Title: Independent reformer
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00010
 Material Information
Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: February 9, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00010
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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erlene to


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on


DFO


It's was certainly aMadHatter's TeaParty
but, as 'Alice' Merlene Bailey Martinez
maintained a calmAlice-like authority over
the ongoing DFC Commission of Inquiry,
which recommended on February 1s. Al-
though many had expected much subdued
performance fromthechair, followingtheun-
fortunate death ofDavid Price, itwas any-
thingbutthat.
Merlene Matinez Bailey was hard and
unremitting in her questioning and persisted
for answers in a polite but severe and un-
compromising manner. Sherelentlessly pur-
sued the Mahogany Heights, Los Lagos,
Novelo's Bus and other DFC fiascos in
search ofresponsibility forth huge sums of
money which wentmissing millions and
millions ofthe people's money shuffled like
monopoly cards between projects, banks
and offshorebusinesses.
The tone ofthe meeting was set on Thurs-
day by MarkHulse, the forensic auditor: "Our
review oftheNovelo loan indicated many
breaches of procedure, protocol, and fidu-
ciary duty. It also indicated conflicts ofinter-
estinrespecttowhichMr. Godfrey, the chair-
man of the D.F.C. appears to have been a
beneficiary through his legal practice and a
bankunderhis control.
"In our view," he continued, "this consti-


tutedarelated partytransactionwhich should
have been, but was not, disclosed in the au-
dited financial statements. Further examples
of delinquent loans where procedures were
breached and conflicts of interest were ig-
nored.
"Examples includeNewMillennium En-
terprisesLimited, AquaMarine Suites Lim-
ited, PrintBelizeLimited, Royal Palm Lim-
ited, Karim Adle, Toledo Free Zone, and
those are just a few examples. Most loan
fileswereincomplete and orprocedureswere
not adhered to. By thirty-first December
2004, the total book value of non-perform-
ing loans had increased to some Belize one
hundred and twenty million dollars."
The starwitnesses atthehearings on Thurs-
day and Friday, Jorge Omar Espej o, Davd
Courtenay, HughMcSweeny etal., werelike
the Mad Hatter's guests; wondering forget-
ful, deceptive and only finally and very oc-
casionally- throwing any real light on what
actuallytookplace.
Overshadowing all, throughout the hear-
ings, was the huge shadow of Finance
SupremoRalphFonseca And, his name did
finally emerge! Yes, DavidCourtenay ac-
knowledged who had responsibility forthe
Mahogany Heights housing disaster "theFi-
nance Minister, MrFonseca."


Of course, reference to Glenn Godfey's
extraordinary financial dealing throughahost
of companies, and banks, even had 'Alice'
attimes seemingpuzzled and perplexed. But,
histurnis stillto come and, shealwaysbrought
herwitnesses backto their role in events.
Whatthe hearing revealed, above all else,
was the degree to which the DFC was to-
tally an arm and extension of government. It
hadnoautonomy. It'sdaily andweekly policy,
everything in fact the DFC did, was dictated
on high by and from-as the hearings indi-
cate-RalphFonseca.
And Channel 7 takes up the story: "While
Mr. Courtenay did not accept that there had
been any wrongdoing attheDFC, this after-
noon, former Financial Secretary Hugh
McSweaney said that something had gone
verywrongwiththe corporation. He couldn't
say who caused it, or whatwas his role, but
in hiswords, "itwas awful." But accordingto
the Commissioners, whatwas awful to them
was how as Financial Secretary he did not
know that Government was payingAbdul
Hamze$9millionforaproperty-Mahogany
Heights to be specific for which it had no
title. McSweaney was deputy Financial Sec-
retary and Financial Secretary at key points
inthetransaction, but says he was not aware
that this $9 million transaction was riddled


Citrus Growers vote out 6 directors


Following heated controversy sur-
rounding the sale of shares in Citrus
Products of Belize Limited to a Carib-
bean firm, the majority ofthe 550 grow-
ers belonging to the Belize Citrus Grow-
ers Association (CGA) took an unprec-
edented move on Saturday expelling
six of nine directors in a vote of no con-
fidence and replaced them with new
members of the "Committee of Man-
agement"/Board of Directors.
The outgoing members are: Ernest
Raymond (Chair), William Bowman
OBE (Vice Chair), Richard Polack,
Patrick Scott, Simon Willacey, and
Steve Downard.
The incoming members are:
Ricardo Escalente, Victor Quan, Gil-
bert Waight, Francisco Bull, David


Hayles and Former Belmopan Mayor
Anthony Chanona.


The unaffected directors are: Frank
Redmond, Steve St. Cyr, and Denzil
Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins told Independent
Weekly that he has no response to the
full page advertisement taken out by
members of the outgoing board ac-
cusing him of "waging war" on the cit-
rus industry by questioning the wis-
dom of the sale of shares to the Car-
ibbean firm, know by various names
including "Blue Waters" and "Banks."
He said, "That response was given
by the growers at the SGA on Satur-
day with 86% majority voting to re-
move those directors who signed on
supported finalizing the agreement."
Jenkins says among concerns are
(Please Turn To Page 6) *E


withproblems-he saysmaybelegal counsel
Gian Ghandi knew, but he didn't
HughMcSweaney: "The government of
Belize 's problem was a cash problem. As
far as I am concerned we couldn't do any-
thing to stop the DFC train."
MeideneBailey-Mailinez,"Youcouldn't?"
Hugh McSweaney, "Even though we
tried."
MerleneBailey-Martinez, "In what way
didyoutry?"
HerbertLord,"You're saying itwas arun-
away train?"
MerleneBailey-Martinez, "Could you let
him answer?"
Hugh McSweaney, "Well I would not
mention that and I don't want you to put
words in my mouth."
McSweaney also discussedthetimewhen
government incurred a $9 million pre-pay-
ment penalty on one of its loans. It's one of
the worse financial transactions government
(Please Turn To Page 16) *E

Inside this Issue

Please Call Me Back
pg 3


A Pirate's life for Me
pg.4


Should Bel-Ams have
the right to vote?
pg. 5


Why I will join VIP
pg. 7


Menchu eyes Guat
presidency
S pg.16








Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


General l ManagerA


Trevo Verno


W YES!


We got some shocking news this
week, one of our contributors had
been murdered. Richard Hulse, a
friend from my Channel Five days,
had called after the very first issue
at the end of November to say he'd
like to write for us. It was not a
matter of money he said, just an op-
portunity to write something more
than just daily court updates and "let
the people know what kinda court
system they have, what works, and
what doesn't, because this thing af-
fects a lotta people Karla, lotta
people. Mostly little people who
don't stand a chance of getting off
like the big fish dem."
A few days later he sent me what
I consider one of the best, most im-
partial analysis of our judicial sys-
tem and the difficulties of getting
witnesses to testify or even be lo-
cated. (See "Crime and Belizean
Society, Independent Weekly,
December 12, 2006)
You see, if anyone would know
the court system it was Richard, for
he had been sitting in on cases in
the Belize City Magistrate and Su-
preme Court for decades.
He kept copious notes and exten-
sive files. You could give him any
name and he'd run home and come
back with that person's entire his-
tory with the courts, and the police.
To say he had the stats on a lot of
dangerous people would be an un-
derstatement.
After his article on the court sys-
tem, he did another one for us
called ("The Culture of Exclu-
sion-A View from the Streets,"
January 12, 2007) on the art scene


in Belize and how he did not be-
lieve it catered to the ordinary man
and woman. He later told me he felt
he did not put enough time into it,
that it could have been better. That
he would do a much, much better
one next time. When I saw him
Tuesday, he told me "I'm working
on another one for you right now."
I will never see it, you will never
read it. Perhaps it is even now ly-
ing there, soaked with his own
blood, part of the evidence at the
crime scene. We can but wonder
what topic he had chosen, and if he
would feel he had done it justice.
Will there be justice for Richard
Hulse? At this writing, the police do
not know who killed him.. There are
rumors about his personal life and
speculation about the company he


kept. It may have been a crime of
passion, a robbery, or he might have
crossed paths with someone who
did not want his entire history
known, or reported on in the me-
dia. We will have to wait and see if
there is an arrest, and a conviction,
or if his case remains unsolved, or
worse, dismissed due to lack of
evidence.
I am sure Richard never expected
that someone would one day climb
the steps of Channel Five and then
down again into the newsroom, the
same way he did several times a week,
to report on HIS death, HIS murder
trial. That people who enjoyed his
jovial personality--even if we had to
cut him short to finish the newscast in
time--would have to report and write
and read about his brutal end on air,
and try not to cry.
Or that he'd have to part company
so soon with another friend who
started her own paper and welcomed
his observations on the system he
knew so well and the "high society"
he never felt would accept him. That
she would have to say goodbye this
week, instead of running the article he
was working on when he died.
Bye Rich, from me and Trevor.
And thanks from the people of
Belize for following up each week
on all the convictions, acquittals,
and appeals long after the incidents
first made the headlines. For letting
us know who cussed up the judges
or took a swipe at the cameraman,
or just sat there and trembled.
And thanks for all the stories be-
hind the stories. Some of them might
just come in handy some day....


independendent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2(666
Bcli/ Ciit. Beli/c
Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as little as
BZ$30 00 () S$30.00 international)


1 1 '11. I P I

.itlit

t-SIii. W.

I m -iii tilit


The death of a friend


cnurra nulse atl ne opening oj tne
Supreme Court, January 2005


E-1 Lill lll E-1


!.-I IIb IIj.II..II lild 111,11 1 .11' 1.-1 i),11 ..







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Please


Call


S


Bac


By: Trevor Vernon


We are new in this newspaper busi-
ness where maintaining contact with
advertisers, columnists, writers, and our
sources is key to survival. We are on
the road and on the phone a lot,
oftentimes simultaneously. As a start-
up we must keep in touch with the
people, as many as we can... all the
time. And since we are such a small
outfit, we must do everything ourselves.
So we must have and maintain a per-
sonal touch with every aspect of the
business.
The costs affiliated with doing busi-
ness in Belize today are astronomical
in large part due to excessive taxes,
government fees, legal fees, energy
costs, and communication services.
Gasoline pump prices are outrageous
thanks to Government formulated tax
structures. Three times the acquisition
cost is what we pay at the pump. The
other major recurring costs are tele-



Oil-



Bane

Here is part two of an interview
with oil consultant Jim
Cavannaugh.
IW. It seems Belize oil is a problem
with three players: GOB, BNE and
the Mennonites.
JC. "Actually I see it more as a
four sidedproblem: government, oil
company, landowner and the
Belizean people. The government
and BNE will be common with each
discovery, but the landowners can
change. The Belizean people, the
ones that really count, always seem
to be left out of the equations. The
landowners and the Belizean people
can be grouped as "victims. The
number one consideration should
always be how the situation will
benefit the Belizean people, but be-
cause they are not an organized
unit, they are not even considered. "
IW. The Mennonites are not really
victims though, as they do get some
of the royalties from the oil, don't
they?
JC. "Forget the Mennonites, and


communications and printing costs. The
latter we can not control much even
though GST Unit is strongly discourag-
ing us from registering.
We pay about a grand a month to that
unit on printing costs alone yet we
should not register? The lady at the Unit
tells me she can't register the company
"just so you can buy furniture and of-
fice equipment." Why on earth would I
buy office equipment in Belize at rob-
ber baron prices? All our equipment is
ordered direct from US Online stores.
Pay the huge mark-ups? What for?


Thank God for the internet and online
vendors or we wouldn't be in business.
I am just as patriotic as the next guy but
we have to keep our eye on the bot-
tom line.
We are even now hearing complaints
from the business community that re-
funds are not forthcoming from GST.
We can't confirm this but it comes from
pretty credible sources. They tell us that
GST Unit claims to have been having


Pt


just look at them as landowners. I
have owned and operated my own
oil company, so let me take you
through oil field economics. When
my studies say a particular site
looks good, I approach the indi-
vidual land/mineral owners and
lease their mineral rights, with the
industry standard deal where all the
risk is mine. I pay for any and all
damages, and if I find oil, the
owner of the land on which the well
was drilledwill received 1/8th of the
oil proceeds (12.5% royalty). I will
usually have a lot of money in-
vested in geology and seismic so I
don't want to make a discovery and
have someone come in and drill
next to me taking advantage of my
exploration investment. Thus if it
looks like I have a 1000 acre pros-
pect, I will probably lease 5000 to
10, 000 acres to protect the prospect
from encroachment.
Some people sell their landandkeep
the mineral rights, so there are land
(Please Turn To Page 6) ml


or


software issues with THE Canadian
Software Supplier. So, no refund checks
available. At least not at this writing.
The cost that most businesses can best
control is the telephone usage. So we
get a lot of "call me right back" requests
from a lot of folks. Can't blame them,
really. But it makes for difficult commu-
nication especially when everyone is us-
ing the expensive cell phone service.
Dollar a minute adds up real fast, espe-
cially for a new start-up.
Now just imagine if those calls were
$. 10 a minute instead....if gasoline was


BZ$4.00 a gallon (like it is in the US
right now). Just imagine ifyour business
electricity bill was $40 instead of $240,
and you could commute from Ladyville
to Belize City without having to buy a
new tire every week as many of us are
doing right now.
Imagine if the climate in Belize was
business friendly, instead of business
hostile. If local investors were treated
with the same love as select foreigners.
Imagine if the tax office told you your
business could get a tax WRITE OFF
or Tax CREDIT for buying locally
manufactured furniture or locally con-
figured computer equipment.


Imagine if you could buy a case of
beer or frequent a local tavern/hotel for
a little happy hour with your employees
at the end of a productive work week
instead of them jumping the border to
go drink at a bar in another country be-
cause it is cheaper... and comes with
free "Boca".
Imagine if raising the minimum wage
really did make it easier for Belizean
workers to absorb cost-of-living in-
creases, if a 10% discount at a shop
actually lowered the price of the goods
you purchased instead ofjust covering
the sales tax.
Imagine a Ministry of Local Busi-
ness, a Department of Entrepreneur-
ial Affairs, a small business bank and
workers compensation (which could
not be pillaged by the narco-launder-
ing multi-millionaires).
Imagine a country where young
graduates felt they could actually plan
to stay home after graduation and
people who had emigrated could
come home without spending their
entire retirement savings on grocer-
ies, utilities, gas and rent.
Just imagine a country where the
government is not milking the business
community but nurturing their success
by providing a non-hostile environ-
ment.
Now the political party that would
set out to accomplish something like
that...they'd get my vote and support
in a heartbeat. And I'd even pay for
the call and not ask them to "please
call me right back."


11 Citrus Growers vote out 6...


iB (Continued From Page 1)
the fact that the company, registered
in St. Lucia, is an offshore vehicle cre-
ated especially for this transaction,
and there is no public listing of who
the directors or shareholders are and
no information about their identities
has been forthcoming. Since seeing a
copy of the agreement some months
ago he has maintained it's a bad deal
for Belizean growers.
Apparently they agree.
Notices had been sent to members
announcing there would be two meet-
ings February 03, 2007 at CGA
Compound, Mile 9, Stann Creek Val-
ley Road at 9AM and 2PM, respec-
tively. One was an Annual General
Meeting (AGM); and the other, a
Special General Meeting (SGM).
AGMs are legally required; SGMs are
at the request of the membership.
However, reports to INdependent
Weekly are that the AGM was post-
poned, but not for the inability to get
a quorum. Growers weren't inter-
ested in the agenda items of the AGM
apparently. Growers wanted to effect


leadership change in the direction of
the Industry. And did they ever.
While we unable to confirm the ex-
act numbers in attendance Saturday,
we were informed that there was a
quorum and that some 71% of the at-
tendees voted by secret ballot to re-
move the majority of the directors of
the CGA.
The Agenda of the SGA was not
fully explored as time was not on the
side of the meeting given the hostili-
ties of the day. So the issue of the re-
view of the sale of 46.59% share in
CPBL and the recovery of the CGA
shares sold for US$2 was never fully
aired. No decisions were taken.
The new Management Committee
is expected to hold meetings to elect
its new officers within hours of this
publication hitting the streets.
What will be the decisions of the
new board? Will they uphold the sale?
Will they shake up the industry? Will
GOB meddle in this affair too? More
questions than answers but we find the
heated exchanges to be an asset to
this country's search for its lost soul.








Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4



Ye ho, yo ho..a pirate's life for in


By: Karla Heusner Vernon
You can almost see a white lace cuff
encircling the bejeweled hand they
wave around, brushing aside all at-
tempts to besmirch their character.
Dare I say they raise a scented hand-
kerchief to their noses so they do not
have to smell the foul odors of the
unwashed masses seated in the audi-
torium?
Ah, but your Graces, you are mis-
taken, it is not the peasants who reek,
but yourselves.
How smug and superior and self
righteously they attempt to deflect the
blame for the damage they have done
to the national economy and the soci-
ety.
They tell the investigators at the So-


cial Security Board and Development
Finance Corporation hearings: "Alas,
I was out of the country," "I did not
attend that meeting," "This is the first
time I am seeing this document," "The
specifics I do not recall," "The chair-
man approved it," "The Minister ap-
proved it..."
They patronize their inquisitors, look
down their long crooked noses, "I


wish I could be helpful, but it was so
long ago..."
But, just like their privateer prede-
cessors, there is no honor among
thieves. Smoothly, suavely, they at-
tempt to sell each other down river.
Or pretend they are just above the
whole sordid mess.
Just as minor minister Mes at-
tempted to pretend he did not run over


two minors walking on a southern
road and send them to the hospital,
so the Huns of former British Hondu-
ras are drunk on their own power.
Why should they not toast their own
success? Is there any real possibility
anyone will be end up in the gaol?
Here or anywhere else? Will their
booty be seized? Will their lifestyle be
changed in any way shape or form?


Would any of these first Belizeans,
ever be required to live like the sec-
ond and third Belizeans?
I marvel at those who stay glued to
the radio. Who breathe, "Oooh, dey
gat dem now!" each time some new
revelation is revealed...
Who has got who? What deals have
been cut on the side, whose eye is
sparkling behind the fake eye patch,


who stretches his legs or arms in pri-
vate after removing the fake hook or
peg leg, laughing as he raises his vest
pocket flask to wet his lips during the
recess. Smiling at the thought of the
damaging information he is withhold-
ing until the very last moment in case
he is betrayed?
Yes, it is excellent entertainment;
such a lovely sword fight....
The crowd secretly cheers them
one, admiring their financial acumen,
their swashbuckling spirit. Their abil-
ity to amass money, move millions in
and out of various accounts, and make
it disappear again, while they them-
selves can hardly pay their mortgage.
Who would not want to be one of the
wheelers and dealers? To be given the
chance to get a little cut, a little com-
mission, even 2 or 3% of all that lovely
money... To have so much cash
stashed in offshore accounts they
could leave the country on the next
plane and never look back. Instead
of having to sneak in "tru di back."
You never know when they might
need to flee the Mosquito coast. Not
(Please Turn To Page 13) E*j







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


Should Belizeans


ho reside


broad have the right to voteP


By: Mario Lara
The constitution of Belize requires
2 months residency in Belize for a
citizen to be able to register to vote.
And, the rules of voting by proxy
do not generally apply to Belizeans
residing abroad. There is no pro-
vision in the constitution for voting
by absentee ballot. Thus, the con-
stitution of Belize strips away the
right to vote from thousands of
Belizeans who reside abroad.
According to information avail-
able at the US Department of State
website, the number of Belizeans
living in the United States is esti-
mated at 70,000. That estimate is
probably on the low side. In addi-
tion, there is a significant number
of Belizeans living in other parts of
the world.
Many people who have been
asked the question of whether
Belizeans should have the right to
vote respond quickly and in no un-
certain terms, "NO!"
Some argue that Belizeans
abroad shouldn't vote because they
would not have to live with the
consequences of their vote. Oth-
ers agrue that if they loved their
country and wanted to vote, they
should not have left. If you are
someone who thinks along these
lines, please consider the follow-
ing:
Many Belizeans who have left
home have done so precisely as a
consequence of the political and
economic situation in Belize. They
leave in search of a better way of
life. But, they do not forget their
families and their homeland that
they leave behind. In a report
dated April, 2006 by Dovelyn
Aguias of the Migration Policy In-
stitute, on the basis of data from
the Inter-American Development
Bank/Multilateral Investment Fund,
Belizeans living abroad were re-
sponsible for $77 million US in re-
mittances to Belize in the year
2004 representing 7% of GDP.
This is a tangible measure of the
care that Belizeans abroad have for
those at home and significant in-
vestment that they make toward
improving the future of Belize.
Monies sent by those Belizeans
abroad help to send students to
school, put food on tables, create
jobs, and reduce poverty at home.
Furthermore, Belizeans abroad
who invest in Belize pay taxes on
their investments.
Some argue that with so many
Belizeans abroad, they would have


the power to influence the results
of elections. This is true. But then,
influencing the outcome of elections
is the whole point of voting, isn't it?


It is unlikely that the tally of votes
from Belizeans living abroad would
ever overturn the will of the major-
ity back home. It is difficult to imag-
ine how dire the political and eco-
nomic situation back home would
have to be for this to occur. But,
the significant numbers of Belizeans
abroad, if they had the right to vote,
can certainly give third party can-
didates and independent candidates
a better chance at gaining a seat in
government; and this could
strengthen the role of the opposi-
tion and elevate the caliber of can-
didates and quality of political de-
bate and campaigns. Blue notes,
block parties, silly political slogans,
and special favors around elections
time would not be effective strate-
gies towards winning the vote of
Belizeans residing abroad.
The concept of the nation state is
being challenged from many angles.
Large multi-national corporations,


MmI


globalization, and deep pocket for-
eign investors wield significant in-
fluence over local leaders and
threaten, in a real way, the exist-


ence of young micro nation states
such as Belize. Disenfranchising a
large number of a tiny nation's born
citizens by stripping them of their
right to vote simply because they
choose to move about this world we
live in, seems to me to be one more
way to weaken the concept of the
nation state.
The most convincing argument that
I have heard regarding why
Belizeans abroad should not be
given back the right to vote is that
it would be too difficult to imple-
ment and corrupt politicians would
run amuck with any absentee vot-
ing system. It is ironic that the best
argument against increasing citizen
participation to help them become
watchdogs against corruption and
to improve the quality of govern-
ment is the fact that we already
have a poor quality of government
and cannot trust our politicians to
respect the system. Implementing


a way to permit absentee ballot
voting by Belizeans abroad and
safeguarding against corruption,
admittedly, would take some ex-
tremely careful thought and plan-
ning. But, many models exist
around the world and it is not an
insurmountable obstacle. Strength-
ening our laws to be able to penal-
ize those who would perpetrate
fraud upon the citizens by tamper-
ing with any part of the voting sys-
tem, including trucking in illegal
aliens to vote, can be examined
along the way.
Granted, most people do not get
too excited about voting even when
they have the right to do so. This
is yet another good reason why that
right should not be taken away from
so many. We need more Belizeans
to participate not less!
If this article has convinced you
in any way that it is important that
Belizeans abroad have the right to
vote, take action and spread the
message. Talk to your area repre-
sentatives and local leaders. Let
this issue be placed on the manifesto
of the next party that wins a major-
ity so that a referendum can be put
to the voters at home. Let the vot-
ers at home decide if their families
abroad should be given back their
right to vote and let us start work-
ing on finding a mechanism that we
can trust to work in the most
tamper-proof way possible. Let us
not be defeated by dishonesty and
corruption.
Email your thoughts to the au-
thor at cowfootsoup@yahoo.com


ayu

'N
way







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


re De


ate with Sir Ronald


Sanders on CARICO


by Ray Auxillou
Following the article of last week in
the Independent newspaper with a re-
buttal of Sir Ronald Saunders, please
allow me the right of response. The
essence of my own article's thrust was
that without internal transportation
links by sea and air, CARICOM can-
not become a nation of it's own right.
Again, watching the squabble of richer
CARICOM country leaders over air
traffic routes and the losses they are
willing to take from scarce tax rev-
enues paid out of their own citizen
pockets, does not lend much belief
that these people can manage a na-
tion of scattered countries, when they
cannot settle such a mundane neces-
sary internal transportation issue. A
couple of Sander's other points! I
agree the political and international
"one voice" approach of limited co-
operation does have a lot to offer all
small countries in CARICOM, par-
ticularly in bananas and sugar through
the WTO. That does not make a
CARICOM nation though. An As-


sociation? Maybe.
I laughed and laughed over the com-
ment saying Belize was the ONLY
country with a positive trade balance
with CARICOM! What Sir Ronald
Sanders neglected to say, was that my
friend Frank Redmond, a 500 acre
farmer and some of his farmer friends,
shipped a small amount of their red
kidney beans crop as an experiment
to Jamaica and that puny little ship-
ment was enough our bureaucrats
said, to tip CARICOM trade balance
in our favor. If that is all it takes to
make a positive trade balance, then
CARICOM internal trade markets
have to be some kind of joke? Or
the salaried intelligentsia have no con-
cept of what is necessary to make
money and a profit on any deal?
I doubt there is enough trade to fill
two very small 2000 ton, freight boats
going counter clockwise circling
CARICOM countries once a month?
Or six converted shrimp trawlers do-
ing a twice a week circuit?
The claim that many small


CARICOM countries that cannot af-
ford it, bought our Belize bonds on
the international market, fills me with
dismay, shame and sadness. The es-
sence of this argument by Sir Ronald
Sanders was that the purchase was
made as an emotional decision. A
sort of family support for a sick rela-
tive?
I won't argue financial markets
here, it is the differences of opinion
that make financial markets work,
but anybody that trades bonds
based on emotions and not on fi-
nancial worth, calculated risk and
expected returns, is in for a sad sur-
prise. Already our Belize bonds are
junk bonds and the interest rates
have been reduced from around 9%
to 4 1/2%. You can do better than
double that with a Certificate of
Deposit at any private bank in
Belize. Not counting the extension
of years to maturity in our recent
Belize replacement effort, which
locks capital up that cannot be re-
cycled to earn it's worth in other


financial markets. As an intelligent
responsible country government fi-
nance minister investment decision,
leaves me aghast.
Most CARICOM governments
have no solid based fiscal budgetary
management practices and are in debt
up to their eyebrows.
This doesn't lend much faith to a
citizen, that they have any ability to
manage a larger CARICOM nation.
If those heavily indebted
CARICOM nations cannot manage
their own revenues and countries,
how can anyone expect them to
manage a larger CARICOM nation?
Leadership has to be shown by ex-
ample and paid in CASH. I would
expect any future CARICOM lead-
ership roles be restricted to
CARICOM countries that show
good fiscal management practices,
proven by FOREIGN RESERVES
double their GDP.
We in far away Belize certainly don't
want incompetents running a
CARICOM nation affecting our lives.


Oil


Boon


or


Bane


Pt.


in. (Continued From Page 1)
owners who own only the surface and
not the minerals, but I have to lease both.
Typically the 1/8th royalty is split with
the mineral owner getting 7.5% and the
surface owner 5.0%. As the oil com-
pany it is important to me that the sur-
face owners get a fair share because if
oil is discovered, we have a long term
relationship and I want them to be
happy.
Unfortunately BNE and the govern-
ment worked out a different deal
where the landowners get screwed.
It was agreed that the government
would get their 7.5% royalty (plus
other government taxes) but the land-
owner would only get 5.0% of the
7.5%, which amounts to only
0.375%, when they should have been
entitled to about 14 times as much.
But there is a bigger question still
hanging. The original Crown land
grants included the land and all
which was above and below the
surface. The government arbitrarily
decided that they owned the min-
erals, although no agreement had
ever been made with landowners,
nor any compensation paid, which
was of course in contradiction to the
Crown land grants, our land laws
and our Constitution. Two ques-
tions are unresolved: 1. who really
owns the minerals? 2. what is a fair


compensation for landowners with-
out mineral rights?
The Mennonites are pacifists and
do not like confrontation so the
government and BNE could easily
bully them. But just suppose that the
next well is drilled on the lands of
Barry Bowen or Dan Silva? Bul-
lies only pick on those they know
they can whip. Take it a step far-
ther and say the land was owned
by Said Musa or Financial Wizard
Ralph. The problems of who owns
what and how much would be
solved instantly!
IW. Why would GOB only agree
to 5% of the 7.5% instead of the
normal 5% of the total production?
It wouldn't cost GOB anything and
they would be protecting the rights
of their people.
JC. "It actually gets worse.
Certainly every government is re-
sponsible with protecting the
rights of its citizens, but GOB is
so desperate to cover up their
outrageous financial incompe-
tence that they don't give a damn
about anything except what they
can grab. Roughly (assuming
25% tax) GOB will get $39.125
out of every $100 of oilproduced
and the landowner will get 37 2
cents. Note that is cents. If the
distribution was the standard 5%,


GOB would get $37.52 out of ev-
ery $100 and the landowner
would get $5.00. Of course GOB
would get their cut on all of the
oil while the landowner would get
the royalty only on the oil from
his property.
"BUT GOB has decided that all
of the royalty will be paid to them
and then they will pay the land-
owner. Worse, the Geology de-
partment decided that no money
should be paid until all drilling was
completed within a field because
everybody with land over the field
should get a share. This is not only
never done this way, it is ridiculous
there is no way to absolutely de-
termine the exact limit of an oil
field, only the commercial limit. If
someone comes in 20 years later
and drills a well on the fringes of
the field and gets commercial oil, it
is preposterous to think he should
be credited back through the 20
years of production, or that all of
the royalty money should be held
until the field is pumped out. This
type of ignorance is only one of the
problems that adds to the confusion.
But in effect what it means is that
GOB will never have to pay out
even the piddling landowner
0.375% royalty.
IW So what's the solution?


"There are many avenues.
1. Determine who is the legal
owner of the minerals.
2. Use the standard oil royalty
distribution that has worked well for
so many years. Land owners who
do not own their minerals should be
paid a full 5% of the total produc-
tion revenues from the first day of
production.
3. direct all oil revenues or at
least all oil royalties through a trust
fund that has total transparency with
annual auditing.
4. the trust fund should have
professional management.
5. GOB should employ a com-
petent and experienced oil profes-
sional to manage the government
petroleum program, with such pro-
fessional accountable to a indepen-
dent board and the legislature. No
Minister should have oversight or
the power to over ride the laws or
counter the decisions of the man-
ager or trust board.
6. "All oil production should be
metered for each and every well and
should be published and reported to
the public on a monthly basis.
7. Exploration and Petroleum
Sharing Agreements with each and
every oil company should be pub-
lished and no secret deals allowed.
That's a start!


II







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


Why


I


will join


VIP


By Meb Cutlack
The tired refrain we are sure to hear
from our current political leaders is that
voting for a third party, or for indepen-
dent candidates, is a waste of time and
that even if elected they won't know how
to govern.
Well, perhaps they won't know how to
govern AS WE HAVE BEEN GOV-
ERNED FOR THE PAST 26 YEARS
but that's to our advantage.
The truth is that almost anyone could
do better than those who have been in
power ever since Independence.
I will join the VIP because their plat-
form offers the prospect of true and hon-
est government and the VIP makes it clear
that it is their priority to introduce the safe-
guards needed to ensure such.
It is worth a minute to run through their
manifesto and compare it to anything of-
fered by either main party.
They will "reduce" the power of the


Cabinet by removing Financial control,
Public Prosecutions, the Auditor General,
the Contractor General and the Elections
and Boundaries to a State Department
under the office of the Governor General.
They will amend the Referendum Act
to allow people to vote on important lo-
cal national issues and allow aRecall Ref-
erendum on leaders who have lost the
publictrust.


The will amend the Constitutionto give:
1. Belize an elected mixed member
Senate with half the members elected mid-
term.
2. The Prime Minister the power to
choose his Cabinet from the public at large.


Guardian oxp


(I would subject this to less than 50%).
3. Limit the size of Cabinet to 9 min-
isters and place a two-term limit of the
office ofPrime Minister.
4. Enact stiff campaign finance laws
to regulate the financing of political cam-
paigns.
5. Amend the Freedom ofInforma-
tion Act to expedite access to government
information.


6. Reinforce the autonomy of the
Police.
7. Enforce UN and OAS anti-cor-
ruption laws.
Now, I would like them to add mea-
sures to remove land distribution from


ses Huge La


politicians of all shape and color. An al-
ternate system wouldbeto empower wide
spectrum district committees to recom-
mend all or any decisions regarding land
allocation. Land distribution is currently an
area fraught with corruption almost be-
yond description!
I will also join, and certainly back, any
party such as VIP or We the People or
any individual candidate who offers simi-
lar guarantees.
The time has come for Belizeans, for
the first time in their lives, to vote for their
own well being and that will only be served
by 'ditching' both parties as they exist to-
day. Can those parties change to meet the
challenge? It is unlikely.
Can a group of now virtually unknown
individuals mold themselves into a co-
hesive group to successfully govern
Belize? They may well be able to and
they certainly can't do worse than the
thieves and liars who have served Belize
so inadequately for so long!


dT


ft


In a front page story last week The
Guardian outlined a classic example of
the extraordinary land fraud indulged in
by the PUP government. They illus-
trated the story with a valuer's docu-
ment showing how PUP crony Antonio
Zabaneh made millions.
It is worth repeating the Guardian
story here in part at least as it pro-
vides a rare insight into the regular man-
ner in which PUP robs openly from the
people of Belize to suit cronies.
After mentioning Pena's and Luke
Espat's millions in DFC debt(and the
case of Abdul Hamze who got
$11,000,000 from Government for the
Mahogany 'Ruins' land) the Guardian
cuts to the Zabaneh case.
The newspaper relates: "But there are
simpler means of getting rich quick with
the PUP. Consider the case of 1,500
acres of prime Government land near
Punta Negra that was sold to Antonio
Zabaneh. Initially, the Government had
intended to sell Zabaneh the 1,500 acres
plus another 535.93 acres.
"Prior to the closing of the sale, the
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of
the Punta Negra Village Council in-
formed the Government in writing that
a portion of the land was in the Payne's
Creek Nature Reserve and that the sale
was illegal since the Reserve's manage-
ment or the Village Council were not
consulted. They even complained that
portions of the land were already owned
by Villagers.
"Minister ofNatural Resources Johnny
Bricefio responded only by restricting the
sale to the 1,500 acres, and the Ministry
ofNatural resources proceeded with its
arrangement. The land was surveyed,
evaluated and ultimately sold to Antonio


Zabaneh. On the surface, the sale appears
to be routine and just a case of an indi-
vidual with the required resources pur-
chasing land from Government. But a fur-
ther analysis of the details is very reveal-
ing
"Ultimately, the land was valued at
$50.00 per acre for a total of $75,000
for 1,500 acres. The typical 10%Admin-
istration Fee produced a grand total of
$82,500.00. This was the final evaluation
on the property and it was sold at that
price.
"But on the sheet(s) of paper that ac-
companies all such land transactions as
they make their way through the Ministry,
which is(are) provided for officers of the
Ministry orthe Ministerto register com-
ments, the very same evaluator had, a
couple of months previously, estimated the
value of the land at a much higher rate.
"In his comments, the Ministry's evalu-


ator stated: 'The market value for land
around here is at about $30,000.00 US
per acre. If 500 per acre is considered
high, then perhaps I can adjust to $250.'"
"At that rate, Antonio Zabaneh was sold
1,500 acres of land that valued (1,500 x
US$30,000 =) US$45 million for the
comparable pittance of BZ$82,500
(US$41,250).
That would indeed transform anyone
into an instant multi-millionaire, PUP style.
"Now, any reasonable person would
argue that it would be impossible to sell
each single acre of the 1,500 acre tract
for US$30,000. Most likely, only indi-
vidual acres in specific locations would
attract such a price. But it is very con-
ceivable that with the right buyer or buy-
ers, given the quality of the land, the entire
tract could fetch at least 10% of the mar-
ket value estimated by the Ministry's
evaluator. This would still result in total


Anita Tupper
Christine Tuppet


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


value of some US$4.5 million, a far cry
from the US$41,250 paid by Zabaneh.
"The entire process was ultimately ap-
proved by Minister Johnny Bricefio, who
gave instructions to' send out purchase
letter' to Antonio Zabanneh, resulting in
Zabanneh acquiring the land and immedi-
ately adding million$ to his net worth."
The Guardian then states: And the
above is just the tip of the iceberg. The
Guardian will followup with additional tales
in the weeks to come, of the raping of our
natural resources by all manners of pirates
closely associated with the PUP."
It is to be hoped that they also look into
'island' deals, which have enabled minis-
ters Vildo Martin, Baeza andAinslie Leslie
to end up with choice island properties,
and the system of issuing land convey-
ances and then not registering them until
thelandis'resold' ataheavily inflated price
-usually to a foreigner.


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


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


\%)i11i a


T ropical NI ~ I


I








Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


farmers have proposed that producers
be paid compensation for stopping cane
cultivation and expect government sup-
port when switching to another crop.
He estimated that more than 22,000
acres (8,900 hectares) of cane fields
would be freed for food production.


Bye bye sugar!
Trinidad and Tobago will shut down
its centuries-old sugar industry, which
was pushed to the brink of collapse by
big cuts in subsidies from the European
Union, agriculture officials said Wednes-
day. The twin-island Caribbean nation
plans to shutter the sapped business af-
ter this year's cane crop is produced,
Agriculture Minister Jarrette Narine
told The Associated Press. "The prime
minister agreed to shut down the sugar
industry when the 2007 crop ends af-
ter the farmers asked him to do it,"
Narine said. Raffique Shah, chief of the
Trinidad Cane Farmers Association,
said Prime Minister Patrick Manning
accepted a proposal to end all sugar
production in the oil-and gas-rich coun-
try, which has built one of the region's
fastest-growing economies around pe-
troleum-based exports. "The industry
is about to collapse, so let's have a soft
landing for everyone," Shah said he
told Manning at a Monday meeting.
Shah said the country's remaining


News from Iraq.
A reporter for TBRNews.reports:
"Mr. Gates (U.S. Sect. Defence)
has.... issued some orders intended for
the brass.... at the request of the Presi-
dent, he has ordered the Pentagon PR
people to cut down "drastically" the
death lists they report daily: "Far too
many reported deaths are creating a very
negative public image,".
The reporter adds: "I, personally, wit-
nessed the Camp Falcon destruction....
disaster last October. Terrible, heavy
explosions all night from around mid-
night until the sun came up. Flames,
smoke, and massive blasts made it im-
possible to sleep. And how did our PR


boys handle this? They didn't.
"There was an instant blackout which
continues to this day. No one "unau-
thorized" is allowed to go near what is
left of the camp and no reports of deaths
or injuries (terrible bums on many we
all know) are allowed and anyone stu-
pid enough to dig into this gets only one
warning."
And: "Reporting... Suicides, deser-
tions, homosexual rapes, shooting and
bayoneting civilians, including children,
soaring drug use and, of course, many
daily terrible deaths are verboten."
New crowd control?
From the BBC: "The US military has
given the first public display of what it
says is a revolutionary heat-ray weapon
to repel enemies or disperse hostile
crowds. Called the Active Denial Sys-
tem, it projects an invisible high energy
beam that produces a sudden burning
feeling. Abeam was fired from a large
rectangular dish mounted on a Humvee
vehicle. The beam has a reach of up to
500 metres (550 yards), much further


than existing non-lethal weapons like
rubber bullets. It can penetrate clothes,
suddenly heating up the skin of anyone
in its path to 50C. The London Guard-
ian calls it: "Avirtual flame-thrower...
that microwaves enemies at 500 paces".
And it, is designed to make people
feel they are about to catch fire and drop
their weapons." It burns me up just to
imagine it in the hands of Crispin and
'Small Change'in front of the our Par-
liament!


The Pelican
Independent Weekly would like
to thank Katie Stevens for the fol-
lowing excerpt from her popular
field guide, Jungle Walk.
The brown pelican (Pelicanus
occidentalis) is a large sea bird with
a disproportionately big bill which
may account for the fact that al-
though once in flight it is quite grace-
ful it tends to crash land on the
water. Takeoff is even more hilari-
ous, with a great flapping of wings
and the splat of webbed feet trying
to gain purchase on the insubstantial
sea. Lift -off is ponderous, but soon
the brown pelican is soaring only
to plummet out of the high-dive sky
in pursuit of a snoozing snook, which


it scoops up into the soup tureen that is
its beak.
An adult (at 3-5 years) female brown
pelican weighs 2-5 kg.; the male is
heftier and its wingspan longer. Gener-


ally, they are silvery or brown above,
with a darker brown undercarriage, and
have either a black or white neck and
either a white or yellow head, depend-
ing on the season. Even the bill changes
- to a reddish hue at breeding time.
The young brown pelican is a greater
stickler for living up to its name, except
for the indiscretion of its white belly.
A distensible gular pouch is situated
beneath the bill. At rest, the brown peli-
can pants rapidly through its slightly-
opened beak; this causes the pouch to
flutter, which in turn blows air over the
blood vessels of its thin skin and acts as
a cooling technique. By keeping the
beak and pouch directed away from the
sun, using its head as a shield, the brown
pelican increases the effect of this ther-
moregulation. This is why you will some-
times see dozens of these birds all pre-


cisely posed in the same direction.
The brown pelican can be found
from North Carolina to northern Bra-
zil on the Atlantic side of the New
World, and from British Columbia to
the south of Chile on the Pacific side.
In tropical areas, the nesting sea-
son may be ongoing year round. The
eggs are laid asynchronously, with 3
to the usual clutch. Incubation takes
about 30 days and caring for the
chicks is a duty shared by both
mother and father. In order to eat,
the young must poke their beaks
down their parents' throats, causing
the regurgitation of semi-digested fish
up from Nature's automatic food
processor.
In the 60's and 70's there was a
drastic reduction in the brown peli-
can population in the U.S. due to
contamination from DDT and other
pesticides which interfered with the
calcium deposition of eggshells, so
that they were too thin to withstand
the rigors of being sat upon. The ban
on DDT eventually allowed for a re-
versal of this trend.


Visit The


Belize Zoo


vLe)






Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9








The Following Facts Speak for Themselves
e s. Denzil Jenkins was Chairman of ICL, from March 28, 2001 to November 5,2003.

,a as Denzil Jenkins, ICL Chairman at CGA AGM, October 9, 2002: "ICL has agreed to sell some
shares as they only plan to keep not less than 51%".

P"s s Denzil Jenkins, ICL Chairman at CGA AGM, October 25, 2003: "The net debt of the CPBL was
US$18.9 million at the time of purchase, with the assets..adjusted during 2003 to US$41
milon...the Company would be losing money and no dividends would be paid to cftus
growers this year. Different opens are being pursued to cover the debt now owing."

act 4k Denzil Jenkins, CGA Special General Meeting, February 7, 2004, presented a case for growers
to "considerthsae of 90% of e sharesin Company for $24 million" Growers present
did not support Mr. Jenkins' recommendations.
F *so Denzil Jenkins, Director of CGA Commilttee of Management and on CBPL Board since 2002.

FMaa Denzil Jenkins, removed as a CGA Director on April 9, 2005 for "conduct prejudicial, by his
submission for public consumption, through the print media, of Information deemed to cast
negative remarks on members of the Committee of Management and found to be prejudicial to
the Association."
n 7is Denzil Jenkins, takes CGA Board to court and loses his case, also on appeal.
Fee as Denzil Jenkins, puts forward his name and is voted on again as a CGA Director, AGM February
11, 2006. Citrus Growers told of court cases, after Mr. Jenkins is voted back on the Committee
of Management.
F "e Denzil Jenkins, told Citrus Growers at AGM February 11, 2006: they would not receive any
dividends from the Orange Growers Trust "until twenty-one years after the last surviving
descendant of King George the 5th of England had died", as the Trust did not represent shares
In CPBL.
in l* THIS WEEK, Dividends totaling $70,955.31 are being paid to Citrus Growers, including Denzil
Jenkins, with shares as part of the "Orange Growers Trust 2004 2005", and other small
growers who are also shareholders!
Fm t, THIS WEEK, Dividends totaling $1,944,499.37 are being received on behalf of all growers,
Including Denzil Jenkins, through the CGA Investment Company ULimtedl
Fact ha PROJECTIONS by end September 2007: CPBL will pay additional dividends of approximately
$101,220.00; and ICL will pay another $2,142,000.00 in dividends.








Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Belize & Honduran

fishermen share concerns


Certainty Vs Certitude


By Rev'd Canon LeRoy Flowers
Recently a priest in a congregation in
the USA made the news by saying
members should leave the congregation
if they voted for the presidential candi-
date he opposed.
The way religion is used to polarize
society scares me. Such division is not
the work of Christ, who reconciles and
unites, but of a diabolic power delight-
ing in human being cut off from one an-
other and from the source of life and
power.
Keeping this man in mind, let's ask a
theological, not a political, question. For
a Christian for someone who seeks,
however imperfectly, to follow Jesus,
which is more important-your approxi-
mation to some plum line ofright belief,
or your relationship to the One whom
those beliefs point?
This priest focused on what was be-
lieved and made judgments based on
the assumptions he was right, using the
place he stands as the plum line. This
priest who was fired, missed the whom
of belief, the One who meets us all,
where we are and gently calls us out of
hardness of heart and into love.
Love is a relationship with a 'whom',
not a political quantity, a political party
as many would have us believe. Love
has the best interests of each of us at
heart and in mind.
Do we stand in certainty, assured of
the rightness of our belief and


worldview? Or do we stand in certi-
tude with Paul, saying, "for I know
whom I have believed......? (2Tim 1:12)
Certainty needs everything black and
white, cut and dry, unambiguous. Cer-
titude makes room for mystery and
wonder and grace. Whom have you
believed?
The Christian life calls us to walk by
faith, not by sight. God weans us from
dependence on the constructs in our
minds to dependence on relationship,
with God alone. As we grow in this
relationship, we become less certain
of our answers, but more sure footed in
our not knowing. As love makes de-
mands on us, humility grows...... which
is so lacking in the Christian commu-
nity. We come to trust the One we've
believed instead ofwhat we've believed
and indeed not the system and politi-
cians.
When the priest measured rightness
of belief, his own position was the start-
ing point. Hear this though: using our-
selves as the measure of right and
wrong, good and bad or as the mea-
sure for any other life requires putting
ourselves in the place of God, in our
lives, as well as in the lives of any oth-
ers we measure. The theological term
for this is idolatry.
The priest in his arrogance and self
centered righteousness set limitations on
the body of Christ based on his per-
sonal beliefs. He sought to exclude
people from fellowship and worship
naming them non- Christians because
of politics. Jesus never went to those
already pure, especially as defined by
Jewish purity laws. Jesus sought those
in need of love and the truth and new
life. He didn't try to find those who be-
lieved exactly as he did.
We are all sinners. We won't stand
perfectly in love or faith, but we can ask
for grace to try... but not on political be-
liefs or parties


For an online version of the

INdependent Reformer

visit us at

http://www.belizenorth.com/

independentreformer.htm

OR

http://belizenews.com/

independentonline.pdf
ilmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmml


Excerpted from
www.7newsbelize.com of January 19,
2007
"Jules Vasquez Reporting,
Complex fisher folk issues prevail in this
area known as the Amatique Bay, spe-
cifically the Sarstun region. Complex
because aretesenal fishing communities
on both sides realize that fish stocks are
being rapidly depleted. And while they
have different flags they share the
same fisheries resource.
And that resource is being diminished
largely because of vessels like this. It's
a shrimp trawler we encountered it yes-
terday afternoon working here on the
Guatemalan side, just outside of
Belizean waters. We had to keep our
distance to stay within those Belizean
waters. And that's what we saw in the
day, SATIIM's rangers says they have
visited at night and found 60 trawlers -
that's 6-0 all working in this same area
- on the Belizean side as well. It's a huge
problem for communities on both sides,
and Morales and Marin say it's some-
thing that must be addressed.
Hon. Vildo Marin, Minister of
Fisheries "These people, the commu-
nity people here in Sarstoon, they
have a petition to the government to
regulate more this kind of fishing. "
Jules Vasquez, Are you alarmed at the
reports of industrial trawlers operating in
this area as described by the SATIIM
park rangers, 60 of them, does that alarm
you?
Hon. Vildo Marin, Minister of Fish-
eries Yes it does."
Jules Vasquez, Is there anything we
can do about it?
Hon. Vildo Marin,
Well hopefillywe can continue the con-
versation. DJfiiitel) the,/e trawlers are
destroying the te / N l A /i/ f // tiher dam-
aging the resources. Certainly we have
to do vmething about it."
Butwhat is that something? That's what
fisher folk and policymakers from both
Guatemala and Belize gathered at the
Parish Hall in Punta Gordato discuss yes-
terday. It's the first ever Bi-national Fish-
eries Forum and while the languages may
have been different, the concerns were the
same.
Greg Choq Executive Director -
SATIIM "The fishermen and other
resource users of the region have rec-
ognized the bleak future that lies ahead
should the current trend of resource
extraction be maintained. It is clear
that if we do not take active and ag-
gressive measures to safeguard our
marine resources, the livelihood of
many of our communities will collapse.
The problems are complex and require
a range of different actions to be
changed."
Alvin Laredo, President SATIIM &
Barranco Resident "Fish, including


snook, snapper, bonefish, shrimps etc.
are all observed to be in a decline. 67%
of the fishermen said that the fish were
smaller 70% of the fishermen say there
were fewer fishes."
Fisherman from Barra Sarstun #1,
"The puzzle here is where are the fishes
or are we finishing \ iih them. This has
really increased the poverty liue ni it/hi
the coastline of these communities. "
Fisherman from Barra Sarstun #2,
"The reason whywe don twantnofish-
ing is because the area for fishing is
too i, /ll, ,1u.1 i ihen ihee big ships come
in, there is no lobster, no money, and so
since the space is limited, it is not pos-
sible for us i/ i/h small boats to con-
tinue. "
Hortencia Reyes Fisherman from
Livingston "You can 't tell the fisher-
men you cannot do no fishing. What
option does he have othel ii ie?
Angelica Mendez, Fisher Folk from
Livingston "We are aware that the re-
sources we have is depleting and we
know andwe have some questions. We
are not certain if the fishes are coming
less and less because ofpollution, tour-
ism, or climactic change. Life offish-
ermen is difficult, hard, and the fish
stock is becoming less and less. We
don Yhave an option. Idon knoww what
will follow."
And that fear of a future where the only
certainty seems to be that stocks will de-
cline, has created a sense of urgency on
both sides of the Sarstoon. But because it
is a border area, the issues are complex.
This fisherman for example is from Barra
Sarstun; he is a Guatemalan and as you
can see his boat is loaded with nets; most
likely those nets will end up being cast in
Belizeanwaters.
Greg Choq, "Definitely the biggest
problem is over fishing and Guatema-
lan fishermen encroaching on Belizean
waters, extracting resources that cre-
ates a problem for the Belizean fisher-
men because we find that the Guate-
malan fisher folks are more a.ggi-,i-' i 'e
and assertive and so they dominate the
area, pushing out the traditional
Belizean fishermen. That's a bigpoliti-
cal problem but it is also I think, i ith
enforcement, we can mitigate that. "
Hon. Vildo Marin, "Certainly we
have to put more monies into enforce-
ment, that's definite. We are trying our
very best from our own resources, put
more money into the Fisheries Depart-
ment to do just that. "
What wasn't addressed in the story
but figures prominently is the issue
of Guatemalan fisher folk who are li-
censed to fish in Belize. It's a politi-
cally explosive issue because critics
say that in many cases these fisher-
men are licensed, and granted nation-
ality documents in exchange for votes
at election time.







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Cross Angl


School


Update Holy Cross Anglican School
Greetings and Happy New Year from
Holy Cross Anglican School in San
Pedro, Belize!!
Many thanks to each of you for your
continuing support and prayers for this
incredible, not-so-little-anymore school.
We rejoice that 153 children are now
enrolled at Holy Cross most for the
first time ever and that 15 special
needs children are receiving care and
guidance in our Special Education Unit!
Three additional buildings are under
construction our Chapel/canteen/mul-
tipurpose building, the school kitchen/
caretakers home and an additional Stan-
dard I classroom. Seven more class-
rooms and a school office/health clinic
will be built, God willing, prior to the
opening of school in September 2007.
We project a student enrollment of
350 by then as we will offer three In-
fant I (kindergarten) classes, two Infant
II (first grade), two Standard I (second
grade) and one class each for Stan-
dard II, III, IV, V, and VI. Our goal is
to provide an education to ALL chil-
dren unable to attend other schools due
to lack of space or financial constraints.
Needless to say, none of this would
have been (or will be!) possible with-
out the generosity of folks like you.
Every nail, every desk, every pencil,
every piece of food literally everything
at Holy Cross has been donated or
bought with contributions from our car-
ing friends. Thankyou so very much!!!
And a special 'thank you' goes to all
those who responded to the Vitamin
Drive!! I'm thrilled to say we have at
least a two year supply of vitamins on
hand that's a LOT of vitamins! so
we are removing vitamins from the Holy
Cross "Wish List". There are, however,
just a few things we still need (smile) so
I've put our updated requests at the end
of this email.
I only wish I could raise money as
quickly as those vitamins poured in!!
Unfortunately it takes a lot of money to
operate and grow Holy Cross School -
especially when the students are poor,
the government is broke and most folks
think Belize is a wealthy tourist destina-
tion. Our students need your help. They
are counting on their unseen friends,
we're counting on you and so is God.
Remember, you are God's hands and
feet on this earth He doesn't ask you
to save the whole world (I think that's
Someone else'sjob!). ButHe does ask
you to do what you can to help those
you know are in need.
Here's what we're facing.....
LANDFILL: costs $60US for a small
dump truck load that would fill a child's


sandbox. We literally need TONS of
dirt/sand to convert the swamp the
school is being built in into dry land. We
must 'fill as we go' so that the pilings for
new buildings can be sunk to bedrock.
FEEDING PROGRAM: Our chil-
dren are poor and come to school hun-
gry. Everyday we provide a protein rich
breakfast, mid-moming fruit snack and
hot, nourishing lunch at NO COST to
our students since the need is great and
few could pay. It is costing right at $5US
per student per week which is extremely
reasonable. But, what is 'reasonable'
for one student becomes expensive for
153!! It takes about $750US per week
to provide food, purified water, utilities
and labor for our Feeding Program. I
get slightly ill when I think what the price
tag will be for 350 children!!!
CLASSROOMS: We order our
Belizean 'pre-fab' buildings from a gen-
erous company in the western part of
Belize which sells us the 'pieces and
parts' at cost. The parts are trucked to
Belize City then loaded onto barges,
shipped to San Pedro, offloaded,
trucked to the bridge then carried to the
school site by our little bobcat and sev-
eral Belizean laborers. Pilings are sunk,
the floor in 4 parts laid down, walls
erected and roofing timbers installed.
We then have to purchase and install the
roofing materials, windows (wooden
slats), doors, wiring, lighting, wall
boards, paint and decking lumber. From
initial order to the classroom being ready
for students, the cost is just at
$10,000US per building materials,
transportation and labor. We currently
have 5 classrooms in operation
($50,000US), 4 buildings under con-
struction as our Chapel is two buildings


combined ($40,000US) and are plan-
ning for 8 additional buildings
($80,OOOUS) for September 2007.
Holy Cross has launched our first
ever fundraiser with the printing of our
'Faces of the Future' school calendars.
They are being sold in most of our local
stores, for $20BZ or $10US and we're
praying they do well smile. Many
thanks go to local volunteers Marilyn
Marx, Cullen Walker, Paul Jewitt,
Laurie Norton and Marie from Gecko
Graphics who got this calendar put to-
gether in less than a week WOW!
Please send checks made payable to:
"Holy Cross Anglican School" to: Mrs.
Francis Wilson, Anglican Diocese of
Belize, PO Box 535, Belize City, Belize
Or, if you would rather give supplies,
here is the Holy Cross updated "Wish
List":
Children's books, Hand sanitizer, fat
pencils, fat crayons, coloring books,


Easter activity books, Easter children's
books, short sleeved, button up, white
shirts: size 6 14 (school uniform), gray
shorts: sizes 6 14 (school uniform),
Gray long pants: sizes 6 14 (school
uniform), wooden puzzles, batteries:
AAA, AA, C; Children's exercise
books, book-bags, tennis shoes sizes
1 6 (not the little kids sizes), under-
wear girls and boys: sizes 4 14, small
items we can use as little prizes, teacher
charts, Educational toys, plastic lunch
size plates 350, plastic cups 6oz -
350, Plastic bowls 350, White board
markers fat ones, Tape scotch tape,
duct tape and brown plastic packaging
tape, Folks and spoons 350, Multi-
piece puzzles, Packing tape brown
plastic, Long flat erasers, Stickers, Tam-
bourines, drums, simple instruments,
Dress-up clothes, Halloween costumes,
Face painting materials and sugarless
gum.


FrAir -


I "Te Arlin OfBelie"


In the absence of desks and chairs, the students at Holy Cross Anglican School sat on the floor when the facility first opened.


FOR RENT


Professional single,


smoking, quiet tennant sought

for a self-contained, one-

bedroomed, H&C water, AC

apartment in Ladyville.


Call 225-3586 anytime


non-






Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12



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"Chalet d' Eve"

Beautiful 2900 sq foot home on acree property
Sr in highly secure neighborhood, 10-12 feet above
sea level with on site hurricane shelter
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3 fully screened porches
breakfast room/ study/ games room
walk-in pantry
mahogany cabinets
utility room


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1000 gallon water collection backup cistern
reverse osmosis water system for potable drinking
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pagoda -
external electrical outlets and faucets

SECURITY
6' security fence
motion detector spotlights
off street parking for one or two cars
privacy ofcul-d-sac living on private estate

LOCATION
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Taxes-- approx BZ $200/year property taxes (fully paid up) VIEWING

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property appraised at $ 420,000 but ask for details by appointment only
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I I







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 131


is the


Hon.


Said


use


Finally


moving in The R1ight Direction?


Contributed
On national radio on Thursday Janu-
ary 25, 2007, the Honorable Said
Musa made his position in respect to
education clear. He said all of Belize's
children are entitled to a good edu-
cation. Such positive thinking is com-
mendable.
And not surprising, for in my view,
when the Hon. Said Musa was Minis-
ter of Education many considered him
the best Minister of Education that the
country ever had.
This year the Honorable Said Musa
will host, in Belize, the Forum ofPresi-
dents of the Legislative Bodies of Cen-
tral America and the Caribbean
(FOPREL). FOPREL places empha-
sis on education as a central issue
to reach higher levels of develop-
ment in Central America and the Car-
ibbean. Belize can become the shining
example for the remainder of Central
America and the Caribbean and reach
to the desirable higher level of devel-
opment.
The Cabinet has directed the Minis-
try of Education to investigate cases
where students are denied the issuance
of report cards and even access to
school for non- payment of fees. The
investigation should be short, lead to the
abolition of harmful practices and assist
Belize's children in the future.
No doubt the Ministry will find it is
far too common for schools to withhold
report cards until all back fees are paid
and to prohibit children from continuing
their education by preventing their reg-
istration for the next semester until all
back fees are paid in full. Some schools


are bold enough to put their demands
in writing. PSE, CXC, and ATLIB ex-
aminations must be paid for in advance
or the student is refused his or her right
to take the examination.
Among the worst offenders was a
school that would not allow a student
to take the semester's final exam unless
the student paid an examination fee of
$190 in advance. The student's surviv-
ing parent did not have the $190 there-
fore, even though the student had com-
pleted a semester's work she could not
take the examination, obtain a grade and


pass to the next level!
The Hon. Said Musa is off to a great
start. He should be commended for the
meritorious action he is taking and be
encouraged to proceed further to really
reform Education.
The Honorable Johnny Bricefio,
Deputy Prime Minister, deserves credit
too, for he has been involved for years
in assisting hundreds of needy children
in their efforts to obtain an education.
He is a Director of a Charitable Educa-
tion Foundation that has been paying the
fees for many children who have been


denied their report card and paying the
fees for many children who have been
denied their right to register and pro-
ceed with their education due to their
inability to pay past fees.
The Reverend Canon Flowers, Presi-
dent of Belize's Council of Churches, is
involved in the struggle to standardize
text books. He is attempting to do away
with a problem that has deprived thou-
sands of children of their right to an edu-
cation during the past 30 years. The
Hon. Said Musa is the person with the
knowledge and ability to bring about
such standardization.
Standardization of text books would
aid everyone: the schools, teachers,
parents and children. Standardization
of text books would not present any
new cost to the Government, but
would result in substantial savings to
the students and provide for a better
education system. The lowered cost
of books would allow thousands of
additional students, who could not
otherwise do so, to afford books and
attend the First through Fourth forms
of high school.
Education Reform is the best and
probably the only means of reducing
poverty and crime. It is also a means
of improving Belize's economy with
an educated work force. Such an edu-
cated work force would be a means
of developing Belize's economy to a
higher level.
There is no greater good that the
Prime Minister can do than continue
his meritorious efforts to improve edu-
cation. The improvement is something
that all of the people benefit from
and certainly would be grateful for.


Announcing our new internet host:


For an online version of the


I


visit


.belizenorth.com


Prime Minster Said W. Musa (photo by Richard Holder).


P4







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 141


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Don't consume more than neces-
sary. Your high energy will enable
you to take the role of leader in
group functions. Arguments will
flare up if you get backed into an
emotional corner. You may have
problems with children. You're un-
dergoing changes. Your lucky day
this week will be Saturday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
You need to look into new phi-
losophies. You can expect sorrow
to evolve from the information you
discover. Younger relatives may
seek your advice. Plan your social
events carefully. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Put your efforts into moneymaking
ventures. Romance is quite possible
if you are willing to approach some-
one who interests you. Don't push
your opinions on others this week
or you may find yourself in the dog-
house. Family outings that aren't ex-
pensive will be enjoyable and help
strengthen ties. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Turn your present relationship
around or start a new one. Plan a
trip to the country or take a drive
to the beach. Don't overspend on
luxury items. Outings with relatives
or good friends will provide you
with stimulating conversation. Your
lucky day this week will be Friday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Overindulgence could lead to
problems with digestion. Do not be
surprised if your partner doesn't
understand your needs. There's a
good chance that they won't come
back. Look for professional guid-


ance if it will help unite the family.
Your lucky day this week will be
Saturday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Do what you can but don't jeop-
ardize your health trying to please
everyone. Sentimental feelings may
make it difficult to get much done
at work. You can pick up wonder-
ful buys if you really look hard this
week. Someone you least expect
may not have your best interests at
heart. Your lucky day this week
will be Sunday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
This will not be the day to start
new business ventures or make
drastic changes in your career. Your
involvement with children will be
most rewarding. Don't turn down
offers that include sports activities
or children. You can expect to ex-
perience delays or additional red
tape if you deal with institutions.
Your lucky day this week will be
Tuesday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
You may need a physical outlet
that will help you relieve your ten-
sion. Make sure to arrange in ad-
vance to spend quality time to-
gether. Be inquisitive about unfamil-
iar circumstances. Focus your ef-
forts on your work. Your lucky day
this week will be Friday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec.
21)
Don't let your emotions interfere
with completing your chores. Think
twice before you say something you
might regret later. Extend an invita-
tion to clients you enjoy spending
time with. Your hypnotic eyes will
capture the hearts of those who in-
terest you. Your lucky day this


To


ho.


Your weekly

usQosP@E


vo


ho...


mandeered their government. If
they give too much trouble, make
them walk the plank.
"Me? A Pirate? Why Governor,
I must admit I am flattered by the
description, but I assure you I ply
an honest trade, just cutting some
logwood in the Bay, just a hundred
few thousand slaves and little ole
me... but if ever there is anything I
can do for your esteemed person,
you have but to ask..."


On Prisons of the Mind


"It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free to be
under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to
think, feel and act act as the representatives of the national state or of some pri-
vate interest within the nation, wants him to think feel and act.
"The nature of pyschological compulsion is such that those who act under con-
straint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The
victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of
his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is
apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective."
Excerpted from "Brave New World Revisited" by Aldous Huxley, 1958


week will be Monday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Help if you can, but more than
likely it will be sufficient just to lis-
ten. Responsibilities with respect to
older relatives may be a burden.
You can make money through real
estate or by using your head when
it comes to personal investments.
Get into some activities that will help
you in making new friends. Your
lucky day this week will be Mon-
day.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Don't let opposition from those
envious of your talents daunt your


progress. Travel and creative hob-
bies will be your best outlet. Con-
centrate on your job. If you are not
already, think about going into busi-
ness for yourself. Your lucky day
this week will be Sunday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You'll find it easy to meet new
people. Investments may not be as
lucrative as you thought. Make sure
you concentrate if operating machin-
ery or vehicles. Don't start any ar-
guments unless you're prepared to
accept irrevocable results. Your
lucky day this week will be Satur-
day.


at two, but I did bring back enough for the week. And the price well, it
can't be beat...anywhere. I had been told about the "tamales dat di come"
by many up north, but I was truly not prepared for the full Corozal Ta-
males Effect. Two words to the wise, careful with the pepper and get
there between 10-12pm to ensure you get your fair share or do what this
reviewer does...call ahead!

Return OE AILTMLSSAUDYOL
Apprximae Mal Cst i 0o u


--Mi(Continued From Page 4)
because of any financial entangle-
ments, but in case they happen to
shoot some slave standing next to
their truck in the street, or mash
down some peasants plodding
down the road.
They are just peons anyway,
whose sole function is to pay taxes
and vote as they are told. Drafted
into the service of the pirates who
boarded their ship of state and com-







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 151


January 30, 2007
Greetings Krem Radio TV and
Internet Listeners at home and abroad,
fellow panelist. On January 17th, 2007,
our party, Vision Inspired by the People
(VIP), held a press conference to launch
our National Direction. This decision
was taken by the pro-tem Executive
body of VIP in an effort to start dis-
cussions and consultations on the way
forward for Belize.
VIP has laid out a New Direction for
a New Generation where All Must
Benefit. Our Direction is built around
five (5) required pillars of Nationhood.
1st National Unity a people become
a nation only when they struggle together
upholding their responsibilities and re-
j oice together enjoying their rights. 2nd
A Culture of Productivity -with ap-
propriate education the people will in-
novate to improve the environment
while government must motivate and
maintain the environment. 3rdAFam-
ily Life Environment Our children


ala Show


are the lifeline of our nation. The family
unit provides protection for their sur-
vival and development. 4th Social Jus-
tice Economic prosperity and politi-
cal power are meaningless if not accom-
panied by personal dignity. 5th Fair
Representation Government must
reflect the People's will.
One of the direction under the pillar
for Social Justice states, "The INTEG-
RITY of the Public Service must be re-
stored to make government effective
and efficient." Allow me to illustrate -
take the Ad I saw in the newspapers
last week advertising for two (2) Assis-
tant Comptroller of Customs. The Ad
went on to state that the applicants must
have a Masters Degree and must be be-
tween the age of 25 45 years old.
Before I continue, I must state for the
record that I believe that some of our
brightest minds are currently in the Cus-
toms Department these are brothers
and sisters that did not get a chance to
go further than 6th Form here in Belize


due to negligence of the PUDP admin-
istrations of old. Any of these existing
customs officers could have completed
any University anywhere.
This move being initiated by the Cen-
tralized National Government is going
against the Laws of Belize as I under-
stand them. The Public Service Com-
mission is the legally constituted body
to hire for pay-scale 9 or above how
is it then that a retired Assistant Comp-
troller, who was re-hired as a contract
officer to be an Advisor to the Comp-
troller is hiring two additional Assistant
Comptrollers from outside the Depart-
ment under the authority ofthe Ministry
of Finance- not the PSC. So where is
the PSC on this issue? Imagine what
this will do to the dignity and morale of
those officers with over twenty years in
the department. These decisions dete-
riorate the Integrity of the Public Ser-
vice.,
ILove You Belize! Freedom For All,
With Equal Rights And Justice!


Krem


Editor's Note: We apologize to the cartoon editorial board & the artist for the inadvertent omission of the punch line of the cartoon published on Friday, Jan
19 issue, Volume 2 No. 3 blame it on printer's devil. We reproduce it here in its entirety.
The new rebel reform paper (the only paper with seriousdi strict issue news) is now online at www. belizenews.corn,
www. belize north.com and www. belizean.com


Shot by Patrick Rogers


Small Ax,

big tree
-_Ei(Continued From Page 1)
has ever gotten into, and it was so bad
that when it was done, McSweaney said
he needed a hug.
Merlene Bailey-Martinez, "With pre-
payment penalty, it is $9.7 million."
Hugh McSweaney, "I know aboutthat.
It was in fact, he came to my desk to deal
with that and I really had to get moral sup-
port when I had to deal with that because
it was too high for me to deal with on my
own." (laughter)
McSweaney served as Financial
Secretary until October of 2004. His
departure from the Ministry of Finance
came shortly after the man who had
handpicked him for the job, Ralph
Fonseca, lost the Finance Ministry in the
G-7 shake-up...
David Novelo was supposed to have
followed McSweaney on the stand this
afternoon (Friday, February 2) but there
was no time, so he has been rescheduled.
The Belizean public cannot help but
tune in next week for the next chapter in
"Through the Looking Glass" and see who
else comes to tea.







Friday, February 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16i


Rigoberta Menchu

eyes Guat presidency


GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) Guatemala's
Maya Indian Nobel laureate RigobertaMenchu said
on Wednesday she may run for president this year in
a bid to become the second indigenous head of state
inLatinAmerica.
Menchu, a defender of Maya Indian victims of
Guatemala' s bloody 1960-96 civil war and who
grewup speaking no Spanish, said several political
parties had asked her to run as president or vice
president in the September 9 election.
"We are seriously considering the proposals," she
told reporters after marking the death of her father
and over 30 other human rights activists in a January
31, 1980 government raid on the Spanish Embassy
in Guatemala City.
About 200,000 people were killed in the civil war,
most of them poor Maya Indians. Menchu was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her hu-
man rights work.
Guatemalans will vote for president in a Septem-
ber 9 election that could go through to a second round
in November.
IfMenchu wins, she would follow the footsteps of
Evo Morales who last year became Bolivia' s first
indigenous president. Latin America 's Indian popu-
lation suffers massive discrimination despite being a
majority in several countries.
"There are some Guatemalans who would be very
scared to see Rigoberta Menchu as president be-
cause they are racists," said the 48-year-old Menchu,
who wears traditional Mayan clothes elaborately
embroidered with birds and flowers.
The left-leaning Together for Guatemala coalition
headed by congresswoman Nineth Montenegro told
local media it planned meetings with Menchu to dis-
cuss a candidacy.
AU.N.-backed truth commission found that over
80 percent of the civil war's victims were Mayan
Indians, mostly killed by armed forces during a
scorched-earth campaign against leftist guerrillas that
targeted rural villages and community leaders.
Gen. Otto Perez Molina, an army commander at
the height of the war in the Quiche region where
Menchu was bom and which was hit hardest by army
and paramilitary massacres, is running for president
with the Patriotic Party.
Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who has been
accused by Menchu in Spanish courts of ordering
genocide during his brief 1982-3 rule, will likely run
for Congress.
Menchu's brother and mother were also tortured
and killed during the Cold War-era conflict, which
ended with peace accords in 1996 but left deep scars
among the Mayan inhabitants of Guatemala 's di-
vided and dirt-poor countryside.


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JEdwards@Century21 Roatan.com
Tels: Honduras: 504-320-7177 / US: 011-504-320-7177
www.ParrotTreePlantation.com I www.Century21Roatan.com
Parrot Tree Plantation and it's offices are located mid-island on the south shore.


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