Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00014
 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: March 9, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00014
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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The testimony of Mr. Troy Gabb,
Former CEO of the Development Fi-
nance Corporation (D.F.C.) com-
menced Monday, March 5, 2007 in the
D.F.C. Commission hearing at the
B.I.M. Building in Belize City. His
former boss, Glen Godfrey is expected
to take the oath later today and is ex-
pected to be accompanied by legal
counsel as were Gabb and David
Courtenay before him. The majority of
witnesses, mostly employees and
former employees, did not have the
added security or luxury of having legal
counsel to provide aid & comfort.
The hearing was aired live on at least
three radio stations as public interest is
quite high, supremely so. But we can
expect no explosive testimony as the



Former D.EC. CEO Troy Gabb testifies before the Commission of Inquiry.



TestF i fies

witnesses today will be guided by legal
counsel and there is nothing to suggest
that Mr. Godfrey will be pointing to
where the bodies are buried, despite his
earlier public overtures to elements of
the other mass party, the UDP
While there has been constant ref-
erence to DFC legal advisor Gian
Ghandi, there is no indication or tes-
timony that he Ghandi directly partici-
pated in the fleecing of D.F.C. He sim-
ply gave legal advice, some of which
were taken while others were not. Mr.
Ghandi has served in various capaci-
ties in both the Musa & Esquivel gov-
ernment with seamless transitions.
Whether Queen's Council Gian
Ghandi will be called to testify remains
to be seen.

I fizzles

B.T.L. provision of Internet Service
was abruptly interrupted on Monday,
March 5, 2007 and when available it
has been spotty.
The Union had issued an ultimatum
three days earlier warning that mid-
day on Monday would be the dead-
line for reemployment of all four B.T.L.
employees terminated earlier, or else.
As INdependent Weekly goes to
press on Monday, we are monitoring
the situation with the other services
B.T.L. provides.
Many are claiming that Lord
Michael Ashcroft is calling the shots
at B.T.L. and has decided to flex his
muscle again by firing chief Union
Negotiator Christine Perriott, in the
middle of negotiations.
It will be recalled that whilst the
Honorable Chief Justice had numer-
ous rulings ignored by Ashcroft-con-
trolled B.T.L., that company has sim-
ply refused to comply with the rulings,
leading to much speculation from the
callers to the morning call shows that
this company is above the law.
The legally recognized chairman
(from a ruling by the Hon. Chief Jus-
tice himself), Jeffrey Prosser, has been
trying every avenue to take back

B.C. W.U. leader Paul Perriot calls for a
show of hands to support the union's
position after BTL dismissed his wife,
Christine Perriot last Tuesday.
what is legally his; but the Lord, with
Musa's obvious blessing, has muscled
Prosser out, literally.
Prosser's recent efforts may have
triggered apparent suspicion in the
Ashcroft camp that the Telecommu-
nication Union leadership has been
coluding with Prosser. Musa has to
be worried about Prosser because
Prosser's legal team has stated in a
Florida mediation court that monies
were paid out to Musa in excess of
what government claims. The Musa

government has been adamantly tell-
ing the people that all they got from
Prosser was a promissory note.
We have previously opined in this
paper that the Lord is indeed the ma-
jor force that wields tremendous in-
fluence over the executive and legis-
lative branches of Government. Un-
due influence.
Therefore, Mrs. Perriott's extraju-
dicial termination is simply another
manifestation of a highly compromised
Musa government crippled by its love
for money, at the expense of the rule
of law. Mrs. Perriott has become the
victim of political enrichment policy at
B.T.L., a policy engineered by the
Musa regime and apparently executed
flawlessly and ironically by the former
head of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Let's not forget B.T.L. has engaged
in a massive money laundering scheme
as documented in their 2005 annual
report to shareholders.
The only solution lies in the Prime
Minister's hands. He had better talk
some sense into the Lord's head or head
back to Whitehall to give him another
tongue lashing. Let us see how much he
loves this good country and its laws that
have been so good to him.

Inside this Issue

The Independent &
Alternative Parties
pg 3

Buds-get Reading

Tourism Minister
ignoring PG

Jaguar Express
pg. 15

N J Ll

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2

Edtoia Dieco


!]I fEX e ditor TT

Karla Heousn ero

GtSt pt meneral' Manager J




Dear Editor,
I noticed during the past town
board elections the propensity of
politicians and political hopefuls to
don 'shades', the black opaque
type or, my favourite, the reflective
type, while campaigning.
The ever stylish shade is being
worn for more than just protection
from the sun. They are most useful
when you have something to hide,
like those stoned red eyes, or if you
want to avoid eye contact. They
can help you 'look cool', or they
can provide you some anonymity.
But what does it do for politicians
and those hopefuls? It leaves them
looking shady. Why can't politi-
cians, bureaucrats and other offi-
cials meet the public or press with-
out their eyes being covered? What
are you afraid of? Getting a little
sun in your eyes? Can't take the
limelight? Afraid of being recog-
nized? Afraid people will see your
shifty eyes? Or that people may
catch a look in your eyes and see
the 'real' truth? That people will
see you for who you really are?
That you are trying to hide some-
thing? As politicians shouldn't you
want to connect with people?
Show them they can trust you?
One of the most important things
you can do when looking for sup-
port from people is to look them in
the eyes when speaking to them,
make eye contact when talking to
a crowd. Connect with people us-
ing the sincerity and honesty that
comes from your eyes....unless you
don't have either of those qualities,
and in that case keep the shades on!
With elections once again loom-

Sherry Gibbs
San Ignacio

ing upon us political hopefuls will be
coming out in droves wanting to
meet us, talk to us, and to ask us
for our vote. And all the time they
will be decked out in some faux de-
signer pair of opaque shades, while
spewing about 'their vision', the
'clarity' of issues, and where they
'see' the country going. Maybe
they should try taking off their
shades to get a good look of what
is really going on. And we could
then get a good look at them.
My first impression upon picking
up the Feb 23 edition of The
INdependent was "who is this guy?
He looks like a thug!" Then I read
he is the PNPs party leader, I
thought, "I can't trust someone who
doesn't have the decency to re-
move his shades while meeting with
the public, how rude!"
And then I thought he looks like
so many other guys with shades on.
Maybe this is all being done on pur-
pose. Maybe they really don't
want you to know who they are so
if they lose, with the shades off they
don't have to hang their heads from
a loss; but if they win, with the
shades off they won't look like the
person you voted for, thereby let-
ting them get away with what ever
they want.
I challenge all those planning on
running in the next election to ex-
pose themselves to us, the elector-
ate. Let us look you in the eyes as
you ask us for our vote. No shades,
It is "Under the shade we flour-
i'h", not "Using shades we flour-
i'h", so step out of the sun if you
can't take the heat.

P.O. Box 2(666
Bclic Ciit. Beli/c
Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as little as
BZ30(00 ()( IS$30.00 international)

1 1 '11. I P I


t-SIii. W.

I m -iii tilit

ESTAP deaf?!?
Dear Editor,
As I read more and more articles
on the Toledo Eco-Park, I am tempted
to write something I know about the
concept. The eco-park plan consists
of the ecotourism development and
conservation of forests, caves, Mayan
temples, waterfalls, sink holes and the
(Maya and Garifuna) people along
with their traditions and culture.
I can recall that in 1995-2003 TEA,
PGCC and community leaders be-
came very active and were enthusi-
astic to begin the implementation of
the eco-park plan. But unfortunately,
ESTAP never listened, nor even
helped promote this concept of a
In 2003 a Memorandum of Under-
standing was signed by TIDE, PGCC,
TEA, Peace Corps, TDC, Alcades
Association, Village Council Associa-
tion. These major organizations and
important personnel signed because
they believed that the eco-park plan
is ready and worth a trial. During the
last five years the TEA executive
board was dormant, but now we have
new officers that are eager to revive
and disseminate more information
concerning the Eco-Park.
As a Mayan from Toledo, it hurts
me a lot to read reports from surveys
conducted in Toledo which reveals
that 1 out of 10 children is classified
as suffering from mal-nutrition. Now
after every workshop and meetings I
attended, it is very clear to me that
there are many financial support to
fund viable projects. My question is
"Why permanently keep Toledo in
poverty?" It is time to make a change.
We suggest that the Government of
Belize, NGO's and funding agencies
(Please Turn To Page 15) E r

E-1 Lill lll E-1

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

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


By: RavAuxillou
The new trend in the INDEPEN-
DENT newspaper is encouraging. That
they are serious about trying to achieve
political reform I find beneficial for the
future direction of Belize as a strong in-
dependent nation. The stronger the
debate, the more successful the even-
tual results.
Since this is an election year and
events to the next general election are
rushing at us faster than water pouring
over Clarissa Falls, I think the Indepen-
dent newspaper should be lending or-
ganizational advice to the new budding
political parties attempting to overthrow
the entrenched two party system. How-
ever it works out, such furor and de-
bate can only be for the betterment of
the country down the line.
The entrenched two parties are al-
ready polluted by natural "greed and
self interest" from elected representa-
tives. It should be kept in mind by the
Independent Newspaper that any third

By: Des Parrette
WOW! We have a whole litter of
new alphabet clubs willing to stand up
and challenge the deeply ingrained Blue
and Red Party fascism, and although we
have to admire the courage displayed,
and their lofty goals, no one seems to
have any real plans to get the jobs done.
It's sort of like a group shipwrecked
on an isolated island trying to elect a
king, with all the candidates promising
to rescue them. How? Well, don't
know yet, but elect me king and then I
will figure it out. Sorry, but that boat
won't float.
The People's National Party (PNP)
promises accountability in courts and
government, and accountability is a key
issue. Within 100 days PNP says it will
collect all the monies stolen from the
People. Now wouldn't that be some-
thing? And the first thing they are going
to do is clean up corruption. Holy Grou-
per! They are also going to make it
easier for children to go to school, and
focus on people needing jobs. Lofty
and desperately needed goals, but Will
Maheia, having shown some good
leadership qualities over the years, may
eventually devise the way to a rescue.
Vision Inspired by the People (VIP)
has a full, detailed and reasonable plat-
form published. VIP doesn't really have
a plan of action but they want to reduce
corruption by adopting good adminis-
trative procedures and legal safeguards,
elect honest and competent represen-
tatives; take some of the power away
from the cabinet and give it to the legis-
lature and courts; strengthen the Gov-
ernor General's Office; establish the
public referendum; institute campaign

parties will also become quickly pol-
luted should they achieve elected office.
It is only human nature at work! It is
very important that new third parties
have their philosophies and political re-
form manifestos printed in the newspa-
per for the public at large to debate and
decide to whom they will vote. Most
effective to my mind, is that besides
political reform promises, time limit of
120 days to achieve those reforms, if
they get a landslide majority should be
The PUP did something like this nine
years ago and then disappointed us all
with sham charades of cosmetic reforms.
The Referendum Act comes to mind.
The Senate Reform is another disap-
pointment as examples.
The new third parties should print and
spell out in detail what they intend to
reform and when, with a time limit, if
elected to office. Without these things,
I would vote for the old guard. Better
the devil you know, than one you don't.

is but N

reforms; and generally build a bigger bu-
reaucracy. This party has some good
ideas... at least on paper... but there
doesn't seem to be clearly defined lead-
ership. Paul Morgan carried the flag
for the Mayor's race in Belmopan, but
I have yet to see that We The People
(WTP) has any real plan of action... but
they are the only party that has proposed
the Senate be an elected body. This is
probably the most important innovation
on any platform right now. Whois their
leader right now? Is Francis Gegg still
involved, or is the party lead by
Hippolito Bautista? Enquring voters
want to know....
Cornelius Dueck's National Reform
Party (NRP) has a full slate of candi-
dates and a few good goals, but like
the rest of the parties it has no plan of
attack. NRP is going to eliminate cor-
ruption (join the crowd), crime and
poverty; and they promise better
schools and hospitals. They don't know
how they are going to do it though. I
am concerned however by the state-
ment of their leader, "If Christians ran
Belize there would be no corruption."
By the Prophet's Beard and Buddha's
Belly! Christianity has the bloodiest
history ever, filled with murder, corrup-
tion, treachery... you name it. And
which Christianity are you talking about?
It seems there was also a Green Party
wandering around PG for awhile, but it
seems almost invisible already. That's
a real shame because Belize has some
serious environmental issues that need
So what do we have? Well for one
thing we have a lot of voters who are

Teaching them how to conduct a vot-
ing campaign and funding same are two
different things. No sense having some-
body run for the party who can't pay
bus fare to party meetings. Most WTP
runners in the last election couldn't even
pay their own $200 entry fee into the
political arena. It is not unusual to see
new elected representatives get swell
headed and unable to handle the au-
thority given to them by the voters.
Government by committee is not al-
ways effective either and budget posi-
tions, formulas for paying for national
development are subjects that new as-
pirants in new parties are going to have
to have workshops and study groups
quickly, to bring third parties up to speed
in time for the new election.
There is the matter of party and vot-
ing organization, with party block cap-
tains, getting out the vote chapters or-
ganized and making voting lists, moni-
tors of new names being added to the
roles as well as ballot box supervision

during the election. Certainly each new
aspirant of any third party should know
his electoral division voters intimately
and it is too late to start a few months
from now. It must be started right now
to be effective.
Good coverage by the Independent
which claims to be a rebel political re-
form newspaper can do much to help
these newbies get organized in this po-
litical contest. Reporting on individuals
aspiring for office and how prepared
they are would stimulate activity from
all parties.
Time is indeed running out very fast
and these third parties need encourage-
ment and assistance in organizational
political campaign skills from now. It is
not enough to throw the pirates out of
office, you don't want to end up with a
new set of on the job political trainees
learning the ropes as they go along,
especially once the power of ministe-
rial discretion takes hold.

O Substance

fed up and disgusted with the corrup- Enough voters in fact, that if you put
tion and incompetence in government. (Please Turn To Page 13) U ,

A > 1 ^ \b __ JCK



10th annual


to be held at the

BLISS Performing Arts

6;00 p.m. on Sunday April 1, 2007

TICKETS; Adults $20 Child $15

Phone: 225-3064 or available at door

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4

Buds-get reading 2007

By: Karla Heusner Vernon
I am stretched out in the hammock
listening to the reading of the budget at
the House on the radio. No longer con-
fined to the prim and proper behavior
of the press box, I can suck my teeth,
even shout at the speakers (on the con-
sole, not in the National Assembly) like
the rest of the Belizean public.
Somehow the whole thing seems so
utterly divorced from the reality real
Belizeans face. The presentation is so
dull, I feel rather sleepy....
Madam Speaker I rise this morning
to present what the Buddies-get for
2007-2008. Unfortunately the Prime
Minister could not be here due to ah,

er, illness. Yes, I have the doctor paper
right here, signed by the CEO, I mean
a doctor.."
"Thank you, Minister of Money-we
do appreciate your standing in for the
leader of the nation this morning and we
wish him a speedy recovery."
"Madam Speaker, I wish I had good
news to share with this good country.
But I do not. Basically Belize is broke
and this exercise isjust that, exercise. I
have lost a good five pounds carrying
these books and receipts around with

me to the various Ministries trying to get
some accounting of how they spent the
money we did not give them last year,
although they submitted detailed plans
of proposals of the various projects and
wage bills. The truth is simply we did
not have the money we allocated for
them because it had to be spent on in-
ternational debt servicing, related fees
and commissions and expense accounts,

vehicles for the ministers and their driv-
"But enough of the pleasantries. It
says here that the Consumer Price In-
dex rose by 4.3% and that all major
commodity groups were affected espe-
cially Transport, Communications, Rent,
Water, Fuel and Power. Madam
Speaker, I admit this figure is slightly
understated. It is probably more like a
43%, particularly for fuel. Bu we in gov-
ernment believe the consumers have
brought this on themselves due to their

mismanagement of their salaries and
savings. And sheer laziness. Sorry to be
so blunt.
"Why can't Belizeans take a couple
of hours off each month to go to Mi-
ami, Panama, or Montevideo, or even
Chetumal? They too could save on gro-
ceries and access duty free gas like
those of us in government. Why do they
insist on having flush toilets when out-

houses, even canals, were good enough
for their grandparents and still are for
thousands of people in the rural areas?
"It is this avaricious imitation of US
lifestyles they see on television that is
driving up the consumer index, Madam
"Would you pay $9.35 a gallon for
premium fuel for an old gas hog some
relative sent you from the States because
they are trying to get rid of it? Of course
not, you would do the sensible thing like
we all do and sign a voucher for diesel
and change your SUV every two years
to keep it current and from being dam-
aged by all those potholes being im-
posed on the Ministry of Works by all
these trashy old cars!
Government is working so hard to try
and make a better life for our friends
and family, to acquire as much land and
property as we can during this, our last
term in office, but we are continually
being asked for handouts to pay for
luxuries like water, electricity, school
books! Belizeans were historically a
humble people, Madam Speaker, but
now they want us Area Reps to pay for
(Please Turn To Page 13) l*W

Basically Belize is broke and this
exercise is just that, exercise.

, "Buay! He mi tink dot he da I)onald Trump! Now 2008,
dey kicka eena e rump!"


Z7 t=-

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS: whl we must take stick

By: Trevor Vernon

A Psychology professor of mine told
me almost any discussion of race pro-
duces an "emotional trigger" in the au-
dience. These emotional triggers are
universal, affecting most people to some
degree or another, no matter where they
were born and raised, no matter what
colors) their parents are, or their own
perception of their own skin color.
Too many of us allow others to drop
phrases, turning our world upside down.
We simply flip when they pull our trig-
gers, cast aspersions on our class, our
color, our children's complexions, the
texture and color of our hair...
The theory is, if you know what your
triggers are and can control your reac-
tion when someone tries to control you
this way, you can better control your
life, your destiny, your everything. In
other words, knowing yourself is an in-
dispensable defense whenever you are
under attack, in any setting, including the
political arena. Correction: Especially in
the political arena.
Our leaders, both political and cul-
tural, have gotten very good at making
people feel bad about things their par-
ents, grandparents, even ancient ances-
tors, did or decisions they made in
some other time. Their ability to draw
on an arsenal of collective feelings of
guilt or inadequacy has given them a big
negotiating advantage. Be aware of that.
Don't let them rent space in your head.
Recently we have been hearing a lot
of people saying they are being discrimi-
nated against because of their color.
People call the radio stations and relate
how they were at a certain restaurant,
or shop or hotel and they felt they were
treated like second class citizens. They
believe tourists, or even Central Ameri-
can immigrants have more privileges
than Creole, BlackBelizeans do in their
own country.
Ironically, often the incidents occur in
restaurants and other public places
where young migrant girls (who barely
speak the Queen's English) work as
waitresses and/or shop assistants. This
too is a super-sensitive issue between
the groups of non-Spanish speaking
Belizeans and non-English speaking

migrants who now just happen to have
gotten a passport and voters card. Elec-
tions are fast approaching and the rul-
ing politicians are alleged to be regis-
tering aliens left, right, and center. Huge
powder keg. Beware.
Some of these incidents are unfortu-
nate and probably more frequent that
we care to admit. There are many inse-
cure, racist people in this world. But I
suggest to you perhaps Belize has not
really changed for the worse, that his-
torically, "race issues" typically get most
inflamed WHENEVER and WHER-
EVER economic stagflation becomes
the order of the day and the side effect
of elections looming large.
Life in Belize today has become a
major economic nightmare with sky-
high prices on consumer goods and
basic food stuffs, consumption taxes
(10% GST) on the poor-- fuels
(100%), utilities, runaway inflation,
coupled with a mounting external debt
brought on by unspeakable and despi-
cable acts of blatant and shameless rap-
ing of the nations assets by the political
People, of all colors, are suffering.
Badly. Worse of all, they feel helpless
to change their own situation, feel vic-
timized by "the powers that be." Vic-
timized-just as their ancestors were
victimized- by those other "powers
that were" way back when.
We must be careful and responsible
enough not to allow the economic deg-
radation of our country by the political
establishment to push us into the realm
of raw racial insensitivities, of uncon-
trolled emotions getting the better of our
logic and reason. Of people getting so
incensed by perceived slights and insults
that they begin to react with mindless
violence and with hate... like they tend
to do in T&T and Guyana, for example.
Because this is precisely the reaction
the politicians crave. Remember, most
of them are cold, callous creatures that
will most certainly push this country to
the point of no retum just to protect their
ill-gotten gains and their dubious politi-
cal power. We CANNOT allow this to
happen. We must learn the lessons of
history to ensure that we keep the po-
litical directorate in check to preserve
our once tranquil haven of
democracy... as well as to ensure the
maintenance of the stable race relations
and diversity that we all prize so much.
Each of us must look inward and
identify our emotional triggers. We must
acknowledge that certain issues, even
words, not only make us uncomfortable,
they make us angry. That we might say

and do hurtful things, in response to
someone throwing words at us or im-
plying we are less important than an-
other group or individual.
If we are able to honestly say to our-
selves: these are the things I will not al-
low anyone to try and bait me with, to
distract me from the REAL problems
of the day, we will not only sleep better,
but be better Belizeans.
You simply cannot pre-judge
people, expect them to present them-
selves in a certain way all the time,
and spend your entire life waiting for
the boot to drop. If you do this, you
will never hear what that person re-
ally has to say because you may be
so obsessed with the expectation of
an emotional trigger you may well miss
the beauty of a perfectly normal in-
teraction with people who don't look
exactly like you do, or speak exactly
like you, or share a same cultural
value, but who have values that may

not be so different from yours.
This race issue is a big emotional
trigger and a great many people, be-
cause they can't handle it rationally,
get turned off by any discussion of it
or go to the radical extreme of play-
ing it up... I believe we need to cel-
ebrate the diversity that is Belize while
at the same time rationally and con-
sciously identifying and controlling our
emotional triggers, specifically as they
relate to race. We need to focus on
what has REALLY gone wrong in this
country and fix it, instead of allowing
ourselves to be sidetracked, or set on
each other like wild animals for some-
one else's political or financial gain.
We have the greater responsibility
to guard against this because we have
the greater vision for a better Belize.
We obviously care, about Belize and
each other. If we didn't, we would
have given up and left already.

Mf-AM SUS.TolFre 80-2-33

The operations of the United Nations agencies resident in
Belize (PAHO/WHO, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF, which are
all organized in the United Nations Country Team) are guided
by the Belize United Nations Development Assistance Frame-
work 2007 2011 (http://www.undg.org/content.cfm?id=331)
and cover the following thematic areas: Human Rights and Mil-
lennium Development Goals, Governance & Decentralization,
Education, Child Protection, Health Systems & Services, Sexual
& Reproductive Health, HIV and AIDS, Adolescent Mobiliza-
tion and Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable
Natural Resources Management, Social Communication and
Results-oriented Monitoring and Evaluation.
The UNCT wishes to establish a joint database for a more
efficient and harmonized process of recruiting national con-
sultants for the agencies' programmes and projects in the above-
mentioned thematic areas. The UNCT therefore is now inviting
experienced and skilled national consultants, individuals as well
as legally established firms, to submit the necessary informa-
tion to be included in this database. Consultant firms are re-
quested to submit the profile of each individual member of
staff. The provided information should contain the following
information fields: a) an up-to-date CV containing name, mail-
ing address, telephone & email, legal status, education qualifi-
cations and relevant work experience; b) thematic areas) of
expertise, and; c) a listing of consultancy services & products,
delivered over the past 4 years.
Information should be forwarded electronically to UNDP
Belize at undp.bze(@btl.net

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6

Rich Nations prodded


By: Emad Mckay
Industrialised countries that knowingly
lent billions of dollars in "irresponsible"
debts to corrupt and dictatorial regimes
in poor nations should cancel the debts
and reconsider their harmful policies, a
new study says.
The study by international anti-debt
campaigners argues that some debts
owed by developing countries should
not be paid at all.
"This is because creditors bear a large
part of the responsibility for having ex-
tended loans irresponsibly and negli-
gently, says the study, "Skeletons in
the Cupboard -Illegitimate Debt Claims
of the G7".
The report says that the Group of
Seven (G7) most industrialized nations
- Canada, France, Germany, Japan,
Italy, Britain and the United States -
lent money to regimes they knew to be
corrupt or repressive in order to buy
political allegiance.
The non-governmental organizations
behind the report contend that the G7's
newfound emphasis on corruption,
good governance and transparency
lacks seriousness since those nations still
refuse to apply the same principles to
their previous economic practices.
"Creditors need to be held account-
able for the bad decisions they have
made and share responsibility for mis-
takes," said Gail Hurley, of the interna-
tional debt think tank EURODAD.
"It is not acceptable for the G7 to
preach good governance to developing
nations while at the same time collect-
ing debts that were corruptly made,"
Hurley said.
She was referring to politicians in
industrialized nations who have recently
put fighting graft high on their agendas,
saying they want to make sure that tax-
payers' money is well-spent and not
wasted by corrupt elites.
Other groups behind the report in-
clude the Italian group CRBM,
Erlassj ahr in Germany, PARC from Ja-
pan, Plate-forme Dette et
Developpement from France, the Jubi-
lee Debt Campaign in Britain, Jubilee
USA and Probe International in
Some of these loans, the report says,
were designed to help rich country com-
panies do business abroad and in many
of these cases loans were provided at
excessive interest rates.
"Development was never their origi-
nal purpose," says the report.
The study highlighted cases ofunnec-
essary goods or services being sold,
blatant overcharging, the sale of military
hardware or weapons to authoritarian
regimes which were widely known to

be corrupt or to abuse human rights, ex-
tortionate interest rates and proj ects with
huge negative social and environmental
For example, the report cites the
case of Germany selling warships to
Indonesia during the Suharto regime
despite concerns over how the ves-
sels would be misused in internal con-
Japan also supported the develop-
ment of an aluminum project in Indo-
nesia designed to serve the interests
of Japan's aluminum exporters and
which did not benefit Indonesians, the
report says.
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
built by former dictator Ferdinand
Marcos, who ruled the Philippines
between 1965 and 1986, was fi-
nanced by The Export-Import Bank
(EXIM), the U.S, government's ex-
port credit agency, which provided
loans and guarantees totaling 900 mil-
lion dollars for the project.
The Filipino people continue to pay
this debt and are projected to con-
tinue to do so until 2018, even though
they have never received even a single
watt of energy from the
project, which ended up costing more
than 2.3 billion dollars.
Italy sold three hydroelectric tur-
bines to Ecuador when only two were
needed, and despite evidence that the
hydropower plant was unviable and
had destroyed the local
environment and communities.
The calls by the campaigners to deal
with such debts are not without pre-
In October, Norway decided to

cancel 80 million dollars in debt owed
by Ecuador, Egypt, Jamaica, Peru
and Sierra Leone after it determined
that the loans were not granted in a
good faith effort to promote develop-
Anti-debt campaigners want
Norway's decision to serve as a
model for other wealthy creditors to
follow in order to ease the global debt
crisis that has squeezed many devel-
oping nations.
The report recommended that G7
countries open official and impartial
audits of illegitimate debt and that the
enquiry's recommendations be pub-
lic, involve debtor nations fully and
"lead to the cancellation of debts
found to be odious or illegitimate. "
The International Monetary Fund
estimates that total public external
debt for the 54 lowest-income coun-

ILT I ?T- -A -

tries, which Gross National Income
per capital of less than 860 dollars a
year, stands at some 460 billion dol-
These countries include Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Kenya, Senegal, Ethio-
pia, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Gambia,
Nepal, Vietnam, Ghana, Niger,
Yemen, Nigeria and Zambia.
"Debts which are found to be cor-
rupt, fraudulent and illegitimate must
be cancelled and responsibility shared
between the two parties," Hurley
Rich nations, especially in the pow-
erful group of bilateral creditors
known as the Paris Club, and through
multilateral lenders like the World
Bank and the IMF, have long denied
promoting illegitimate debt to corrupt
governments or failed policies in de-
veloping countries.


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The Belize Zoo

rslUllegiotiommiateg Lewu

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

By: Meb Cutlack
As we head into the next General
Elections and the flurry of promises that
lie ahead, we might want to revisit one
promise that turned into what may be
the biggest swindle of the PUP admin-
The full story ofthe Mahogany Heights
housing fiasco illustrates perfectly the
perfidy, the corruption and the greed of
the PUP. It also contains, within it, the
evidence that could pull both Mr. Musa
and Mr. Fonseca from their perches on
high and dash them down to face the
legal consequences of their misdeeds.
The land chosen for what was touted
as the "satellite city" was first surveyed
in the 1950's by the Belizean City Plan-
ner and surveyor, Henry Fairweather,
as a possible site for the new capital of
Belize. He rejected the location as un-
suitable and warned that the land lay in
a giant basin "lower' than the Belize
River passing to the west and that
therefore it would always present a
drainage problem.
Initially Premier George Price re-
jected this advice and intended to pro-
ceed with the project at La Democracia.
It was only after British surveyors and
engineers (Britain was funding the
project) agreed with Mr. Fairweather
on the unsuitability of the site, that was
Belmopan chosen.
Now, all this information was avail-
able when the PUP announced as elec-
tion gimic in 1998 their grand 10,000
new home housing scheme. Afriend and
close associate of the PUP hierarchy,
Lebanese businessman Abdul Hamze,
stepped in and 'bought' the land via
government for around $1,000,000. He
borrowed the million from Taiwanese
entrepreneur Johnny Kuo.
According to a recent article in the
Amandala, Kuo was to get back his
money after the land was resold. "The
balance of $7.5 million was to be split
50-50 between the two of them." That
brings the new value of the land to
$9,500,00 (plus or minus)bringing
Hamze's profit to an amazing
$7,000,000, which he was duly paid by
This payment did not, of course, take
into account the 50/50 split with Johnny
Kuo and neither did Hamze.
Something went wrong at this point -
for Hamze and the Musa/Fonseca Gov-
ernment. Johnny Kuo still had title to
the land! The PUP Government, with
all its resources, had not bothered to
see if Hamze actually owned it! Nor,
inexplicably, did they appear to care.
Here Amandala picks up the story
again: "Even though, according to
Elrington (Johnny Kuo's lawyer) GOB
has deposited $2.5 million at the Reg-
istry, Kuo will not touch it because he

togany n
will now go to the Court of Appeal to its eco-tourism projects that are com-
get the $3.5 million portion of the $7 patible with those traditional roles.
million GOB paid to Hamze. In fact, his Twenty-four young women, for ex-
argument will be that the Government ample, have benefited from Janus culi-
paid the wrong person, and it must now nary arts program to the extent of op-
pay Kuo his portion." rating baking businesses from their
Oh, what a tangled web we weave homes."
when we practice to deceive because Well, Janus (before their web of re-
not only was the land not in Hamze's spectability was swept aside and their
name but there had not been a 'legally boss was chased out of the country as
required' subdivision done either. The an alleged molester of young girls) in-
government, in their hurry to announced produced Mr. Musa'a government to the
their bonanza housing proj ect, based German building firm in El Salvador.
everything on a hurriedly carried out land This brought Janus a considerable fi-
survey. nancial commission from the German
The plot thickens. According to firm and it also brought in a huge amount
Amandala, Kuo's US$1 million contract of duty free equipment and hundreds of
for the land purchase was reportedly Salvadoran laborers at considerable
lodged at the Musa and Balderamos law cost to the Belizean taxpayer.
firm the Prime Minister's law firm All that was missing now were the
while a second agreement, described as houses and the money to buy them.
a 'mortgage', was lodged at Barrow and The houses were found and bought, at
Williams law firm, the firm of Opposi- great expense, in unassembled nock-
tion Leader Hon. Dean Barrow. together plywood units from a housing
(Hmmm...) company in Miami. The funds, the many
But getting the land was only part of millions of dollars to put the whole equa-
the plan. To have the housing proj ect, tion together, was located at Mr. Musa
the government also needed a building and Mr. Fonseca's usual milk cow -
firm and houses! the DFC.
About this time a German backed Buthereistherub: GlennGodfreywas
housing company was going broke over the nominal operating boss of the DFC
a project they had undertaken in El at the time and he did not like either the
Savador. Mr. Musa'a government was type of houses being imported or the
introduced to them by a group called "contract" signed (and the money to be
Janus Foundation, then based near paid by the DFC) to another Miami firm
Georgeville on the Mountain Pine Ridge to assemble the bits of houses.
road. He refused to sign off on the deal and,
Janus was an NGO of sorts which presumably has, to this day, in his pos-
raised money in Europe by presenting session a signed order from the Mr.
Belize to the world as a half starved Musa/MrFonseca duo instructing him
backward country in need of help. They to go ahead despite his doubts.
wrote in their propaganda: "In Belize, He was right, by the way. The sec-
as in many developing countries ond housing company took their money
... women are typically confined to do- and promptly declared bankruptcy! The
mestic activities and have few opportu- questions to be asked of Mr. Godfrey,
cities for supplementing their families' Mr. Fonseca, and Mr. Musa if, and
income." when, the DFC Commission continues
They added: "Janus has initially is; 'Just how much money was spent
brought women into those segments of on the entire Mahogany Heights fiasco?'


To this day there has not been a single
legal title issued to home owners at
Mahogany Heights and not even a shred
of paper published to account for the
untold millions of taxpayers money
'wasted' on this 'crony' deal.
The $9,500,000 is only the tip of the
Mahogany Heights iceberg (or should
we say Titanic?) for over $140 million
was estimated as having been wasted
on the project and other housing
'schemes' which included moving a lot
ofthese crap houses elsewhere in Belize,
including San Pedro.
Here too, according to San Pedro
sources, Mr. Godfrey again registered
his disagreement with the whole project
especially the so-called 'houses'. For
many years the unassembled structures
rotted in an enclosed fenced-in prop-
erty in unsightly piles at Mile 30 near
the Belize Zoo. Others can be seen to-
day 'assembled' in unattractive disre-
pair in both Mahogany Heights and San
Lawyer Elrington told Amandala re-
cently that Hamze has fled to Leba-
non with the money, while his client,
Kuo, has not gotten any of the pro-
ceeds of the $7 million Government
had paid Hamze for the Mahogany
Heights land.
The question remains, was money
handed over by Mr. Hamze for the PUP
election 'victory'? Again, only Mr Musa
and Mr. Fonseca (and Mr. Hamze)
possibly know the answer to this ques-
We also haven't heard the last of 'Ja-
nus' because one oftheir former bosses,
who is now facing charges of child rape
in Germany, is one of the principal back-
ers of a new project "Belize Barefoot
Under this 'project' parcels of land
are being sold and resold to foreign in-
vestors from prime Reserve Land along
the Macal River. More on this at a later

\Iili a


Tropical T ist

Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppe

Opening Hours V
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:/Fox: 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

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8

ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Take time to do something nice for
yourself. Romantic opportunities will be
plentiful if you get out and mingle. Un-
certainty about your relationship is
prevalent. Get more involved in group
efforts at work. Your lucky day this
week will be Saturday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- May 21)
Listening can be more valuable than
being a chatterbox. Your mate will ap-
preciate your honesty. Don't rely on oth-
ers to do your work. Take the time to
help those less fortunate. Your lucky day
this week will be Saturday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Your dynamic, determined approach
will win favors as well as a helping hand.
Recognition will be yours if you meet
your deadline. Y Give everyone in the
house a physical chore that will help
bum off some of the excess energy. Op-
portunities to get ahead will be evident.
Your lucky day this week will be Mon-
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
You can expect to have a passionate
time if you go out with someone you
are romantically interested in. Your own
small business on the side sounds pretty
lucrative. Problems with relatives and
friends could surface. You may find
yourself in an uncomfortable situation if
you have overloaded your plate unin-
tentionally. Your lucky day this week
will be Friday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
You are best to stick to yourself this
week. Get together with those you find
mentally stimulating. Plan anice evening

for two. Being unappreciated by your
boss could make it hard to do your work
effectively. Your lucky day this week
will be Monday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Difficulties will result if you have to
deal with controversial groups this
week. You will feel tired and rundown
if you have allowed yourself to get into
a financial mess. You may find that fam-
ily members may not be too easy to get
along with. Throw yourself into your
work. Your lucky day this week will be
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Your devotion will be persuasive. Be
prudent and don't be led down the gar-
den path. You will have to help family
members sort out unfortunate difficul-
ties. Your efforts won't go unnoticed;
however, someone you work with may
getj ealous. Your lucky day this week
will be Wednesday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Don't use the interstate as a racetrack.
Difficulties with females you live with
could cause emotional stress. You must
not lead someone on or show interest
in them for the wrong reasons. Try
spending the day catching up on any re-
sponsibilities that need to be taken care
of. Your lucky day this week will be Fri-
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Try to spend some time on your own.
You will accomplish the most in the work
environment this week. Make sure all
of your travel and driver's documents
are in proper order. You will be able to
get your own way if you use your intel-

Your weekly

r" MO^^^1^!"" ^

lectual charm and know how. Your
lucky day this week will be Friday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Opportunities to make financial gains
through investments look promising.
Find a quiet spot where you can work
diligently and stay out of the way. Don't
play on your partner's emotions. Don't
avoid situations that may deteriorate; try
to mend them. Your lucky day this week
will be Sunday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You can make financial deals that will
bring you extra cash. You can make
some money if you get involved in a con-
servative financial prospect that is pre-

Press release--The VIP categorically
condemns the decision of BTL and Mr.
Michael Ashcroft to dismiss without good
cause the employment of the BCWU
General Secretary, Mrs. Christine Perriott.
Mrs. Perriott's dismissal comes against the
backdrop of her vocal and unwavering
support forthe actions taken by her union
in defense of workers.
It is clearto the VIP that Mrs. Perriott's
dismissal is in violation of-
(1) The constitution of Belize- Chapter
4 -Protection of Fundamental Rights and
(2) The Trade Union Laws of Belize
(3) The Belize Labour Laws
(4) The Trade Union and Employer's
Organization (Registration, Recognition
and Status) Act
(5) ILO Conventions # 87 Freedom
of Association and Right to Organize
(6) ILO Convention # 98 Right to Or-
ganize and Bargain Collectively
(7) The CollectivebargainingAgreement
between The BCWU and BTL
Workers andBelizeans on whole must
not take lightly the violation of our laws

sented to you. Keep a lookout for any
individuals eager to confront you with
unsavory situations. You can anger oth-
ers quickly this week. Avoid overspend-
ing on items for your home. Your lucky
day this week will be Wednesday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Praise will be yours if you have been
pursuing your goals. The talk you have
may be eye-opening with regard to your
present situation. Insincere gestures of
friendliness are likely to occur. Secret
love affairs may be enticing; however,
you must be prepared for the restraints
that will follow. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.

T HEh|



Freetown Road Belize City

They once used to be a little corner shop, but now they have turned into
the hottest thing since sliced bread... oh, wait... they ARE SERVING
BREAD! I started going there some time ago, when the lines were short
and the selection small. Now, between 3-6pm, the place is bustling with
all sorts of people buying everything from Johnny Cakes for tea, French
Bread, Coconut Pies, Creole Bread and Bun, and Panadero to the very
popular Cheese Buns. The demand is now so great that if you don't get
there early, sometimes you don't get any. In fact, their legend has grown
so much that I often get a request via e-mail all the way from Ladyville to
"please buy $4 Johnny Cakes (which is 12) and drop it by for me on your
way home". I oblige, in a cooler, to keep them warm and soft. No extra
charge for the freight!


I frigs
and the protection provided by interna-
tional conventions. We must also safe-
guard the integrity of our Judiciary at all
times. We can recall that this same com-
pany had also refused to accept the deci-
sions of our Chief Justice and our Supreme
Belizeans must be reminded that the
protection of worker's rights have been
fought for and obtained at the expense of
workers lives and livelihood. It is there-
fore imperative that every effort be made
to safeguard these fundamental rights and
freedoms. It is very clear that sole inten-
tion of this particular employer is to insti-
tute a system of slavery which puts the
welfare of a selected few or a single indi-
vidual above the welfare of the people of
In the interest of our nation, we call upon
steps to reinstate Mrs. Perriott and to re-
solve this matter once and for all. We also
in the struggle to rid ourselves of those di s-
tasteful elements within our society who are
hell bent on creating social disorder.


Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9

the country from its export dependence
on 'old' uncompetitive industries and
move into the world's fastest growing
tourism area- ecotourism which is, and
can remain, Belizean based.
Rampant killing

It all sounds bananas!
Just last week the head of the Euro-
pean Commission in Belize, HEAmbas-
sador Marco Mazzocchi-Alemanni
signed over thirteen million dollars in
funding to improve competitiveness in
the banana and sugar industries in Belize.
As Channel 7 reported: "...this
sounds grand, but it's actually just stay-
ing alive money for an industry that ex-
perts say will wither without European
subsidies that are being phased out."
The European Union has committed
$5.4 Million of this money to ensure the
Belizean industry can remain competi-
However last week also brought
news that Ecuador, a good friend of the
USA and which accounts for about a
quarter of all banana exports to Europe
and the US, has appealed to the WTO
to get rid of the competitive edge Car-
ibbean and African bananas have in
Europe over bananas from Latin
American countries. These currently
have to pay 176 euros ($225; 119)
per tonne on banana imports.
In contrast, annual imports from the
Caribbean and Africa are currently duty-
free unless they exceed 775,000 tonnes.
For St Lucia all is not lost!
There, just when bananas were going
the way of the dodo and banana farm-
ers were "hanging up their machetes and
ready to turn their steep hillsides back
to forest..", fate has intervened,
One of Britain's largest food chains,
Sainsbury's, has stepped in and an-
nounced that all the bananas it sells from
now on will be fairly traded, and that
nearly 100 million of these will come
from St Lucia!
Bananas, sugar and shrimp
all dodoes?
The more evidence we see that Belize
is becoming less competitive in the
above industries, the more that our gov-
ernment appears to artificially encour-
age their survival. They do so at the ex-
pense of Belize's entire future.
Instead of opting to encourage and
stimulate the uniqueness of Belize's
natural environment for overnight and
ground based tourism, which trickles
down to everyone, the government
keeps centering all its efforts on cruises
ship and mega tourism projects.
These only benefit the cronies in-
volved and the megabuck promoters
from abroad.
It truly is 'bananas' notto slowly wean

Guatamalan style
Four top rank Guatemalan policemen,
arrested in connection with the murders
of three politicians from El Salvador,
have been killed inj ail.
The bodies of the three Salvadoran
lawmakers and their driver were found
in their burnt and bullet-ridden car near
Guatemala City last Monday.
The policemen were evidently arrested
after the 'transponder' on their vehicle
revealed their whereabouts near the
burnt car at the time.
Caribbean hurricane fund
Caribbean nations hit by future hurri-
canes will be able to draw on emergency
funding immediately under a new initia-
tive by the World Bank.
The bank has launching an insurance
fund designed to enable countries to fi-
nance key services in the aftermath of a
natural disaster.
While Belize is not among the coun-
tries listed to benefit, which include the
Bahamas Barbados, Montserrat ,
Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, it IS
certainly among Caribbean countries
which have lost up to $16bn from hur-
ricanes since 1979!
Cancer detector

0%-of all WV lmxrl'

US scientists have devised a colour
test sensor which shows up unique
chemical changes in the breath of people
with lung cancer.
The hues of a series of 36 dots detect
lung cancer accurately in just under
three out of four people with the dis-
ease. The sensor, which is slightly big-
ger than a quarter dollar or a two pound
coin, is inexpensive and easy to use.

Experts have known for many years
that the chemical composition of a
person's breath changes when they de-
velop lung cancer and that dogs and
other animals with a very keen sense
of smell are able to distinguish the
breath of patients with lung cancer from
that of healthy people!
Who was the hero?
The group of 12 tourists from the
Carnival cruise ship Liberty, who were
attacked by three armed muggers in
Costa Rica last week, made it safely
back to Port Everglades in Fort Lau-
derdale on Sunday.
One of those tourists, a man in his
70s who has not been identified, broke
the neck of one attacker, killing him,
according to police in Lim6n.
The other two assailants ran off and
none of the tourists were hurt, despite
the fact that the muggers were armed
with at least one knife and a gun.
The story received national attention
and reporters and photographers
waited at the exit gate of Terminal 19
in Port Everglades early Sunday, but
the "Hero of the Liberty ," as he has
become known, didn't identify himself
and avoided the media.
Send Clinton packing?
'No way!' Said Sen. Hillary Rodham

Clinton in front of a huge crowd in the
Democratic stronghold of San Fran-
cisco, raising campaign funds.
In response to a question from the
audience, she called her husband "the
most popular person in the world right
now" and said that when she reached
the White House, she would "..con-
tinue the tradition of using former presi-
dents" ...as diplomats around the
Foreign companies face huge
US fines
Foreign companies seeking to ac-
quire sensitive US assets could face
fines running into tens of millions of
dollars if they violate agreements with
a secretive US government panel that
vets deals on national security

The inter-agency panel, the commit-
tee on foreign investment in the US,
or CFIUS, is applying pressure on
companies to agree to potential finan-
cial penalties. One attorney familiar
with the situation says the government
in one case opened negotiations by
proposing penalties worth 10 per cent
of a company's sales.
The threat of fines provides further
evidence of the growing obstacles fac-
ing non-US companies as they seek
to gain regulatory approval for take-
overs in sensitive sectors such as tele-
communications and defence.
Mexico on Monday became the lat-
est nation to file a complaint with the
World Trade Organization over the
Chinese government's alleged pay-
ment of illegal subsidies to manufac-
The action signals Mexico's grow-
ing frustration with a flood of Chinese
imports, which has led to a soaring
trade deficit with Beijing. It follows
Japan's announcement last week that
it would join the United States in for-
mally protesting state subsidies that it
claims make Chinese steel, paper and
consumer products artificially cheap.
The actions represent an orches-
trated effort to pressure China live up
to its WTO agreements more than five
years after the Asian nation joined the
world trade body. And it underscores
growing impatience by trading part-
ners who say they are losing jobs and
market share as a result of China's
illegal trade practices.
Pain killers can kill!

Popular painkillers such as aspirin,
ibuprofen and acetaminophen can
raise blood pressure and thus the risk
of heart disease among men, U.S. re-
searchers reported on Monday.
Men who took such drugs for most
days in a week were about one-third
more likely to be diagnosed with high
blood pressure than men not taking
them, the researchers found.
Millions of people take the painkill-
ers as pills every day to treat head-
aches, arthritis, muscle pulls and other
aches and pains.

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


nister I


PG correspondent for
Minister of Tourism Godfrey Smith
recently asked in his article in the
Belize Times: "Where should we take
Belize tourism?" The part that sticks
out is the "we". The recent Govern-
ment of Belize Strategy and Action
Plan for the development of tourism
in Toledo has five projects listed un-
der Enterprise Development and the
Toledo Gateway Program. It also lists
a budget for a three year time frame,
and the source of funding and imple-
menting agencies for these projects.
Although the Minister of Eco-
nomic Development says a partici-
patory planning process created this
plan, the truth is that when repre-
sentatives of the groups and agen-
cies mentioned were interviewed,
(see Friday, February 16, 2007 is-
sue of the INdependent Reformer,
page 9, "A perfectly good plan,
going to waste" http://
w w w. beli z north. com /
Independent27.pdf ) and asked
about the Gateway Program for

Toledo, not one had ever heard of
it-including the CEO of the Min-
istry of Economic Development and
the area representative for Toledo
East Michael Espat.
Minister Godfrey was sent a reg-
istered letter in December 2006
which he ignored, and another one
in February which has as of today
remained unanswered. Both asked
him what the Gateway Program in
the Strategy and Action Plan is.
In his article he writes, "com-
pared to any other single activity,
tourism creates the most new jobs
each year. Market trends suggest
that tourists are looking for experi-
ential tourism, that brand of heri-
tage, cultural, and adventure tour-
ism, not the usual kind of tourism."
This description of what tourists
are looking for, is a good definition
of what the tourism part of the To-
ledo People's Eco Park Plan offers.
So why has the People's Plan been
left out of the government's plan for
tourism development in Toledo?
Why does the Ministry of Tourism
refuse to answer our letters? Why,
after representatives of the Belize
Tourism Board met with represen-
tatives of the Punta Gorda Conser-
vation Committee, and the Toledo
Eco Tourism Association, where
they heard about the Six Day Eco
Cultural Nature Conservation Tour,
and proposal for a small cruise ship
for Toledo-have both the Minis-
try and BTB refused to respond to
our people's cries for help?

Guatemala becomes


Is it just out-right racism because
the people of Toledo are mostly of
Maya and Garifuna descent? Why
has our area representative,
Michael Espat told our groups re-

peatedly that these and other min-
isters refuse to listen to his pleas for
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If the killing of three Salvadoran
deputies showed fissures in the
Guatemalan legal system, the ex-
ecution of police tied to the crime
corroborates the government's in-
competence to control national se-
"We are very worried because
this confirms a crisis in the entire
security apparatus, with severe con-
sequences," Human Rights attorney
Sergio Morales said.
Guatemala has been the center of
world attention since the Salva-
doran deputies killing last week, but
concern increased when it was re-
vealed that four organized crime
police were the alleged authors of
the crime.
Amid the negative impact of the
incident on the reliability of the se-
curity corps, the agents were mur-

dered at a maximum security prison
this week.
Local analysts consider Guate-
mala is dangerously becoming "a
failed country, where institutions do
not operate."
As repercussions of the scandal
continue within the country and
abroad, calls for the resignation of
Government Minister Carlos
Vielmann and National Civil Police
Chief Erwin Sperisen have in-
Both will be summoned by Con-
gress to explain the execution of the
agents, considered key elements in
the deputies' murder.
In a panorama marked by impu-
nity, authorities' lack of control, and
indifference of the State powers, all
indications point to a flourishing un-


Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

An Ugly Belizean Secret

By: Rev'd LeRov Flowers
There are many Belizean fathers, step-
fathers, cousin, and brothers who are
destroying the lives of innocent girls and
sometimes even boys, through sexual
impropriety. It is time that mothers,
daughters, family members and the
wider society hold these men account-
able for their behavior by confronting
them. The stories about incest are pain-
fully numerous in our society.
Supreme Betrayal:-
The majority of incest cases involve
children between the ages of 5-17.
Molestations are most commonly car-
ried out by step-fathers, uncles, cous-
ins, fathers and brothers. Diane Russell,
psychologist, calls the father-daughter
incest the "Supreme Betrayal." What
kind of man would assault his daugh-
ter? What kind of uncle would molest
his niece? Surprisingly, research shows
that many of the molesters are highly
moralistic and devoutly attached to re-
ligious doctrines (Gebhard 1965).
These men are often traditionalists.
Father-daughter incest tends to, but
does not always occur within a troubled
marriage where there is a lack of values
and purpose in the home. The man
may abuse his wife as well as his daughter
and turn to the daughter sexually when
his wife rejects his advances. Many
times the wife/mother pretends not to
notice because she is afraid of her
husband's violence, or she may blame
her daughter for threatening to break up
the family.
The Easy Road:
Often men do not realize how easy it
is to become sexually involved with their
daughters or nieces if they do not have
the right sense of values and purpose.
The unique relationship between fathers
and daughters can sometimes lead to
inappropriate relations if there is dys-
function in the family. Remember, church
people are not exempted either!
The incest relationship usually starts
very "innocently". Daughters look up
to their fathers. They have a deep trust

and respect for the man who provides
for her and her mother and gives a sense
of security. When a husband and wife
are having marital difficulty, the husband
sometimes turns to the daughters to
meet the needs that the wife usually
provides. This may begin with cleaning
his shoes, ironing his shirt, waking her
up late at night to cook for him. She
would do it because she "loves her fa-
ther". This may lead to extended warm
embraces and cuddling. Why would a
little girl not enjoy such attention, for it
is her father? This type of behavior soon
intensifies until the love is betrayed when
the father crosses the boundary and
engages in a sexual activity with his
daughter that may include caressing,
petting, kissing inappropriately and
eventually intercourse. He then per-
suades her to keep what they did a se-
He may even threaten her and the re-
lationship may go on for years; result-
ing in long-term emotional effect on the
Life-long pain:-
Studies show that "female" survivors
are severely conflict-laden, experience
rage and ongoing hostility to both par-
ents, and hold all women in contempt.


Also they develop a distain for men.
These female survivors almost never
develop meaningful, lasting relation-
ships. The most pervasive problem
faced by survivors in relationships is
around issues of intimacy.
Psychologists Lundberg Love and
Crawford state that a majority of these
women have an inability to trust people
and difficulty dealing with close relation-
ships. Many survivors also become
victims ofdomesticviolence. They may
feel unlovable and not worthy of being
cared for. Thus, they often choose
someone who is not very loving and who
also perceives them as unworthy of be-
ing treated well.
There are also sexual dysfunctions
that survivors usually have as a result of
incest. These include desire disorder
and orgasmic disorder. Survivors may
also suffer from learning difficulties and
poor attention spans. In addition, they
may have symptoms of depression and
low self-esteem, suffer from nightmares,
insomnia and fear of sleeping alone.
Research indicates that the physical/so-
matic results of incest survivors are
chronic tension, migraines and gas-
trointestinal disorders. Wow! That's a
lot!! And I haven't given you the com-
plete list.....but I will stop here. I hope
you get the point. Incest is wrong and
the long-term side effects are devastat-
ing to the victims and very distractive to
the perpetrators as well.
We must begin to break this cycle of
abuse by seeking help. By protecting
our children and holding our males ac-
countable for their actions. When chil-
dren are sexually molested their capac-
ity to trust can be shattered forever.

Their sense of who they are and what
sex is about; it's often totally or sub-
stantially shaped by the sexually abu-
sive experience.
Dads, uncles, step-fathers,
brothers.... stop raping our nation's
daughters and sons. Too many family
members cover up the hurt inflected on
our children. Have we tried to find out
why there is so much anger and so many
dysfunctional families are in our soci-
ety? Relationships of trust are broken
every day..
Who is responsible for this di-
lemma? The perpetrators are respon-
sible, but Mothers you too must take
a stand. It's about the well-being of
your child. The larger society is also
responsible for being passive towards
such vice, creating the stage for moth-
ers to cover up, deny and sometimes
even support such relationships.
If our children and family members
are to come forward we need to pro-
vide protection and support for them
in a confidential and safe environ-
ment, which is lacking today with the
organized system. They will need
counseling as well, which is difficult
to find in the wider society.
Yes, even within the legal frame-
work, it is not easy to get a convic-
tion. So often the victims are abused
again going through the legal system.
We must all change our attitude to this
Belizean secret.
We must put an end to this vicious
crime being inflicted on our children.
Let's protect our children! Defend
them. Give then the right values! Call
the police! Stop raping our nation's

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Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12

San Ignacio Police hold Public Forum

Western Formation O.C. David Henderson and Area Representative Mario Castellanos listen to community concerns.

Press Release-- Police in the
Cayo District held a public forum
on February 26 at the Saint Ignatius
High School in Santa Elena Town.
The purpose of the public meeting
was for there to be an information
exchange on the status of crime in
the District and to spur community
action in combating crime. In his
report to the meeting, Senior Su-
perintendent David Henderson re-
ported that there were a total of
thirty one murders in the District in
2006. He expressed concern given
that the Cayo District is a major
tourist destination. He reported
that alcohol was a major problem
and that some premises were serv-
ing alcohol to minors. Superinten-
dent Henderson informed that some
eleven persons were about to un-
dergo training in community polic-
ing. Henderson said that
neighbourhood watches have
worked very well in the Corozal
District and they can do the same
in the Cayo District. He urged par-
ents to send their children to school
or they will be arrested. Some three
parents have been arrested thus far
for not sending their children to
Present for the meeting was Area
Representative for the Cayo Cen-
tral Division, the Honourable Mario
Castellanos. Minister Castellanos
urged members of the public to take
community action. He informed that
the Belize Electricity Limited BEL

was charging Government for street
lights within the Cayo District even
though they were not functioning.
He suggested that community
groups can bring pressure to bear
on BEL via a petition, given that tax
payers' money was being lost in
paying for unused lights. Minister
Castellanos counselled that educa-
tion is the way to go and that par-
ents should send their children to
the Centre for Employment Train-
ing to learn a trade.
In his report to the public, Police
Constable and Zone Beat Liaison

Officer Darius Martinez announced
that a female from Eden High School
in Santa Elena had won under the
"Do the Right Thing" Program for
the month of February. The female
had reported to authorities the
presence of Cannabis sativa in
'fudge' to the authorities. Princi-
pal of Eden High School Erodito
Pineda, in attendance at Monday
night's meeting, thanked San
Ignacio Police for assisting in cre-
ating a safe learning environment for
his students. Also present was Mr.
Andrew Lopez, former President of

the Crimes Committee.
Superintendent Henderson esti-
mates that there is one police of-
ficer for every eight hundred resi-
dents in Cayo. The Police Brass
confirmed that more man power is
needed to serve the Twin Towns of
San Ignacio and Santa Elena. With
only two neighbourhood watches in
the area, police are targeting for five
more in coming months and to acti-
vate citizens on patrol. Another
Police forum is planned and this will
be announced later.

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Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 133

Buds-get reading 2007

--" (Continued From Page 4)

everything. So we'll set up a charities
fund and that's it. No more aspirin. No
more weekly handouts at the clinic. I
don't know who started these damned
clinics anyway...
Moving on...goods and services.
Madam Speaker, once more there was
a bumper crop of sugar cane. Well,
okay, this is the first time it went up in
15 year, but we are so optimistic this
Government has decided to reopen the
Libertad Refinery. We have a buyer in
Panama who wants to see Sugar City
live up to its name once more. He also
has plans to convert part of the facility
to an orange processing plant. And a
laundromat. But more on that
later... closer to campaign time. The
place is called Orange Walk, a perfect
"Madame Speaker, it is with great ex-
citement I also announce that oil rev-
enues to government are being included
for the first time in this budget. Yes, they
were there before, but somehow never
made it on the books. Poor accounting
procedures. But, this time they are here,
in black and white. I cannot vouch for
their accuracy, it is difficult to keep track
of all the buddy payments made since
oil was discovered and offshore ac-
counts do not issue statements with the
same regularity as our local banks, but
one must try. The official figure here is
that with the commencement of collec-
tion of royalties on petroleum this year
we took in $6 million. Not a bad start.
This should more than cover the cost of
front load commissions on our interna-
tional loan payments.
Madame Speaker this year our debt
service payments of $169.5 million will
of course exceed the budgeted amount
of $145.7. But what is a few million
anymore? Some of my colleagues sit-
ting near me right now have homes
abroad worth that much. I could write
a check right now and cover the whole
"We must not be afraid of spending a
little money to make more. Belize has
land selling like hot cakes, or should I
say hot "cayes"? (tittering all around)
for that right now, as soon as the land
around them is reclaimed. As we speak
Italian film stars are lining up to pay for
their own private island. And when we
run out, we can dump some sand and
stick a few coconut trees and make
some more!
"Madam Speaker, "the Belizean
people are crying out for this govern-
ment to embrace land speculation. And
so are the international markets. Ameri-
can and European baby boomers want
to retire here. This government will soon
be announcing a retirement housing
scheme in an area just outside of

Belmopan called Meighan Heights. Just
as soon as the DFC hearings are over
you will be hearing more about that, and
also an area in San Pedro called Croft-
Ash, beautiful retirement villas for mem-
bers ofBritish Parliament.
"Yes, in the upcoming year, Govern-
ment will continue to improve financial
management and accountability. Per-
sonally, I think that sort of thing will only
slow down the economic train and de-
crease the trickle in the trickledown to
droplets, but these are the buzz words
the international lenders want to hear,
not to mention the electorate.
"And yes, of course the Village Council
Elections are approaching. So of course
let me take this opportunity to announce
we will be providing school books for all
the children of Belize, increased electrifi-
cation and potable water systems of the
countryside, reliable digicell service for
Burrell Boom and Cattle landing and the
eradication of all stray dogs and poverty
in the Southside ofBelize City. And yes,
in addition to Libertad reopening, Orange
Walkenos will be happy to see we have
budgeted $10m for the Orange Walk
Bypass so Naranj as can bypass all the
mess in town."
"Excuse me, Mr. Minister, that project
is already completed."
"Oh, really.., .that was just on the tem-
plate we used for the past 8 budgets.
Take that one out then. Computer er-
ror. Will have to send that program
back to Canada, get the bugs out.
"And of course, let us give the poor
people some satisfaction to see that
wealthier Belizeans will soon have to
pay more income tax. Yes, yes, I know
we just lowered the threshold for pay-
ment to $20,000 but Belizeans are be-
coming so prosperous so quickly we will
be raising it again to $24,000.
Our friends across the floor are al-
ways saying we tax the people too
much, but Belizeans DO NOT mind. In
fact they are happy to pay more so they
can have good roads, better schools,
lower crime. If you don't believe me,
just look at this figure: theGST-so
criticized by the Opposition-took in
$20 million more than even we estimated
it would! The Belizean people, only
280,000 strong, somehow found $20
million to pay in sales tax even though
the Opposition says the economy is at
an all time low! Does this sound like a
poor country to you? People who can
spend $20 million and not even notice
This is precisely why we knew the
Mortgage Securitization Plan would
work. Belizeans are a hard working
people and they will ensure they pay
their mortgages so we can sell them and
get the money to develop our banks
accounts abroad, provide foreign ex-
change security and capital resources

abroad for years to come.
And to all those of you who have cast
aspersions on the character of one of
our standard bearers, let me tell you
about this man. He inconvenienced him-
self, not once, but 14 times, to make
those trips to Panama. Had to put up
with the indignities of having to pass
through customs although he had a dip-
lomatic passport... Our detractors will
stop at nothing to paint a picture of this
government as falling down on thej ob
when all we do is work! Morning, noon
and night, we are working to take ad-
vantage of global markets, position our-
selves advantageously, why we just

broke ground with our recent bond of-
"Now, there are a great many more
numbers here in front of me, but these
are for statisticians and accountants, so
don't worry about what's written here
people, we have a nation to build! The
path ahead is clear now. The horizon
has the glow of hope and promise of a
brighter few; the work of reform must
continue... Together we can, we are liv-
ing in a good country."
Oh my, I must have dozed off for a
bit. I guess the House meeting ended
while I was asleep. But I had the funni-
est dream...

v Words but


-- i(Continued From Page 3)
them all together they could make a
definite change and send the pirates
walking the plank. The way things are
going though, it looks more like four
rowboats trying to attack a clipper ship.
The new parties are giving a new
meaning to divide and conquer; only
they have it all backwards. If there is
any hope of being effective, the parties
must unite their efforts. What is so dis-
turbing about this is that it is so obvious
you have to wonder why the leaders
don't understand. Unite or perish!
The new party movements are a re-
action to the desperation Belizean vot-
ers feel, realizing that if they continue to
vote for the same traditional Blue or
Red parties they are going to get the
same traditional Blue or Red bandits
stealing public lands and moneys and
peddling influence, protection and fa-
vors fortheirpersonal gain. This ground
swell from the voters is a great and won-
derful opportunity to organize for bet-
ter and more effective representation.
Good generals are masters of tactics,
strategy and leadership. Their goals are
clearly defined and they know how to
develop effective plans of attack to at-
tain their objectives. Anything else is
only dreaming.
Four or five little parties attacking
the Goliath of entrenched government
is like four little monkeys each crawling
up a separate leg of an elephant with
seduction on their minds. It is going to
take more than desire and good inten-
tions to unseat the power structure. It
is going to take solid planning and
preparation and the combined effort and
cooperation of all parties involved. The
voters want new choices and are now
demanding it, but they are also demand-
ing results. These parties should con-
sider uniting into a Party of Indepen-

dent Candidates. The PIC should de-
velop a broad basic approach such as
opposing corruption, recovering stolen
lands and money, punishing corrupt poli-
ticians, promoting an elected Senate,
And then each Individual Candidate
should prepare his own personal platform
describing what he stands for, how the
people can expect him to vote on issues,
and his or her plant achieve goals. The
individual personal platforms should be
published. The voters are ready and de-
manding changes and improvements in
ourgovernment. The press that's notBlue
or Red controlled is ready to help pro-
mote the positive values of the new re-
form parties.
The first important point we have to get
clear is where we wantBelize to go. It is
great to say we will clean up corruption,
orwe will takeback all the land andmoney
our Misleaders have stolen from us. But
what do we want Belize to be? None of
the parties seem to have thought much
about this. You can't get somewhere un-
less you know where you are going.
Morality can never be a goal of gov-
ernment. What we need are the straight-
forward values ofhonesty, integrity, honor,
dedication, commitment, loyalty.
Listen, Leaders of the new parties, lis-
ten to the voice of the people and respond.
Listen to the voices crying out for reform
and take action.
Listen to the desperation of our citizens
enslaved by their government and create
solid plans to free them. Bible thumping
and personal glorification is the past not
the future.
Listen to the voices of today pleading
from every comer of our oppressed coun-
The time is right. The people are offer-
ing an opportunity for victory if you use it

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 144




By: Richard Harrison
I am a proud graduate of Belize Tech-
nical College. In 19811 enrolled in the
General Studies Program to pursue the
study of what was referred to as pure
sciences Mathematics, Chemistry and
Biology. I also had to take a course
called General Paper, which was basi-
cally English reading, writing and com-
prehension mixed with some Literature.
At the time, that course (which I en-
j oyed so much) was being thought by
Dr. Colville Young, the now Governor
General of Belize. Dr. Young would
probably still encourage me to improve
on my poor punctuation skills.
At the time, most people I knew as-
pired to go to Saint John's College,
which had an image of being more pol-
ished and upper-class, as well as with
better academics and chances of get-
ting scholarships to pursue further stud-
Technical College, as we referred to
our school, had the image of being for
the underprivileged and persons of lower
academic merit. However, a couple
years before I entered, a healthy aca-
demic rivalry had developed between
Saint John's and Technical.
The likes of Dr. Egbert Grinage had
left stories of very disciplined study and
work habits, as well as winner of the
two of which were awarded each year.
John Mencias and Ambrose Tillett, one
year ahead of me, and both Cayo
bwoys like myself, continued in the foot-
steps of Dr. Grinage. They took both
open scholarships the year they gradu-
ated in 1982. So, by the time I com-
pleted my first year at Technical, I was
proud to be a part of an under-dog in-
stitution that was raising its head in aca-
demics. My colleague and friend Dr.
Arsenio Figueroa, also from San
Ignacio, took one open scholarship for
Technical in 1983, and Dr. Paul

Balderamos (also a good friend) took
the other for SJC. Another Cayo bwoy,
CEO in the Ministry of National Devel-
opment, Hugh O'Brien followed suit in
1984. I was an average student, more
interested in making friends with the in-
teresting students that came from all
across the country, and opening up to
this whole new world.
I invited my BTC friends to go with
me to SJC parties, and vice-versa. In
my small way, I feel I played a role in
diminishing the negative portions of our
rivalry, so that we could up-play the
healthy academic rivalry. By the time we
graduated in 1983, SJC students had
gained great respect for Technical stu-
dents, and vice versa, at least in the Gen-
eral Studies Department.
At the time, it seemed that General
Studies was the face of the institution.
We were physically in front, facing
Freetown Road, and 'we' were facing
off with the powerful SJC and making
great strides to improve the academic
image of our institution.
Yet.....there were many other things
going on at Technical.
At the 'back'......... there was the
Building and Engineering
Department... .and Secretarial. I recall
our principal, Mr. Owen Morrison, calling
meetings with the entire student body on
the steps of the Building and Engineer-
ing Department. Even within BTC, I un-
derstood that General Studies people felt
themselves above "those at the back",
who were the people learning to do
plumbing, drafting, electrical, etc. Again,
I crossed all over those silly barriers, and
made many good friends from those
departments, whom I consider friends
until today, although I only get to see
them on rare occasions these days.
Now.....at that time.....itwas not nor-
mal to see women pursuing building and
engineering studies. I distinctly remem-
ber seeing a pretty young lady hanging

out with the boys I knew to be from
"back-a-building". I found out her
name was Christine Quan, from
Corozal. She was a pioneer for women
studying in that department, I believe.
She looked quite comfortable and well
liked among her colleagues. She
seemed an equal among them. She is
now Christine Perriott, a professional
engineer in her own right, earning her
honest keep by serving in our nations
telecommunications company.
I fondly remember a tall beautiful girl
from Secretarial. Very charming and
friendly, always smiling and ready to
help organize school activities. I think
her surname was Duncan then, but she
is now Karen Bevans. She is using her
tremendous 'people' skills to advance
the work of our nations telecommuni-
cations company.
It is my understanding that most of
Karen's and Christine's co-workers
were also fellow students at BTC.
When I moved from San Ignacio to
The City in 1981, Belize City was over-
taken by the Heads of Agreement dem-
onstrations. Belize Technical College,
teachers and students, featured promi-
nently in the scheme of things. BTC as
an institution it seemed, encouraged
free thinking and free spirits, and were
very vocal and activist in its demon-
stration of that progressive 'human'
spirit. This was all new to
me... coming from the relatively tran-
quil western town. I loved the lively
debates that took place on the creaky
wooden veranda during breaks and
after classes. The institution spent the
resources necessary to keep its doors
open for us to study and debate in the
classrooms, until very late at nights.
They understood that some of us did
not have appropriate study environ-
ments at the cramped quarters we
could afford to rent.
Christine and Karen are both prod-

ucts of that very progressive 'human'
I understand that the 'modem' cor-
porate world can transform people, es-
pecially those who do not have 'good'
morals and values to guide them.
Belize is a small place, and changes
are rapidly occurring.
Governments have been changed.
Board members can also change. Some
board members are from abroad and
are here for one purpose and one pur-
pose only. They can get up and leave
tomorrow, or be voted/bought out.
Changes can happen very quickly and
As Belizeans, who do not always
have somewhere else to go.... and
knowing that we live in a small place....
and it is very likely our paths will cross
many times before we expire.....it be-
hooves us to act with respect towards
our colleagues.....to show empathy and
compassion in our dealings with one
another. It does not help us to be axe
men and women against our colleagues.
Although it may pay offin the short term,
it surely will have its negative repercus-
sions in the long term.
At BTC, I recall....we learned to
debate our ideas openly and
honestly... without fear of discrimination
or retribution. Many times we had dif-
ferent opinions about a subject....
sometimes the differences were very
wide... .but we always respected the
opinions of others... and that is how we
earn respect for our own positions.
In conflict management, all parties
must do what it takes, to preserve re-
spect for each other, even as differences
seem insurmountable and the horizon of
solution seems far off.
In the heat of things...... it's good to
be reminded that we have 'good' mor-
als and values to fall back on... .this
goes for all sides of any 'story'. Calm
heads will prevail.

The newlywed wife said to her
husband when he returned from
work, "I have great news for you.
Pretty soon, we're going to be
three in this house instead of two."
Her husband ran to her with a
smile on his face and delight in his
He was glowing of happiness and
kissing his wife when she said, "I'm
glad that you feel this way since to-
morrow morning, my mother moves

in with us."
A burglar has just made it into the
house he's intending ransacking, and
he's looking around for stuff to steal.
All of a sudden, a little voice pipes
up, "I can see you, and so can
Startled, the burglar looks around
the room. No one there at all, so he
goes back to his business.
"I can see you, and so can Jesus!"
The burglar jumps again, and takes
a longer look around the room. Over
in the corner by the window, almost
obscured by curtains, is a cage in
which sits a parrot, who pipes up
again, "I can see you, and so can
"So what," says the burglar,
"you're only a parrot!"
To which the parrot replies,

"Maybe, but Jesus is a rottweiler!"

Mrs. Peterson phoned the repair-
man because her dishwasher quit
working. He couldn't accommodate
her with an "after-hours" appointment
and since she had to go to work, she
told him, "I'll leave the key under the
mat. Fix the dish washer, leave the
bill on the counter, and I'll mail you a
check. By the way, I have a large
rotweiler inside named Killer; he
won't bother you. I also have a par-
rot, and whatever you do, do not talk
to the bird!"
Well, sure enough the dog, Killer,
totally ignored the repairman, but
the whole time he was there, the
parrot cursed, yelled, screamed,
and about drove him nuts.
As he was ready to leave, he

couldn't resist saying, "You stupid
bird, why don't you shut up!"
To which the bird replied, "Killer,
get him!!!"

A preacher is buying a parrot.
"Are you sure it doesn't scream,
yell, or swear?" asked the preacher.
"Oh absolutely. It's a religious
parrot," the storekeeper assures
"Do you see those strings on his
legs? When you pull the right one,
he recites the lord's prayer, and
when you pull on the left he recites
the 23rd Psalm."
"Wonderful!" says the preacher,
"but what happens if you pull both
"I fall off my perch, you stupid
fool!" screeched the parrot.

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155

Jaguar Express Miss Rainforest out to

What way to see The Belize Zooel protect Chiquibul

Miss Rainforest Margarita Valle with Friends for Conservation and Development staff.

By Sharon Matola

Let's face it. Belize can get HOT, and
some folks find our soaring tempera-
tures, combined with the long and wind-
ing Belize Zoo pathways, just a bit too
difficult to deal with.
Well, check it out!!! if seeing The
Belize Zoo is high on your list, but walk-
ing the pathways isn't, here is some
"Thumbs Up" news for you!!!
This is your own cushioned and cus-
tomized ride thru -the zoo.
The Jaguar X-press chauffeurs are zoo
professionals who will not only wheel
you through the zoo, but will enthusias-
tically provide an introduction about the
happy animals who call The Belize Zoo
their home.
The Jaguar Express maiden voyage
was recently taken by Mrs. Neileen

Hufford, mother ofBelize's one and only
Sue Hufford, the energetic "Queen of
Amigo's" restaurant on the Western
Neileen is a youthful over 75 year old
lady who likes to save her energies for
fun evenings atAmigos, so yes she was
more than ready to take the Jaguar X-
press around The Belize Zoo.
With her chauffeur, Allie Gomez,
Neileen met most of the zoo's happy
inhabitants, and as a special "maiden
voyage" treat, she even helped feed
Panama the Harpy Eagle, who didn't
seem bothered at all by the colourful
vehicle parked next to his exhibit.
Keep it in mind!!! the Best Little Zoo
in the World is ready to accommodate
ALL levels of energies from our zoo visi-
tors! !
It is a zoo visit that is simply TOO

San Jose Succotz, Cayo District,
February, 2007
Miss Margarita Valle from Hondu-
ras was selected as Miss Rainforest
on February 24th of 2007. The event
had brought several contestants from
Honduras and Guatemala and the
Dominican Republic together with a
representative from Belize for two
weeks of activities aimed at promot-
ing awareness about the importance
and plight of the rainforests.
Rainforests are dramatically de-
creasing throughout the tropics. In
Belize, we still have approximately
60% of the country under forest cover
but this is under considerable threat
from forest fires, logging and agricul-
ture based activities moving into slope
Friends for Conservation and
Development [FCD] based in San
Jose Succotz, partnered with the
Director of Miss Rainforest Inter-
national this year, Mrs. Nancy Juan
Marin to promote the importance
of the rainforests. Prior to the con-
test, Mr. Oswaldo Sabido, Miss
Hannah St Luce of the Forest De-
partment and FCD staff explained
to the contestants the status of
rainforests globally, regionally and
nationally. Mr. Rafael Manzanero
explained the importance of the

Chiquibul-Maya Mountains as one
main block of thirteen protected ar-
eas with high biodiversity in Belize.
He noted that an initiative led by the
Forest Department in collaboration
with FCD and other multiple part-
ners is currently underway to de-
velop an integrated management
program that will be able to pro-
tect this block consisting of ap-
proximately 1.3 million acres of
land. He further noted that FCD is
now entering into a co-management
program with the Forest Depart-
ment for the protection of the larg-
est protected area in Belize the
Chiquibul National Park.
The reigning Miss Rainforest,
Margarita Valle will now join FCD
members and its supporters in pro-
moting awareness about the forests
of Belize and in particular the con-
servation work currently underway
in protecting the Chiquibul National
Park. She will serve as our ambas-
sador in promoting the importance
of this beautiful forest located in the
Cayo District and which shares a 30
mile border with Guatemala.
The Chiquibul forest faces several
threats from unregulated develop-
ment, lack of a management pres-
ence and illegal xate extraction con-
ducted by Guatemalans.

Belize Zoo attendants demonstare how comfy the Jaguar Express can be!

lE (Continued From Page 2)
to at least put more focus on the fur-
ther development of the Eco-park
plan. We recommend its time to start
building a co-management plan with
the participation from the people of
Toledo. At the end result, we are sure
that the eco-part will help to elimi-
nate poverty in the Toledo District.

I congratulate Mr William "Chet"
Schmidt for his help to establishing the
TEA Guest house and Ecotrail pro-
gram. This guest house is working for
the people and like wise establishment
of the Toledo Eco Park.

Reyes Chun

Mrs. Neileen Hufford checks out a scarlet macaw.

Friday, March 9, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 165





Where the seven political parties stand on the issues

Please find on page #16 a compara-
tive analysis grid of the various politi-
cal parties in Belize today who are ac-
tively preparing for the upcoming gen-
eral elections. The grid lists the parties
and the issues of the day. It is a work-
in-progress and we expect the parties

to clarify their positions as we
lead up to the election an-
Belizeans will most certainly
have multiple choices in every
electoral division for the up-
coming general elections. There

are possibilities that amalgamations
are in the works as efforts are con-
We intend to keep running the
grid with updates as well as explor-
ing the possibilities of providing
other comparative analysis plat-

forms for you the people to decide.
Some parties provided direct input
(about half) while we gathered in-
formation from various sources on
the others. [Coming next week, pro-
file of the leadership of these par-

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