Title: Independent reformer
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 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 23, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00016
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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walking


tells


usE: Just Gol


The action was not outside the House
of Representatives as expected during
the Budget Debate but inside. While the
unions had a less than robust turnout for
their protest, and some criticized the
United Democratic Party for not join-
ing them on the steps, inside the House
the UDP was indeed fulfilling its role as
Loyal Opposition. Party Leader Dean
Barrow and Michael Finnegan trans-
lated the figures, and the promises, into
language everyone could understand
and made it clear just why Belizeans are
being given no relief, and won't be in
the foreseeable future. Barrow called the
Prime Minister a "dead man walking"
and implored him to return to the land
of the living and give Belize back to
Belizeans.
Barrow feels Musa's pain: ex-
plaining Washington's behavior
Honorable Dean Barrow, (UDP)
Party Leader, Queen Square Area Rep-


resentative : "It is simply that the Gov-
ernment in its corruption, waste, and
ineptitude has dug itself too deep a hole,
has imprisoned itself too fixedly in en-
tanglements of its creditors and the in-
ternational financial institutions. Without
their seal of approval, this government
could not even have survived for an-
other year. These policy-based loans
that we hear so much about Madam
Speaker are being doled out one por-
tion at a time.
"And to keep these life raft monies
coming, the government is in fact a pris-
oner of the policy dictates, the enforced
austerities, the barebones capital spend-
ing and the accompanying prescriptions
for mass suffering, all these things have
been visited on our poor Belize by the
I.F.I.'s. That is why there is and can be
no salary increase in this budget for the
long suffering public officers.
"And they, in the face of the most cruel


and punitive inflation rates since Inde-
pendence have had their wages frozen
for years now, even as a creeping re-
trenchment continues to decimate their
ranks. That is why despite the new found
oil money there is and can be no elimi-
nation of the revenue replacement duty
on fuel so that the pump price to the
consumer can fall and give people a
break and so that the entire economy
may be stimulated.
Then he strikes to the
heart of the matter
"This almost unimaginable contraction
of crippling mega debt by this adminis-
tration was not for any purposes of true
national development, poverty allevia-
tion, infrastructural development, edu-
cation, health, tax relief, or personal
improvements in the quality of life for
the Belizean citizens. No Madam
Speaker! Instead it was, as with all the
millions realized from the sale of our


national assets, instead this huge con-
traction of burdensome unmanageable
debt was principally for the self-
agrandisement of ministers and their
families and their friends; the enrichment
of their cronies such as the Novelos,
Glenn Godfrey and Papi Pena and Bill
Lindo and Arturo Lizarraga and Haisam
Diab. The debt monies were spent on
Intelco and Galleria Maya and San
Lorenzo and Los Lagos and Mahogany
Heights. The debt monies were spent
as compensation for property owned by
ministers and their drivers and their
wives and their uncles and acquired by
this Government for millions more than
they were worth.
"Belize had first to default before there
could be any question of restructuring.
Together with the default there was this
certification that we were so completely
(Please Turn To Page 14) *El

Inside this Issue

Andy Palacio &
Garifuna
Collective release
Watina
pg 3


Hard Adventure
pg. 4


PACT invests in
Nature Conservation
pg.5


Lessons from
a Benefactor
pg.7


UDP Ladyville candidates promise action


-


The UDP "Candidate for Belize Rural Central Michael Huitchinson accompanied the "Action Team"for Village Council on
house to house visits this week. From left to right Luciano Coc, Richard Lopez, Joel Rowley, Hutchinson and Mike Ortiz.








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2 -


Editorial Director


Meb Cullack





Editor


Karla Heusner Vernon





General Manager


Trevor Vernon





DesignALayout


William G. Ysaguirrre


Published by:


Independent Publishing


P 0. Box 2666


Telephones:


(501) 225-3520
CompanyLtd.
Email:
Belize C.A.
hudWendentn0AWpff.LZkWaWcom


Printed by:

National PHnters
New Road
Belize City, Belize












For an online version of the

INdependent Reformer

visit us at
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independentreformer.htm
OR
http:/Ibelizenews.com/
independentonline.pd


E YES!


Same differences
Dear Editor,
I only follow Belize politics from a
distance, because I don't have a horse
in that race and can't vote, but my im-
pression over the past 15+ years is that
there is even less difference between the
PUP and the UDP than between Re-
publicans and Democrats in the U.S.
In the big picture of world politics,
from extreme right to extreme left, U.S.
Republicans and Democrats are really
quite close together in philosophies. Yet
they do stand for significant differences
in their views about the role of govern-
ment. In general, Democrats think that
government has a role in addressing in-
equalities and helping the less fortunate,
while Republicans lean toward a more
market-oriented economy and less gov-
ernment influence (except in social ar-
eas, where Republicans generally feel
that Daddy knows best.)
BUT ... in Belize, really what are the
philosophical differences between the
PUP and UDP?
It used to be that the UDP was con-
sidered more business-oriented, a little
more conservative than the PUP. And,
certainly, in the old days of George Price
the PUP was more populist, sort of a
soft-sell, ascetic version of the Hugo
Chavez approach. But in the last 10 or
15 years, what's the diff?
There are differences in personalities,
and differences (at least in public state-
ments) about corruption, debt, spend-
ing, governmental ethics, etc. But in
recent years the PUP has been very
pro-business, pro-growth supporting
tourism, doing favors for "big business"
(by Belize standards).
As an outsider, I just see the differ-
ence as kind of a tribal thing our guys
(whichever party you're in) against dem


guys. There are PUP villages, UDP vil-
lages, and there are some ethnic or ra-
cial differences, true. Political patron-
age is the main thing.
But I don't see significantly different
visions for Belize from either party. I
don't see differences in fiscal policy, dif-
ferences in views toward markets, dif-
ferences in views about social issues.
Would somebody please explain to
me what the core PHILOSOPHICAL,
SOCIAL and ECONOMIC differ-
ences in the parties are? Maybe just in
a few words: the PUP stands for A, B
and C, while the UDP stands for D, E,
and F.
Signed,
Lan Sluder


Take your lumps
Dear Editor:
Please allow me space in you paper
to comment on a noticeable trend in
your young and informative newspaper.
It is very noticeable, in most of your
articles where your political commen-
tators and input appear, that you enjoy
dumping the UDP in the same dirty bag
as the PUP. Now, I am familiar with
most of the personalities running your
paper and I consider each to be good
and well meaning Belizeans. But, I be-
lieve in advancing your paper's mission
to build awareness and support for a
third party and for Belizean reform, you
appear to be always lumping the UDP
with the spoilt PUP even when there is
no factual reason to do so. I guess that
it's done for you to gain more sympa-
thy for the third party concept.
The above being said, I would like to
put forward my personal opinion on
some of the proposed reforms you have
mentioned. Your idea of an elected sen-
ate in my humble opinion is not well


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


1 1 '11. I P I

.itlit

t-SIii. W.

I m -iii tilit


thought out, in the context of the con-
stitution and the reality of political par-
ties. For it is reasonable to suggest that
if we allow for an elected senate, the
first organizations to compete for the
seats would be political parties, even
"third" parties. So to be practical, it is
conceivable that all the senate seats
could be won by a very popular party.
So it is reasonable to believe that one
party could still control both the House
and the Senate. Bingo... we are back
to square one as politicians have ad-
hered to party discipline.
A more practical way, in my opinion
again, would be to increase the number
of independent senators, who possess
experience and are not beholden to any-
one.... we have a large pool of senior
independent people out there. They
would, by design, always outnumber
the government senators, which will re-
sult in removing the control of the sen-
ate out of the hands of any government.
The idea of reducing the government's
term from 5 years to 4 years would have
my support. With 15 years under my
belt as an Area Representative, I can
be a witness to the stress setting in the
system can have on a person and on
the government. On the issue of pro-
portional representation, I would not be
a supporter. The real issue is of per-
sonal integrity and high moral values, not
numbers. Moreover, countries with pro-
portional representation have no fewer
headaches that we do. Some of them
are a little worse offin good governance
On the issue of raising the public ser-
vice retirement age from 55 to 62, this
would a great idea; as we would keep
our investment in training them within our
services longer and encourage greater
continuity in the public service. I believe
that your idea of calling a referendum
(Please Turn To Page 15) *E


E-1 Lill lll E-1


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








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


By: Trevor Vernon
Easter is fast approaching and fami-
lies with varying degrees of resources
are making plans. We might not have
off the entire Semana Santa like the
rest of Latin America, and you will
only see religious processions in cer-
tain indigenous communities, but Eas-
ter has traditionally been a significant
long holiday weekend in Belize. It still
retains some religious overtones that
have been diluted down by "political
correctness" or "respect for diversity."
The more affluent Belizean families
go abroad to their foreign condos and
swimming pooled mansions while the
people they have made their money


off of stay in their humble homes and
follow the bicycle race on Holy Sat-
urday. At least, those were the tradi-
tional extremes. These days some of
the most corrupt amongst us will go
to Europe, Asia, Hawaii and else-
where for the holidays; the lesser ben-
eficiaries will end up in Cancun, Mi-
ami, Houston and places closer.
Almost all the political director-
ate will be away; those politicos
who remain are invariably the ones
who can't get on a plane. Or should
I say, can't get past immigration on
the other side? This includes some
pretty well-heeled "businesspeople"
who are part and parcel of this bla-
tantly corrupt regime. But limited
travel options are apparently a small
price to pay for unlimited wealth.
International notoriety a fair ex-
change for local immunity from
prosecution...
For the rest of us, things are so
expensive in this overtaxed country
it's actually less expensive to take


your family to Cancun or some-
where along the Mexican Riviera
Maya than go to the cayes or local
resorts. In Mexico, gasoline prices
and hotel accommodations are less
than half of what they stick us with
here. Chetumal is the cheapest of
all and has all the modern
conveniences... except with the
Sam's Club and Mall of the Ameri-
cas it's easy to overspend.
Chet would be good, if it were my
cup of tea ... considering how much
you save on groceries and house-
hold item purchases. But I love the
Caribbean Sea. I need to be on the
water, in a boat that I am somewhat
in control of, to truly enjoy the Eas-
ter weekend. To indulge this child-
hood fantasy I will pay the price of
ridiculously overtaxed fuels, omni-
present GST (Great Said Tax) and
forgo Chetumal shopping to truly
enjoy what this country has to of-
fer, reef-wise... as I am not into
beef country this time of year.


Yes, despite Said & Co.'s at-
tempts to cut up the jewel and give
away the choicest cuts to their
friends, families and cronies, Belize
still has a lot to treasure and a lot
of local people who appreciate her.
For me, and so many others in-
cluding friends and family abroad,
Belize will always be home and the
Easter weekend is as down home
as it gets. For us, it's not about re-
ligious devotion or obscene dis-
plays of wealth, power, political
connections, or any combination
thereof. It is about celebrating our
country and our unique Belize-ness.
Whatever the cost of doing that
this year, Musa and his gang won't
be running me out of town, at Eas-
ter or anytime else; I am here to stay
and have budgeted for it. Just like
so many of you. They can take the
money and run it abroad quite eas-
ily these days; but, God knows they
are not welcomed here anymore,
anyway..


Andy Palacie a the Garifuna Collective release WMtiar


Paul Nabor and Andy Palacio performing together. photo coutesy Richard Holder


Stonetree Records is proud to
present Andy Palacio's remarkable new
album featuring an all-star,
multigenerationallineup of musicians.
Five years in the making, Watina is in-
fused with contemporary influences,
enchanting rhythms, powerful melodies
and a deep soulfulness that is rooted in
the rich musical traditions of the Garifuna
culture. Belizean icon, Andy Palacio,
leads the Garifuna Collective and de-
livers a monumental tribute to this unique
and inspiring culture.
The initial recording sessions took
place over a several-month period in an
improvised studio inside a thatch-roofed
house by the sea in Hopkins Village. It


was an informal environment, where the
musicians spent many hours playing to-
gether late into the night, honing the ar-
rangements of the songs that would
eventually end up on this album. They
were inspired by a wide range of
Garifuna styles, such as the Latin-influ-
enced Paranda, the sacred Dugu, Punta
and Gunj ei rhythms. While the traditions
provided the inspiration, the musicians
also added contemporary elements that
helped give the songs relevance to their
modem context. Following the sessions,
Ivan Duran and AI Ovando worked
tirelessly back at the Stonetree studio
in Benque Viej o to craft what is surely
(Please Turn To Page 14) EMl


-~-


VISTA DANCE STUDIO

Director: SISTIE FAIRWEATHER -HARMES
10th annual

DANCE RECITAL

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 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4



Hard Adventure

asked him. "50." Answered the first.
rl "Cho! Baby stuff," one of the dive mas-
ters chimed in whipping out a bright
yellow tube of goo. "This here is SPF
98. Totally blocks the sun, by the end
of the day your skin is five shades
LIGHTER than when you left home. To
God."
.., "Mine is even better," a woman next
to me whispered." SPF 700 with green
By: Karla Heusner Vernon tea extract. Completely reverses the
"Welcome aboard everyone, the ride aging process, when you get to the caye
to Half Moon Caye Natural Monu- you'll be 18 again."
ment will be about two hours and fif- She did indeed look youthful. "Mind
teen minutes, so everyone sit back and Boobies nesting in the trees on Half Moon Caye. ifI borrow some?" I asked her. "Not at
relax," announced our guide with a "Yeah," she laughed, "I havelots of the reefin our lives looked at each other all," shebeamed.
broad smile and wave of his well tanned stuff I could be proofreading." What had we unwittingly signed up for? She reached over to hand me the
arm. But within moments we were no But we assured ourselves that ifthevet- sunblock with her free hand, hanging
Twowhole hours! Wow, imagine hav- longer laughing, or thinking two hours erans of the trip thought it was grand onto a rail for dear life with the other,
ing that much time to myself No work, was a welcome spate of time. It was an fun, it would be. After all, people come for by now we were raising off the seat
no kids, no traffic or potholes. Just overcast, windy day and the boat was from all over the world to see the red cushions a few inches or so with every
smooth sailing at sea. I should have starting to bounce up and down. footed booby birds and dive the Blue big wave. Waves we could see coming
brought a book or something. "Hmm, rough already and we are not Hole. So it had to be worth a little light at us in the distance like giant blue
Ileaned over to a colleague also on even in the blue yet," observed a mem- chop to choppy. whales.
the PACT media trip, "Should have beroftheAudubonteam, "justwaituntil "Want some sunscreen?" an amiable "Whoo-hoo!" Whooped one of the
brought my laptop, I could have been we get outside reef" he laughed. PACT member asked me. boat attendants. He nimbly jumped
doing a column." Those ofus who had never been past "What SPF is that?" another guy (Please Turn To Page 13) lEI


I The Lighter Side of the Ruta Maya


Robert Lopez of Hummingbird Rattan and his happy crew may not have finished first but they are still VIPs.







Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5



PACT invests In nature conservation


safeguards the future


By William G Ysaguirre
Tourism has become the country's
fastest growing industry, providing
jobs for 25% of working Belizeans.
Protecting wildlife and Belize's natu-
ral beauty translates into big bucks.
Not everyone is on the same page,
as witness the senseless attacks on a
Green Kingfisher and the even rarer
Herring Gull, which were reported by
the Belize Audubon Society on
Chanel 5's recent newscast.
The Protected Areas Conservation
Trust is working to change these at-
titudes; however, and to get more
Belizeans to acknowledge the eco-
nomic importance of protecting the
environment. Belize Audubon Soci-
ety is spearheading this educational
campaign by inviting the public on a
free bird tour in Belize City at six on
Sunday morning.
The Audubon Society is not the
only organization to benefit from
PACT funds, the PACT foundation
is inviting organizations involved in
nature conservation to submit pro-
posals to receive funding from


PACT Direc


to explain in ab
ing at the Ra
March 5. PAC'
create a national
tion which coul
workshops and
To date, PA(
grants, totaling
from January 1
These were


Distribution of PACT Gr
Research Grants
$134.635 00,2%-
Scholarshlps
$986,872.00,13


Small Grants
$2,255,926 20,
29%


$579,077.00, 7%
Medium Grants


PACT. Priority will be given to pro-
tected areas management including
education, training, research and
equipment. Grants are limited to a
maximum of $40,000 for one year,
and application forms are available
from the PACT office or may be
downloaded from their website
www.pactbelize. org.
PACT's raison d'etre is to provide
a sustainable financing mechanism to
fund the Non-governmental Organi-
zations (NGOs) involved in nature
conservation, as PACT Executive Di-
rector Valdemar Andrade was at pains


of Tourism, Fishing, Forestry & Agriculture
Nature Conservation Union
...(IUCN). It also uses its partnership
with the Global Environmental Fund
(GEF/SGP), with CI, Oak, The Na-
ture Conservancy, and MAR Fund
to leverage funding for local NGOs.
PACT funds activities such as
the demarcation of boundaries
research
institutional strengthening
infrastructure development
scholarships/short-term training
promotional materials
environmental education
monitoring activities
and minimal capital/office equip-
ment
actor Valdemar Andrade presents information on the : ,te., PACT's operating capitalization
breakfast media brief- over $100,000. for the 2005/06 Fiscal year was
disson on Monday, Among PACT's accomplishments approximately BZ$6,000,000
T was also formed to are the 36 protected areas (ap- which is divided in revolving, sink-
alentityforconserva- proximately 40% of the system) ing, and endowment funds. It is
dfinanceconsultation supported by grants and the 31 PACT policy that the Endowment
visitor surveys. NGOs, Government Departments Fund should receive no less than
CT has awarded 137 and associations which have ben- 5% of all revenues in any given fis-
g BZ $7,748,193.38 efited from the grants program. In cal year and for this year the En-
996 to January 2007. the 10 years of PACT's existence dowment Fund was
its staff has gained experience in BZ$2,700,000. Its primary objec-
managing grants. They have built a tive is to provide grants for the man-
ants network for dialogue with NGO's agement, conservation, develop-
and CBO's throughout the country ment of protected areas and wild-
and get active Support from Gov- life species.
ernment policies: such as the Debt Sources of PACT Funds
le ertS for Nature Swap and the Protected PACT gets funded through the US
$3,791,683.18, Areas Policy and planning. PACT $3.75 Conservation Fee paid by
49% plays a coordinating role in inter- tourists on their departure, 20% of
national alliances with the MAR the Cruise Ship Passenger Head
Fund, RedLAC, the International (Please Turn To Page 6) iE


4 Large Grants, all ongoing total-
ing over $3.7 million
2 Medium Grants, 1 ongoing, to-
taling over $500,000
75 Small Grants, 10 ongoing, to-
taling over $2.2 million
PACT also recognizes the impor-
tance of maintaining and building a
cadre of professionals trained in natu-
ral resource management and scien-
tific research. It has awarded 46
Scholarships, 1 long term training and
2 Professional Development Grants,
totaling over $900,000 and 7 Re-
search Grants, 6 ongoing, totaling


Most PACT funding 73% goes to grants, with 17% for operations and
only 10% for staff salaries.


.' m










O1Irnih Amai




MULTI-PURPOSE

CLEANER

LIMPIADOR MULTIUSOS
Harrison Chemicals, Mile 46, Western Highway, BELIZE, TEL: 501-822-2290








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6



TOO WrU5 FOR. WOUIS!

The Belize Harpy Eagle Restoration Programme is Soaring!!!


By Sharon Matola
Once upon a time, and not all that
long ago, the word "Harpy Eagle"
didn't mean very much to many people
livinginBelize.
That's all changed!! Why? In early
2003, The Belize Zoo, working with
The Peregrine Fund and with support
from the Government of Belize, put to-
gether a "flight plan" and brought 4
young Harpy Eagles, captive bred in
Panama,. to Belize. The plan was to
release these huge raptors back into the
forests where they once lived..
Why so rare? Harpy Eagles are one
of the 4 largest eagles in the world.
Their huge talons show all that they are
fearsome flying tropical forest preda-
tors. It has been the sad fate of the
Harpy to be persecuted. Since this
massive eagle looks so fierce, their ap-
pearance has often led to a bad and


sad meeting with a shotgun.
The aim of the Belize Harpy Eagle
Restoration Program was to bring the
birds back home, and also, to work to
foster a strong awareness about their
importance here in Belize.
The forests of Rio Bravo (with assis-
tance from Programme for Belize), were
targeted for the new Harpy home. It is
good forest! Lots for a Harpy Eagle to
eat there!
Tracking the released eagles with ra-
dio-telemmetry, it has been found that
their preferred dinner is Coatimundi,
followed by Kinkajou and Anteater.
However, the eagles have also preyed
upon snakes, Grey Fox and Porcupine.
To assist the Restoration effort, the
Belize Zoo worked to build up a dy-
namic education program, bringing
about a greater awareness on behalf
of this rare bird of prey. The feath-


ered "star" of the zoo's program is
none other than "Panama the Harpy
Eagle". "Panama" was captive bred
with the other eagles, however, when
hatched, it was discovered that he had
a badly damaged eye. As he was
unable to be released into the wild,
"Panama" came to The Belize Zoo as
a premier education bird. And what
an important job "Panama" has at the
zoo!
He educates zoo visitors about the
Harpy Eagle, and the vital role they
play in our forest ecology. At
"Panama"s roomy exhibit, visitors also
learn about the Belize Harpy Eagle
Restoration program. What a double-
barrel dose of cool education for all!
This combined effort, now on-going
for over 4 years, has truly made the
Harpy Eagle a solidly known and
well-loved bird in Belize.


PACT Invests in nature


nservation


i--nl(Continued From Page 5)
Tax, investments and individual
donations.
PACT's fiances are distributed
between the Trust Fund and the
Endowment fund
Operational expenses and grants
are disbursed from the Trust fund.
PACT's revenue distribution policy
is to spend 60% on Grants, 20%
for operational expenses and 20%
on staff salaries and benefits. The
present actual distribution is 71%
for Grants, 17% for operational ex-
penses and only 10% for staff.
Total Revenues have grown from
$1,278,644 in 2000, $1,422,489


Beflze o~ars


S1.5 0.04000



$1M 0009
95M OW 00


in 2001, in $1,476,280 2002,
$2,193,914 in 2003, $3,350,534 in
2004, $4,279,066 in 2005 to
$4,451,821 in 2006.


.- .. .' ..- . .
...
".- ..-' "C " .--- .-

1 *
. .

.. .* .,. :. .. -


'.. Al



/ Cy .an J -







Half Moon Caye is an important refugefor the booby bird.


(m F
UOO


,,~j~e_


l1o9mm mj


Money Management
The trust fund is managed through
an Interim audit at half year and a
full audit at end of year by an inde-
pendent internationally affiliated
audit firm. A Management team
drafts the budget, based on projects
in the pipeline and historical trends
of revenue.
Individual departments defend
their budget to management and
staff, and the budget is reviewed
and approved by a Board. Projects
are externally evaluated and the or-
ganization takes a proactive and
responsive approaches to grant
funding
The organization has plans for a
more autonomous Board through
new legislation, the development of
a fund-raising campaign and a na-
tional environmental education
strategy.
To see the results of this funding
at work, representatives of 8 me-
dia houses, including four TV sta-
tions toured the Half Moon Caye
Park managed by the Belize
Audubon Society on Monday,


March 5. They learned about its
importance as a habitat for the Red-
footed Booby bird (Sula sula) and
98 other species of birds who have
been identified on the caye, some
77 of which are migrants; with
ospreys, mangrove warblers and
white crowned pigeons being the
regulars.
They later snorkeled the Blue
Hole, a deep sink hole which is part
of the Lighthouse Reef atoll.
Sharon Perera of PACT also
briefed the media on the upcoming
PACT Challenge 2007, which this
year targets marine sustainability.
The 2006 PACT challenge had seen
teams sharing an adventure hike of
the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. This
year's challenge will feature three
teams kayaking, snorkeling and div-
ing in a marine adventure through
Belize's Barrier reef system in June.
The objective is to generate public
awareness and concern about pre-
serving Belize's marine resources
for the economic viability of the
tourism and fishing industries and
for future generations of Belizeans.


Total Revenues have grown from $763,265 in 1996/97 to $4,451,821 in 2006.


INOROW" 2f0W1 2@1fDO2 2O2MMOZ Oz S 2U Maw 2QSVZM 2lOO6MOS
Fisca Yewt








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


By Richard Harrison
Henry Edward Ernest Victor
Bliss, commonly known as Baron
Bliss (16 February 1869 9 March
1926), was a-British born traveller
who willed some two million US dol-
lars to a trust fund for the benefit of
the citizens of what was then the
colony of British Hondura, now
Belize.
TheBliss Institute (a performing
arts centre) was part of the benefits
from this endowment, as were the
city 's Bliss Lighthouse (where Bliss's
tomb is located), the Bliss School of
Nursing, and various other medical
facilities around the country.
Belize celebrates Baron Bliss Day
each March 9 in his honour.
Bliss's early personal history as well
as the origin of his "Baron" title is
uncertain. He styled himself "Fourth
Baron Bliss of the Kingdom of Por-
tugal"; there is some speculation that
the original Portuguese title was
Baron de Barrato. Other sources say
that his family surname was origi-
nally Barretts. He lived in the Baha-
mas, Trinidad and Jamaica for some
years before moving to Belize shortly
before his death.
The above excerpt was taken from
Wikipedia. What can Belize learn from
the story of Baron Bliss?
1. CHARITY the Baron could
have left his wealth to his family, his
country of origin, his workers or any
entity other than Belize closer to his
genes. He chose to leave it for Belize,
which was closer to his heart. This is a
great act of charity, and the beneficia-
ries are generations ofBelizeans. By
expressing this great act of charity to-
wards Belize, was he reacting to the
great act of charity with which the
people of Belize received their guests
at that time? No matter how poor Belize
people were, they always smiled and
welcomed guests, they always had a cup
of local brew to share, a small bite to
eat and a cheerful story to share.
2. NATURAL BEAUTY ac-
cordingly, Baron Bliss fell in love with
the natural beauty with which Belize was
blessed. Being beautiful obviously made
it easier for him to fall in love with Belize,
and to leave a large part of his wealth
for her. Belize's pristine waters, pleas-
ant sub-tropical atmosphere, cleanly liv-
able surroundings and lush inland for-
ests are what give it natural beauty.
3. WILL the will of this chari-
table benefactor has been managed by
reputable trust managers over many de-
cades. In Belize, its representative is
the Governor General, who represents
the Queen of England as the Head of
State. The principal of the fund has re-
mained intact until this day, and the in-
terests earned have been made avail-
able to Belize for the purpose of fulfill-


ing the will of the benefactor. This is
certainly a chapter of excellence in the
book of Belizean history.
What can Belize do to celebrate the
life of Baron Bliss?
1. BELIZE DAY OF CHARITY


- Belize should declare March 9 as
BARON BLISS DAY DAY OF
CHARITY I am certain that the Baron
did not intend for his will to provide food
for generations of Belizean children. I
am certain he did not intend for his gift


to be the one act of charity that our
country would ever see. Belizeans of
every generation should be allowed to
build on the principal left by the Baron.
Every year, leading up to March 9,
(Please Turn To Page 8) O W







Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8 |


ch How can you help protect Belize?


by Advocating for Belize


By: Nadja Chamberlain
Elections are coming up. Existing
parties are preparing their new plat-
forms while new parties are formulating
how they want to present themselves.
Now is when you can make a differ-
ence by instructing these entities in how
you expect them to protect Belize.
Before one can be a successful advo-
cate, one needs to understand what is
happening now and what can be done
to steer a better course.
You have watched as unplanned and
poorly planned development has
changed and is changing the character
and environment of your area. You have
wondered how to have a say in what is
happening. This short series of articles
will address critical problems in the ex-
isting planning process for the develop-
ment of Belize, and will then give you
specific steps you can follow to address





-- (Continued From Page 7)
Belize (through a Governor General
Appeal) should open up and promote
an avenue for all Belizeans to make at
least BZ$1 voluntary contribution to this
fund; as an act of charity to future gen-
erations of Belizeans. We can see the
very real benefits of this charity, when
the interest it earned was used in such
projects at the Baron Bliss School of
Nursing, the Bliss Institute and other
such socially oriented capital infrastruc-
ture. As a people, we should become
interested in seeing what the interest has
been used for over the last 20 years,
and offer our ideas on how it should be
used during the ensuing 20 years. That
is, the fund would take on a generational
dimension, responding to the socially-
oriented capital infrastructure needs of
the times.
2. BELIZE INNOCENT
AND PURE.
Belize should set a NATIONAL VI-
SION enshrined in our constitution and
given meaning via a perpetual national
program entitled BELIZE INNO-
CENT AND PURE, aimed at maintain-
ing and enhancing the country's natural
beauty. Belize should invest in expand-
ing the office of the Governor General,
so that it can define and then promote
the VISION, to provide oversight
which will help to coordinate all our
human and capital resources that should
be channeled towards specific obj ec-
tives in this regard. No less than 10%
of our national budget should be allo-
cated forthis purpose. If you live in a beau-
tiful place, no matter how pooryou might
be, you will be awed with every splendid


these problems and bring them to the
attention of the decision makers.
At present there are local and foreign
investors and developers who are tak-
ing advantage of the fact that the land in
Belize is still comparatively cheap, la-
bor is comparatively cheap, it is often
easy to get close to political entities that
can ease the way past government laws
and regulations, enforcement of environ-
mental laws is non-existent in many
cases, fines are almost unheard of or of
little consequence, there is little or no
environmental planning required, and
these projects are being turned over at
prices equal to what the going prices
are for similar developments in more
developed countries. Belize is being
sold out and the sellers are laughing all
the way to their banks......and laughing
at Belize.
We must begin with serious environ-





sunrise and grateful to live every breath of
a robust life. Indeed, the waters, air and
forests can provide abundant natural foods
for all. By maintaining and enhancing our
country's natural beauty, we will be guar-
anteeing the welfare of those less fortu-
nate among us. It is the best insurance
against abject poverty. We need to set a
clear vision for our citizens and institutions,
write sensible human-oriented environ-
mental laws and standards, enforce them
strictly with appropriate policing using a
penalties and rewards system, and allo-
cate appropriate resources to repair any
damages that have been done orto invest
in enhancement such a reforestation orri-
parian forests, etc. This program can be
used as the basis for a wholesome and
meaningful marketing of ourtourism and
industry offers. Belize's natural beauty


mental planning. Belize has a small
enough land area and a small enough
population that environmental planning
for the entire country is doable. Envi-
ronmental planning is a holistic process
that is complex in its structure yet simple
in its logic. It requires not only critical
information regarding the natural sys-
tems and functions but knowledge of
and consideration for the needs of hu-
mans. Environmental planning is aweb
where interrelationships between hu-
mans and the environment are woven
together. For environmental planning to
work, other needed information in-
cludes, but is not limited to, these ar-
eas: history, archaeology, populations,
demographics, culture, social structure,
employment opportunities, health, laws,
law enforcement, government, and even
the future effects of climate change. En-
vironmental planning cannot take place
in a vacuum; the impacts of these other
needs must be considered otherwise
the results of the planning will not work





should be able to attract many more gifts
to its future generations.
3. BELIZE THE WILL OF
EXCELLENCE.
Belize should set up an institute to pro-
mote excellence in all areas ofBelizean
life. Its work should be commissioned by
a Statutory Board comprised of business,
religious, government and civil society
leaders. The work ofthis institute should
be research oriented, able to scientifically
study all aspects ofBelizean life, to work
along with national institutions and their
stakeholders in setting up their standards
of excellence, and to be able to rate their
performancevis-a-vis those standards. It
should be able to identify areas of strength
and weakness, and help our institutions
to program for phased improvements in
their standard of excellence. If should


in the long term.
Knowledge of the environment must
start with base data regarding the natu-
ral systems to
enable decisions to be made on what
impacts can be absorbed by a natural
system and allow it to continue to fully
function. Functioning on the edge of
collapse is not the answer. Belize has
access to good base data regarding sys-
tems in general and systems, plants and
animals that are found in Belize. This
data is presently being placed, and will
continue to be placed as new informa-
tion is gathered, in a large database that
can be accessed on the Internet.
Subsequent articles will demonstrate
examples of good environmental plan-
ning, give ideas for careful development,
explain the existing planning process, tell
of needed changes in the existing plan-
ning process and, lastly, give sugges-
tions for becoming an advocate for the
environment and influencing decision
makers.





focus on a different set of national institu-
tions over three year periods, so as to have
focus and effectively utilize the resources
available. It should be able to carry a
score card for our principal institutions,
so that the public can be aware of and
appreciate improvements being made.
This institute should be financed with no
less than 5% of our national budget, with
proportional amounts coming from our
existing budgets for education, health,
defense, culture and constituency funds.
The long and short of this essay is that
we should seek to learn lessons from the
past which can allow us to build a better
future for the generations to come. This is
the inherent lesson from the will ofabene-
factor who chooses to grant us his wealth,
which has helped to improve our condi-
tions many generations after the fact.


VXith a


Tropical TvIist


Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppe


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


r Mile 31 1/4
Western Highway
BELIZE, Central America
Mailing Address: Box 346, Belmopan
E-Mail: chrissy@cheersrestaurant.bz


Ece


'l~a








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
You should be doing something spe-
cial with children. Try to keep your cool;
you may be a tad frazzled by all the
rushing around. Lighten up your seri-
ous attitude Property purchases should
be on your mind.Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- May 21)
Don't be alarmed. Abetter diet, ex-
ercise, or a change to a relaxed atmo-
sphere could be ways to soothe your
nerves. For now just do the best you
can. Your energetic nature and ability
to initiate projects will add to your
popularity. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
You may find that your mate is well
aware of the circumstances. Try to in-
clude friends and relatives in your ac-
tivities. You will enjoy the interaction with
youngsters and take great pride in the
projects you've completed. You might
have some problems balancing your
books. Your lucky day this week will
be Tuesday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
You'll communicate easily and de-
velop new friendships. False informa-
tion is likely if you listen to idle chatter
or gossip. In-laws or relatives may op-
pose your personal intentions. Don't let
any small misunderstandings get in the
way. Your lucky day this week will be
Saturday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Your need to put great detail into ev-
erything you do may cause you to miss
the overall picture. Try not to jump to


conclusions. Offers of joint ventures are
likely. You are exceptional at present-
ing your ideas. Your lucky day this
week will be Friday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
You can make money if you concen-
trate on producing services that will
make domestic chores easier. A little
volleyball or other outdoor sports
should be on your agenda. You will tend
to overeat this week. If you have to deal
with large institutions, be careful not to
make waves. Your lucky day this week
will be Monday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Your hard work will payoff; advance-
ment looks positive. You will want to
complain about the injustice that is go-
ing on, You must take care not to over
exert yourself if involved in sports. Try
to iron out any friction over money with
your mate or conflicts could prevail.
Your lucky day this week will be Thurs-
day.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Try to address the real issues in or-
der to turn things around. Secret af-
fairs will eventually backfire on you.
Don't push your luck with authority.
You will need to finalize important
deals this week. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec.
21)
Deception is apparent. It's a great
day to attend social functions. You will
be on the rampage this week. You
will be accident prone if you aren't
careful this week. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.


Beware


Road


Hogs

Well, you know I only talk when I gat
story fi tell. I was with my mother and
little sister on the Northern Highway
heading home to Ladyville when a black
Nissan Altima overtook us on a curve
and another car was coming in the op-
posite direction. The driver tried to
squeeze between us and a car in front
of us, which was like three feet away!
He almost hit my mom's side and my
little sister was in the back seat right near
the door. I was so frightened because I
didn't have on my seat belt (like I was
supposed to) and I had my chair back.


CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Involvement in groups of interest will
bring you in touch with important in-
dividuals. Take a break; you can fi-
nally mend any disputes on the home
front. You are apt to meet someone
special on your journey. Do not sign
your life away. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Your emotional state could leave
you vulnerable and confused. The key
to feeling good about yourself will be
to do something about it. Limitations


Your weekly

[}a[^o@ PE


on the home front can be expected if
you have been restricting your mate's
freedom. Let go of the past in order
to progress. Your lucky day this week
will be Sunday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You won't get the reaction you want
from your mate this week. Confusion
could result when communicating with
others. Tell them to get out of the mess
they are in and then you'll consider
getting together with them. Try not to
get backed into corners. Your lucky
day this week will be Monday.


THE


RICK'S HANGER CAFE


FO OD


Municipal Airstrip Belize City

Again, this is one of those places that you hear a lot about, at a location
that is less than ideal. Having said that, Rick's does not disappoint. Not
only is his atmosphere reminiscent of a true old Belizean restaurant with
wooden booth style seating, but his food is good, presented nicely and the
service, fast and very friendly. Rick himself served us, with a big smile and
a gracious attitude that is a rarity in town these days. After deciding we
weren't in the mood for "Hamadilly", we sampled the curry chicken and
stew beef, both with stew beans and white rice. Both were good, although
perhaps the beans needed a tad more salt. But let's not nitpick, the trip to
the land of sea breeze and aviation fuel was worth it, and with the juice
quenching the fiery hot pepper sauce, Rick's will definitely make it on to
my list regular lunch stops. By the way, I see they carry a copy of the In-
dependent on the counter...how can you go wrong!


We were so mad we decided to fol-
low the fool to get the license plate. We
kept driving and then all of a sudden he
turned into Mirage Road, but then he
turned off that street and started to
speed up again. We kept following him,
but he went down a little side street.
I wondered if he had noticed we were
following because there was a shorter
way to get there so maybe he was try-
ing to shake us off. If he lived there, he
would know the shortcuts.
We wanted his license, not just be-
cause he almost hit us, but because two
weeks ago a little taxi was hit by our
cutoff and when we went to buy
barbeque the people asked us if we had
seen a black car speeding through our
road, since it just hit the taxi and left
them there, not stopping. I think it might
have been the same car because this
person drives like an idiot. Maybe it's
even a year round drunk driver.
Anyway, if you see a black Nissan
Altima driving crazy around Ladyville
or the NorthernmHighway watch out! He
either causes accidents, or wants to
cause accidents. So get his license plate
just in case. There is a taxi driver look-
ing for him and probably a few teens he
almost killed who would like to tell him
to SLOW DOWN. by J. Heusner







Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Churches as contributors


to the increase in Crime


By:Kenneth Gale
Kingston, Jamaica is the highest crime
area in the Caribbean. Crime is so ram-
pant in Kingston that on occasion citi-
zens, out of sheer frustration, lynch
criminals on the spot where they have
been caught. Belize is progressively
moving up to second place behind
Kingston.
There are a number of reasons for the
increase in crime in Belize. Among these
is the inability of the less fortunate
Belizeans to obtain an adequate edu-
cation to properly maintain themselves
during their lifetimes. Amaj or obstacle
is the unnecessary, excessive costs
of education. The unnecessary and
excessive cost is one that has been cre-
ated by organized religions and per-
petuated by the Church schools for
many years. The Church schools have
never moved to eliminate the unneces-
sary costs and appear to resist any at-
tempt to eliminate the charges.
A person who through lack of edu-
cation cannot maintain his or herself
through legitimate employment will not
sit by and starve. That person will seek
other means of maintaining him or her
self
Presently different schools use differ-
ent titled books for the same subj ect.
At times a school's requirement for a
text book will not last longer than one
semester. Whereas, in standardization
there would be the identical subject
matter education nationwide for all chil-
dren. Books could last for 6 to 8 se-
mesters. Their printing costs would be
greatly reduced. Thousands of the less
fortunate children, who would not oth-
erwise be able to attend school, would
then be able to attend.
Proper standardization could easily
reduce the cost of books by 75%.
The problem is critical in the First
through the Fourth forms where text-
book costs literally deny the right of a
proper education to thousands of
Belizeans.
During a March 8, 2007 8:00 A.M.
forum conducted on Positive Vibes
Radio, Glenn Tillet emphasized the im-
portance of standardizing school books
and the great benefits that would be
derived from standardizing the books.
None of those he spoke to could come
up with any reason whatsoever as to
why school books should not be stan-
dardized.


It was brought out in the forum that
the problems arising from failure to stan-
dardize books have existed for a great
many years. There was only one rea-
son given for the fact that the books had
not been standardized: the parties which
had met many times has been unable
to agree upon which books were to be
used.
This is sick. If the parties do not have
the intelligence and ability to devise a
means whereby the proper books are
to be selected, then they should not be
involved in the field of education!
Why does such an improper obstacle
to education exist? Only the Churches
that manage the schools can tell you.
They should be made to explain their
justification, if any exists.
Currently, there is great speculation
among the public as to the reason books
are not standardized. Public opinion runs
from greed and corruption to supercil-
ious attitudes on the part of the clergy.
In any event, the clergy's failure to ex-
plain why they still cannot standardize
text books is nothing sheer of contempt
for all Belizeans.
Religions have a franchise in Belize in
respect to conducting education, how-
ever, this franchise that has been abused.
There is one precept that exists in all
recognized religions, that is, people are
on earth to help each other, not harm
each other. Any church that expounds


religion should live by their precepts. If
they cannot, they should not be allowed
to run schools.
They may think they are making
money to help cover school costs, but
in the long run they are costing the en-
tire society by keeping people poor and
forcing some of them into a life of crime.
About the author: Kenneth Gale
has provided costs of education for
hundreds of needy children ranging
from the University level through
College and the First through Fourth
Forms. He is the country's largest
single purchaser of text books and


has had to pay the unnecessary and
excessive cost of books during the
past 10 years.
He spent 25 years as a Superior
Court Judge in South Central Los
Angeles, California, s assigned there
for the opening of that branch Court
at a time when the area was the mur-
der and PCP capital of the United
States and the headquarters of the
Bloods and Crips gangs. As Super-
vising Judge he placed into effect
policies that diminished the power
and greatly reduce the crimes of both
the Bloods and the Crips.


.1


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S-waytu use
S....InPntaGrd

Welcome To Nature's Way Guesthouse

Clean, Safe, Affordable, "'

Central Location Sea Front View & Breeze

Single $23BZD, Double $33BZD

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AM *0 R sevtos: 51-26-01
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M ROW M M qw~ Fax 50 -226233
Emil rsevaios @tro *circo
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Visit


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In Th ol


IT aI V11 7- t








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


Huge Sugar Scandal


doing was reducing the collective
power of the traditional cane farmers.
Diplomat found
nearly naked


son why I mentioned this is to show
you what our elites are doing to our
economy," Ribadu said.
Millions of dollars in state funds are
believed to have been stolen from gov-
ernment treasury by officials in the
past.


It is happening again as this is writ-
ten a new Crony deal! The PUP
government has sold out the Libertad
Sugar Factory along with 2,000 acres
of the Santa Cruz land belonging to
the factory for only $1,000,000.
The original Libertad factory and
land encompassed 6,000 plus acres.
Then, in 2005, 4,000 of these acres
were sold off cheaply to 'cronies' to
grow 'super cane". These cronies in-
cluded a line up of Corozal and Or-
ange walk PUP politicians and sup-
porters plus one prominent UDP
farmer and politician.
According to IMF figures the Santa
Cruz lodge and land without the
factory was valued at $6,000,000
in 2005!
How did this come about? Well, go
back to the Sugar Industry Act of
2001- and the PUP government's eas-
ing of the way for it cronies to take
over 4,000 acres of the sugar lands
owned by Libertad.
The Act became law after 2003 and
said: "An Act to make new better pro-
vision for the administration and con-
trol of the sugar industry in Belize; to
provide for the organizational struc-
ture of the sugar industry through the
establishment of the Sugar Industry
Control Board, the Sugar Cane Pro-
duction Committee, the Sugar Indus-
try Research "Laws of Belize, revised
edition 2000, to repeal the Sugar
(Special and Development Institute,
the Sugar Cane Quality Control Au-
thority and the Belize Sugar Cane
Farmers Association; to provide for
the establishment of the Sugar (Indus-
try Development) Fund and the Sugar
(Labour Welfare) Fund; to consoli-
date the laws regulating the control of
the sugar industry; to repeal the Sugar
Cane Industry (Control) Act, Chap-
ter 283 of the Substantive Funds) Act,
Chapter 219 of the Substantive Laws
of Belize, revised edition 2000; and
to provide for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto."
And, in stepped the PUP friends and
cronies and bought the 4,000 plus
acres for little or no money on the pre-
text that they were 'modernizing' pro-
duction when what in fact they were


BBC reports that Israel is replacing
its ambassador in El Salvador after the
current envoy was found in a street,
drunk, wearing only bondage gear, of-
ficials said.
"Our ambassador has been recalled
immediately," a foreign ministry offi-
cial told AFP news agency.
San Salvador was Tzuriel Refael's
first post as ambassador, after pro-
motion in 2006 from a foreign minis-
try position.
The official said that, although dip-
lomats may have caused embarrass-
ment in the past, this was "the last
straw".


Nuhu Ribadu
Millions stolen
annually!
LAGOS, Nigeria (AFP): Five mil-
lion dollars allegedly stolen by a Ni-
gerian governor has been traced to the
Bahamas according to the head of
Nigeria 's anti-corruption agency
cited in reports published on Satur-
day.
Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the Eco-
nomic Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) was quoted as saying by lo-
cal press here that the authorities in
Bahamas had alerted the agency
about the money.
"The case is in court that is why I
will not mention the name. The rea-


Cancun beaches
washed away again!
From Julie Watson in Cancun, AP:
A year after Mexico spent millions to
replace beaches devastated by Hur-
ricane Wilma, the resort of Cancun is
fighting the forces of nature again.
Erosion has shrunk its beaches to the
point that waves at high tide lap
against the verandas of some of the
newly renovated hotels.
After Wilma, the Mexican govern-
ment spent $19m (9.8m) to dredge
the ocean floor and rebuild eight miles
of beach with 2.7m cubic metres of
sand. After the dredging was com-
pleted last spring, the beaches were
nearly double their pre-hurricane size
and tourists returned in droves.
Just a year later, the beaches have
shrunk again, to less than 20 metres
(65ft) at mid-tide in the tourist zone,
and swimmers are forced to clamber
down metre-high ledges of sand to
reach the water..
Tourism officials are planning a fund
for future beach restorations, as well
as an artificial reef off the coast that
should help contain the sand. Mean-
while, sandbags line sections of the
beaches and large, cloth-like tubes have
been installed about 10 metres offshore.
But environmentalists say such costly
efforts will be futile so long as hotels
continue building at the water's edge
and ripping out the vegetation whose
roots once helped to hold the sand in
place. They have been lobbying for a
10-metre strip of native plants, with
paths between hotels and the beach.
Bush reminder about
Guat's right wing!
The Network in Solidarity with the
People of Guatemala (NISGUA) urged
President Bush to make justice and ac-
countability for human rights abuses a
priority during his visit to Guatemala -


particularly by emphasizing support for
the legal cases against General Efrain
Rios Montt and members of his mili-
tary high command.
"The case against Rios Montt is not
only about addressing some of the
worst crimes committed in this hemi-
sphere in the last century. It is also
involves tackling the ongoing problem
of impunity, and demonstrating that
Rios Montt's ties to organized crime
do not put him above the law," said
NISGUANational Organizer Andrew
de Sousa.
Legal proceedings in both Guate-
mala and Spain are attempting to hold
the former dictator and his military
high command responsible for geno-
cide and other gross human rights vio-
lations.
President Bush's visit to Guatemala
this weekend came at a pivotal time
in these cases, with Rios Montt plan-
ning to launch a run for the Guatema-
lan Congress on May 2 in a bid to
gain immunity from prosecution in the
national court system.
Maya's ward off evil
spirits
Guatemala -A whiff of incense, a
sputter of candles, a hum of prayer.
Mayan Indian activists on Thursday
offered the gentlest protest yet to the
Latin American tour of President
Bush as they held a purification cer-
emony to drive out the "bad spirits"
they said he had left behind during a
stop at their ancient pyramid.
Bush visited Iximche, capital of the
prehispanic Kaqchiqueles kingdom,
during his daylong trip to Guatemala
as part of a five-nation tour of Latin
America.
The activists said the bad spirits
were roused by Bush's policies, in-
cluding the U.S. -led war in Iraq. "To-
day is a special day on the Mayan
calendar," said Jorge Morales, direc-
tor of the Young Mayan Movement.
"That's why we are taking advantage
to do this special event to clean and
get rid of the bad spirits and re-es-
tablish this sacred place's harmony."







Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


PNP


&


WTP form alliance


The Peoples' National Party (PNP) and
the We The People (WTP) Reform Move-
menttodayformedahistoricpolitical alliance
to contest the upcoming general elections
candidates in every district.
Party leader, Wil Maheia ofthe PNP and
Hipolito Bautista, coordinator ofthe WTP
concluded the alliance this pastweekin San
Ignacio Townwith the signing ofamemo-
randum ofunderstanding and cooperation
betweenthetwo political parties. Witnessing
the historic eventwere representatives ofthe
northern, southern and western caucus and
other prospective candidates.
Thej oint platform is focused on reforms
including constitutional ones and to ensure
proper representation of all Belizeans regard-
less ofparty affiliation; legal amendmentsto
stopthemanipulationofelectionsbybigbusi-
nesses; to stop the loss of public assets to
widespread corruption; and a productivity
strategy to turn our country away from bor-
row and spend economics, uncontrolled
crime, intolerable poverty forwomen, chil-
dren and youth, worker exploitation, disap-
pearing passports, and depressing education,
health, and agricultural performance.
Ourj oint strategy and plan of action calls
for
An elected Senate that represents the
people and not the political party in power;
AWhistle Blowers Protection Act that
insuresimmunityforthosewhorepottcrimes
ACampaign FinancingAct that would
limits on contributions from the wealthy few,
Amendment to laws addressing voter dis-
tributionthatwillmakeeveryone'svotecount
the same;
Landdistributionthatisfairandempow-
esvillagecouncilswhileeliminatingministe-
rial abuse;
National petroleum policy that doesn't
put foreign profits above local benefits and
protection ofthe environment;
Investment in education to allow every
child an equal opportunity for a good educa-
tion and provides every school with the re-
sources to prepare ouryouth forthe future;
ReformstotheFisheriesActthatwill al-
low Belizeans to benefit first and foremost
from a fishing industry that is managed in a
sustainableway;
-Improvementstothenational tourism poli-
cies sothatcommunities and smallbusinesses
can benefit from the industry through more
training and access to credit;
-An agriculturepolicy that diversifies pro-
duction and investment away from monoc-
ulture tobenefit small producers and doesn't
allow a few monopolies to harvest all the
profits;
Business policy that create level playing
field and breaks up the monopolies that are
benefiting atthe expense ofthe consumer and
provides oversightthatis free ofpolitical in-
terferencetotheDFC and SSB and full ac-
countability for recent scandals;
Support and respect for our labour laws
andtheunions;
Strengthen the judiciary by removing it
from the Office ofthe Prime Minister and


make sure the police have the training and
equipment to dotheirjobs;
-Anational health care system that reaches
eventhemostremote rural communities and
accounts for all monies spent;
Respect forhuman rights, the constitution
andthe rule oflaw, with all Belizeans treated
equally;
StrengtheningtheDepartment oftheEn-


vironment sothey can cany outthelawwith-
out political interference and early passage
ofthe national protected area system policy
andplan;
Policy changes in our foreign relations to
allow for more collaboration with other na-
tions
OurAlliancewill continuetoseekjointelec-
tion initiatives with other established parties


andindividuals in an efforttofieldmore can-
didates nationwide. We continue to seekthe
support ofthe trade unions, church organi-
zations, businesses and non-governmental
organizations and communities across the
nation. OurAlliancewill hold press confer-
ence shortly to announce its slate of candi-
dates and present its election platform and
plan ofaction.pressreleasefltmPNP/WTP








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Pagel33


g-in(Continued From Page 4)
around the cabin locking the windows
to prevent the seawater from pouring
in. He skated around on the water on
the floor as if he were born to surf. One
window gave trouble so he flung him-
self outside the door and bolted along
on the OUTSIDE of the boat to lock it.
I was sure he was going to fall over-
board. I looked up at one of the signs
over the door: Remain seated while
the boat is moving.
"Shouldn't someone tie him on or
something, or at least make him sit
down?" I asked a colleague.
A few people were putting on the
lifej ackets they had been given when we
left shore. Including me. As the boat
slammed wave after wave it rattled and
shook. I began to look for exits.
I don't normally travel on enclosed
boats and remembered why when a few
people, deprived of fresh air, began to
throw up. Hardly anyone was laughing
now, except the people who were so
used to it they were chatting away. Oth-
ers were sleeping. Yes, sprawled out on
the seats without the least concern for
falling off onto the floor or flying off the
stern. Is this what the BTB is calling
"soft adventure?" Pretty hard on the
backside. And nerves.
"Look, over there!" shouted one of
the Audubon guys. I was afraid to look,
sure he was pointing towards a giant
Kracken that was rising from the deep
to grab the boat in its tentacles and suck
us down to the bottom, lost forever.
I thought of my husband and children.
Take care of the girls Trev-
"Dolphins! two o'clock," directed the
guide. "How cute they are," breathed a
young blonde woman with some Euro-


pean accent I couldn't quite catch. Her
equally blonde friend was trying to
steady herself long enough to take a
photo.
Yeah, adorable, I thought, hugging my
life vest closer. I had no intention of
being distracted from imminent death by
frolicking sea life.
"Whatsa matter Karla? You're sup-
posed to come from a long line of sea
folk," said one of the guides.
"I'm okay, just obeying port regula-
tions here, how much further?"
"About ten minutes, we are at the atoll
now."
And indeed, we peered out and could
see the land. Non-moving land. As we
emerged from the confines of the boat
onto the pier and used our noodley legs
to make our way up onto the beach I
suddenly knew why early adventurers
named land they "discovered" after
saints.
"I could kiss the ground," moaned one
of the passengers who had gotten sick.
Someone stuffed bottle ofDramamine


in her hand for the return trip. She
perked up considerably.
We all did. How could you not? Half
Moon Caye is one of the most beautiful
places in Belize. Perhaps the world. As-
tonishingly lovely, even on an overcast
day. We felt fortunate to be in this spe-
cial place, free of hotels, just there to
protect the wildlife and promote re-
search.
The group assembled in the visitor's
center for a brief information session on
the caye, the Blue Hole nearby and the
atoll. We were surprised to learn that
Belize's Booby colony is one of only
two in the whole Caribbean, the other
in Trinidad and that researchers are in-
vestigation whether the communities are
genetically related. In addition, the area
provides important grounds for grou-
per and other fish and the caye has a
littoral forest, not unlike that at Caye
Caulker.
But despite its designation as a pro-
tected area, no less than eleven illegal
fishing vessels were confiscated since
the beginning of the year, mostly from
Chunox and Sartenej a. The ranger who
confronts them has to do so alone, un-
armed, and then accompany a sailboat
full of men some 6 to 8 hours back to
Belize City where they can be charged.
The Coast Guard, we were told also
assists, but it is largely up to PACT and
Audubon to try and protect the pro-
tected areas. But these agencies are
working with other fisherman to have
them help manage fishing breeding
ground and come up with alternative
means of making a living, not just ar-
resting people.
The lecture was informative but also
interactive because we then took a walk
across the caye, through the littoral for-


est. Ayoung, enthusiastic Peace Corps
volunteer told us about the plants and
animals and of course theAudubon per-
sonnel were walking field guides full of
interesting tidbits about each and every
aspect of the caye and surrounding
waters. We climbed the observation
deck and saw hundreds of nesting
booby birds and also frigates. At an-
other spot, we were shown the area
where the boobies are accosted by the
frigates each evening as they return from
fishing. They try to take away the Boo-
bies' fish after they lazed around all day
and the boobies hunted. They fight fe-
rociously; we even found both a dead
booby and a frigate corpse on the
beach.
At this same spot turtles nest in the
summer months and their babies make
the perilous trip back into the sea, brav-
ing these same aggressive birds. Only
the fastest young ones make it.
After lunch we sped out to the Blue
Hole, which, I have to say is not nearly
as impressive from by boat as it is by
air. We were told it's actually a col-
lapsed rock formation like a huge cave,
not unlike the cenotes in other parts of
the country.
As we approached we saw one of the
illegal fishingvessels anchored right offthe
Blue Hole, nets out of sight, but the rang-
ers from the caye knew they were just
waiting until we were out of sight. They
would be dealt with later that day.
I couldn't help but wonder if this is hap-
pening in broad daylight in our suppos-
edly "protected" areas, how much more
illegal fishing is happening in areas outside
the reserves which are not under constant
surveillance.
The caye, with its rusty old lighthouse is
familiar to many Belizeans, even more so
after being on the cover of last year's
phone book, but sadly while many tour-
ists visit each year, theAudubon society
reports only a 100 or so Belizeans annu-
ally. This is primarily because it is an ex-
pensive and long trip out, and depending
on the weather, it can be a rough one.
But ifyou can hold on long enough and
keep your sense of humor, it's aj journey
worth making if you have the opportunity.
You will learn a lot, about the environ-
ment and also about what you can per-
sonally endure in order to appreciate it.
You will also appreciate, all the more, the
people who work as guardians of these
areas so precious to Belize, and the world..


The lighthouse on Halfmoon Caye is an important landmark for mariners.


See shells and coral on the shore of Half Moon Caye.


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Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 141[


Dead

--in (Continued From Page 1)
bereft of any ability to pay, that as the
I.M.F., as the I.F.I.'s were telling the
creditors, you noh have no choice, you
better take what you can get, otherwise
you will get nothing.
Then Barrow rallies
his UDP troops
"All thatMadam Speakeris the legacy
of this PU.P government of this Prime
Minister. He has lost all legitimacy, all
semblance of support or sympathy and
the only thing he can do now is go and
go quickly. For the sake of our country,
for the sake of your own party, where
even your own ministers know and say
privately that you are a dead man walk-
ing, just go!"
Known for his marathon speeches in
past debates, Mesop Area Rep Michael
Finnegan confined himself to only a few
hours. He took square aim at Michael
Ashcroft and the PUP's devotion to the
man who would be king.
Finnegan rips into his old buddy,
The Lord & Master
"And I am the one who is still stand-


BME (Continued From Page 3)
the pinnacle of Belizean music produc-
tion to date.
Watina was released in the USA on
February and has received huge interna-
tional buzz in the music industry. The al-
bum is being released in over 100 coun-
tries thanks to a licensing and marketing
agreement with Cumbancha, a label re-
cently formed by Putumayo World
Music's long time A&R vice-president,
Jacob Edgar.
In only its first week Watina rose to #9
on the influential CMJNew World Chart
which is based on radio airplay across the
U.S.A. In January, the New York Times



This year the National Institute of Cul-
ture and History takes another stride in
its mandated path of promoting and
showcasing Belizean Art and artists of
all genres and ages.
Included in the calendar ofNICH' S
events is another exciting showcase of
young Belizean Talent. This time, the
tiny tots will take the stage at The Bliss
Centre for the Performing Arts. The
week-long event will be termed the
"BELIZE DISTRICT'S PRE-
SCHOOLS' FESTIVAL OF ARTS"
and is a collaborative effort of the Pre-
School Unit, Ministry of Education and
The Institute of Creative Arts, National
Institute of Culture and History. For


an


ing up and saying to you that the seven
million dollar write off to the Carlisle
Group is a slap in the Belizean people
face. It is a disgrace, it is pathetic, it is a
shame, and this government should be
ashamed of yourself.
"When they were all sweet and hug-
ging at each other Madam Speaker,
nobody was criticizing Michael
Ashcroft. Not the Prime Minister, not
the PUP, not the Publisher- none of them
were criticizing Michael Ashcroft. They
were all eating this grand old potato
pound that was full of spice and raisins.
They were all eating at the potato pound,
this government that created the Michael
Ashcroft scenario. They are responsible.
How can we forget this great one of
cheaper water bill, no won't forget,
cheaper light bill, cheaper telephone bill,
all in the manifesto of" Set Belize Free."
They promised cheaper light bill,
cheaper water bill, cheaper telephone
bill. Madam Speaker it is nine long
dreaded years and we are still waiting.
Do you remember Madam Speaker
that going into that 1998 elections on


highlighted the band's performance at
Webster Hall in New York where they
showcased as part of Globalfest 2007.
Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective
will be touring extensively in 2007 in the
USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Belgium,
Spain and France.
Watina comes in a deluxe package with
a 36 page full color bookletwith artist pho-
tos and full song lyrics in English and
Garifuna. The disc also includes a multi-
media section containing videos and other
features.
The album is available at all quality
record stores and gift shops or online at
www.stonetreerecords.com



this initial season this particular festival
will be limited to the forty-eight (48)
pre-schools in the Belize District and will
be celebrated under the theme, "NUR-
TURING YOUNG TALENT IS
TIME WELL SPENT." Appropriately
the event will run from 19 March 2007
to 23 March, 2007 dates which fall
within the month labeled," CHILD
STIMULATION MONTH."
The National Institute ofCreative Arts
and History firmly believes that the fate
of the arts and culture lies with the hands
of our young ones. We therefore ex-
tend a warm welcome to this addition
to the NICH family.
May they explore, grow, and shine!


'al


Channel 7 News they had a little lady
at the back of Lake Independence with
an iron board and the lady was ironing.


king

He said the PUP will set up a commis-
sion for utilities and when you think your
(Please Turn To Page 15) *


Full Service Airline

With over 180 daily

scheduled flights

throughout Belize

and Flores in

Guatemala


Charters also available


The Airline of Belize


Andy Palacio a the Garifuna

Collective release Watln








Friday, March 23, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 155


oeiaI Pa go


Police Officer Randy Sanchez and Court prosecutor Jacqueline Willoughby are all
smiles as they take vows to be joined in connubial bliss on Saturday, March 10.


Dead Man Walking


--in (Continued From Page 14)
bill is too high, you will go to this com-
mission, ha ha ha, and this commission
will lower your bill. Ha ha ha, bwoy
PUP could whap those people. I am
telling you they are good."
What's the price for success, G7?
PUP Albert Representative Mark
Espat, who helped steer the recent debt
restructuring, maintained the outlook is
positive despite public perception oth-
erwise:
"No one Madam Speaker, no one can
credibly argue that the health of
government's finances has not improved
significantly over the last two years, es-
pecially since 2004. The favorite threats,
the favorite threats and forecasts of the
Opposition of default and devaluation
are no longer even relevant to the de-
bate.
"The broad outline of the budget is
once again very, very positive: keeping
public finances on a sustainable footing
and building on the progress of the past
two years.
"With the economy expected, con-
servatively, to grow by 2%, but with
petroleum corporate taxes being paid
to the treasury for the first time this year,
the overall budget deficit is expected at
less than one percent of the gross do-
mestic product or just $24.7
million.. .Madam Speaker there is ac-
tually a recurrent budget surplus of $65.6
million, the largest recurrent surplus in
recent memory. Even after reclassifying
$25 million that was in capital I[ expen-
diture to recurrent expenditure."
Deputy Prime Minister Johnny
Briceno, the PUP Orange Walk Cen-


tral Area Representative believes the
2007-2008 Budget puts Belize back on
track:
"I support this budget because it
shows our emergence from the chal-
lenges of the past couple years to the
promise of prosperity that every
Belizean deserves. I support this bud-
get because it puts us back on track,
enabling us to continue to deliver on our
manifesto commitments. I support this
budget because it brings us closer to
providing our young people with greater
opportunities for education, build
healthier communities, and because it
continues to fight against the scourge of
poverty. I support this budget because
once again it recognizes in the Belizean
people, the boldness to move ahead,
to face the challenges of development,
and to become stronger and more con-
fident citizens."
All in all a sober debate on many of
the hot issues affecting Belizeans:
1) rampant official corruption
2) high costs of fuels, caused by
Washington (Barrow says)
3) high consumption taxes
4) give-aways of national lands
What we would have liked to have
seen is a performance assessment of
the previous budgets because a bud-
get is really only a guesstimate of ex-
penditures & revenues for a future
period. Therefore an evaluation of
how effective the government ex-
ecuted the previous year's budget is
what we really need to see on the one
hand and, on the other, the efficiency
of that past year's budget needs to
be examined.


El (Continued From Page 2)
every time there is a serious issue is a
little too idealistic and may be going to
extremes. Especially if the government's
term is reduced to four years. Isn't an
election result a referendum on gover-
nance? Wasn't the result of the Citco
Election a clear and distinct message to
the government that you have lost your
mandate to govern?
To reduce the massive corruption tak-
ing place in the Ministry of Lands, the
idea of a five-person committee to au-
thorize the sale of national lands in ex-
cess often acres would be a big help.
But again, I say the issue will always be
personal integrity and honesty.
And while it is difficult to legislate
morality, I put to your newspaper that it
is in this realm of personal character
where our biggest problems with good
governance lies. There is a massive de-
terioration of integrity in the people who
offer themselves as leaders in every field
and career in this country. So while re-
form is essential and necessary, we still
need honest and upright leaders.
Very importantly, the Ministry of the
Environment should be upgraded. Land
based tourism attracted responsible
tourist because of bushes, ruins, reef and
beaches. If we ruin these, we will be
just another destination. This was our
edge as opposed to the "glass and con-
crete" destinations. Judging from some
the crazy projects being proposed, we
are going to be in a deep mess.
The problem is deteriorating integrity
and morals.
The above are my personal views and
are not those of the UDP.
Respectfully, Henry Young
Former Area Rep and Minister of
Government
UDP are the same as
the PUP
Dear Editor,
The March 11, 2007 issue of The
Reporter published a letter to the Edi-
tor signed Henry Young. The letter criti-
cized the newspaper, The Independent
Reformer, for "dumping the UDP in the
same dirty bag as the PUP". He con-
tended that it is not supported.
The trouble is that it IS supported.
Even though the UDP doesn't have re-
sponsibility for the Development Fi-
nance Corporation (DFC) scandal. The
difference between the two political
parties is that the UDP has not been in
the office long enough to become as
deeply involved in corruption and be-
come as bold as the PUP in what they
have done.
Irrespective of that when the UDP
was in office, like the PUP, low bidders
were not selected and bribes were so-
licited. There were many Belizeans af-
fected who were victims of such acts of
corruption.


Mr. Young came out against an
Elected Senate and proposed his own
solution. In doing so he in effect ac-
knowledges the fact that the present
system of selecting Senators is not ap-
propriate.
I maintain an Elected Senate is the best
means of abolishing corruption. It would
remove the dictatorial power of the
Prime Minister and change the Country
into a true democracy.
The UDP's present leader, Dean Bar-
row, has come out against an Elected
Senate. Such a Senate would dash
Barrow's hopes of slipping into the of-
fice as a dictator. Barrow rejected the
adoption of an Elected Senate and in
doing so made the statement that his
party was entitled to its turn.
Barrow should come out and explain
to the voters what he meant by the state-
ment. The connotation that is frequently
placed on the statement is shocking. It
has been stated that what Barrow is stat-
ing is that the UDP wants the same
chance as the PUP has had during the
past 10 years. A chance to do what?
The same opportunity for corruption?
Belize acquired a system where Sen-
ate is not elected as a reflection of
England's political system where the
House of Lords is not elected. England
has now had enough. Due to existing
scandal, on March 8, 2007 the House
of Commons voted overwhelming to
introduce election for the House of
Lords.
Mr. Young opines that is it conceivable
that all of the Senate seats could be won
by a popular political party. That has never
happened. Apolitical party will gain seats
when and only when the political party is
properly conducting itself. When there are
questionable acts of the party in power
an interim election will change the control
of the Senate to oppose the party.
The United States has had a recent elec-
tion where the composition of the Senate
has changed due to protest against the
policies of the present party in power. The
party out of office now has the majority
of the Country's Elected Senators. The
Elected Senate has additional value
in that the Senators answer to the
voters not to a political party.
Mr. Young makes avery valid point, he
writes "The idea of reducing the
Government's term from 5 years to 4
years would have my support". In that
respect Mr. Young is correct. The term of
office of a corrupt Government would be
shorter and the opportunity to soon
change control through an interim elec-
tion of the Senate would exist.
If Dean Barrow wishes to put an end to
corruption he should immediately advo-
cate and move for an Elected Senate and
thereby also make Belize atrue democ-
racy.
Signed,
Fed up with red smoke and mirrors.










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