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: February 23, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00012
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The Heat la On Protest

The 2007 protest season in Belize was
officially kicked off this week by two
marches: one by the Belize National
Teacher's Union, joined by upper divi-
sion students; and the other by the la-
bor unions, including the Belize Medi-
cal and Dental Union. One protest was
over violent crime and the other white
collar crime.
The rains held up and the "cold front"
provided beautiful weather for protest-
ers to take to the streets.
The youthful march on Friday, Feb-
ruary 16, included the participation of
26 schools and the children were pas-
sionate in their pleas for an end to street
and domestic violence. Media house
garnered poignant interviews with them
for both the tv and radio. Although the
children were chosen at random, almost
all had personal horror stories to tell;
many had lost loved ones, including Belizean labour unions joined the health workers in prote,


All the Belize city primary schools and several high schools turned out in a protest against crime on Friday, Feb 16.

PNP announces "A New Path for Belize"


New Generation of Leaders Unveil
Vision For The Nation: Fighting
Corruption And Promoting
Sustainable Economic Development
Are Central Themes
San Antonio Village, Toledo-
Belize has a new political party, one that
is made up of young Belizean leaders
from across the country who are moti-
vated, ambitious and determined not
only to win seats in government in the
next election but also to transform gov-
ernment as soon as they get there. The
PNP will support candidates in all con-


PNP's WilMaheia


2007


st against GOB's health policies on Saturday, Feb 17.


mothers, fathers, friends and siblings to
violent death.
On Saturday, it was the BMDU, the
Trade Union Congress (which also in-
cludes the umbrella Belize National
Teacher's Union), the Association for
Concerned Belizeans, Sedi Elrington's
Pickstock Division Committee, the St.
(Please Turn To Page 3) MW

Inside this Issue


Belize-Guatemala
talks stalled
pg 3


Fear Factor
pg. 4


Sexy Policies
pg. 5


Conduits of
Corruption
pg. 13


stituencies. Wil Maheia, well known
founder of the Toledo Institute For De-
velopment and the Environment will run
for Area Representative of Toledo East.
Dionicio Choc, a farmer and business-
man will run for Area Representative of
Toledo West.
"Today we move one step closer to
providing Belize's citizens with the lead-
ership we all deserve and to providing
southern Belize with the assurance that
it will not be left behind," said Wil
Maheia candidate for Toledo East Area
(Please Turn To Page 15) ,







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


General l ManagerA
!T p,',revonrVe.rTtruu't,, non j~



DesinAJyou


W YES!


pal incense, the members joined hands
knelt down, prayed to the four corners
and towards the rising sun, asking that
it reach Senora Rigoberta Manchu Tum,
and finds her well and that she will be
able to help them.
Signed, Punta Gorda correspondent
Readers support VIP
Dear Editor,
I thought this issue (February 9,2007)
was quite good. Really liked the bal-
ance this time with Said Musa's article
on education. I liked the forward look-

Guadaluni


ing thrust of some of the stuff, the future
direction we must go and so forth.
Cutlack's article gave food for thought.
Didn't even know the VIP had a mani-
festo out with so many political reform
promises? Do they have National rep-
resentation for ALL seats yet? If so,
like Meb I would be likely to vote for
the VIP then. At least they are offering
solutions! Is the VIP manifesto online?
I would think that WTP candidates
would join with VIP? Is that in the
works? If so, they better hurry.
Signed, Ray Auxillou

High wins


Toledo Maya Cultural
Council Seeks
Support from
Rigoberta Menchu
Turn
Dear Editor,
On the 10th of February 2007, at 8:00
a.m., the newly elected board of the
Toledo Maya Cultural Council, 16
women and men, met in Punta Gorda
Town to hold their first Executive meet-
ing.
At this meeting a recent article pub-
lished in The INdependent Reformer
Newspaper January 19, 2007, titled
"Adjacency and Zoning issues" by
Trevor Vernon was read. The article
stated that the previous attempts to reach
a settlement to the Guatemalan claim
"were a massive disappointment and yet
another costly failure, the vision what-
ever it is, is unclear to the rest of us."
The article went on to recommend that
Senora Rigoberta Manchu Tum be part
of the facilitation team. Stating that the
area on both sides of the border was
inhabited mostly by Guatemalans and
Belizeans of Maya ancestry, and so it
would be more culturally sensitive, and
just for a legitimate indigenous leader of
Rigoberta Manchu Tum stature to be
involved.The board endorsed this sug-
gestion, and composed a letter to her
asking that she help them to get recog-
nition and support for the proposed
Toledo
People's Eco park plan, that they be-
lieve will help to insure that the potential
negative effects of the new Guatemalan
link road will be lessened and that ben-
efits for the local people maximized.
After all members signed this document,
the Maya spiritual leader Jose Sho for
The Maya Cultural Council burned co-


Danielle Hall from Our Lady of
Guadalupe High School with the poem
"Kayleigh's Story" won first place in a
Belmopan Secondary Schools Poetry
Competition at the George Price Cen-
tre for Peace and Development on Fri-
day, February 16.
Valcia McGann, also from Our Lady
of Guadalupe High School, was runner
up with "Serious Times". KaylinFuller
with "Education" and Shantina Jones
with her poem "Life is Hard", both stu-
dents of Belmopan Comprehensive
School, tied for third place.
The contest was a collaborative ef-
fort between the National 4-H Youth
Development Center under the Youth
for the Future Initiative and Mr. Devon
Jones of Youth on the Move.
Eighteen students from the Belmopan
Comprehensive School, Belmopan
Baptist High School, Belize Christian
Academy, Our lady of Guadalupe High
School and Western Christian Academy
competed for 1 st, 2nd and 3rd places
prizes. Thejudges included Mr. Erwin
X, Belize's Poet of the Year.


The National 4-H Council, PACT,
Win Belize and the Ministry of Health
sponsored the event.
The George Price Centre for Peace
and Development congratulates all the
contestants for their formidable efforts
and commended the National 4-H
Youth Development Centre for this great
initiative.


independendent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2(666
Bclic 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


Poetry Contest


E-1 Lill lll E-1


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







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Belize Guatemala


Among four points in the maritime
areas dispute, not even the exclusive
zone of each nation has yet been de-
fined.
Almost a year after efforts began to
find a definitive solution to Guatemala's
territorial claim to Belize, talks remain
stalled.
April of this year will make 12
months since the technical meetings
on the maritime areas began, includ-
ing Honduras' participation. Yet no
agreement has been reached on the
first of four points in which the nation's
rights to the sea were divided.
Discussions have centered on the
determination of the exclusive economic
zone of each country, according to in-
ternational law.
"We are still on the first of the four
points", confirmed Captain Randolfo
Chac6n of the Guatemala negotiating
team.
"The technical meetings were sus-


The Heat

-E (Continued From Page 1)
George's Caye Day Committee, Com-
munication Workers, other citizens
groups and a wide array of the citizenry
in general. While not as massive as the
2005 protests, the showing was strong,
particularly with representation from the
BMDU, even though one third of its
membership was working or on call at
various hospitals around the country. A
source told Independent Weekly the
membership voted to honor their com-
mitments to the people of Belize and
remain at their posts, allowing those not
on duty (or on call) to march in their
stead.
Among the issues cited prior to
Saturday's protest was 1) the
government's taking over of the private
debt of Universal Health Services cost-
ing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars,
2) the passage of the latest bond issue
that is so hazy on details of costs in-
curred and 3) the firing of several BTL
workers in a manner inconsistent with
the collective bargaining agreement the
Belize Telecommunications Workers
Union has with management.
BTL has served government with no-
tice of industrial action to commence this
week if this dispute is not resolved.
Senator Godwin Hulse, guest
speaker, indicated in his speech at the
Memorial Park following the peaceful
protest march that he will ask the Sen-
ate not to approve the national budget
for 2007 unless an audit is done on the
government books and there is a clear
explanation of the conditions of the


Belize's negotiator Assad Shoman listens as Guatemalan Foreign Minister Jorge Briz
makes a point.
pended in the hope that the Organi- The adjacent zone and the base lines
zation of American States (OAS) con- (to simplify by a straight line the coast-
cludes certain scientific consultations lines which are irregular in general),
which may help to reconcile the pro- should also be discussed to arrive at an
posals which have been made. agreement.
Pending issues Once this first phase of talks is con-


la On Protest Sea


dispute and concerns over the manage-
ment of the company.
With so many unions mobilizing once
again, and now the children not merely
having classes disrupted by protests but
willingly participating, is Belize now be-
ginning to have a protest season like
India, Panama, Nicaragua, Italy, France
and other countries we see on the news?
International Law Enforcement agencies
also cite the end ofRamadan as the start
of yet another protest season against the
West.
If so, it seems the season is upon us
once more especially since the rains
have subsided, the major crops har-
vested, Ramadan is over and The
Government's budget is getting finish-
ing touches before presentation to the
house.


This Grace Primary student believes in
power of the mind.
bond. Two years ago, similar sentiments
against the presentation of the budget
resulted in a massive protest in front of
the National Assembly in Belmopan
during a budget presentation. The good
senator issued a challenge to his fellow
Senators and the Auditor General who
is supposed to have guaranteed tenure
of office by constitutional provisions, to
stand for what is right.
Also in 2005, BTL workers staged a
walkout and cut off telecommunications
services for a few days during a labor


Stalled

cluded the OAS will recommend if if
the discussions should continue re-
garding the territorial claim or a buffer
zone.
Regarding the latter, Guatemala
claims 12,000 square kilometers al-
most half ofBelizean territory.
"No meeting at the Foreign Minis-
ters' level is on the program. Once the
technical teams reach some agreement,
then we Ministers will have to review
those agreements", Honduran Foreign
Minister Milton Jimenez commented.
Former Foreign Minister of Guate-
mala, Gabriel Orellana, said that these
types of agreements take a lot of time.
"It's a slow process. We are not dis-
cussing the merger of two banks or of
a very large institution. These are top-
ics with political and juridical connota-
tions," he expounded.
Editor's note: story translated
from a report in Siglo XXI of Feb-
ruary 17, 2007.


son 2007


No violent confrontations; protesters
even trusted police to guard their signs!


These schoolgirls want no blood, no crime and their love may make a change.


I Fly Tropic Air Fly Tropic Air Fly Tropic Air]








Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4


By: Karla Heusner Vernon

I watched from the sidelines, taking
photos, as they marched by. I used the
excuse I was covering the demonstra-
tion for the paper.
They had no excuses: these men and
women from the Medical and Dental
Unionists, the BTL workers, teachers,
Concerned Belizeans and assorted
UDP's. They were chanting, carrying
placards and joined in solidarity over
the issues ofthe government taking on
the Universal Health Services instead
of giving much needed resuscitation to
the Karl Heusner Memorial, the firing
of three BTL employees for alleged
theft, and the SUPER bond, the finan-
cial shackling of generations of
Belizeans to pay for the looting of the


national treasury by a group of modem
day carpetbaggers.
They were mostly professional
people; I doubt they ever expected
they'd leave their comfortable offices or
predictable jobsites to become social
and political activists. This was the sort
of thing people did in other countries in
the hemisphere: Mexico, Venezuela,
Bolivia... Guatemala.
Hundreds of other ordinary citizens
had lined the streets of Belize City to
silently cheer them on. Afterwards, the
speeches at Memorial Park, especially
by Senator Godwin Hulse, gave us
hope. He called for an end to the ruler-
subject relationship Belize has inherited
in the post-colonial era, for Belizeans
to throw off the yoke of corruption and
indebtedness we now find ourselves
carrying when all we wanted was a
change in government. He reminded the
elected government officials who stood
by, or worse, held us down during the
gang rape, just who is paying their sala-
ries-the People of Belize, not the po-
litical parties.
He was eloquent, fiery and emphatic.
The crowd hung on his every word. You
could not help but wonder if Belize has


finally found a charismatic leader to suc-
ceed George Price, Phillip Goldson,
Antonio Soberanis.. If the pretenders
to the throne could see the threat he
poses.
Clearly he is not afraid. Nor will not
be bullied.
Was he always this brave? Or was
he as smiling and accommodating as the
rest of us? Somewhere along the line,
however, this man who was just going
about his business decided to make
Belize his business.
Finally, thousands of other Belizeans
are doing this too. No longer content to
merely suffer, or even complain, but to
act.
Still, we berate ourselves. How did
we let this happen? We should have
seen it coming.... all the signs were
there.
Yes, perhaps. But does a mother ever
imagine her darling boy will grow up to
become a killer? That the smiling poli-
tician shaking your hand is really the
devil in disguise?
No, as good people we believe other
people to be good as well. And as God
fearing and law abiding as the rest of
the community.


To share our own fear of being so-
cially ostracized due to scandal, sent
to jail for stealing, punished, if not by
the law, then by God To share our
cosmic belief that what goes around,
come around...
But they do not. The only differ-
ence between the people who love
Belize and the people who abuse her
is fear, or rather the absence of it.
Whether it is the criminal in the
streets, or the ones in the capital,
these Belizeans crossed the line the
day they pulled off their first caper:
murdered their first shopkeeper in
broad daylight in front of a store full
of customers, held up their first
woman or child walking to school,
made their first salary advance or loan
to themselves and their friends.
Regardless of their color or status
in this society, they share their sense
of entitlement: "If you no di use it, da
fi mi." Anything I see is mine because
I say it is. I will take it, with a gun, or
a signature on a bank draft or the cre-
ation of a "special vehicle," legal fees,
transaction commissions.
As one of the more notorious said
(Please Turn To Page 13) J* 1






Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


Sexy


P


By: Trevor Vernon
Belize is home to some of the most
attractive policy statements and accom-
panying documents the world has ever
produced. Works of art, I tell you. Ev-
erything sparkles on paper: from devel-
opment, tourism and health policies to
energy, poverty alleviation, HIV/Aids
reduction, universal education to gen-
der equality.
We have to be proud of our Belizean
men and women who stand up at con-
ferences around the world to showcase
and articulate Belize government's world
class policy positions. Such bright and
articulate people with advanced de-
grees, adorning seats behind "Belice"
name plates.
What a joy it is to cruise the internet
and see the face our government shows
the outside world. I'll tell you a little
secret... you can find one hell of an at-
tractive website with wondrous philoso-
phies put out by... bet you can't guess;
the office of good governance! It's got
to be the envy of envies on the world
wide web.
You'd never know, viewing this from
abroad, that like so many other gov-
ernment departments it's just a facade.
That, the actual Office of Governance
is the most Musa-esque farce ever writ-
ten. They even hold nationwide con-
sultations for the citizens but forget to
invite the people. There is no indica-
tion from the web site that the current
board is composed of handpicked
stooges to replace that last commission
which resigned en masse because they
recognized it for the sham it is.
Or is it? Perhaps the office of good
governance does serve a purpose: the
further eroding of the public service of
Belize. But more on that in a minute.
Back to sexy public policy.
Walking the streets of this country you
have to wonder where our flashy policy
positions went wrong. So many state-
of-the-art projects for everything from
computers and intemet for the schools
to satellite distance learning for rural
communities. Poverty alleviation plans
and save-the-children from hunger/child
labor/sexual exploitation documents
galore. Promotion of the agriculture sec-
tor, eco-tourism, "services sector",
small businesses, young entrepreneurs,
micro-enterprises, cashew and cassava
production, etc, etc.
So why is there so much poverty in
both rural and urban areas, north &
southside, east and westside? Why is


illcles...
there no gender equality in Cabinet?
What happened to the balanced growth
cruise ship policy the task force spent
months developing? Where are all the
new telemarketing and call center cen-
ters? The fish farming and animal hus-
bandry programs?
Have they all been tossed onto the
garbage heap? Burned with the plastics
and condoms from the cruise ships?
The government proudly tells the
cyber world we are among the few
growing economies, yet, everywhere
you go in the "real" Belize you are of-


on


fered "parallel market" fuels, cigarettes,
liquor, stolen shrimp and undersized
lobster, and out of season delicacies. It
forces you to ask: why is the under-
ground economy growing so rapidly?
If the economy is booming and Belize
is such a good country, why are so
many good people resorting to under-
handed activities?
It seems this good country has been
good only to convenient corporate citi-
zens and other robber baron raiders
who pillage at will, driving up the cost
of living for those who were born here


You'd never know, viewing this from
abroad, that like so many other gov-
ernment departments, it's just a facade.


the


Sly


or cannot leave. We pay more now for
virtually everything we consume: phone,
water, light, gas, butane, medicines,
school books. The draconian GST that
seems to hit the poor, the non-GST reg-
istered.
There is a maj or disconnect between
what Belize tells the world it stands for,
and what people have to stand for to
live here.
I have a strong suspicion the divide
has a lot to do with the dumbing down
of the civil service. Civil Servants were
once a fiercely proud lot, hell bend on
protecting the service and what it stood
for. Then their legs were kicked out
from under them with the disbanding of
the civil service commission, and the re-
naming of the government department
responsible for the proper functioning
of the service. You guessed it again-
(Please Turn To Paqe 10) iM


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Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


an's Inhumanity Against W


man


By Renee Hvlander
"Just get out!" This is the cry heard
from many sectors of society when it
comes to discussing women who are
in abusive relationships. But it really
isn't as simple as just packing one's
bags, one's kids, and moving on. There
are nearly as many reasons why women
stay in abusive relationships as there are
myths surrounding these sometimes le-
thal situations. Some of these reasons
are inability to recognize the behavior
as abusive, seemingly insurmountable
financial constraints, lack of outside
support, and shame that results in many
women feeling that they are not worth
protecting.
In order to decide to leave a rela-
tionship with domestic or gender-based
violence, a woman first has to recog-
nize that the relationship is not in her
best interest. While severe physical
abuse that leaves visible signs such as
bruises, black eyes, lost teeth, and bro-
ken bones may be hard to deny, other
types of violence are more insidious.
A young woman told me that she did
not consider the pushing and occasional
slaps from her husband as being abu-
sive because she had witnessed much
worse behavior being inflicted upon fe-
male relatives while she was growing
up. Of course I informed her that any
physical contact inflicted in anger that
causes pain to the receiver is indeed
physical abuse.
Another physically intrusive behav-
ior that is rarely seen as abuse is mari-
tal/partner rape and sexual abuse.
Many people believe that a woman
cannot be raped by her husband or a
man with whom she has previously en-
gaged in sexual intercourse. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Each
of us has the right to decide when and
how to engage in sexual contact,
whether we are married or not. Any
person who violates another's wishes
in this arena is guilty of rape.
Other forms of domestic violence are
even less obvious. Emotional abuse
ranks as one of the most common forms
of abuse and also one of the hardest to
escape. This involves name calling,
shaming, threatening, and controlling
behaviors. Many relationships begin
with hints of emotional abuse that es-
calates over time and in many cases
leads to physical abuse.
Some common tactics of emotional
abuse are making the woman think she
is crazy, humiliating her, making her feel
guilty, forcing isolation, blaming her for
his abusive behavior, using coercion and
threats, using intimidation, preventing
her from getting or keeping aj ob, treat-
ing her like a servant, making all the
maj or decisions without consulting her,
using the children or threatening to take
them away. Preventing her from hold-
ing employment outside the home of-


ten leads to economic abuse where the
man makes all the money and also con-
trols how it is spent.
Many times women are the victims of
more than one type of violence from their
partners. One commonality among all
of the forms of violence is that the
abuser uses these methods to maintain
power and control in the relationship.
Once a woman is able to recognize
and admit that her partner's treatment
is abusive, she needs to be able to have
the means to escape. Since some men


use economic control over women, it is
difficult for the women to save enough
money to escape the situation and be
able to provide for herself and her chil-
dren.
Even when women work outside the
home and earn a salary, some abusers
take the women's paychecks and make
the women ask them for money. Usu-
ally in these situations the women also
have to provide the men with details
about where and how the money was
spent.
In 2005, Deputy Chief Statistician,
Elizabeth Talbert reported that 72% of
women in the working age population
are not in the labor force. (Williams,
2005, para 3) If a woman is legally
married to her abuser, she may apply
for legal separation. If granted legal
separation, the woman is entitled to up
to $50.00 per week, per child. She can
also received spousal maintenance ofup
to $100.00 per week. So in the case
of a married woman who has two chil-
dren fathered by the abuser, she could
-"- 1


receive a maximum of $200.00 per
week or $800.00 per month. Since this
is the maximum, the court may order
less.
Men also may refuse to pay mainte-
nance in a timely fashion. Even if all
went without a hitch, a woman may find
it difficult to maintain a separate home,
utilities, food, toiletries, school fees, etc.,
on this amount. Realistically, we also
must not forget about the women who
are not married to their abusers and who
may have children that are not those of


their abuser. Financial considerations
are not the only factors that keep
women trapped in abusive situations.
Even if finances are not a problem,
many women lack the emotional sup-
port needed in order to successfully
abandon a gender-based violence situ-
ation. Frequently women who end up
in violent households also grew up in
them. These women may not feel that
they can get support from their own fe-
male relatives because their sisters,
mothers, aunts and grandmothers are
also experiencing abusive situations.
Many are the family members and
friends that tell women that "you made
your bed, now lie in it." Some friends
and family refuse to talk with their loved
ones about it because they feel that
problems in the relationship should stay
between the couple.
Some of our religious leaders are no
better. Many sects believe that mar-
riage is "'til death do us part." This
mentality might indeed bring that death
in shorter time. At times religious ad-


visement focuses on working out prob-
lems rather than referring people for
professional violence counseling. Some
religions even bar divorced or separated
members from participating in sacra-
ments and other rituals. This can be
devastating for women, many for whom
church involvement is very important.
There also seems to be a need for im-
provements to our public institutions that
should be supporting women. At this
point the only safe house in Belize is
Haven House in Belize City. Women in
the districts have to find transportation
or rely on the limited funding of the
Women's Department offices to assist
them in getting to Haven House. Ha-
ven House and the Women's Depart-
ment are indeed doing a great service
with limited budgets to house and pro-
vide support to these women and their
children, but it is only a temporary so-
lution.
There are fees for protection and
separation orders and the Family Court
environments are still not as confiden-
tial as they should be. While the actual
proceedings are treated confidentially,
we still have a small enough population
that a woman with a black eye coming
in and out of courtrooms and offices is
recognized by community members,
some of whom report the information
back to the perpetrator.
In a discussion during a Critical Think-
ing and Writing class, one of my stu-
dents informed me that some police of-
ficers, when called out on domestic dis-
turbances, tell the victims to the effect
that "it's useless to take your report since
you will just drop the charges later." At
a recent meeting of the Orange Walk
District Gender-Based Violence Com-
mittee, a discussion ensued about po-
lice officers being notified by concerned
(Please Turn To Page 7) W







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7



Man's Inhumanity Against Woman


l- l(Continued From Page 6)
citizens that domestic violence was
occurring in a neighborhood, but the
police just drove through the neighbor-
hood and when they did not see any-
one in the yard flagging them down, they
left the area without checking any of
the houses. This is disturbing because
if a woman calls the police herself, she
may not be able to come out of the
house. If a neighbor calls, he/she may
be afraid that they abuser will turn his
violence upon the reporter's family and
it is easy to see this point as the abuser
is currently enacting violence on a per-
son he claims to love.
Although there are many women who
lack outside support, there are others
who have supportive friends and fam-
ily if only they could make the move
and admit their abusive situations.
It can be confusing for those who
have never personally experienced do-
mestic violence to wonder why women
would keep their abuse a secret, but
many do just that. One reason that I
have personal experience with is shame.
It is never easy to admit that the man
that should be a lover and life partner
is abusive. Society still sees women as
the caretakers of relationships, so when
a relationship fails or the men turn out
to be different than they appeared to
be in the beginning, women are often
blamed for not being enough. They are


Ministry of Education raises con-
cern about Primary School children
sent home for not paying fees.

A release from the Ministry of Edu-
cation states the Ministry is alarmed
And concerned at the increasing num-
ber of cases of primary school students
being sent home or denied access to
their education as a result of inability to
pay fees levied by primary schools.The
Ministry says it wishes to remind Gen-
eral Managers and Principals that un-
der the education rules no Ministry of
Education or Government aided Pri-
mary School should prohibit attendance
at school of a child of compulsory
school age because of inability to pay
school fees and such child shall not be
subject to discrimination by the school.
On the matter of fees increase the
Ministry reminds managing authorities
that the Chief Education Officer or the
Minister as the case may be should be
informed of and give approval to any
proposal to increase fees at least one
full year before any such increase is to


blamed for not being attractive enough,
sexually interesting enough, tidy enough,
understanding enough, or smart enough.
The media share some of this blame in
the way that domestic violence stories
are covered. If it's gory and sensational,
especially if it involves a death, the story
is right there on the front page. If she
lives, for the most part, the story is regu-
lated to an inside page. Some editori-
als even use victims names and insinu-
ate that they will continue to be victims
or that they are stupid. Intelligence has
nothing to do with being a victim of a
crime.
Outside influences are not the only ones
that count when speaking of shame. Of-
ten women who have been victimized in
their own homes do not need society to
shame them because they have their abus-
ers and eventually, they also have their own
internal voices. If a person hears that she
is dumb, ugly, useless, and unlovable on a
daily basis, she will begin to believe it her-
self. Couple that with the fact that many
women who end up in abusive relation-
ships had low self-esteem to begin with
and one can see how stifling shame can
be. This is equally true for women with
little education as it is for the very edu-
cated. Getting women to feel that they
are truly worth protecting is a very daunt-
ing challenge.
So with what authority do I speak
about this issue? I received a


take place. The Ministry says it calls on
all parties to ensure thecontinued access
to education of all our primary school
children.
From LOVE FM News, Feb 13,
2007 to subscribe to LOVE's free
daily e-mail news service you can


Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and
completed all coursework (with straight
A's) for a Master's Degree in Marriage
and Family Therapy. I worked for over
12 years as a social worker in the
U.S.A. I have been teaching self-de-
fense to women in Belize since 2002
and have worked with over 200 women
in private classes, through Women's
Department programs, with Youth En-
hancement Services, and at Muffles Jun-
ior College, where I am also an English
instructor. I am also a member of the
Orange Walk District Gender-Based
Violence Committee.
But there is one final qualification that
in the past I might have been tempted to
leave out: I was involved in an emotion-
ally abusive relationship for 13 years.
Four of those years I was married to the
man who made me feel less than human.
His emotional violence finally did culmi-
nate in physical violence, the most severe
of which involved being stuck over the
head with a cast iron frying pan.
So for many years I advised women to
leave abusive relationships, assisted them
with obtaining police protection and legal
help and generally supported their actions
to get out of abusive situations. Why didn't
I get out of my situation sooner? I was
ashamed. I refuse to be silent any longer
and I am inspired by the women who told
their stories in the documentary, Domes-
tic Violence: The Belizean Reality, made
by the Women's Department last year.
We women who have survived need to
come forward and speakup for ourselves.
We need to realize that they only person
responsible for abuse is the abuser and
that people that might blame us or look
down upon us are not the kind of people
we need in our lives anyway. There is a
whole sisterhood of us here to support
one another.
Taking steps to end domestic violence
can seem like a mountain of troubles to
climb, but we have to remember that ev-
ery successful trip to the summit starts with
a few small steps.


If you think you are a victim of domes-
tic violence, talk to someone you trust
about the situation. If you don't know
anyone you can talk to or you feel
ashamed to speak with friends and fam-
ily, contact the Women's Department.
They can provide answers to your ques-
tions, support and direction. Iwould also
recommend an excellent book that you
may obtain for free from the Women's
Department: Domestic Violence
Women s Handbook. I have used some
of the book's information in this article. It
provides more details about types of abuse
and the legal and other options that women
have in Belize.
If you know someone who is currently
in an unsafe situation, you can offer non-
judgmental support. Don't tell her that
her man is bad; tell her that no woman
deserves to be called names, hit, beaten,
or raped. Offer to drive her to the police
station, take her to the Women's Depart-
ment, attend court with her, or watch her
children while she goes to work or inter-
views for aj ob. Join efforts by non-gov-
ernmental and governmental agencies to
combat gender violence. Lobby formore
money in the government's budget to sup-
port the work of agencies that work with
women and children. International
Women's Week begins March 3rd under
the theme Women and Men United to
End Violence Against Women. Plan to
participate in at least one event. Fight for
specialized sensitivity training of our po-
lice officers and forjudgesto impose stron-
ger punishments for perpetrators of gen-
der-based violence. Call Haven House
and ask what kinds of donations the
agency could use. Take a self-defense
course if one is available in your commu-
nity.
Raise your children using non-violent
forms of discipline and teach them how
to resolve conflicts peacefully. Change
attitudes towards the families that ex-
perience this kind of violence and change
lives. And pray that maybe one day we
can learn to live in peace.


\Vith a


Tropical T oist


Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppe


Opening Hours C
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 14
Western Highway
BELIZE, Central America
Mailing Address: Box 346, Belmopan
E-Mail: chrissy@cheersrestaurant.bz


Positive response te

Independent article on

education in Belize








Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Your questions will help you ferret out
secret information. You don't owe any-
one an explanation. Do your own thing,
you need time to yourself. Make any
necessary changes to your insurance
policy. Rely on the one you love for sup-
port and affection. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- May 21)
Get involved in activities that will bring
you knowledge about foreign land, phi-
losophies, or cultures. Don't be too
quick to respond to a plea for help. Your
concern with older family members and
those less fortunate than yourself will
only add to your attractiveness. You
can't make things better if you don't
know what to fix. Your lucky day this
week will be Saturday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You can meet a new romantic part-
ner or secure the love connection you
already have by going out and enter-
taining yourself. You will get out of
shape easily if you don't keep on top of
things. Be careful while traveling. You
will have excellent ideas and you should
be able to help your partner get ahead.
Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Stomach problems could prevail if
you haven't been watching your diet.
Children's needs could be more costly
than you anticipated. If you put your
mind to it, you could entertain or host a
multitude of social events. Don't make
large purchases unless you have dis-
cussed your choices with your mate.


Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Overindulgence will mean poor
health. Money may slip through your fin-
gers. Emotional upset may prevail on
the domestic scene if you have neglected
your duties or your mate. You may want
to sign up for courses that will encour-
age you to have more confidence in
yourself. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Your charm will attract members of
the opposite sex. Involvement in finan-
cial schemes will be followed by losses.
Take time to find out all you can. Your
compassion will be appreciated more
than you can imagine. Your lucky day
this week will be Friday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 Oct. 23)
In-laws may cause difficulties.
Travel should be considered. Try to
ease any disappointment by making
amends. Your home environment may
be volatile if precautions aren't taken.
Major job changes or opportunities
to get ahead professionally are ap-
parent. Your lucky day this week will
be Thursday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Be tolerant, but don't let any one
take you for granted. A romantic din-
ner, followed by a quiet evening with
the one who is enticing you, should
be most satisfying. Property deals will
pay big dividends. You will be erratic
and quite likely to make personal mis-
takes. Your lucky day this week will
be Sunday.


Your weekly -


i don't have a short attention
.....a KITTY! !


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
You've been hurt before and could
be again if you don't play hard to get.
Disputes on the home front may be
hard to avoid. Spend a quiet day with
the one you love. Equilibrium in your
romantic life is likely if you treat your
partner well. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Get involved in volunteer work that
will bring you satisfaction, not an
empty wallet. Catch up on your read-
ing and correspondence. Your dra-
matic nature may be too much to
handle. You're eager to learn. Your
lucky day this week will be Sunday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Don't let your personal problems
interfere with your professional re-


span i just ........ oooooooooo! !


sponsibilities. You won't be able to
keep a secret. Trips will be enjoyable,
and communication with your lover
will clear up any misconceptions. You
may be overly emotional when deal-
ing with your mate. Your lucky day
this week will be Monday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Get involved in activities that will
bring you knowledge about foreign
land, philosophies, or cultures. Your
partner could make you angry if they
steal your thunder or embarrass you
in front of others. Traffic will be busier
than you anticipated, so try to get a
head start if you have made plans to
travel. Avoid lending money or be-
longings to friends.
Your lucky day this week will be Sat-
urday.


THE


IlUIIl FOR


MANATEE LOOKOUT
8.5 Miles Northern Highway Ladyville

I have passed by Manatee Lookout so many times on my drives back and
forth from Ladyville, that I have never given the place much thought.
Although I have always seen more than a few vehicles there, my travels
have never included a pit stop halfway to town. Well, this time it did and
it was worth it. Though we couldn't enjoy the patio because of the "no see
A* ums", and the air conditioned smoky ambience was a little too much for
us non smoker types, the food was excellent, and the beer cold. We sam-
pled the vegetarian platter, the kibby with humus and the chicken strips
(for the kids). All were presented nicely and with efficient service. All the
patrons (mostly "Ladyvillarians") all seemed to be enjoying themselves,
whether they were eating, drinking, or waiting for the wives to get off of
work. Next time we plan to go for lunch to enjoy the riverside and if this
reviewer is going back, it has to be good!


RetuatOPNDIY UNH/DNE
Approxmate eal Cst $6oo&u


It's better to keep your mouth
shut and give the impression

it and remove all doubt.
Someday your prince charm-
ing will come. Mine just took a
wrong turn, got lost, and is too
stubborn to ask for directions.
Don't play stupid with me ... I'm better at it.
Roses are red violets are blue, God made me pretty, what hap-
pened to you?
'Tis far better to- be pissed off than to bepiss-ed on.
I don't need your attitude, I have one of my own
"I do exercise. I do one sit up everyday ... when I get out of bed
in the morning."
Gone crazy ... Be back soon ..
"FAT FREE" means eat the whole bag.
mooooo .. mooooo ... im a chicken
Love your enemies ... they hate it
"It's not lost. I just can't find it."


or-, ---I








Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


In the n


Belizean Green Party


By: INdependentWeekly
P.G Correspondent

The INdependent Reformer News-
paper has offered an opportunity for
anyone contemplating the creation of
a political party in Belize, a forum, to
put forth their platform.
All over the world people have been
united by a common set of 10 prin-
ciples, to form Green Parties. We
were surprised to learn that while there
are three national Green Parties in
Central America, Nicaragua, Costa
Rica, and Guatemala, Belize was not
one of them. With this article come
the 10 basic principles that form the
core of the International Green Party,
some ideas of what a Belizean Green
Party could offer, and an invitation to
all Belizean citizens who might be in-
terested in joining one.

Ten Key Values of the Belizean
Green Party
1. Grassroots Democracy
2. Social justice and Equal Op-
portunity
3. Ecological Wisdom
4. Non-Violence
5. Decentralization
6. Community Based Econom-
ics and Economic Justice
7. Feminism and Gender Equity
8. Respect for Diversity
9. Personal and Gl;obal Respon-
sibility
10. Future focus and
Sustainiability
To get it started, we have formed a
Toledo Branch with the further devel-
opment of the Toledo People's Eco
Park Plan as our platform. We would
like to see if there are other Belizeans


who would like to form District
branches with their development
plans based on the 10 basic principles
for their districts. We also welcome
all International Green Party members
who might want to help us with ideas,
financial contributions, or volunteer
services. We feel our Toledo Branch
Green Party has developed some very
good ideas, one being the requirement
that for a motion to pass it must have
at least 80% of the group's vote. If a
motion has less than 80%, the group
must continue to debate the issue un-
til they reach at least 80%. Another
good idea is that we have 100 per-
cent gender equality. Meaning we
have a female and male representa-
tive for each official office. Another is
the requirement of an active youth
group with gender equality.
We hope there will be enough
Belizeans out there to respond to this
call, to make the establishment of a
Belizean Green Party a reality and that
there will be enough International
Green Party members with a global
perspective to help us. Anyone inter-
ested in developing a dialogue please
e m a i 1
belizeangreenpartytoledo@hotmail.com,
or write to Belizean Green Party, Box
75, Punta Gorda, Belize Central
America.
At the present time we have formed
a pro tem group, if and when we reach
300 serious members, we will open
nominations for our districts represen-
tatives and we will hold an election. If
the party continues to grow, we will
try and enter the national elections for
our district representatives.
Answering The Challenge:
"A challenge: where do the inde-


pendents stand?" by Meb Cuttack,
offers a challenge to all prospective
independent candidates throughout
Belize to present yourselves and your
ideas to the public, January 12, 2007.
The challenge goes on to ask for your
views on the following.
(a) An elected Senate or alterna-
tive. We believe in an elected Sen-
ate as necessary for a balance in the
government as it is practiced in the
USA
(b) Land Reform, we believe no
more of the public land should be sold
or leased to individuals. Private land
should be left alone, to be sold as the
owner wishes. What's left of the public
land should be used for community-
based projects and programs for
those Belizean citizens who are not
now land owners. If they want to own
private land, let them work in coop-
eration, to make and save what they
earned by sustain ably using the
public's land. Then buy a piece of pri-
vate land.
Hopefully the government can pur-
chase some of the larger tracts of land
owned by absentee landowners and
have them subdivided into thousands
of smaller parcels and lots for those
who want to have small farms and
house lots. This way all our citizens
will always have a place to work and
earn. Otherwise as our population
grows, eventually there will be no
good land left and if history is an indi-
cator of what will happen eventually
a few wealthy and powerful families
and corporations will own 90% + of
the land.
(c) General revenue, the income
from taxes should be earmarked for
specific needs, the ministers must ac-


complish their responsibilities with the
budget designed according to their
specific source of revenue.
(d) A new Integrity Commission,
to which all Ministers, Senators, and
House Members must submit all de-
tails of their financial and property
holdings prior to elections, and dur-
ing their time in office.
(e) Review, of all recent envi-
ronmental impact assessments
related to mega and smaller
projects. And enforcement of laws
requiring them for future projects.
What has gone wrong in Belize with
Independence with regard to the fol-
lowing. The problem began before
Independence, essentially education
should be relevant and appropriate,
meaning it should help local people
to use the natural and other re-
sources around them in sustainable
ways, and how to share the work
and benefits in fair ways. How to
spend the money they earn on qual-
ity food for a better diet, and how
to live in a more healthy way, to
prevent the majority of the illness
and problems our society suffers,
mainly due to our poor lifestyle.
(f)Poverty alleviation, using sys-
tems thinking, people power, and ho-
listic eco planning with the appropri-
ate education. Also monitor the op-
eration of the non-governmental
projects and programs were so much
of the foreign aid is presently misused.
Holistic planning provides ways and
means for all stakeholders, private
business sector, government, non-gov-
ernmental organizations, funders, and
the local community based organiza-
tions to work together more effec-
tively and efficiently.


Guatemalans already registering to vote in Belize


Bvy: Meb Cutlack
The first snowslide, the traditional
avalanche of Guatemalans illegally reg-
istering to vote in Belize's next elections,
has already taken place in Cayo. Ac-
cording to The Star newspaper this
week, groups from nearby Melchor de
Mencos, Guatemala started arriving last
week.
The Star: "We know that election is
near when we begin to see immigrants,
especially from the neighboring Cen-
tral American countries, assembling in
unusually large numbers, at public of-
fices as they seek legal documentation
to apply for nationality which might be
approved in time to get them on the of-
ficial voters list, thereby enabling them
to exercise the right to vote."
And The Star goes on: "This appeared
to be the case this past Tuesday when no
less that 20 such immigrants were
crowded in the San Ignacio police station


all applying for a police record which is
one of the official documents required in
the process of applying for Belizeans na-
tionality."
There is nothing, as The Star suggests,
wrong in their registering EXCEPT in this
case: "They came in two vehicles bearing
government plates"!
The Star: "There is nothing wrong with
Central American neighbours seeking to
become naturalized Belizeans especially
when they meet the mandatory require-
ments of 5 years continued residency in
Belize. The situation becomes worrisome,
however, amidst reports of foreigners
coming straight across the border, mainly
from neighboring Melchor, Guatemala,
giving an address in Belize, usually in one
of the villages, then commencing the pro-
cess of applying for nationality and im-
mediately returning to their usual place of
abode across the border,
After the last election in 20031 I offered


the DPP, Kirk Anderson, evidence of al-
most 200 aliens who had voted illegally in
the election. I broke my accusation down
to 40 provable cases whom villagers al-
leged did not belong to their villages and
I also offered the names of 8, who had all
registered as living at the same vacant lot,
address in San Ignacio.
Three months later The DPP informed
me that my charges had been 'investi-
gated' by the San Ignacio police and were
not true. I had offered to take the police
to the fraudulent vacant lot and also pro-
vide them with the real addresses of the 8
in Melchor. My help was refused!
What happens each year in Cayo also
happens in the South and North of Belize
before every election. It means that it is
quite probable that thousands of illegal
immigrants vote every year in our elec-
tions and can actually change the outcome
of an election in Belize. A country which
Guatemala maintains a claim!


Before the last election one PUP minis-
ter was witnessed registering Guatema-
lan and Honduran fishermen right on the
beach at Monkey River. A policeman
stood by to protect the Minister and stop
the angry Monkey Rive residents from in-
terfering!
Unless we are prepared to accept the
idea that our elections can be determined
by groups from Guatemala and Hondu-
ras then we must truthfully investigate all
accusation's of electoral fraud and pros-
ecute when necessary. Perhaps the time
has come for some international monitor-
ing ofBelizean elections.
It is a sign of how real the situation has
already become if illegal immigrants are in
fact, as alleged, being delivered directly
to police stations in government vehicles.
It is also a signal ofjust how contemp-
tuous government is of what Belizeans
might feel about their country being sold
out to Guatemala in this manner.







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Sexv Policies,


--mE(Continued From Page 5)
the Office of Good Governance.
In the US, the Wendy's hamburger
chain used to run a television commer-
cial where a senior citizen asks the com-
petitor: "Where is the beef?" In this ad-
ministration there is a lot of hype but no
beef. Hell, there isn't even "lee saal
poke".
Where is the beef indeed... some say
the finest cuts were exported offshore
to Montevideo, and Panama, and Mi-
ami, and Cayman. Time will tell.
The solution to really getting good
governance is to go back to previous
proven practices. To resurrect a civil
service that was founded, and run, on
the principles of a meritocracy, not
crony-ocracy.
We need to re-instate a civil service
the incoming elected politicians are
forced to respect, which stands guard
over the treasury and watches over the
activities of those elected to serve the
people.
As it now stands, with this tooth-
less office of governance, civil ser-
vants are disposable, temporary -
even seasonal- workers dependant
on which of the two major parties is
in office. This travesty, dear reader,
provides the prime enabling environ-
ment for the party hacks and cronies
to raid our treasury... for unscrupu-
lous ministers to give away land, loans
and grants to family, friends, sweet-
hearts and their children.


ME.


They behave as if the members of
the public service are their private ser-
vants, to do as they are told and cover
their misdeeds, take the fall for them
in court or during commissions of en-
quiry.
We must insist that all political as-
pirants wishing to contest the upcom-
ing general elections state their posi-
tion on the issue of a temporal civil
service (along with other crucial dec-
larations). Insist that they commit to
stamping out corruption and all the
supporting factors that allow people
to cheat our government's treasury of
its revenues. (And not necessarily be-
cause we want more resources in the
hands of the kleptomaniacs.)
This existing civil service environ-
ment does not motivate the service
membership to focus on the execu-
tion of proper policy, but forces them
into the constant appeasement of the
ministerial ego, which as we all know
can get quite self absorbed and re-
moved from reality. Until this happens,
all we will get is survivalists, heads of
departments, legal advisors and
CEOs at fancy conferences with
flashy pamphlets on sexy policies that
never get implemented.
If you think I exaggerate, just check
out the many links on the Government
of Belize website. You may be sur-
prised to see what is "out there," in-
stead of being done here.


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independentreformer.htm
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independentonline.pdf
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non-







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Loneliness in the Midst


'1o


ing fewer close friends. The average
person now has only two close friends,
while a number of people said they had
no one to discuss important matters
with.
Only recently social scientists noted
their concern of (SAD) (Seasonal Af-
fective Disorder); when the lack of sun-
light causes depression to increase in
many people. And then to find out that
high cell phone usage produces
depression.. .what a fix we find ourselves
in, as a modern educated people!
Many people are constantly con-
nected to others: cell phone, I-Pod,
email, computer, laptop, beepers, etc;
yet have few, if any, close friends and
real friendships. It's a world where you
hear people talking on cell phones even
in the churches and restrooms, or teens'
text- messaging over 2500 messages a
month, where people appear connected
but in reality are lonely.
The Gospel of Christ has much to say


FE

~3;~


By: Rev'd LeRov Flowers
More and more we find that people
are lonely while we make economic and
technological developments.
Recently it was noted that Korean
teenagers make approximately 100 cell
calls a day. Social scientists are begin-
ning to correlate high cell phone usage
with rising rates of depression.
Second, a Knight-rider news service
study noted that Americans are report-


ts


Znl 4 Annu, 1A








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I I


of Development


to us and to this cold lonely world:
"Come unto me all who are weary, and
I will give you rest."
"Listen to my Voice, like sheep hear
their shepherd, and I will lead you. You
are my friends if you do what I com-
mand you."
Keith Cartheright, the Caribbean
theologian, reminds us that we have the
best name: "Friends of Jesus." He
noted that the Gospel message speaks
even more powerful today, than it did
when first spoken by our Lord. So
many lonely people.
Materially, the society is better off....
(homes-education-vehicles-etc.), yet
there are so many immature educated
wealthy lonely individuals in our society
and in general. Many individuals have
no caring relationships with family mem-
bers (brothers, sisters, parents, aunts,
uncles and in-laws) much less close
friends. They trust no one... They are
afraid of loving and caring for anyone,
not even themselves. This is a horrible
situation and sad indeed. It is the ground
work for gangs, drugs, abuse, alcohol,
domestic violence, gambling and the
general mistrust in the wider commu-
nity.
The Christian Community needs to
share the message of hope and love...
Christ is present- and in community of
hope and love for all God's children.
For in the midst of loneliness, you are
never alone. In the frantic pace of stay-
ing connected, you are always con-
nected to God and those who love you.


The Faith Community must provide
more opportunities for face-to-face
contact with others, opportunities for
meaningful relationships to grow and
develop. This must be done by ac-
cepting all as equals and with respect;
listening respectfully to different points
of view, even when we disagree. Po-
sition, authority and power, status and
money should never be the role for
the genuine relationships and friend-
ships.
Sadly many in the society are aloof
from family and friends due to their
status, education and position. We
need to help transform a lonely crew
into a crowd of friends and witnesses,
a people of faith who are reaching out
to others and sharing the presence of
God.
Let us learn to accept ourselves.
Stop being afraid! Yes, all of us are
vulnerable. This is life. But it is better
to vulnerable than to be lonely. Let
us be more intentional about devel-
oping personal relationships, built on
mutual respect, thus encouraging
community building. Real community
happens face-to face with God and
with each other.
Plan deliberately today to be truly
connected with family members and
friends...this is the best means of
friendship, stop hiding behind the
email, and cell phone!! Stop! Listen
to a friend! Have lunch with a brother/
sister. What a wonderful way to break
the state of loneliness today.







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


A BR


By Meb Cutlack
& Trevor Vernon
Tired of Belize City and want to get
away for just a day or so?
Do what we did, make a trip, part
business and part pleasure, to Caye
Caulker and San Pedro -all in 24
hours! It might sound hurried but, in
fact it is a leisured break and not more
expensive than a night on the town in
Belize City.

The Belize lZo
By Sharon Matola


It is unfortunate that the Maruba
Lodge continues to exploit Belizean
wildlife for the sole purpose of their own
financial gain.
Maruba openly admits and boasts
(http.//www.mojohd.com/shows/
threesheets/photos/) that they place live
snakes and scorpions into bottles of
rum.
These animals die and become "wild-
life curios" aimed to be sold to the
guests at the Maruba "eco lodge".
Just the week, the Zoo got another
email from an American family who vis-
ited Belize and were shocked to find
this beverage on sale at Maruba.
This practice violates the Wildlife Pro-
tection Act of 1981 which clearly states
that it is "illegal to collect and sell spe-
cies ofwildlife"
Furthermore, Maruba employees are
known to pay nearby villagers for the
collecting of snakes any species of
snake, for their illegal tourist-targeted
rum enterprise.
The ecological role which snakes and


1/2 acre lots in

BurrelBoom

starting at $10K

Call

600-1627


Here's how! Break off from work an
hour or two early and catch the 3.30 or
4.30 Tropic flight to Caye Caulker. Stay
overnight on the Caye, where the choice
of hotels ranges from the very 'cheap'
to the 'moderate' to up the 'top of the
market' and even that's not expen-
sive!
You can get rooms at the Tropical
Paradise and Maria Vega's and others
from about $30 to $35 U.S and (at the
top of the market) a room at Iguana Reef


for $113 U. S. And that rate includes the
best continental breakfast we've seen
anywhere. They have a great ocean-
view dining area with a pool and in the
pipeline... all in a really classy atmo-
sphere. Dinner options are endless on
Caye Caulker but we had a truly spec-
tacular Italian experience at Don
Corleone Trattoria. They make their
own pastas in house and serve some of
the best reds we've had in a long time.
Truly Exquisite.


I says: Big thumbs Down on


Maruba Resort promotes their Viper and Stinger Rums with this image on their website


Maruba's other "viper rum victims",
scorpions, play in the Belizean environ-
ment matters zero to Maruba Lodge.
What does matter to Maruba is that
they undertake a perverse activity and
create their own illegal tourist side-
show, purely to try and attract some


extra tourist dollars.
This issue has been brought to the at-
tention of officials at the Forest Depart-
ment within the Ministry of Natural Re-
sources. To their credit, Wildlife Offic-
ers acted in proper manner and brought
the actions of Maruba Lodge to appro-


1*


The next day you have the choice of
a 9.30 Tropic flight or a later boat taxi
($10Bz) to San Pedro. You have an
option of Triple J (Rainbow Pier) or the
Water Taxi Association (main pier).
Lunch in San Pedro can be as much
as an event as a meal and then you can
take a quick flight back to Belize City
- pretty well every hour, on the hour, in
the afternoon. We recommend flying
Tropic!
Try it!

aruba Lodge
private legal reprimand.
When The Belize Zoo inquired as to
what the final outcome was, it was in-
dicated that a high-ranking government
official dismissed the charges against
the Maruba Lodge. Justice prevail-
ing? Hardly. Political favour?
The Maruba Lodge continues to dis-
regard the laws of Belize. They show
no respect for the efforts being made
by many here, aimed at conserving, not
degrading this nation's natural re-
sources.
BE PROACTIVE ABOUT THIS
ISSUE
1. Urge anyone you knowwho is con-
sidering visit toBelizetoAVOID The
Maruba Lodge due to their continued ir-
responsible behaviour.
2. Express your concern and opposi-
tiontothe selling of"ViperRum" directly
to Maruba Lodge: maruba@btl.net.
There should be a concerted and uni-
fied effort in Belize to preserve this
country's unique natural resources a
HUGE Thumbs down to The Maruba
Lodge for their low class performance.


Single-12 acre plot in

Ladyville

$120,000K

Call

600-1627


for details


10 acre plots in

Burrel Boom

starting at $50K

Call

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for details


for details








Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel33


by Des Parette
Elections will soon be upon us, which
means we have to decide who we are
going to vote for. Who? Well maybe
"what" we will vote for is more accu-
rate, because traditionally it has only
been a question of Blue or Red, not
which individual we want to represent
us. All two party political systems end
up this way with the individual repre-
sentatives subsuming their identities un-
der their party labels. This destroys the
whole concept of representative gov-
ernment, the very basis for our demo-
cratic republic. Of course some of our
representatives were so bad the only
way they could be elected was to have
a Blue or Red endorsement!
We can't all sit in Belmopan and make
the decisions that affect our nation... al-
though sometimes we wish we could...
so we elect our representatives to do
the job for us. The idea is, when you
have several candidates to choose from,
you see what each of them stands for
and then vote for the one that you think
will do the best ob. Our two party sys-
tem though does not allow this. Usually
all we know is what the Party stands
for, but have no idea about the candi-
date. Sounds ridiculous, but it doesn't
make much difference anyway because
not only are the candidates not permit-
ted to vote according to their con-
science, they are required to vote ac-
cording to the dictates of the party lead-
ers; in fact the law prohibits party mem-
bers from voting against their party!
Can you imagine that?
Political parties are nothing more than
power structures created by vested in-
terests to control the politics of a na-
tion; vested interests meaning the money
and power brokers. The party system
actually destroys our democratic pro-
cesses by taking control away for the
people and concentrating it in the hands
of a few power brokers who then ma-
nipulate the government for their own
benefit. The two party system is the
most destructive "democratic" politically
system of all, because the political lead-
ers are the ones who decide who the
candidates will be... who the public can
vote for. This means that our political
leaders, who are part of or under the
control of the money and power bro-
kers, make sure that the candidates up
for election are properly under their
party control.
The U. S. actually believes that their
government system is the optimum
achievement for political schemes, and
they promote it to every emerging coun-
try as if it will solve all the problems of
the world. But even with the American
built in checks and balances and a great
amount of accountability, which we
Belizeans don't have, corruption in US
politics is obvious and some believe the


American people have long since lost
any and all control over their govern-
ment. Our Belizean system is modeled
after elitist Westminster British law for
the wealthy, so it is not surprising that
the Belizean people have never had con-
trol of their government... and never will
unless some dramatic changes can be
made.
Our political professionals do not want
to change the system because they know
that the Belizean people will eventually
get disgusted with the corruption of the
party in power and at the next election
it will be the other party's turn to sell
passports and public lands, protect their
drug running and car stealing friends,
and generally manipulate the government
assets for their own enrichment. Law-
yers don't want a change either because
the cumbersome court system is very
profitable to the law fraternity, and most
political representatives are practicing
lawyers.
Strangely, we Belizean voters can not
change our Constitution; only these
same lawyers and representatives can.
When the Constitution interferes with
the government pillaging of the public,
the same power broker lackeys in our
legislature have the power to change the
Constitution to aid in their plundering.
Our Constitution is supposed to be the
legal framework, the laws, within which
the legislature must work, but in our
system, instead of the Constitution con-
trolling the legislature, the legislature
controls the Constitution... and the
laws. Effectively then, the political par-
ties, with their control of the legislature,
have taken all control of our govern-
ment away from our people.
The most damaging role of the par-
ties, though, is they are the active con-
duits for corruption. You want a ques-
tionable loan from Social Security or
DFC? The Party makes it happen for
Party supporters. Need the government
to guarantee a bad loan that can never
be repaid? The Party makes it happen
for Party supporters. Need some pro-
tection from the police because you got
caught with a bunch of stolen cars, or
you got drunk and ran into a group of
children coming out of church? The
Party takes care of Party supporters.
Want to buy a printing company or one
of our precious islands or an lucrative ex-
clusive contract for a tourist village or
cruise ship port? Not to worry, the Party
makes it happen for Party supporters.
Electricity, telephone, banking, oil and
other special industry interests know all
they have to do is pay theirbribe money...
ahhhImean political "donations"... tothe
Party bosses and they will get the protec-
tion or special privileges they want. The
power brokers know that Party members
are required by their own laws to vote as
theirParty dictates. To make certain things


go their way, special interests will make
donations to both parties, and no matter
who wins they can't lose. Without the
political Party, the money interests would
have to negotiate with each individual or
independent candidate running, which is
fortunately almost impossible. You can
see how Independents could be a real pain
in the butt if they become common. The
Two Parties, of course, greedily accept
these funds and use them to buy votes and
improve the life style of their leaders.
To completely protect themselves from
any interference or control by the Belizean
voters, who they are supposed to be pro-
tecting, the government passed laws claim-
ing that their Minister's decisions are final
and can not be reviewed, effectively de-
claring that government officials are not
only above the law but even above the
Constitution. Apparently our laws are to
be used so the government can control
the voters, while making sureweBelizeans
have no control over our government.
Most democratic political systems have
provisions for public referendums, which
is a system where the general public can
cause an issue to be placed on a ballot to
be voted on, and if passed by the maj or-
ity of votes cast, will be binding upon the
government. Public referendums give the
general public some control over their
government, so of course this is not an
option for Belizeans. Just imagine how
things would change if we Belizeans could
get referendums on the ballot that are bind-
ing on the government that would require


- in (Continued From Page 4)
during a recent investigation, "We
couldn't just let that money sit there
doing nothing." Doing nothing but en-
suring pensions and benefits for those
depending on social security!
The people hell bent on destroying this
country are able to do so because they
no longer care what people think of
them, do not fear being perceived as
confrontational or insulting. They do not
care if the rest of us find their violence
abhorrent, their activities illegal or im-
moral. Break they law? Why bother,
just change it. Banking regulations and
loan disbursement guidelines? Those are
for the little people, the fools who will
never be rich. Because they are too
afraid of money, of taking risk!
How do you counter these
Kamakaze? How do you stop the sui-
cide bomber as he rampages through a
neighborhood of children after his gang
rival? How do you arrest a man who
heads the national security forces, force
a politician to step down when he still
believes a party leadership title has
made him a king?
Certainly not by letting them bully us.


that 25% of all the oil income would be
used exclusively for education, health care
and job creation? Or that the govern-
ment could not borrow any more money
and must work with a balanced budget?
Or that government officials that are so
stupid as to actually get caught at their
corruption be stripped of the assets and
pensions and serve time inj ail? Well, you
get the idea.
We have almost no hope of the now
fascist-functioning legislature making any
changes that will put our Belizean people
back in control. We can change this by
electing a lot more independent represen-
tatives, thus preventing anyone one Party
from controlling the legislature... and the
Constitution. What we need is good in-
dependent candidates who will publish a
platform telling us what they believe and
will try to do, and then we need to elect
enough of them to break the power block
of our current Two Party choke-hold. If
we can accomplish that, perhaps we can
force a Constitutional convention and re-
move the ability ofthe legislature to change
our Constitution to suittheir plundering de-
sires; enforce annual audit accountability;
place government officials under full con-
trol of the law; introduce the public refer-
endum; and place control of our country
back to where it belongs in the hands of
the Belizean people.
Governments are supposed to exist for
the benefit of the people, but in Belize our
people exist for the benefit of the govern-
ment. This must change.


Allowing them to beat us with the tama-
rind whip and then order us to thank
them for giving us fewer lashes than they
claim another master would have.
Do not believe them when they hint
at "possible" victimization, job losses,
industry collapse, and economic disas-
ter. These things are already happen-
ing, with as much regularity as the neigh-
borhood shootings, shop jackings and
weekly road kill.
The bulls know where the weak
fence dey. How much more national
land can we allow them to trample, how
many more homes can they barge into,
how many children can they steal, how
many men and women have to be gored
and left for dead before we mend our
fences? Stand up in our own defence?
For if we do not do this, now, today,
we will have no boundaries at all to-
morrow.
We will be left with nothing but our
own fears and excuses for why we DID
nothing. And memories of standing on
the sidelines cheering someone else on
who had more courage, more love for
this land, than we could muster. Even
to save ourselves.


Fear Factor








Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel44


Belize top of favorite list.
The German Press Agency reports
that while, right now, Panama is red-
hot, experts see Honduras, Nicaragua
and Belize as the likely next big things
in the foreign-home rush.
"These countries have done a great
job of opening up their second-home
market," said Jeff Hornberger, an ex-
ecutive at the US National Association
of Realtors.
"They see it as an economic devel-
opment tool. Central America has the
natural advantage of closeness and, for
better or worse, historical ties. Little
things make a difference for example,
that Panama 's currency is the US
dollar.
"Latin America is what's booming
right now and it's offering a lifestyle that
people can't afford any more in the
US," Homberger said. "And people are
making money on their property, too."


Cruise ship gridlock!
But one thing Europeans and Ameri-
cans planning to move here might con-
sider first: cruise ship crunch. Normal
traffic jams general clear here within
minutes, but it took a lot longer for the
bus and human gridlock, which resulted
from 5 cruise ships dropping their flot-
sam all on the same day in one huge
heap on Belize City last week, to clear.
The Traffic Department and Citco
need to look into this.
Visitors should be careful they are not
forced by the crush into "no go" areas
of the City when they disembark! Of
course, how safe is the Tourism Village
with metal gates dropping on guests and
sending them to the hospital? So I smell
lawsuit?


Belize City garbage
Anyone planning to buy a house in
Belize better get a trash compactor!
The dump outside Belize City is not
only a 15 foot high eyesore, a health
hazard and a stink pile that makes you
hold your nose as you drive the West-
ern Highway, it is also "out of control".
According for Channel 5, garbage now
fills the entire piece of property to the
point where the security booth will soon


be buried under its own heap of trash.
The road that leads to the back of the
site disappeared long ago and there is
no longer access into the compound.
The garbage has overrun the dump's
entrance, making it a danger to motor-
ists traveling the western highway.
Before you blame the present city
council, just remember that this pile of
rubbish grew to its present hazardous
state under our uncaring old PUP city
council. And, didn't a PUP politician
(recently defeated at the polls have
something to do with the so called
cleaning up of the city's garbage prob-
lem? And have some money allocated
to himself for the project? The PUP
government promised way back to put
into effect a Waste Solid Management
Project that was specifically designed
to address this problem. Where is it?
Buried with the expansion of Lord's
Ridge Cemetery?


Mexico looks ahead.
Mexico's finance minister, Augustin
Carstens, has taken a quick look at
Europe's recent history and decided that
Mexico can progress, within two de-
cades, as fast as Spain and Ireland have
progressed in the past 20 years.
"These are countries that in 20 years
have carried out significant changes in
their productive structure, per-capita
income, in the well-being of the popu-
lation and I believe that Mexico is in a
position to do something similar," he
said.
He is probably right because Mexico
today is booming- left right and center
- and, with investors getting worried
about the US balance of payments,
Mexico is beginning to look like an ex-
cellent financial gamble.


China plans corruption agency
China plans a new corruption agency
after almost 100,000 party members
were disciplined for misconduct last
year. Beijing is on an anti-corruption
drive that has seen a number of senior


Communist Party figures sacked. In
2006, about 97,000 officials were found
guilty ofbribe-taking or breaching finan-
cial rules. The new national anti-corrup-
tion body will have offices in many of
the country's far-flung provinces. It's
often there, far from the eyes of Beijing
, that most of China 's illegal land deals
and bribery take place.
Ironically, it is in our capitol,
Belmopan, that most of our illegal land
deals and bribery occurs!


Nicaragua's reforms.
Just as Belize appears to be moving
away from a true democratic parliamen-
tary system (as it governs by executive
decree) Nicaragua has announced that
its constitution will be reformed this year,
to give way to a parliamentary govern-
ment system, or at least semi-parliamen-
tary. Rafael Solis, vice president of the
Nicaraguan Supreme Court of Justice,
said the legislative commission in charge
of studying the constitutional changes
will be formed after the approval of the
reforms to the General Budget of the
Republic in March or April. He stated
that if a totally parliamentary system is
not approved, at least more faculties
would be granted to the National As-
sembly.
I wonder what our National Assem-
bly and Senate have to say about that?


Impeachment for Bush?
Senator Ted Kennedy has proposed
legislation which, if passed, would have
dire consequences for the Bush admin-
istration if they continue to defy Con-
gress.
According to Kennedy, "In 2002, the
Bush Administration's case for war fo-
cused on Saddam's supposed stock-
piles of weapons of mass destruction
and alleged ties to al Qaeda. In Octo-
ber of the same year Congress autho-
rized a war against the regime of
Saddam Hussein, not to send our
troops into a civil war. I voted against
the resolution and feel an escalation of
this war only compounds the original
mistake of going in the first place."
If Congress votes against the escala-
tion and Bush does as he claims he will
do, which is to defy Congress, then the
resulting "Congressional Crisis" would
force Democrats to put impeachment
back on the table.
Kennedy: "There are many reasons
to impeach George Bush and Dick
Cheney. Chief among them is for 'vio-
lating the United Nations Charter by
launching an illegal 'War of Aggression'
against Iraq without cause, using fraud
to sell the war to Congress and the pub-
lic, misusing government funds to begin
bombing without Congressional autho-
rization, and subjecting our military per-
sonnel to unnecessary harm, debilitat-
ing injuries, and deaths."


Visit




The Belize Zoo




Th es ittleZo

In Th ol







Friday, February 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155


PNP a


ounces "A New Path for Belize"


Belizeans gathered from Toledo and all over the country for the launch of the People's National Party in San Antonio Village on Saturday, Feb 17.


-i (Continued From Page 1)
Representative and founder of the
People's National Party. Maheia
continues, "We must all come together
and support honest leadership. The
PNP pledges to break down the cul-
ture of corruption that has plagued our
country for too long and build a new
path for Belize."
"We are determined to get into gov-
ernment so that government can fo-
cus on the things that make our jobs
better, our families more secure and
our communities more prosperous,"
said Dionicio Choc. "We want
people in positions of power that work
for working people."
The People's National Party will
take positive action to tackle the is-
sues that most Belizeans care about
like:
Combating corruption in the
highest levels of government through
actions like campaign finance reform
and public oversight of major con-
tracts with GOB as well as revamp-
ing the Public Utilities Commission;
also, decentralizing decision-making
to put more power in the hands of the
Belizean people by giving more au-
thority to local government and by es-
tablishing a system of referendum;
Promoting job creation
through development of Belize's tour-
ism and agricultural industries and
promoting sustainable development by
attracting investors who care about
Belize and its people,
Supporting Belizean busi-
nesses by promoting entrepreneur-
ship, skills training and fairness in bid-
ding for government contracts;
Designing a new energy plan
for Belize that puts the needs of people
before the profits of the share hold-
ers and stops the growing debt in en-
ergy production;
Improving our schools from
early childhood education through high
school and making education free and


available for all;
Making healthcare affordable
and available to all Belizeans;
"Every citizen of this country should
be guaranteed that his representative
in government is looking out for his
interests as much as that of any
CEO," said Dionicio Choc. "It has
become abundantly clear that our cur-
rent government leaders have no core
values. It is all about staying in power
and filling their pockets."
Wil Maheia has been a leader in
Belize in fighting for innovative
projects to build Belize in a respon-
sible manner. Maheia added: "Our
vision for economic development is
to boost Belize's appeal as an ideal
destination for tourism and busi-
nesses while preserving our natural
resources." Maheia continued,
"This requires comprehensive, long-
term planning with business partners
who care about the people of
Belize."
"The People's National Party
started out as a grass roots effort,
just friends and neighbors talking,
and it is a great example of how a
small group of people can really
make a difference," said Dionicio
Choc.
"One of the fundamental questions
of this election is what kind of lead-
ership do Belizeans want?" said Wil
Maheia. "Belize is at a crossroads
in this election, do we demand an
open and honest government or do
we allow a few to rule behind
closed doors?"
"We have a moral obligation to
ensure the integrity of our country.
We will not allow more scandals
like the BTL scandal, the Social
Security scandal, the ill-advised
selling of the government printer.
We cannot let another election go
by that leaves this corrupt govern-
ment in power. Enough is enough!"
declares Maheia.


CoeAJ lpag


Marlon Castillo and team sponsor Santino Castillo are all smiles after Marlon won his
second consecutive M&M Tour de Belize.


Greg Lovell won 4 stages of this year's M&M Tour de Belize, including the final stage.





































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