 1981. In awhopping $9.77. There was no public was prices would go up as soon as t
1994 he started 7 News and he is announcement, no "Merry Christmas holiday was over.
still there. Belize," just a price hike in the night. Can we expect more price increase
He says his favorite teacher was Interestingly, theprice ofdieselwentup locally, even though world prices a
his Kindergarten teacher, Zoila by only 1 cent, and premium not at all. falling?

Foreign Donors a Volunteers

Intimidated by the Government of Belize


Contributed

The people of ToledoDistrict, less than
20,000, have been involved with "self-
help" projects to solve their economic
problems and save the endangered
environment for over 25 years. Duringthat
time, over $60 million of foreign aid not
counting counterpart funds from GOB has
been spent in the Toledo District. USA
Peace Corps has been stationing
volunteers in the district for over 30 years.
Yet the last poverty assessment
indicates that over 70 percent of the
people are poor and over 50 percent are
very poor. It is estimated, by international
agencies that three out often rural children
are malnourished to the point of mental
retardation.
With all this financial andvolunteer aid,
how can the people of Toledo be poorer
nowthan everbefore? Many locals believe
plans for the development and


conservation of the district's rich natural
resources made in abroad, or even in
Belmopan, were unrealistic and/or the
consultants were not truly qualified to
provide helpful advice.
The non governmental organizations,
who actually received the aid from the
funding agencies, say that they had no
choice, if they wanted the aid, they hadto
accept the plans and the consultants. The
government Ministers have also said they
had no choice in the matter; the Peace
Corps volunteers have also indicated they
have no choice butto help the NGOs who
asked for their assistance.
Year after year the funders provide the
money, organizations like the Inter
American Development Bank, Caribbean
Development Bank, the European Union
and many others. The NGO's sign
contracts to implement the plans. The
volunteers help them, and predictably, the
results are the same year after year.
The government Ministers and Area


Representatives involved make the same
old speeches to launch and keep track of
the projects, the volunteers get their
assignments and the money and work
continues to go down the drain. All the
while, the people become poorer. The
resources continue to be lost, more and
more foreigners come in with private sector
money to take advantage of the many
opportunities. Their claim of helping the
local people and economy, is that they
provide employment. Of course they do.
How else can they get the work done?
Too often the profits they make go out of
the country, especially in the country's
largest industry, tourism.
After more than a quarter of a century
of this constant consultant failure, and the
expenditure of many tens of millions,
actually over one hundred million dollars,
the people from all walks of life got
together and developed a comprehensive
eco-development plan, called the Toledo
(Please Turn To Page 3) W


problem? I couldn't get up the nerve
to disturb the din of restless young
minds and mouths to simply raise
my hand to ask the teacher to ask
the teacher a question In a bustling
classroom of more than 30 restive
children, she found time and
consideration to help me out of my
shell.
Congratulations Jules Vasquez;
the man who no longer fears
disturbing others, but asks the
questions everyone else seems
reluctant to ask. Belize is better
because of you.
And as for Woman of the Year,
a the Independent Reformer has
eat selected Senior Counsel Lois Young
he (Please Turn To Page 3) W

t pumped, AGAIN!
; it If we take the words of the Director
General of the International Monetary
ng Fund seriously then not only is gasoline
ord likely to go up but other taxes will also
he increase in 2007.
On December 20, Director Rodrigo
,es De Rato y Figaredo, issued a letter to the
ire "International Financial Community
(Please Turn To Page 3) E


an and


Inside this Issue


Total Madness
pg. 5


Fake Jobs
and Lies

pg. 7


IMF Roadmap
for Belize
pg. 14


Governed by
vested interests
pg. 10







friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


Edito ialDieco






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Edto






"ara'E lse Vro











Dsig/ayu
MargodSntrpis


GenralMange


Dear Readers,
Happy New Year to you all and
thanks for finding your copy of
Independent Weekly so quickly after
the holidays. We took a little break,
but not much since the staff and I
were working for most of it anyway
and so were many of our contributors.
I would like to invite you all to
consider submitting letters to the
editor or even articles if you have
something you would like to share.
In this edition Richard Hulse takes
exception to the way "Culture" is
being promoted in Belize and likely
to provoke some controversy, and
hopefully a response from the people
he's referring to in his piece.
Des Parrett has sent us a very
interesting item on how electing
people who think they know about
economics is not the same as
electing people who do, and we have
another article which suggests that
certain government policies are


being acted on in the south simply
because people are too afraid to
suggest anything else.
An international piece on
Honduran society is very likely to
cause many of you to compare their
world to ours and the cartoon may
do the same thing: the comparison
being between the libraries of the
people who are "in charge" and the
ones the rest of us frequent.
I have to admit the most enjoyable
part of this issue was selecting Man
and Woman of the Year. Believe me,
there was some back and forth among
the editorial board members and
some minds were changed then
changed again. Jules Vasquez was a
unanimous selection, but Lois Young
Barrow is one controversial woman.
Sometimes that is exactly the sort of
person you need the most. Belize
could certainly use more people like
them both.
I would like to thank all our


vendors for their tireless efforts to
get this new paper circulating. If this
is the first issue you are reading, you
have one of them to thank for
getting it to you. And now they have
two papers to push early in the week
instead of just one. More business
for them, and the publishers we
hope.
Again, Happy New Year. Let's
make 2007 memorable, starting this
week, shall we?


Babies die while friends get rich


Dear Editor,
Listening to the Minister of
Health explaining the details
of the Government of
Belize's involvement in the
Universal Health fiasco,
itsaddens me to know the
extent to which he and his
cohorts will go, and the


F71YES!


depths they would sink to
gain political favour with a
selected few.
It is a downright shame that
the Government of Belize
can bail out these 'favoured
few' to the tune of millions
of dollars, while that same
Minister could not find a


measly $10,000.00,
comparatively speaking, for
baby Kemora.
Such blatantly shameless
conduct of the Minister and
his CEO -warrants
immediate resignation.

Signed: T. Thompson


independendent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2666
Belic Cit.. Belitc
Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reforner for as little as
BZ$30.00 (US$30 00 international)


11,111, 1 PI L k
. tIId
t- Wh
I m -III 1111.


I llI c id dI iI ic ,IrPri~c .I i tibh.%.rip .i'i-iit w p I w ': 11.11 '1 ir% I t-1 Lih~o i1lrt.-n-iti t-it d, I ;.:It I


P.I'Lln-.111 111clodcd r-l Iill m,: liir ED







Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Man and
- E (Continued From Page 1) that the
Barrow. The editorial board bigwig
decided that her standing up at the and the
BTL Annual General Meeting in court o
September when a court injunction houses,
was being ignored, when a room full seized
of board members and shareholders gone, s
did nothing, is worthy of national sort of
recognition. that the
For her the issue was justice wealthy
across the board. She told 7 News, order o
"I am really, genuinely concerned am con


e people of Belize s
s ignoring court
'n they are forced
rders; thrown out
land taken away,
for a small debt
ofa set gone, and
( thing. And they
ese people, becau,
y company, can ig
9f the court. That i
ucerned with. I m


man of the
see these very clear last night and I say it private (
t orders again: it is not about Prosser and Lois
to obey Ashcroft, they both deserve each force b(
of their other. Concer
chattels In addition, not only did she take demonst
t, fridge on BTL, she also took on the everytin
all that People's United Party, through an shows.
will see unprecedented injunction against For he
se it is a the Belize Times. Her court action 2006 an
,nore an is forcing a newspaper which Lady J
is what I makes sport of maligning the Indepen
ade that characters of both public figures and Woman


,ear


citizens to think twice.
continues to be a driving
behind the Association for
rned Belizeans and
rates her concern for Belize
ne she calls the morning talk

er contributions to Belize in
d her relentless defense of
justice in Belize, the
dent salutes Lois as our
of the Year.


Foreign Donors & Volunteers

Dated by the Government of Belize


in. (Continued From Page 1)
People's Eco park plan. T.PE.PP
On September 12, 2003
representatives of all the democratically
elected leaders of the Toledo District, who
were sworn into service by the Chief
Magistrate, along with the directors of the
largest conservation, cultural and
economic development NGOs, and the
President of the Toledo Civil Society
joined together and signed a memorandum
of understanding in support of the further
development of the People's plan.
Seeing this unanimous support for the
plan, the US Ambassador to Belize
authorized the US Peace Corps to also
sign in support.
This document was sent to the Prime
Minister who also provided a letter of
support for the plan saying, "I am as
anxious as you are to see the
implementation of the Toledo People's
Eco Park Plan." That was in March of


2004.
The general manager of the Toledo
Development Corporation, who fulfilling
the vision statement of the Toledo
Development Corporation to facilitate the
responsible sustainable development of
Toledo by and for the people of Toledo,
organized the different groups and after
repeated meetings with them drafted the
memorandum ofunderstanding, submitted
the document and plans to the Ministry of
Economic Development, where it was
quickly put down.
The general manager and other political
leaders realized that to further push the
issue could endangertheirposition, so they
were discouraged from doing so. The
Peace Corps, seeing the plan was not
supported by the Ministry of Economic
Development, also backed down,
refusing to allow the Peace Corps
volunteers to help the further development
ofthe People's Plan.


The ministry prefers to continue to
promote the plans the funders and their
consultants from abroad demand. The
US Peace Corps continues to support
the same kinds ofprojects that have failed
so many times before. They know as the
funders do, that in the private sector, if
the way of doing business was failing they
would quickly change it, or else they
would go broke.
However the way foreign aid is used,
they have no incentive to change. It is
obvious they want the aid to be misspent
and for the poor to stay poor. One
definition ofinsanityistodo the same thing
under the same conditions and to expect
different results.
If the funders, NGOs, and the
volunteers really wanted to change
conditions here in Toledo, they would
certainly give the People's plan a chance.
So why won't they? It makes you
wonder, doesn't it?


Boxing Day TKO:
Belizeans get
pumped, AGAIN!
i-. (Continued From Page 1)
on the Belize Situation... at the request of
the Government ofBelize". (find the entire
letter on page 14 of this edition).
This letter needs to be dissected as it is
chock full of interesting nuggets. It is a
roadmap for the future of the PUP
government, for what we as citizen
consumers can expect in 2007...for
starters. The exact url is:
htp:. www.imforg/external/NP/pp
eng/2006/122006.pdf
In the third paragraph, the
Distinguished Managing Directorwrites:
"Accordingly they [Government of
Belize] are targeting a further increase
in the primary fiscal surplus to 3.5% of
GDP in FY 2006/07 and to 4.5% of
GDP in subsequent years. This fiscal
improvement would be achieved by
saving the bulk of projected revenues
from oil production, enhancing non-oil
revenue collection, and restraining
current expenditures."
(Please Turn To Page 15) *E


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S.comn



Over 1 5,000 dailI visitor

Te biggest and busiest web5site on J)elize







friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4


Thirty Minute
By: Karla Heusner Vernon


Many of us are basking in that post
holiday glow; reluctant to take down the
decorations, wrap them up and pack
them away until next year. Perhaps you
have several Christmas presents in their
boxes under your tree, as yet unopened.
Not only because you want to savor the
season; but because you know full well
the moment you take them out of the
packaging they are on their way to being
ruined.
Yes, many of us are trying to hold
back the inevitable reality ofBelize: you
only have 30 minutes to enjoy anything.
The time limit on happiness begins
with each step we take. Our streets are
so hard on shoes I sometimes wonder
why we bother. How all those ladies can
wear high heels and get to work in one
piece is a mystery to me. Once there,
click, clack, the clamor of spike heels
coming down the stairs. "Whoopa!-"
slipped again by the Crystal water
cooler. No water on the floor mind you,
just raw metal on tile sliding you across
the office. How well one recovers
determines one's poise factor. "Ah
nearly tumble downjust now... heeehee,
what eating "
Back to the shoe repair man again.
For every $40 spent on shoes, Belizean
woman must spend $20 tacking their
heel tips back on again.
Just how many turned ankles can one
woman endure before she has
permanent elephant legs? Sit in parked
car on any street in Belize and watch
how many women's ankles twist
dangerously as they make their way to
lunch. One after the other, one side of
them drops lower than the other. Ouch!
Damn rough street got another one.
After the worst sprain of my life
coming out of a pharmacy I swore never
to wear heels again. I was strong in my
resolve to defy the fashion world until a
coworker pointed out I had been
wearing flats.
Betting is heavier than at the casino
as to how long the buyer can wear a
pair of new, smart looking shoes from
certain stores. I saw a friend limping
down the street one day, the straps on
BOTH her sandals had given way when
she stumbled and hit a drain cover;
another woman was mortified at her
son's graduation when her dress shoes
"burst" on the way into the ceremony.
Admit it now, I know you too have
hobbled your way to another shop or
back home again to towards office
colleagues hoping they had glue or
staples or nails and could put you back
together again.
Like imported automobiles, even
"States" shoes depreciate the minute
they hit Belize. Step outside your front
gate and "Sheesh!" heel, toe, or entire


foot in a mud puddle, overflowing drain
or septic tank, dog poop or soft earth.
The molds and fungi are insidious.
Shoes, belts and purses change before
your very eyes as you eye your closet.
"The better the leather, the greener they
get," goes the joke. One well-heeled
gentleman planted his feet on a bar stool
and both heels fell off! He looked in


disbelief at the expensive shoes he had
worn in the States for years, his favorite
pair. Somehow the composite heels had
just deteriorated until they crumbled
away. He never found out what caused
it.
Kind of like the mystery forces that
invade our video cassette players, cds
and dvd's. Not to mention the
computers which just seem to draw
moisture and warmth seeking critters,
not to mention geckos and ants. If your
computer survives the first year element
attack, its not likely to withstand the


Country
power surges. Even those "guarded" by
a UPS can be struck down by lightening
flashes coming in through the modem
connections on the wall!
Belize is hard on hard drives. So hard
I see one manufacturer is even boasting
its laptops are rugged enough to survive
the rain forest of Belize. There was even
an article featuring a scientific researcher
hanging by ropes in the jungle studying
some life form or another.
Most of us wish ours could just


survive sitting on a desk in an office in
Ladyville or San Ignacio or Orange
Walk.
Okay, so we live under what the rest
ofthe world terms "rugged conditions."
Perhaps we should just accept our lot
and live with it. Perhaps Belizean men
and women should just stop buying nice
things and nice clothes hoping we can
actually use them. Wear fabrics that
won't stick to us or get caught by some
jagged piece of something on someone's
door. Something impervious to mud
splats sent our way by hapless drivers


Acidic soils cost Belizean farmers
millions of dollars in reduced crop
yields. Scientific studies show that acidic
soils (pH < 6) reduces the availability of
important nutrients, creates toxic levels of
aluminum, iron, and manganese, and
damages root systems.


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passingby. "Sonrry Mista! Ahneva mean
fiwetyou."
But no, we are a stubborn lot who
will not relent in our quest to live like
other people in other places. Our
women still feel entitled after a hard
week or month of work to get "made
over" at a salon. To bask in the admiring
eyes and compliments of other female
patrons, to wonder if our better half's
will love "the new you!" We should
make him come with us, to see the
fleeting beauty, but instead we make the
fatal mistake of opening the salon door,
leaving the air conditioning and getting
smacked by a whoosh of wind or the
frizz power that only 90% humidity can
deliver to freshly coiffed hair. Half an
hour later, we are our old selves again
and greeted by "I thought you went to
do your hair?"
Never mind.
Like people just arrived from the
States only to realize their sweatshirts
will no longer be welcome here and their
skin will never be dry again, we sally
forth from home each morning freshly
showered and pressed and powered
only to be drenched by isolated
showers only on our side of the street,
arriving tarred and feathered with dust
and bird doo doo and mud in the rainy
season and dust in the dry.
Everything, but everything seems
doomed to rapid degeneration in Belize.
Tourists actually think the national motto
is "Dat? Dat no work no more."
Followed by "Ah di wait for wan part
come in fid at right now."
The satisfaction of working hard or
establishing credit to purchased new
(Please Turn To Page 13) *M "


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AWttention farmers!

Who se money no grow pan tree?


"Okay, so we live under

what the rest of the terms

'rugged conditions."' I








Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


Total madness


By: Trevor Vernon

Not all Belizeans
with university
degrees got a free
ride atUS and other
foreigninsfitutionsof
higherleaming nam,
as many others are,
livingproof Someof
us actually had to
pay for our foreign education, thanks to a
more transparent DFC and a wonderful
individual, afonnerUSAIDrep. He madeit
painfully clear that he was not about to
recommend me for any scholarships being
earmarked for Belizeans because of my
Royal Kriol status. Same kinds of stuff
politicians still pull when trying to be
populist... inanefforttorally voters, or set
up their own children forlife.
So, I paid my way with the aid ofa loan
guarantee and aloan from DFC. No special
treatment, no complaints. And did I ever
repay! That student loan for $30,000 hung
like an albatross around myneck for almost
a decade. Back then 30 grand was serious
money and there was no question IF you
willpay,butHOWFAST...unlikewhatare
seeingwiththeDFC malpagos these days.
They apparently had/have no intention of
everpaying offwhat they "borrowed."
Make you wonder what values their


parents everimpartedtothem, certainly not
the apparent "Royal Kriol" values I was
broughtup with. Like those who skip out on
their loans then bawl haad time, Ihave little
pity forthe fortunate fewwho got somebody
else to pay for their projects, their books,
their tuition, and their every need. I really
don't careto hearhowhardlifewas (in school
or business) and who didn'tlike you or the
color of your skin. You took the scholarship
orfellowship orloans to improve yourlot in


life; stopbitingthehandthatfedyou,willyou?
There are plenty ofyoung people out there,
even reading this right now, who wish they
hadtheopportunitiesyou did... ifthey could
only GET a loan guarantee, especially a
sovereign one.
lam suremy parents had something to do
withmywantingto run away fromBelizeto
go study abroad and wanting to get my
second degree from somewhere outside the
USA, and do the Europe thing. The older
heads always seem to wanttheirchildrento
study law (or medicine) and/or go studying


halfway across the world.
So to please others, I enrolled here and
thereinlawstudyprograms (threein all over
the years) but wasn't impressed by the
impressionable. My early huncheswerelhat
the study of Law leads to unspeakable
predatory practices; I discovered Iwas right
later on. Al-ham-du-le-la. Right away I
realized Ididn't need to suck the lifeblood
out ofthe poor and disadvantagedto make
me feel good and important. I'll leave that
to others who apparently have had more
exoticfamily values impartedtothem.And,
in faimess, it mustbe mentioned that they
don't teach logic in very many other
academic programs; so I guess, the study


oflaw does have some value after all.
Idriftedinand outofvariousfields ofstudy
as a major in foreign universities and
elsewhere: economics, accounting, law,
finance, international relations, until Ifound
my calling: analyzing stuff. Ihave earned an
MBAwhich I am absolutely proud of and
use occasionally; but, don'tfindtheneedto
umbinpeople'sfacestomakelhemfeel smaller
thantheyare. Ipaidthe price by sacrificing
resources and family time to get that
piece of paper... because I accepted
that education family value.


Now I am not into living my life for
the older heads. I figured they had their
choices to make and their lives to live
(however challenging and hard) and I
don't have the time or inclination to be
critical of the generation that came
before mine. I needed to find me, not
my parents and many of my friends were
faced with the same dilemma.
The point is really is to discuss
parenting issues and the dilemmas that
they/we face in passing on values. As a
society we generally value a "good
education", maybe not as much as say
the Orientals who migrated here of late.
It follows then that families generally
tend to push the "good education" value
on their offspring. While some families
are better able to transmit this than
others, oftentimes it is only to the
favorite children for some jib cutting
reason. In everything in life there are
favorites. And no one person will be a
favorite everywhere and at every
pursuit. But the favoritism thing does
help a child in instilling confidence to
face the world when (s)he is no longer a
child. That is not to say that a child needed
to have been a favorite in the parents home
to be successful; that confidence can be
acquired elsewhere. And, in fact, many
non-favored Belizean children are able to
move away and make wildly successful
lives in other countries.
There is a local saying that older
generations espoused: that they are able
to seethe cut ofayoungerperson'sjib almost
(Please Turn To Page 6) MW







friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


Culture of exclusion: Belizean Theatre and Art

A view from the street


By Richard Hulse

Often a small glimpse of nostalgia helps
us to reflect on our present. In the not too
distant past (1960's 1970's) even
though Belize was a relatively poor
community, we were entertained by
talented local singers. The collective "we"













means people from a broad cross section
of the society. There were these fabulous
open air concerts and talent parades at
the Memorial Park, The Roman Catholic
Parish Hall, the Bliss Institute, etc. These
concerts were clean fun, where an entire
family could go and enjoy themselves-
"whether you had money or not." People
from all social and ethnic backgrounds
were able to interact at these functions.
The artists of the day stood out clearly as


Total
theM (Continued From Page 5)
from birth. But Ithink what they are really
seeing is a reflection of the treatment that
young person is receiving in the home, at
school, and while in the care ofother family
and family friends. However, that's only my
impression.
Theissueishowthe"child-tumed-parenf'
nowtransmitstheirvaluestotheirownyoung
ones. If they themselves did not please their
parentscare givers, then how canthey expect
to pass ontheirown educationalideastotheir
own child? Do parents today even see this
astheirrolein parenting: transmittingvalues?
Iknowmany who consciously don't attempt
to and others who simply tum to books for
answers.
Too many parents today want to be their
child's best friend for whatever reason andl
find this frightening. Parents are not "best
friends" to childrenwho are then allowedto


professionals; in fact, they were world
class.
Many of our current artists also
measure up to any international standard,
yet it seems clear that no attempt is being
made to market them abroad, I should
further say: not even at home. The
question asked here is why? The main
reason is that Belize has become a T.V
culture, andifyou
are not on T.V.
you are nobody -
and quite frankly
revaminy none of the T.V
stations air much
melocal content, let
alone artists.
ney on Unless it's to fill
space before the
news begins.
The main
topics here are:
who qualifies as a cultural icon? And who
decides that they qualify? As far as the
Arts Council (under the several new
abbreviations they use) is concerned, it
seems like that is their sacred right, not to
mentionifyou are not politically connected
or politically correct in your speaking,
every thing you do will be downplayed.
Many Belizeans have decided that
"Dankeyman" is a cultural icon, but who
really is Dankeyman? Where does he


mnwith"theirownideas"lthattheyinvariably
picked up from TV.... as much as being a
guidingforceuntilthatchildbecomes an adult.
Two adults canbebestfriendsbutnotbefore.
In summary then, we as parents need to
teach our children tobe more responsible
fortheirown lives andtheir own actions.And
we have to be careful not to overly indulge
our childrenintheir every desire soastobetter
prepare them for theirown adulthood, where
every desire has a cost. And the only way
youtruly tansmitvaluesisby example, once
you have a relationship with that child.


come from? Although so many of us in
Belize City plays his CD's, the quest for
information about Dankeyman is
overwhelming. Even the people who are
selling his CD's (Ibelieve pirated versions)
don't know anything. So Dankeyman has
the distinction ofbeing a cultural icon who
nobody knows anything of and who is
making no money offhis own music sales.
There are many other Belizeans who
have to manufacture and sell their own
music because they don't get any help
whatsoever from theArts Council. I don't
think they even get encouragement. To cut
it short, culture has vacated the Southside
and portions of the Northside and taken
up residence in Kings Park and
Buttonwood Bay. Once you are not from
these demographic areas, there ain't no
help for you. If the Southside Artists are
helped, they get the minimum assistance
and maximum exploitation.
The performances that are being held
at the Bliss Centre for the PerformingArts,
are neither geared to, nor targeted for a
wide cross section ofthe community. This
is one of the major stumbling blocks
against promoting culture, and which
creates a culture of exclusion and extorts
money from parents who are trying to
show their children attention. Just the
expensive vehicles parked attheBliss, let
you know who they cater for, with $50


Naturally,this doesnotapply tothetrustfund
familieswhowill leaveuntoldwealthtotheir
childrenthatwere rearedby nice nannies.
Part of the solution for the less fortunate
lies in a mixture of accessible loans, grants,
scholarships, fellowships with a good loan
guarantee program open to all. In a previous
life I chaired a committee in the Technical
Cooperation area ofthe OAS charged with
drafting the statutes of a capital fund for
fellowship that was seeded with US $10
Million. It was general consensus that too
many students across the hemisphere were


and $60 performances which working
Belizeans can ill afford. Proof once more
thatthe performances are never intended
for the average Belizean, even ifhe\she
is a part of it. Culture nowis a business,
just like any other business: and the
objective of any business is to make
money.
Red carpet galas at the end of the
year honouring classic Belizean artists are
good, but surely the people they are
putting up as contemporary artists leaves
a big question mark over their heads. But
at least they are Belizeans, unlike the "high
falutin" sorts from abroad come to display
their work or deformity. Although some
of their "art" looks like ramshackle old
junk, I am sure someone pays them, even
though they don't want to pay Belizeans,
or pay them very next to nothing.
The Belizean artists they bring from
abroad and the other Latinos they bring
from time to time are only fostering the
idea that you have to come from abroad
to be good, or if you go abroad that is the
way you get accepted.
Sadly, there are also many rich
Belizeans who will do anything, and pay
anything, to make sure that they don't rub
shoulders with the average Belizeans. So
much for art, music and theatre being
occasions for people from all walks of life
in Belize to interact.

being excluded from higher studies due to
lack of loan guarantees and such a fund,
properly structured, andwould seekto stem
the adverse tide. (That program is now in
place afterthe committee got approval from
the General Assembly to proceed). I am a
fimbelieverthatapartialloan structure ensures
a stronger sense of commitment and
responsibility in the pursuit of the parents'
dream for you. This, to me at least, teaches
the more importantvalue ofbeing ashamed
of setting outto steal or "borrow" with the
expressed intent to refinance or downright
defraud the good faith lender, orindeed, an
entire nation state.


WVith a


Tropical Tx ist


Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppe


Opening Hours I-
Monday Saturday 6 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Sunday & Holidays 7 a.m. 7:30 pm.
Breakfast Lunch and Diner


Tel: 822-8014
Res:/Fax: 820-2062
Int.: 501-822-8014


r Mile 31 /4
Western Highway
BELIZE, Central America
Mailing Address: Box 346, Belmopan
E-Mail: chrissy@cheersrestaurant.bz


madness


Comments?
Suggestions?
or want to
share your
thoughts
Email us at
Independent. newspaper.
bz(2qmail.comrn







Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


Fake jobs and lies


By Meb Cutlack


Once more the Belizean public has had
the wool pulled overtheireyes. Promises of
jobs,job, andjobswhich nevermaterialize.
It has happened again and again and again
and yet our people still halfbelieve the lies
dished outtothem by theMusagovemment:
Mollejon, Chalillo,BTL, Mahogany Heights,
Ara Macao and now, Stake Bank.
In case you have not heard, there is the
multimilliondollartourismprojectonNorth
Drowned Caye and Stake Bank Caye,
which include the construction ofa 4 mile
long causeway from Belize City to North
Drowned Caye.
BelizeandeveloperMichaelFeinsteinhas
proposed to construct at least three five star
hotels, a casino and marina and residential
condos on the two islands linked to Belize
City by the causeway.
TheU.S. $250 million development plan,
dubbed the Ocean View Grand
Development, also calls forthe construction
of another causeway thatwouldlinkthe two
islands.
In October Feinstein presented an
Environmental ImpactAssessment (EIA)
study on the North Drowned Caye
development to the Department of the
Environment (DOE).
Lastweek engineering experts from the
Feinsteinteammetwithsomefiftly concerned
citizens at the Princess Hotel to discuss the
project as part of a public consultation
process forthe approval oftheEIA study on
North Drowned Caye.
Concern was expressed about theNorth
Drowned Caye development, especially as
itrelatestothemangroveinthatarea,because
themangroveislandsfoinmanimportantbuffer
zoneprotectingBelize City from storms and
also from ocean surges.
According to The Reporter newspaper,
Acting ChiefEnvironmental Officer, Martin
Alegria, said notmuch vital informationhas
been provided about the proposed
causeway, which is ofmajor concern to the
department.
Thedepartmenthesaid, wants anin-depth
geological data study to be conducted on
the sea bed to determine ifitwould be able
to withstand such huge structures as
contemplatedinthedevelopmentplan. There
is also concern about the height of the
causeway, which accordingtotheElAstudy,
will range from 9 feet to 30 feet above sea
level in some areastoalowforbiggervessels
to pass.
Feinstein plans to construct the two-lane
causeway fiomtheManeParadeBoulevard
on north side Belize City
TheNorthDrowned Caye development
whichwill involve 515 acresofland, calls for
the construction of a 260-room hotel, a
casino, amarinaand residential units among
other amenities.According totheEIAstudy,
an ocean beach estate on Drowned Caye
will take up 95 acres of the island while a
marina village will takeup 26 acres.
The size ofthe casino and its conference
room is estimated to be 25,000 square feet
and the project concept is for the


development ofaquiet, isolated community.
Extraordinarily the Stake Bank
development has already been given export
processing zone status, meaningthat locals
will not be allowed to go on Stake Bank
Caye!
Plans call forthe construction ofamajor
marina that will be able to dock as many as
four cruise ships at any one given time and
cruise ship passengers will be able to
commutetoBelize City andplaces beyond,


Fortis. Then, in total control the dam, they
assumed the rightto sell electricity to BEL
(their company) for whatever price they
chose.
Nothing changedwhentheybuiltChalillo
(amidst the same pattern of lies about the
geology of the area and denial ofa major
earthquake fault line exactly where the dam
is placed) and with huge teams of foreign
laborers.
Hundreds of jobs' are part and parcel of
false government promises which go with
every hugeintemational"project". Thesealso


44..l c l il n t b


usingthe causeways.
As Usual, Feinstein saysthe development
will bring employment for Belizeans and
shouldboostBelize's economy.
And that's what all these projects
amount to; Promises! Promises!
Promises, and huge profits forlocal cronies
and foreigners who spend nothing in or
among Belizeans who are even banned
from going to Stake Bank.
Remember Mollej on? It was supposed
to provide hundreds of jobs for Belizeans
.. it didn't. Instead it employed hundreds
of Chinese laborers. It was built amidst
mmours ofhuge cash rake-offs and of design
faults.
And sure enough, soon after it was
completed it was almostwashed away.
Originally Belize and BEL (then
government owned) had an interest in
Mollejon. Thedamwassoldand soldagain
and,bythetimeFortisInc. ofCanadaended
up with it, the dam was wholly owned by


involvemassivepayoffstocronies,hugebites
out of tax payers money and corrupt
construction and finance deals
RemembertheBTL/Intelcofiasco? That's
another example of a long running saga of
government corruption lies and double
dealing
Rememberthepromise overthenew city
ofMahogany Heights? Morejobs again! A
huge housing projectto employ thousands
tobuildanewcityforthoseinneedofhousing!
Aproj ect to ease overcrowding in Belize
City! All lies, lies and lies again. Instead a
German/Salvadoran company moved in
its equipment, with hundreds of
Salvadoran laborers, to build the new city
out of illegally imported paper and
plywood sections.
These simply rottedas quickly as the new
cityitself which, withitsnewly builtbutrotten
structures, soon became a small neglected
rural slum!
What did it cost? The land itself, although


known to be unsuitable for housing, was
bought from a crony for an inflated
$10,000,000 after he had only paid atoken
for it. It was sold without proper title so that
tothis day the home owners have no title and
probably no hope of title!
Total cost? Rangingupwardto $200,000!
And thatjust the beginning of the so called
PUP 10,000 house target which allowed
ministers throughout the country to mint
fortunes from housing 'deals'tobuild afew
inadequate tinroofed shacks inthe districts.
ThenthereistheAraMacaoResort! Just
don'tbelieve government orthe promoters
when they say they willreviewtheprojectto
meet objections. Even in its first stage itwill
demand 15.35 megawatts ofelectricity, more
than half of what is currently used in both
Belize City andLadyville combined!
The hastily done Environmental Impact
Assessment carried outby group friendlyy'
to government is described as "...very
superficial and lacks specific details needed
tomake meaningful determination astothe
magnitude, duration, scale and geographic
extent oftheproject's impact..."
The project will also consist of two nine-
hole courses, including 59 private golfcourse
houses and a club house and accommodate:
A 67-acre marina for up to 400 boats
ofup to 100 feet, dredged to 12-foot deep.
*Acasino and night club 106,250 square
feettobeusedby 1,000 people (notlocals).
It will include over 250 structures
including
Hotels: One 260 room 3-storey condo
hotel with 100,000 square feet of common
area
Villas: 296 in 74, 2-storey buildings
Condos: 458 in 38,4-storey buildings.
Theywill say: "We don'tintendtobuildit
all. We will revise itto suitthe area!" Don't
believethem!
RememberthetouristVillge?
Rememberthe airport?
RememberthePrinters?
Remember the new Port?
Remember Pena's village?
How many more broken promises will
the PUP hand out?
THINK ABOUt IT AND STOP
THEMNOW!


. NatufW G




ecomeTo Natures yG uesthouse



CentralLocation oSea Fron tBreeze

B.ZD Doule. 33
e$,48BZD


off 0busCtloic Chur
_Ma in n' Ch c Streets, w


ll 75 yards to Guestou e








friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


Drowning at Sea
Death by drowning,
or simply from going
missing, is becoming a
maj or concern among
critics ofthe cruise ship
industry.
These vessels are
above all ground rules and float free of
international law when
drowned or missing passengers are
concerned. They simply sail on without
obligation ofpolice investigation or even
of reporting losses locally. This leaves
friends and relatives in a legal limbo with
no possibility of finding out the cause of
death of their loved ones. Too easily the
cruise liners shrug off drowning deaths as
"suicide".

Sea and River safety
Our own safety laws relating to the sea
and rivers needs tightening up as incidents
of losses and drowning inland and on the
Cayes continue on an almost monthly
basis. It is up to lodge owners and tour
operators to fully brief their customers on
the dangers of sea currents and of raging
waters on ourrivers. The recentheavy rains
left several canoeists, unaccompanied by
guides, tipped out and stranded in western
rivers. All were rescued by alert canoes
with guides but there's no doubt that in
some cases, when the rivers are swelled
and furious, lodges should ban non guide
canoeing.

Watch that passport
Don't let your passport decline in



Belize

By: Des Parrett

Iwentto seethe Old Onewholives atthe
ruins. I had a question for him. Our
government kept telling us about how Mr.
Ralph was educated and had lots of
knowledge about economics. So I asked
the Old One, "how come Mr. Ralph came
up with all these ways to borrow so many
millions and millions of dollars, but we are
now worse off then we were before we
borrowed all that money, and we don't
seem to have anything to show for it?"
The Old One smiled and then answered.
"You should not consider education,
knowledge and wisdom as the same thing.
Education teaches us facts. Knowledge
is the facts we leam. Wisdom is the ability
to use our knowledge to effectively solve
problems. There are a lot of smart and
educated people who lack wisdom, and
unfortunately that seems to include those
who have controlled our national economic
policy in the past.
"I have never known of a politician who
was elected for his wisdom, but politicians
seem to think if they were smart enough


appearance! Extraordinarily, a Belizean
took his out-of-date passport for renewal
recently an was fined $20 because the
old passport was not in good nick!
Where wontthey seek formoney, money,
money!


The art of hypocrisy.
A journalist we know was recently
chastised on his lavish and inaccurate
praise for the Musa regime. "It served
he said, "I needed a
S favor!"

GST yet again!
1 Not only is it crippling,
beyond recovery,
many small businesses
throughout the country, GOB tax
department doesn'tknowwhatitis doing.
Ifit expects every small business
to issue proper receipts it must issue the
correct receipt books. In Cayo the
GST office can't even advise its victims
which receipts are correct and
which are not!
"Killer GST" makes the old VAT look
very good indeed and also makes the
lies and hysterical screeches of the PUP
when it killed Vat as phony as all their
other promises and pledges. Oh, and that
border tax, which is also killing small
businesses, means a young couple must
pay $70 US just to leave Belize. Money
that could and should stay with lodges
and businesses and not go to enrich the
coffers of the Government and the often
incompetent Border Management.


Emergency in Cayo.

It was one of those situations which cried
out for a quick coordinated respond from
"emergency" crews buy alas, when an
electric line blewin the heart of SanIgnacio
the other day and showered the
surrounding traffic and pedestrians with
sparks and green flashes, minutes dragged
into 10 before a fire engine appeared and
that time doubled before a single policeman
appeared orBEL cut offthe power. A fire
works show which only luck stopped from
turning deadly.

Also in Cayo
It's becoming a long running farce as
downtown and uptown traffic on Bullet
Tree Road continues to be rerouted
around three blocks when Sacred Heart
Junior school is letting students in or out.
The diverted traffic has to pass a busy
playground and the busy route to another
area school. It would take very
little for the land rich school to construct
a simple safe set-down area along its
fence side and a flag boy to do away
with the problem which led to the
diversion in the first place.

Up Mexico way
Mexico is planning to create mixed
police units and check migration status
of the population in southern border
areas and it could effect Belizeans
traveling north. As part of that program,
from Jan 1, Guatemalan citizens will be
able to request to enter Mexico as local
visitors and temporary agriculture


workers, and if they violate those rights
they will lose their rights and be
sanctioned.
Annually two million people cross the
southern border from Guatemala and
Belize to Mexico and vice versa, and
of them 400,000 enter the Aztec nation
illegally.

That old Brit/Saudi/Wahabbi
connection.

L According to UK
press reports, an
investigation into
allegations of
bribery involving
a large British defence contractor and
Saudi Arabia have been quashed. Mr.
Blair took personal responsibility for
stopping the inquiry into a multibillion
pound Saudi arms deal, saying that "If
we had allowed this to go forward, we
would have done immense damage to
the interests of this country."
His concern for the national interest
might, of course, have been to
counter Saudi threats not to buy
British fighter jets if the probe
continued.
It's another example of the old and
still intact Brit/Saudi/US deal, which
allowed the extremist Wahabbis to
create the Taliban, the Al qaida, saw
that all Saudi royal family were quickly
evacuated illegally from the USAafter 911
and continues to turn its usual blind eye
to corruption and human rights abuse in
the antique kingdom.


Economics


to get elected, they mustbe smart enough
to do any job. Our controlling elected
officials sort out the juicy high paid
minister's positions amongstthemselves,
with little or no consideration as to their
abilities to handle the jobs, instead of
seeking highly qualified people for the
critical positions. Aperson is generally
considered to be "highly qualified"
because he possesses the wisdom to get
the job done effectively. Mark Espat is
about our only politician who has history
of effective management in government,
but he stands out like a searchlight in a
cave."
I asked the Old One if the proposed
billion dollar restructure bond would
solve our financial problems?
The Old One frowned then continued.
"Minister Espat himselfhas said that the
Belize restructuring scenarios are 'atthe
outer edge of what forecasts show as
being affordable for the country.' What
he is saying loud and clear is the
proposed desperate bond solution is too
costly and too late.
"There are three serious issues to


consider.
"First: Let's stop and look at the simple
economics of a billion dollar bond. We
have a population of less than 300,000
people, of which 60% are less than 15
years old. Our unemployment figures are
never published because they are so bad,
but being generous in our calculations, we
still have less than 100,000 people
working. Just on the face of it and without
all the other costs, the restructure bond is
only a Band-Aid on ajugular hemorrhage,
but it will still create a $1,000,000,000
debt for 100,000 working people to pay
off. That is $10,000 for each working
person just for this bond, with additional
costs for the bond issue. BUT that is only
the beginning. Interest on the bond is
significantly greaterthan the annual increase
in our earnings as is at least an additional
$45 million a year for the first few years
and $85 million after that until 17 years
have passed... and then we have even
higher interest plus we have to start paying
backthe billion dollars at $125 million a
year. And.... while all this is going on,
the government has already borrowed a


lot more money that also has to be paid
back.
"Second: Certainly the only
justification in ourpresent circumstances
for borrowing such a large sum would be
if the proceeds were used to generate
sufficient returns in the future to be self-
liquidating, but our experience to date
hardly justifies this hope.
"Third: Our"D" credit rating is so low
it has to lookup to see whale poop. For
some time now we have not been able to
service our existing loans, and had to
borrow money to pay the interest on what
we already owed. Any buyer of the
bonds will know that we are in default,
and the probability of Belize repaying the
bonds is less than a politician disclosing
all of his income sources. It is obvious we
can't handle our existing debt, yet... we
are proposing to add another $45 million
a year. The only possible buyers would
bethosewithastranglingpolitical noose, such
as Venezuela, Cuba or Taiwan. We have
already lost our ass and nowwe aretrying to
sell our soul. There may of course be some
(Please Turn To Page 11) 0i n







Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9



E editorial STAR Newspaper dated Sunday December 17,2006


(Printed with permission of the author)

TENS OF MILLIONS THEN
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS -
NOW IT'S ONE BILLION!!!
In post independent Belize, successive
People'sUnited Party (PUP)
governments have embarked on a
program of
reckless borrowing with hardly any
tangible benefits for the masses of the
Belizean people.
The reckless borrowing, first in the
ten of millions of dollars, began during
the 1989-93 era of PUP rule with the
arrival of the unelected PUP financial
guru, Ralph Fonseca, the nation's
defacto minister of finance, under the
wings ofPrime Minister George Price.
How can we forget that era's series of
borrowings at ridiculously high interest
rates such as the Italian line of credit
and others, to fund bloated contracts
like the commercial center at the foot
of the swing bridge, the customs house
in the Port Loyola Area and the city
center, all in Belize City? That series of
reckless borrowing resulted in the
shortest-lived government ever in the
political history of the nation. General
election was called 16 months before it
was constitutionally due with then prime
minister George Price's infamous "job
done" pre-election proclamation.
The PUP was booted out of office
and a new United Democratic Party
(UDP) government was faced with the
task of nursing the nation's devastated
economy back to health. The exercise
resulted in the implementation of some
unpopular decisions primary among
which were the downsizing of
government's bloated workforce and
the implementation of the Value Added
Tax.
By the time the UDP left office in
August of 1998 the overall national debt
stood at a manageable 500 million
dollars. In came the PUP Government
headed by a new prime minister in the
person of Said Wilbert Musa, with the
now elected Ralph Fonseca as minister
of finance. It did not take long for the
reckless borrowing to resume only this
time in the hundreds of millions of
dollars.
The 2003 general election campaign
came with unprecedented massive
campaign financing and lavish
spending on propaganda items in every
district town and larger villages. These
items included expensive "love
fests" overflowing with cheap beers and
free food for all along with live
entertainments featuring Supa G, the
caliente dancers as well as expensive
political advertisements on television.
The massive spending resulted in the
return of prime minister Said Musa and
the PUP to government. Within days
of assuming the reigns of government,
the party's chief campaign financier,
Barry Bowen was handsomely


rewarded with the slashing of excise duty
on his beer from $12 per gallon, under
the previous UDP government, to a
measly $1.80 per gallon. Despite this
huge reduction in taxes, the price of
Bowen's Belikin beer and stout
increased and, with the added windfall
of surplus revenue, Bowen embarked
on a massive expansion project. New,
bigger and more sophisticated route
trucks were pressed into service. The
added finances also gave birth to the
erection of impressive Bowen
distributions centers such as the one near
Esperanza Village in the Cayo District
and in other parts of the country. In the
words of PUP's own cabinet minister
Cordel Hyde, this singular decision, on
the part of his new PUP government,
resulted in the decrease of government
revenues from an annual $25 million to


moratorium on borrowing. We borrow
too damn much."
Then in last Friday's sitting of the
house of representatives, the nation was
treated to Mark Espat rising in support
of government's intention to embark on
the historical borrowing of ONE
BILLIONDOLLARS. This is the very
same Mark Espat who, only a few
months earlier, told the nation in the very
same house of representatives that "we
cannot continue to borrow from Peter
to pay Paul". He has taken a full 360
degrees turn. How interesting indeed.
Furthermore, only a few days ago we
witnessed the same Mark Espat signing
off on a $25 million loan from the
InterAmerican Development Bank and
in the process telling the nation that the
proceeds from this loan will notbe going
into any projects.


"...the borrowing has evolved from

increments of tens of millions to hundreds

of millions and now to a whopping ONE

BILLION DOLLARS. In the words of

prime minister Said Musa "that's billion

with a "B"."


a measly $4 million per annum.
In his 2005 contribution to the budget
debate, Cordel Hyde publicly
recommended that the taxes on beer be
restored to the $12 per gallon rate as it
was under the UDP "and let us collect
the 25 million dollars", said Hyde. The
PUP, in campaign mode for the 1998
general election, lambasted the UDP
government for presiding over the
nation's foreign reserves which they said
stood at "only" three months of imports.
Today, after eight years of PUP rule,
that very same foreign reserve stands
dangerously at two weeks of imports
while the national debt has ballooned to
3.3 billion dollars.
With the national economy in
shambles, prime minister Musa was
forced by other members of his
government to remove Ralph Fonseca
as minister of Finance. In terms of
present times, the borrowing has
evolved from increments of tens of
millions to hundreds of millions and now
to a whopping ONE BILLION
DOLLARS. In the words of prime
minister Said Musa "that's billion with a
"B". Call it a direct loan. Call it the
floating of bonds. Call it the acquisition
of finances at concessionary rates. Call
it whatever you want, a lemon by any
name is just as sour. If it is not a grant,
then it's bad news for the Belizean
economy as any more borrowing will
only serve to further mortgage the future
ofBelizeans yet unborn.
Again in the words of PUP minister
Cordel Hyde "We must put a


How on earth did we reach the point
whereby elected politicians can
shamelessly utter these words to a
nation feeling the pinch of ailing
economic conditions where 44% of its
citizens are living in poverty? Amidst
widespread poverty, government
finance officer Joe Waight tells us that
85 million dollars in additional loans is
coming into the country. $25m from
the IDB $25m from the CDB $25m
from the Republic of Venezuela and
$10m from the Republic of China on
Taiwan ALL of which will be used, said
Joe Waight" to help support Belize's
balance of payment" with not even a
dime directly touching the life of a single
poorBelizean.
How did we reach the point when
we can swallow the pronouncement that


disbursement of the second $15 million
of the IDB loan hinges on "the orderly
liquidation" of the nation's only institution
for development financing and the
retrenchment of employees of that
institution?
Notwithstanding, some level of
comfort must be given to the Belizean
people and so it came in the form of
Mark Espat promising the "opening of
a new financing window" whatever that
means. "primarily to finance student
loans" said Espat.
Obviously recognizing that some
degree of hope mustbe given to comfort
the sometime militant student
population, the promise came in the
form of an institution dubbed
"development financing limited" For
some reason this promise reads like a
page torn from Tony Quinn's book
under the heading "Tell them what they
want to hear.
Have we actually forgotten when, a
few months ago, during the heights of
raising fuel prices, former Mexican
president Vicente Fox was brought to
our shores and with the full concurrence
of prime minister Musa, hoodwinked us
with the false hope of cheaper fuel price
by way of the establishment of Mexican
fuel stations in the country. And so we
hanged our collective hopes on Fox's
singular promise. We returned to our
respective corners. We lapped our
collective tails between our legs.
Today, we remain saddled with high fuel
prices. The presidency ofVicente Fox has
gone into the history books and we are
yet to see a single Mexican fuel station
established anywhere in the country.
It is often said that "a promise is a
comfort to a fool."
The year just ending was not an easy
one, all political parties will be in full
campaign mode in the New Year and
so the combs will begin to fall to the
floor. Take that which is rightfully yours.
We have been punishing for much too
long. Remember the promises of
cheaper light, water and telephone
rates? Listen to the promises as they are
made because at the end of the day,
none of us are fools.


0 0


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I I







friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


HO


DU


S: Governed by Vested Interests


By Thelma Mejia San Josd, Costa Rica Monday 18 December 2006


TEGUCIGALPA, (IPS) Traditionally
powerful families and drug traffickers have
enormous political influence in Honduras
today, according to analysts.
The elite families, which have gradually
taken over party structures and decision-
making posts in government, "are the
groups that have what we could call 'legal'
power," political scientist Emesto Paz at
the public National Autonomous
University of Honduras (UNAH) told
IPS.
"But then there are the others, who
work behind the scenes and have links to
organised
crime, e
especially
drug
trafficking,
which has a
strong
presence in
this
country," he
added. "These groups, which not only
paralyse, but influence political reforms
needed in this country, are generating a
crisis ofgovemability and weakening the
party system," he said.
Paz and other analysts who talked to
IPS said the families that exercise the
greatest power in Honduras are Jewish
or of Arab descent, and are involved in
economic sectors like the "maquiladoras"
(export assembly plants), energy,
telecoms, tourism, banking and finance,
the media, the cement industry and trade
and commerce.
The study "Real Integration and Groups
of Power in Central America" by the
Friedrich Ebert Foundation of
Germany says these vested interests have
taken over the spectrum occupied by
political parties in the region.
The study differentiates between
"business governments," like that of El
Salvador, and "pro-business
governments" like the ones that have ruled
Honduras and the rest of the countries in
Central America, in which the link
between government structures and the
private sector have been less direct than
in El Salvador. Investor Miguel Facusse
Barjum, his son-in-law Fredy Nasser,
energy magnate Schucry Kafie, and
banker and industrialist Jaime Rosenthal
are the most powerful men in Honduras.
Another influential businessman is the
Cuban-born Jose Lamas. c
Nasser andKafie control the country's
thermal energy industry, and Nasser's
business interests include concessions to


operate the country's main airports, as well
as shares in telephone companies in
Guatemala.
Influential businessmen in the media,
whose influence has grown since the
1990s, are Rafael Ferrari; Carlos Flores
Facusse, a former president (1998 2002)
and the nephew ofMiguel Facusse; and
Jorge Canahuati Larach.
Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno said these
groups "are so interrelated and closely
linked to the Honduran political system,
where their meddling is very strong, that it
can be stated that they handpickpresidents


and other authorities, dictate the news
agenda in the media, and are the main
contributors to political campaigns."
"The repetitive presence of certain last
names in Congress and the executive
branch is not fortuitous," Moreno, director
of the Jesuit Reflection, Research and
Communication Team (ERIC), told IPS.
"They know howto intervene, request and
demand. The state would seem to be at
their service, and governments are seen
as an instrument for obtaining power and
profits.
"Ifthey used to do abetterjob disguising
their ambition, in the last decade they have
gone over the top, and it would seem that
this plundered and ruined country still has
meat to chew on," he added.
OfHonduras' seven million people, 65
percent lived below the poverty line and
53 percent in extreme poverty in 2005,
according to the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP).
A presidential adviser who asked to
remain anonymous for security reasons
told IPS that "these groups are insatiable,
they make one request after another. Two
months ago, in a meeting with President
Manuel Zelaya, they told him that in the
1980s, the most important political
decisions were put to consultation in the
military barracks, but that now they were
here, the businesspeople and the media."
"You are only temporary, while we are
permanent, they said. We want to be
consulted about decisions, we want
contracts and to participate in the public
tenders, we want to express our opinions


on some appointments of public officials,
andwewant official advertising contracts,
they added," according to the source.
Since then, the Zelaya administration,
which took office in January 2006, has
had friction with some of the country's
most powerful business groups, because
the cabinet includes members ofthe Jewish
business community headed by Rosenthal,
which is atloggerheads with the country's
most influential families ofArab origin.
Rosenthal, who has run unsuccessfully
for the presidency four times, belongs to
the governing Liberal Party and has
interests in areas like the media, the cement
industry, beef exports, banks, insurance


and telecoms. He played a key role in
Zelaya's campaign.
His son,Yani Rosenthal, isnowminister
ofthe Presidency, in charge ofcoordinating
all the ministries and the most important
portfolios of public administrationprojects
and credits.
Given Zelaya'smarked differences with
some power groups, who is he governing
with?
With the Rosenthal family and another
business sector not linked to the traditional
structures, who intend, together with the
president, "to set a distance between
themselves and those who have exploited
this country foryears," said the presidential
adviserwho spoke to TPS.
This group is apparently led by the
president's chief of staffRoberto Babfin,


who has interests in the timber industry.
His camp includes business leaders
involved in the tourist industry, biodiesel
manufacturing which has strong
backing from the present administration
- and the thermal energy industry.
Unconfirmed reports have also pointed
to links between the government and
members of the Guatemalan business
community, who allegedly contributed
substantially to the president's election
campaign.
According to the governing party
deputy to the Central American
Parliament, Gloria Oqueli, this scenario"
endangers the stability of the political
parties,
because
penetration
by these
groups is
s o0

that we are
being left
without
any true political leaders."
"It's not that their participation is a
negativething they should participate. But
they should let the politicians govern and
not the other way around, that is to say,
govern the politicians themselves, as we
are seeing in practice. We should re-think
how to modernize the political system and
make political parties less elitist and more
open to civil society and social
participation,p" she said.
What most concerns Oqueli is what she
calls the coopting ofthe party systemby
drug traffickers, about whom she says
there are "strong indications thatthey have
financed political campaigns. Political
parties must open their books and give
the public information about who finances
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Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


HONDURAS:

Governed by
- E (Continued From Page 10)
their campaigns, and in return for what,"
she said.
Alfredo Landaverde, an expert on drug
trafficking issues and adviser to the state
on security, said that narcoo" penetration
in Honduras can be seen in money
laundering, cartheft, forgery of documents,


Vested


interests


trafficking of arms and persons, and the
activities of marsa" or youth gangs. Drug
trafficking has been seen in Honduras since
1977, although the country was mainly
used in the past as a transit point.
However, in the last decade, this has
changed, as indicated by the seizures of
enormous quantities of cocaine by the


Belize Economics


--n (Continued From Page 8)
crazy entitieswhofeelthattheycoulduse
the bond to foreclose on the economy
somehow, but the bond issue makes total
nonsense from a commercial point ofview
"Fit somehow did happen to find a "taker"
the bond is storing up a disastrous burden
on the Belize population in 17 years
time....when of course the responsible
politicos will no longer be around. The
repayments would have to come from
taxation on ourworkers, thought appears
the prospect ofthebonds everbeing repaid
areprettymuchnil. Nodoubta"rollover"in
17 years times what the government has in
mind, but with an already heavily indebted
economy arollovercouldbeapipedream.
"Fourth: Thebilliondollarbond does not
correct the causes of our disastrous
economics. OURPOLITICAL SYSTEM
HASFAILEDUS! Ithas failedtoprovide
justiceforourpeople. Ithasfailedto supply
a decent education system for our children.


It has failed to keep our borders secure. It
has failedto makeproperhealth care available
(take a look at the dreadful hospitals in PG
and SanIgnacio). It has failedto give us an
accounting ofhow our national money has
been (mis)spent foryears now. Ithas failed
to give us a properly trained police force we
can call upon forhelp, instead ofone that is
oftenworsethanthecriminals. Ithasfailedto
create obs for our people. It has caused a
300% increase in our cost ofliving over the
last 10 years while failing to increase our
wages. In shortourpolitical systemhas failed
ourpeoplejust as surely and dramatically as
Communism failedtheRussians."
The OldOne shookhishead. "Oursystem
haslongbeen atool forthevested interests,
and corruptpoliticians,"he concluded. "We
have sunk into atype ofFascism under the
guise ofdemocracy where ourpeople now
serve the government instead of the
government serving ourpeople. There must
be change, andthatchangemustcome soon.


police more than 3,000 kg so far this
year.
According to the governmental
Honduran Institute for the Prevention of
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and
Dependency, drug use is on the rise, and
a majority ofyoungsters between the ages
of 15 and 19 have tried some kind of illegal
drug, especially cocaine.
The Institute reports that in the 1970s,
local drug consumptionwas largely limited
to marijuana. But cocaine, as well as
cmck,nowbothcirculatewidely "And since
2002, small amounts of ecstasy and heroin
have been seized, although their distribution
is still limited," saysthe Institute.
Landaverde said drugtrafficking activity
is concentrated ontheCaribbeanandAltanfic
coasts in the north and northeast, and inthe
extreme western part of the country.
According to the UNAH Observatory on
Violence, thesearetheregionswiththehighest
levels ofviolentcrime.
Drug traffickers laundertheir profits by
"investing in luxury homes, ranches,
companies andfishingboats, as well as small
and medium-size businesses. But they also
do so by investing in politics," said
Landaverde, who clarified that there are no
official statistics on money launderinginthe
country.
Two months ago, Marvin Ponce, a
lawmaker with the leftist Democratic
Unification party, stated that there were


legislators who had gained their seats with
dmgtrafficking money, although he did not
dare name names.
Aformermayorfrom atowninHonduras
toldlPSthatatleastfivemayorsinthewestem
provinces of Copan, Lempira and
Ocotepeque had financed their campaigns
withdrugmoney.But"iflrevealtheirnames,
they'll kill methenextday," he said.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) reportedthat around
100 tons ofcocainemovethroughHonduras
annually, while domestic consumptionlevels
have soared in the last fewyears.
Most of the cocaine comes from
Colombia and is on its way to the United
States, accordingtotheHondumn police and
theDEA.
The DEA plans to establish an anti-drug
military base in 2008 in theAtlantic coastal
region ofMosquitia, one of the main drug
raflickingpointsinHondurasduetoitsremote
jungles, which are unconnectedtothe rest of
the country by road.
The drug lords evadejustice by means of
bribery, threats andmurder, saidLandaverde.
Both the economic elites and the drug
traffickers are consolidating their hold on
powerthanks tothe fragility ofdemocracy in
theregion,which"isin crisis," intheviewof
Paz.
"In the case of Honduras, one of the
solutions to keep the state from remaining
trapped in these networks is
the construction and creation of citizen
networks that strengthen society," the
political scientist argued.


BlB kiKK Le wl iz I


The Jabiru stork is Belize's
biggest bird and one of the
most easily recognized. This
week, Independent Weekly
gives you some more
information on this fascinating
creature, courtesy Jungle Walk
field guide by Katie Stevens.

January is the time of year
when the jabiru stork (Jabiru
mycteria) begins refurbishing
last year's nursery in
preparation for this year's
brood. No mean feat;
constructed of large sticks
intertwining, the jabiru nest is
a platform as many as 8 feet
across! It perches high in a tall,
often dead, usually lone tree
within a pine ridge or above the
jungle bush. This
overexposure of its
whereabouts made this
otherwise shy bird an easy
target in the pre-protection


days when the
jabiru was a
commodity in
the markets of
Belize.
Luckily, 1
today's Belize boasts the 4N
healthiest population of
these storks within its
eight county habitatV
(Central America and
Mexico), although
destruction of some nesting
and feeding areas have
inevitably occurred.
The largest flying bird in
the Americas, the jabiru
is four and a half to
five feet with a
wingspan of nine l
feet. In Spanish it
is known as El Rey
de Ellos, or "King of
them all"; in Belize it is
demoted to "fillymingo" or
even to "turk"! Aside from the


obviousness of its out-
size, its appearance is
also unmistakable. Its
plumage is all white, its
head all black-
including the heavy
duty bill; these are
connected by a
loose skinned
black neck
N bordered below
by a bright red
Sb a nd ,
a' comprising a
I I simple but
t a s t e ful 1
ensemble-
all things
considered.
No one ever
implied that
the jabiru is
just a pretty
face!
The immature
jabiru is an appropriate


brownish gray.
The storks feed in wetlands.
around swamps and ponds,
sometimes flying several miles
in search of a favored food.
These are many to choose
among: fish, frogs and snails,
reptiles and small mammals.
Snakes seem to be high on the
list of delectables, perhaps
because the appetite which is
worked up in the process of
preparation. The jabiru will take
a 6-foot snake and shake it.
throw it up into the air and catch
it, thrash it and bash it and
finally tear it to pieces. Which
it then eats with relish (but
rarely piccalilli).
Jabirus come in solitary pairs
which snare the duties of
parenthood but, when the
nesting season is over, they fly
north with their young (2-4) to
join up with the flocks of
southern Mexico.






'riday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


A Crisgtas Story

by Emory King

here is a true storu which happened over the Christmas season a couple of ears ago.
A little old ladc, obviously verm poor, was truing to buu a Christmas ham. The shop was crowded
with people pushing each other and calling out to the assistants behind the counter. several
small bogs were scrambling around, under everybody's feet.
( unable to shout veru loud she hoped to get the attention of one of the clerks bl waving. 5khe
clutched her worn bag in one hand and waved with the other.....
Sinallu one of the clerks leaned over the counter. "Whatfor ou, ladcl?"
"One small ham", sie said. "The smallest ham ou got."
The uoung man went awau and rummaged through the boxes of hams, first weighing one and
*^f~ f then weighing another and at length came back with a ham and said, "Eleven dollars and
twentj-five cents. Ok?
The old woman bit her lip. "No. I am sorru. Don't uou have anything smaller? I have onlu ten
*dollars."
5 he turned awau with a hint of tears in her eues.
^ Tilhe owner, who was at the cashl register during the whole episode, told her to wait and called
back the clerLk. "t's all right, bou. ( ive her the ham forten dollars."
With the ham safely in her shopping bag at her feet the old ladj *.. -
S removed a worn ten dollar bill from her cloth purse and handed it to
"" the owner. "God lesss uou, sir", she said with a catch in her voice.
S"That's all right", the owner said gruffL!, a little embarrassed to show
his Christmas spirit before the crowd of customers.
5uclAenlj someone shouted "l5top that bo," and the old ladj re-
alized one of the little bogs hlad grabbed her bag and run away.
He was fast and smart and before anyone could take action he was
up Water Lane and gone.
Now the tears really came down the old woman's face and she wailed .
piteously. And wrung her iands. And started out of the shop.
r "Come on bous," someone in the crowd shouted. "Let's help the
ladu." -He waved a dollar in the air. 5oon another hand went up and
Then another. And within a minute the mones was collected and paid
and another ham, a little larger than the stolen one, was forthcoming -
from the boxes.
And the owner even gave the little old ladcl a new bag to carru it in.
S.. F erilaps we haven't all gotten moneu-mad and cold to the needs of
*r, -, others.



SFor an online version of the CONGRATULATIONS!
INdependent Reformer Ghscine graduated magna
vi si. usat- cum laude, from florida
visit u t Southern Co ffege th'
http://www.belizenorth.com/ (Decem6er 16th with a
independentreformer.htm MIastersofBusinessAfmins-
OR tration. Congratulations from
httr//etenewsamify, a a
http ://belizenews.com/ Proud parents Lisa & Albert Hoare Sr
I attending the graduation ceremonies of their s witl ourt ture
independentonline.pdf I eldest child Ghislaie Hoare.
endavors.
lllI
ammm mmmm mmm mmmm mmmm mmm








Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 13


Thirty Minute Country


n (Continued From Page 4)
appliances is as short lived as the
appliances themselves. From power
surges to power struggles in the home,
how many family are still paying for items
New Years
resolution for
Primary schools
in Belmopan!
Belmopan havejoined forcesto develop
aComputerLiteracy Initiative intimeforthe
NewYear. Currently there isno computer
teachingwithinltheseprimaiy schoolsandthis
project will initially give over 3,000 pupils
access to resources and skills needed in the
developing age of Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT).
Theprogramwill establishanessential long
term and sustainable ICT presence within
these schoolswherethereaftertheBelmopan
project could be the basis for further
expansion to otherBelize primary schools.
Theprojectwill embracethelocalcommunity
by running training classes for parents and
providing access tothe computer services.
Development ofthese networked computer
laboratories will enable the creation of an
Educational Intranet that can be used as an
educational resource and information portal
for pupils, parents and teachers.
Thebenefits of such schemewouldgive
children basic computer skills forwhen they
graduatefrcmprimary school which can then
be developed in secondary school. Teachers
will have accessto much wider spectrum
ofresources for their classes with the use of
theintemetandthe administration of schools
will be much more efficient with the use of
the computers and Intranet. With only 13%
ofBelizeans having access to the internet
compared to over 60% inAmerica there is a
drastic need for an ICT presence in schools
to keep up with the needs for computer
literacy in further education and future
employment. The community will be
influencedby thisproject asparents will have
theabilitytoleamanddeveloptheirccmputing
skillsandenjoythevariety ofbenefitsofbeing
connected! TheoverallaimistobuildBelize's
competence of Information and
Communication Technologies to bridge the
gap ofthe digital divide.
Funding is being sought from the
Commonwealth Foundation campaign
'Commonwealth Connects' and the key to
being successful with the application is
Partnerships. The project is solely run by
volunteers, the support of parents and the
Belize University who will work to
maintain the computer laboratories as part
of the sustainability. To develop the
initiative it needs more support and
collaborations which are vital to secure
funding and to sustain the program. Ifyou
have any business propositions or
partnership schemes that you feel will be
of interest please contact the project
leader, Fiona Fraser.
By working together we can ensure that
thePrimary Schools ofBelmopankeep their
NewYears resolution!


that stopped working just months into
the contract?
How many of us are sitting on sofas
that looked so beautiful in the showroom,
but which barely survived the transfer
home; which, within days of arrival began
to boast rips and tears and stains,
providingwell upholstered dens forbaby
mice and lizards?
How many lovingly selected cups and
saucers cannot ever be placed upright for
fear of some droppings dropping into
them? Brand new, shiny kitchen
cupboards last exactly 30 minutes before
one of the hinges falls off, the draw pull
stops pulling or they become dark scary
places where pots and pans go in, but


never come out the same, where wildlife
of any size may emerge in the night and
scare the beejeezus out of your pet dog
or cat or hubby seeking a nighttime
snack.
I almost had a heart attack when I
opened the washer one morning to find a
baby iguana opening his mouth
aggressively at me. To the day I have no
idea where he/she went. He/she just
disappeared "down there somewhere." I
recently sold that washer, but harbor the
secret fear that the new owner will meet a
fully grown iguana some day when she
sets out to hang out the wash. It's is a guilt
Imust live with.
Just as I live with the remorse of not


taking better car of my car. Of not sleeping
in her every night to guard her against gas
and hubcap thieves and window smashing
vandals. Of not getting out and personally
inspecting the road for potholes the size
of graves in front of Lord's Ridge
Cemetery and trenches the size of bank
vaults across the Lord's BankRoad. I am
sorry, so sorry, my trusty Corolla that you
are rusty, corroding in the salty air and
choking with red dust. That bits and
pieces fall out of you at random and you
rattle like an old Landrover.
lapologizetoyouand alltheotheritemsI
brought her, or bought here. You deserve a
better, longerlife.
Belize does not like to be called a third
world country. But surely we are a30minute
country. If you really like your Christmas
presents, I suggestyouleavetheminthebox.
They're safer inthere.








friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 14


ARIES
.(Mar.21-April20)
Be prepared to neutralize any threats. Praise will
be yours if you have been pursuing your goals.
Your main concern will be to spend as little as
possible of your own cash in the process.
TAURUS
(Apr. 21-may 21)
Use your charm, but don't sign or agree to
anything. Focus on your domestic scene. Get
together with friends or relatives. Be sure to take
care of any minor ailments.
GEMINI
(May 22-June 21)
This is a wonderful day to look into courses or
hobbies that interest you. Travel for business
will not only bring you valuable information but
also profits as well. You can win if you're open
and up front with your boss.
CANCER
(June 22-July 22)
You can enjoy your involvement in organizations
that make charitable contributions. Travel will be
fun and entertaining. It's time to reevaluate your
motives.
LEO
(July 23-Aug 22)
Offers of joint ventures are likely. Romantic
opportunities are evident if you get involved in
large groups or organizations. Take care of the
needs of elders in your family.
VIRGO
(Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Take a long look at your present direction and
consider your professional options. You can sort
out any differences you have in an amiable
manner. Be careful if a friend asks you for advice.


LIBRA
(Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
You may be upset if someone has borrowed
something that belongs to you. You can expect
changes in your financial situation as well as in
your status. Accept the inevitable.
SCORPIO
(Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Fitness or weight loss pro grams will help your
self esteem. Be innovative. However, be careful
with luggage; it may be rerouted.
SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Try to be precise in your communications. You
can make money if you concentrate on producing
services or goods that will make domestic chores
easier. This will be a good day for research and
for sitting down with some good, informative
reading material.
CAPRICORN
(Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
It might be best to work on your own; if possible,
do your job out of your home today. Try to join
groups of interest such as ballroom dance classes
or perhaps an internet organization. This may
not be the time to lend or borrow.
AqUARIUS
(Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Don't avoid your true feelings. Old friends may
not like your choices. Broaden your horizons and
look into programs that will teach you awareness
and relaxation.
PISCES
(Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Uncerain getrichquickschemeswillnotbeaslucialiveasyou
anlifcite.Ymuslitohdp.ThelhlowledUgeuhawenill ne
yournqtalcn.


Your weekly


I


Li Chee


Freetown Rd., Belize City

Opposite the Old Technical College, Li Chee (a.k.a Freetown Kentucky) offers quality,
sure value, speedy service and unequalled atmosphere. For just five dollars you can get
several pieces of fried chicken (a.k.a greesy bag, nice-n-nasty) well seasoned and
deliciously cooked to order with enough fries to keep you within the Atkins diet
parameters.

Li Chee's production line is as close to aKFC production of cooked order as you get.
The paint work and fixtures may leave a lot to be desired, and lines will be long at all
times but just holler a carefully constructed fewwords, "Five dollar bress', chop up,
fries, latta peppa" and don't lose sight of your objective, to get outa there with a steamy
hot styrofoam package ofLi Chees.

One US customs officer in Miami once asked (in a southern accent), "Did you bring
any of the Lee Chees?". So no matter whether you are rushing home to Vista Del Mar
with no time to cook, or need to take a remembrance of home to your kin in NYC,
stop off at Li Chee, keep your head down, muscle into the crowd, and get what you
deserve. It is as close to chicken heaven as you can get, and the word is spreading
worldwide.


IMF roadmap
To the Members of the International
Financial Community:
At the request of the Government of
Belize, Iwould liketo inform you of recent
economic developments in Belize and the
country's relationship with the
International Monetary Fund.
Over the past twoye ars, the authorities
have made commendable strideisn
correcting serious macroeconomic
imbalances based on their adjustment
strategy. Tax measures and primary
expenditure cuts havele d to a sharp
improvement n the central government's
primary balance, which has moved from
a deficit of3 percent of GDP in FY2003/
04 (April to March) to a surplus of 3
percent of GDP in FY2005/06. At the
same time, monetary policy was tightened
through the sterilization of social security
deposits and increases in reserve
requirements. These measures have
contributed to a narrowing of the country's
large current account deficit.
However, these efforts alone will not
be sufficient to bring the economy back
onto a sustainable path, and for this reason
the authorities are undertaking further
adjustment efforts during FY2006/07 and
beyond. Accordingly, they are targeting a
furtherincrcase in the primary fiscal surplus
to 3% percent of GDP in FY 2006/07
and to 4-4% percent of GDP in
subsequent years. This fiscal improvement
would be achieved by saving theb ulk of
projected revenues from oil production,
enhancing non-oil revenue collection, and
restraining current expenditures. Aprudent


ymt br Ood tood

With Anthony Hunt


for Belize 2007
monetary policy stancewill be maintained
in order to underscore the authorities'
commitment to the fixed exchange rate
regime. Structural reforms are envisaged
to support macroeconomic tightening.
These reforms center on the fiscal are (a
e.g., tax reform, pension reform, public
debt management), monetary policy
implementation, financial sector regulation
and supervision, and improved economic
statistics.
Even with this additional adjustment
effort, as well as the additional official
financing that is being provided byn
multilateral and bilateral lenders, large fiscal
and balance of payments financing gaps
would remain in 2007 and beyond. It is
against this background that Belize has
sought to engage with its external private
creditors to achieve an orderly and
cooperative debt restructuring. High
participation by private creditors inthe debt
exchange offer that was launched on
December 18, 2006 would help support
orderly macroeconomic adjustment, restore
fiscal and external sustainability, and establish
the conditions for strong economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund has
welcomed the progress the authorities
have sing Belize's serious ma c r o e c o
nic imbalances in the context of a
homegrown adjustment strategy.
Nonetheless, Belize's situationwill remain
vulnerable for quite some time, allowing
little room for slippage in implementing the
policy frame work. We stand ready to
continue to assist the authorities in
implementing and monitoringtheirfinancial
and structural adjustment policies,a nd to
provide technical assistance as needed.






Friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15


What are energy drinks?
Energy drinks are beverages like Red
Bull, Venom, AdrenalineRush, 180, ISO
Sprint, and Whoopass, which contain
large doses of caffeine and other legal
stimulants like ephedrine, guarana, and
ginseng. Energy drinks may contain as
much as 80mg of caffeine, the equivalent
of a cup of coffee. Compared to the 3 7
mg. of caffeine in a Mountain Dew, or
the 23 mg. in a Coca-Cola Classic, that's
abig punch. These drinks are marketed
to people under 30, especially to college
students, and are widely available both
on and off campus.
Are there short-term dangers to
drinking energy drinks?
Individual responses to caffeine vary,
and these drinks should be treated
carefully because of how powerful they
are. Energy drinks' stimulating properties
can boost the heart rate and blood
pressure (sometimes to the point of
palpitations), dehydrate the body, and,
like other stimulants, prevent sleep.
Energy drinks should not be used
while exercising as the combination of
fluid loss from sweating and the diuretic
quality of the caffeine can leave the user
severely dehydrated.
Know what you're drinking. Energy
drinks are not necessarily bad for you,
but they shouldn't be seen as "natural
alternatives" either. Some of the claims
they make like "improved performance
and concentration" can be misleading.
Ifyou think of them as highly-caffeinated
drinks, you'll have a more accurate
picture of what they are and how they
affect you. You wouldn't use Mountain
Dew as a sports drink. And a drink like
Red Bull and vodka is more like strong


Caffeine and Energy
Boosting Drugs:
Energy Drinks


coffee and whisky than anything else.
What happens when energy drinks are
combined with alcohol?
Energy drinks are also used as mixers with
alcohol. This combination carries number
of dangers:
Since energy drinks are stimulants
and alcohol is a depressant, the
combination of effects may be
dangerous. The stimulant effects can
mask how intoxicated you are and
preventyou from realizing how much
alcohol you have consumed. Fatigue
is one of the ways the body normally
tells someone that they've had
enough to drink.
The stimulant effect can give the
person the impression they aren't
impaired. No matter how alert you
feel, your blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) is the same as
itwouldbewithout the energy drink.
Once the stimulant effect wears off,
the depressant effects of the alcohol
will remain and could cause vomiting
in your sleep or respiratory
depression.
Both energy drinks and alcohol are
very dehydrating (the caffeine in
energy drinks is a diuretic).
Dehydration can hinder your body's
ability to metabolize alcohol and will
increase the toxicity, and therefore
the hangover, the next day.


Boxing Day TKO:
Belizeans get pumped, AGAIN!
i-n (Continued From Page 13) issued, at least, not in Belize.
ThatisaseriouswamingforBelizeans But there is more there in Dcotor
in Belize by the IMF, no less. Fuel Rodrigo's letter. I'll sit back and let
prices have already gone up...just the pundits dissect it then we can
six days after the DG's release, talk. But you can't say youweren't
without any official releases being forewarned. Can you?

For an online version of the
INdependent Reformer
visit us at
http://www.belizenorth.com/
independentreformer.htm
OR
http://belizenews.com/
independentonline.pdf
IImmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmml


-Le king .

for your copy of

Independent Reformer

Weekly?

We currently have the following
distributors Countrywide and are
looking for more:


Corozal:
Raidys
Orange Walk:
Peoples Store, Del La Fuenta
Drugs Store
Cayo:
Evas Cafe, Celinas
and street vendors
Dangriga:
Oscar Ramirez
Placencia:
Noldan Brown
Punta Gorda:
Natures Way Guest House
Caye Caulker:
Trends
Belmopan:
Hyde's Mini Mart
and Dakers Stationery
Belize City:
Albert & Queen Street Stalls, Twin
Supermarket and Slingshot on St.
Thomas Street,
Ladyville:
El Ca's Supermarket, Jonze Salon,
Celinas Grocery, Highwayman
Service Station, Celina's, Airport
San Pedro:
seeking a distributor


New Distributors are being added
every week so look out for increased
availability. You can also join our
mailing list, see page 2 for details. J





friday, January 5, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16


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