Title: Independent reformer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00019
 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: April 13, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00019
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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Mayan leaders tell PM Musa

Belize City, April 3, 2007
The Alcaldes and Village Chairper-
sons of Conejo and Santa Cruz Villages
representatives of the Mayan Leaders
Alliance and in the Toledo district filed
a petition in the Belize Supreme Court
against the government of Belize on
Tuesday for what they say is the GOB's
failure to recognize, protect, and respect
the Maya's customary land rights.
The "Ten Points of Agreement" signed
by the government in October 2000
acknowledges the Mayan people's
"rights to land and resources in south-
ern Belize, based on their long standing
use and occupancy."

Human rights attorney Antoinette Moore
argues for the Toledo Maya &'
constitutional rights.

Supreme Court orders

Christine Perriet reinstated

A jubilant Christine Perriot talks to
reporters after the decision.
Belize Communications Workers
Union General Secretary Christine
Perriot was overcome with emotion
when she won her petition to the Belize
Supreme Court to be re-instated to her
job with Belize Telecommunications Ltd.
Attorney Lois Young accompanied
Perrioty in court on Thursday, April 5,
when Justice Sir John Muria ordered
BTL to temporarily reinstate Perriot
to her post as a Grade 6 technician in
the company's Internet department, with
full salary and benefits with effect from

February 27, the day the company had
dismissed Perriot from her post.
Perriot had appealed her firing to the
court on the grounds that her job per-
formance was exemplary, as she had
obtained a grade of 4.4 in her last job
evaluation and that the primary reason
for her dismissal was because of her ac-
tivities as an officer of the Belize
CommunicationsWorkers Union.
"I was fired from BTL because I was
standingup for workers' rights," Perriot
told reporters outside the court imme-
diately after the verdict. "I was fired as
a trade unionist. I was not terminated
because of my job; I was terminated
because I was defending these guys,
three workers who were fired."
Perriot had 16 years of service with
the company, the last 3 years as a Grade
6 technician in the Internet department
and is currently involved in the union's
representation of three other BTL em-
ployees who were dismissed following
the theft of several hundred telephones
from a BTL depot in Ladyville.
In reading his judgement, Justice
Muria dismissed arguments submitted
by BTL Chairman Dean Boyce in an
(Please Turn To Page 3) E W

What has the Mayan people so in-
censed is that since then the
government's actions have not followed
the sprit of the agreement. By granting
concessions for oil exploration and de-
velopment, logging license and the pro-
duction of hydro electricity without con-
sulting with the Mayan communities in
the area, the government has ignored

the rights of the Mayan people, the lead-
ers charge.
Prime Minister Said Musa has coun-
tered these accusations by saying that
while his government recognizes the
rights of all Belizean people to own land
from which they may earn a living, he
will not allow what he calls the
(Please Turn To Page 5) UE

Boyd Johnson wins

2007 Cross Country

Boyd Johnson proudly displays the champion's garland & trophy (Story on pg 14).

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2 7


Burdensome taxes
Dear Editor,
Well, let's see, in the last 5 or 6 years:
1. I pay triple the amount of taxes I
used to pay.
2. I still don't see any local benefit from
those taxes we still don't have a road,
adequate healthcare or better schools. (As
an aside, it seems that the road will be
delayed again GOB apparently can't
come up with their end of the deal de-
spite the triple taxes.)
3. I spend at least triple the amount of
time doing tax-related paperwork, use
triple the amount of paper and ink.
4. Prices for food, electricity, butane
and gas have at least doubled.
5. I no longer have a vehicle because
of the road conditions, high gas prices and
inability to get repairs and maintenance due
to road conditions and high prices for re-
placement parts.
6. I didn't go to the States last year to
visit family and friends because I couldn't
afford it.
7. Interest rates are now at 15%, up
from 10% 4 years ago.
8. I now have to have burglar bars on
my windows because of increasing crime.
9. I still have to pay for two different
sources of Internet access because BTL
still isn't reliable.
10. Ihave much less free time than I
used to have due to increased paperwork
loads and having to work twice as hard to
earn a decent income due to higher prices.
11. The environment is being degraded
at a rapid pace, with any spare time I have
being devoted to issues such as how do
we pay for a sewer system locally without
government assistance despite the triple
taxes. How do we keep developers from
cutting down mangroves illegally because
the Forestry Departmentis so underfunded
that they don't have the manpower for

enforcement, and the fines are too low to
be a deterrent, etc., etc., etc. In addition
to the personal effects, local community
1. Fewer and fewer children are going
to high school because of increasing
school fees and costs of books most
kids in Seine Bight Village don'thave any
books at all- at any school level, despite
the much touted Hands Foundation, and
the GOB certainly doesn't help.
2. Standardized test scores are drop-
3. Even Guatemalans and Hondurans
who migrated to Mango Creek are leav-
ing because of high prices.
4. Tourists are complaining about high
prices, to the point where I think we're
going to price ourselves out of even the
moderate income tourism market- and
how many wealthy people want to visit a
country where they can't get the goods
and services they want due to GOB in-
eptness, greed and shortsightedness?
5. Disaffection in this area is at an all-
time high. Why bother to try to improve
your community when absolutely nothing
seems to work when you can't even
getyour Village bylaws considered much
less passed, leaving the Village entirely at
the mercy of GOB to do whatever they
If I sat here long enough, I could con-
tinue addingto this list, but I have workto
do so that I can pay the government more
Signed, Mary Toy

Protect Constitutional
Dear Editor,
It seems even as the GOB and a few
Belizeans cash in on the legacy of the
Mayans ofBelize via the tourism indus-
try, the descendants are still among the
poorest in our country and still strug-
gling for their ancestral rights to be rec-
The Prime Minister has apparently
made up his mind on this issue and left
the Mayan people with no alternative
but to take their issue to the Supreme
Isn't it ironic that the Mayan people
are now fighting for their ancestral
rights and continuing their legacy of
resistance by using the European ju-
dicial system
and Constitution that we inherited from
our colonial masters? Are they about
to impart another important legacy by
demonstrating for the benefit of all
Belizeans the true meaning of indepen-
dence and what a Constitution ought
to be? Are they about to teach us a
lesson that a Constitution ought not
be a document used by the elite ruling
class simply to protect the status quo
and their narrow interests but should
instead be a document that protects
the rights of the least powerful in our
society? Let's hope our Supreme
Court rises to the occasion.
Signed Mario Lara

An apology to our readers and We The People for the headline of a report
in last week's edition which was incorrectly titled "PNP & VIP denouce Po-
litical Interference in Villge Council Elections." It should have read PNP &
WTP denounce,,,"
Editor's note: Whenever Monday is a holiday, Independent Weekly
will hit the streets on Wednesday

P.O. Box 2(666
Bclic Citl. Beli/c

71 YES! Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformier for as little as
BZ$30 ( (ULIS$S30.00 international

SIIP. k I" i'. I l' I

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Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3



By: Trevor Vernon
Like many other Belizean families,
ours was blessed this past weekend with
the visit of relatives from abroad. What
a pleasure that was: interacting with
people you can totally drop your guard
around and spend quality time with.
People who, inadvertently or otherwise,
don't try to hustle you. Instead all they
want is the pleasure of your company
and to see the country they left long ago.
My brother and his son came to
spend the Easter with us and I had to
show them a good time and make them
know that our casa is their casa, any-
time. Since I sold my boat (it pays to
advertise in the Independent!) I had to
lean on an old friend who was kind
enough to work with my last minute
schedule a bit and lend us one of his.
No mistake about it, that friend is the
kind of guy you could trust with your
life. Old school and hard to find in Belize
today. Much respect.
But it went downhill from there.
Gas station attendants aren't all hus-
tling people, I swear by the folks at
BUCA Shell on the Northern and High-
way Man Service Station in Ladyville
and several others in the city. But I had
to stop elsewhere due to chores and

schedules. So anyway I asked the at-
tendant at one particular station that shall
remain nameless (unless you email me
privately) to pump $25 dollars regular
gas. He "accidentally" pumps only $20,
while collecting the $25. You can't get
too distracted. Regular gasoline is at a
near all time high in Belize atnearUSD$5
(and apparently it went up again on
Monday night...) something a gallon, or
almost $10 BZ. That is bad enough but
then to have attendants follow our lead-
ers and jack you some more is abso-
lutely incredible. (Here, the editor will
have to edit the expletives
Then we pull up to the marine termi-
nal where the enterprising cooperative
guys have made arrangements for se-
curity the overnight parking customers
who want a little safety for their rides.
We are informed by everyone that the
overnight rate is $20.... The parking lot
guy finally shows up and informs that its
actually $25 a night. I feel hustled but its
not justified. It gnaws at my stomach a
bit but thinking about the money I had
to spend to replace a window and a ste-
reo last time around, figure its worth it
and go looking for a cold beer for my
But, it's Good Friday and sorry: no
cold ones for sale at the terminal, not
even at $5 at pop. Abit ridiculous in a
country that claims tourism is number
one foreign exchange earner... but hey,
it's the law.
Both the Caye Caulker Water Taxi
Association and Triple J run a pretty tight
ship and give value for money with their

services. Both. I can't imagine how they
make it with gasoline prices where they
are.. .thanks to government taxes that
bleed the poor and indigent. Those over-
sized machines cost a hell of a lot of
money to buy and maintain. Both boats
we ended up on have three 200
Yamahas. My boat had one, so I know
what the fuel consumption is like. So I
was mentioning to the operator that the
association should apply for some sort
of EPZ status to have access to duty
free fuels. Both the tourists and the resi-
dents would benefit tremendously if the
round trip were 25 instead of 30 buxx.
And the fares would drop by those $5/
head, if government were to grant the
same duty free status to the hard work-
ing water taxi service providers as they
do to our hermanos caneros.
So I am sitting on the 45 minute ride
feeling more hustled by the Musa Ad-
ministration. Imagine if I were a fisher-
man! I'd definitely buy contraband fu-
els and take the duty exemption that's
given to the privileged few...
Despite this its a smooth ride out to
Caye Caulker. Good clean accommo-
dations too, given my last minute ar-
So we go out to celebrate a bit. The
restaurant is relatively upscale for the
island and we don our Sunday best.
Fantastic food, excellent wine. The
family thoroughly enjoyed the meal,
even the children. We even had a gra-
cious visit to our table by the owners.
Terrific evening until the bill comes.
Now trust me, I check every item and
add everything again every time I am

handed a bill now. So if I had not been
in a habit of doing this, my brother would
have been cheated on his credit card
for- get this: $200 buxx!
We were actually being charged two
big bills over what we spent. Now the
young lady at the bar doing the bill, just
smiled and acted as though it were a
mistake. But we noticed she sent an
entirely new bill instead of a corrected
version within moments and came per-
sonally for us to sign the credit card form
instead of just sending it back with the
waiter so either 1) she is putting the
whop on the owner with bogus bills and
receipts or 2) she really is lousy with
math and didn't want the boss to know
she screwed up. But (s)he is going to
know, trust me.
We all felt tremendously let down, es-
pecially me, since I so highly recom-
mended the outfit. I felt like I betrayed
my brother, whose treat it was.
Another incident happened on an-
other night when we were promised
desert with our meal, but the cook
claims it got "wet" in the rain and we'd
get it the next day. Never happened. So
much for food reviews...
I was telling a buddy out there what
happened, both times. He just shook
his head, laughed and said "Tourist
But you know what? I can't let a string
of people trying to make money at our
expense ruin an otherwise positive ex-
perience on our outlook on life in Belize.
Not everyone is out to get you, although
it can feel that way sometimes.

Supreme Court orders Christine Perriot reinstated

fl-M(Continued From Page 4)
affidavit that Perriot did not have cor-
dial relations with her employers or
workmates, as simply an assertion
which has yettobe established. Boyce's
affidavit had also alleged that the com-
pany had decided not to continue em-
ploying Perriot because her contribu-
tion to the Internet department was neg-
ligible, and that she had a negative atti-
tude and was a difficult and uncoop-
erative employee.
Attorney Lois Young had dismissed
these allegations with the argument that
had Perriot been unhappy in her work-
place, she would simply have resigned.
The counsel for the defendant, An-
drew Marshalleck had argued originally
that the court did not have jurisdiction
to grant a temporary reinstatement. He
had also submitted that the B.C.W.U.
was not a registered trade union and so
was not protected under the Trade
Unions Act of the laws of Belize. He
had also argued that under the condi-
tions of the Act, the burden of proof lay

Christine Perriot gets a congratulatory hug from her attorney, Lois Young.

with the plaintiff
Justice Muria based his decision on
Section 5, subsection 2 oftheAct which
protects workers against discrimination
or prejudice. He ruled that the burden
of proof lay with the defendant, BTL,
and found that the Court did have juris-
diction to grant an interim remedy, prior
to or ancillary to a final order in the dis-
pute of Perriot vs BTL.
Marshalleck's arguments also foun-
dered when a certificate of registration
was produced to establish the fact be-
yond doubt that B.C.W.U. was a reg-
istered trade union.
After the verdict, Marhalleck said that
no date has yet been set for the actual
trial of the case, as the company still has
many document to submit in its defense.
Since Perriot's re-instatement still
leaves the way open for the company to
find more legitimate grounds to termi-
nate her a second time, Perrito
argued,"if they want to terminate me,
they would have to prove that I was a
1% performer."

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4 |

Paradise Lost

Belize, but do not live here. Time spent better opportunities, now many are go- That we, who live in this geographic
with Belizeans residing abroad is par- ing simply because they want a "nor- space called Belize, are somehow
ticularly rewarding, for their success mal" life: a chance to be positive and avaricious and greedy and evil for
abroad reminds us of what our people productive and escape from the fatal- wanting the kind of life others all over
can do, once transplanted outside this ism and fatalities, the globe acquire, through hard work
crab hole. To rid themselves of the oppressive and dedication to their careers and
It is refreshing also, for they are not sense that nothing is ever going to family.
as burdened down with negativity as change, to improve, to work out... the Or, that in order to obtain these
-. Belizeans who live in Belize. They see belief that bad things happen to good "luxuries" for ourselves we must be-
-_ -_ come involved in illegal activity or un-
Bv: Karla Heusner Vernon When did simple pleasures, simple pur- der the table trade. Sell your body,
amwatchingthewatertaxisarrive hases me iated your soul, your honor-not to become
withboatloadsoflocalandforeigntour- chases become so complicated, so expensive, wealthy, but simply to enter the middle
ists. Whether from Houston orLondon ,so out of reach, so unsafe and illusive? class. Or stay there.
or Belize City, each person has that uni- When exactly did we lose our foot-
versal "going to make myself relax this potential everywhere, instead of broken people because God wants it to, or that ing as an emerging nation and become
trip" holiday expression on their face, dreams. some people will never amount to any- a failed state?
the same excited gleam in their eyes as Yes, maybe that is it; they have not thing because they aren't "meant" to. When exactly did we lose Belize?
they step onto the pier. had to watch things slip away, slip out That somehow Belize, and Belizeans, Does we even remember a time
"Welcome to paradise, my friends," I of their hands and run down the drain are not just not good enough, not wor- when we were not under the constant
thinktomyself "Ifonly for a little while." over and over again. Have not had to thy enough to send our children to de- stress and strain of trying to create a
Holidays are always a welcome break watch so many people with good ideas cent schools, to get sensible jobs, to comfortable life, or even a basic one?
from the workaday world, a chance to get beaten down, or have their ideas purchase modest homes, take a yearly A time when we, like our gas tanks,
forget ordinary lives and drab clothing, stolen or perverted. Or stand by and vacation, purchase a few electronics or were not running on empty emotion-
to wrap up in tropical sarongs or printed mourn as the best and brightest among home furnishings and equipmentto make ally, patriotically?
shirts, nibble on barbequed shrimp and us are left disenchanted, disillusioned. our lives easier and more enjoyable, When did we stand tall and proud,
sip tropical fruit concoctions. Stripped of their dignity, squeezed and take our children to shows and plays not bowed from the sheer burden of
Changing location is always a good intimidated by subtle, and not so subtle and concerts and the cinema, eat at res- life here, of struggling to get through
way of changing your perspective, as is tests of political and familial loyalty. taurants and sip coffee at sidewalk ca- the week, the day, without having to
spending time with people who do love Decades ago people left Belize for fes. (Please Turn To Page 13) *

/ c I

But your Honor, ml client no h ave no case to answer, ml Lud7

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5

By: William Schmidt
PG correspondent for
The development plan for the Toledo
People's Eco Park (TPEP) integrates
the traditional indigenous knowledge
and system of land management with the
capitalistic idea and system of private
land ownership. Right now approxi-
mately one half of the land in the To-
ledo District is in private ownership; it
also happens to be the best land. The
other half is national land owned by the
people of Belize and managed by the
Ministry of Lands and Natural Re-
sources. With the Toledo People's Eco
Park Plan, private land owners will work
their land if they choose. The public
land within the village jurisdiction will be
used in sustainable ways by citizens of
Belize who live in the villages and do

not own private land.
It will be managed by the Alcalde and
Village Council Association according
to the traditional system and the new
laws of Belize as laid out in the Alcalde,
Village Council and Toledo Develop-
ment Corporation Acts. In this way all
Belizeans in Toledo, rich and poor, who
want to have land to work to survive
will have it. One alternative to this plan,
not a new idea, will be for all the land to
be divided up and sold. Unfortunately
there are too many people and not
enough land for everyone to get a piece
of private land. When all the land has
been sold, those who are left out will
have to move to the outskirts of the
towns and cities in the usually devastat-
ing process called urbanization. This is
more often then not bad for the villag-
ers and townspeople. Another is for 500
thousand acres to be set aside for the
exclusive use of Belizeans ofMaya heri-
tage. This is unfair to other Belizeans.
And still doesn't guarantee that the
presently endangered flora, fauna and
watershed will be protected. The Eco
Park Plan insures they are for the ben-
efit of all Toledo's citizens
The present government has recently
issued a number of titles to private land
to individuals in and around rural vil-

lages. The presumed unwritten under-
standing of many of the beneficiaries is
that they will vote for the politician who
helped them get the chance to buy
what's left of the public land. Unfortu-
nately the same politicians often recom-
mend when they pass over the titles that
the new owners use them as collateral
to get loans from the bank. This is un-
fortunate because many of these villag-
ers are very poor and will be unable to
repay their loans. The bank will take
their property and auction it to those
from within and outside who have
money to buy it. In a relatively short
time the wealthy, mostly from outside,
will own all the land.
This has been done successfully in
many times and places by insensitive
governments to force indigenous
peoples' land into the mercantile sys-
tem. If there are any Belizeans who
doubt this, I ask them to think of all the
small homes and properties for auction
they see each week in the newspapers-
- especially before Christmas. Think of
the many years of saving and struggle
to say nothing of the hopes and dreams
that the small, and sometimes not so
small, homes represent to the families
that are losing them. If the government
really wants to improve the quality of

education our people are receiving as
they say, why don't they encourage and
facilitate the general awareness of how
and why loans are given by the banks?
Let the people know who really ben-
Be sure they understand how interest
payments increase with late payments,
and the difference between the interest and
the principal. Why and how so many home
and property owners think they can ben-
efit from these loans and what actually
happens to so many of them to make them
default. Does anyone actually wonder why
our rich government leaders don't see that
this important information is taught? I
wonder how many of the properties that
so many of our leaders own, were pur-
chased at these auctions? Many were
probably purchased with social security
or DFC money they borrowed and then
defaulted on, while still retaining the prop-
erties they purchased with that money.
Appropriate knowledge and power to our
people! Its time the real benefits of the
proposed Toledo People's Eco Park be
known! Who besides the INdependent
Reformer Newspaper will help to spread
this important good news to our people
who are sincerely looking for ways and
means to make the promised, peaceful,
constructive, Belizean revolution a reality.

Palm Fair at Cayo Market

Palm Sunday weekend kicked off to
a creative start at the San Ignacio Sat-
urday market. Kids of all ages came
from surrounding schools in the Cayo
district toj oin the Belize Botanic Gar-
dens (BBG) in promoting the conser-
vation of one of Belize's most diverse
plants: the palm. Beautiful, resilient and
used internationally for everything from
thatching for roofs to extracting oils for
cooking and soap- palm trees truly are
nature's "prince of the plant kingdom."
With a focus on the conservation of
one of Belize's native palm species
known locally as xatye the crew from
BBG set up a small palm fair at the
market. The fair was held to mark the
conclusion of the "Darwin Initiative"
project. As part of the project it was
BBG's goal to promote education and
the sustainable cultivation of xate in
Belize. The booths included educational
displays demonstrating the many uses
ofxate and other palms There were also
arts and crafts for kids, a potting activ-
ity using xatye seedlings, information
about xate for sustainable growth, and
vendors selling coconut water, peach
palm tamales and local crafts.
The main attraction was a Xatye&
Display Contest." The contest was open
to the first twenty registered students of
the Cayo district. Contestants were in-
vited to create floral displays using three
of the eleven species of the

Chamaedorea: C. ernesti-augusti
(fishtail, xate), C. elegans (parlor palm,
xate embra), and C. oblongata (jade,
xate macho). In addition to using palm
leaves, contestants were given a vari-
ety of other natural materials to work
with such as heliconias, gingers, seeds,
and ferns. For about two hours, thir-
teen students flaunted their creative tal-
ents by constructing amazing jungle- like
wonderlands filled with leaves, flowers
and miniature floral sculptures offish,
birds, bugs and even people.

The contest wrapped up with a final
judging of the botanic creations. Judges
included Belize Botanic Garden's own
curator Heather du Plooy as well as
Brenden Sayers, visiting horticulturist
and foreman of the glass houses at the
National Botanic Garden in Glasnevin,
Ireland. With such a plethora of intri-
cate designs to choose from, the judges
were hard pressed to select a winner.
After much deliberation, they finally
elected the three lucky finalists. Third
place winner was Miss Melissa Can-

ton, a standard four student from United
Pentecostal in SanAntonio. Melissa was
awarded a $50. gift certificate at "Gitz"
for books and school supplies, a $10.
gift certificate for ice cream at "Cayo
Twist" and aBBGt-shirt. Second place
winner was Miss Merlin Mendez, a
standard four student from Santa Elena
Primary School. Merlin was awarded
a $150. gift certificate to "Gitz" for
books and school supplies, a trip for
four to "Tropical Wings", and a BBG t-
shirt. The grand prize winner who came
to register bright and early and stunned
the judges with his originality and over-
all balance in his design was Mr. Eric
Mazin, a standard six student from
Howard Smith in Benque. Eric was
awarded a $200. gift certificate to
"Gitz" for school supplies and books, a
$50. gift certificate to "Back to My
Roots," an all expenses paid field trip
for his class to BBG and a tree planting
for his school courtesy of the BBG staff.
On behalf of the Belize Botanic Gar-
dens, congratulations to all of the stu-
dents who participated in the contest
and thanks to the teachers, parents,
volunteers, and staff who made it pos-
sible. We knew plants are necessary for
our survival providing us shelter, food,
medicines and the very air we breathe;
but who knew they could inspire cre-
ative works of art and be so much fun!

Cayo c x

Cayo children exhibited their creativity at the Palm Fair.

m I AW--:= tp.,,,'av -IN

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6 |

By: Richard Harrison
A home is a basic need for all human
beings. Some argue that it is the right
of every individual to have a shelter.
Others say it is the responsibility of each
individual to make sure there is a shel-
ter overhead.
The socialist in us like to talk only
about rights. The capitalist in us like to
talk only about responsibility.
May I suggest that the best in us, like
to talk about how rights and responsi-
bilities should depend on each other.
Let us look at housing in Belize from
different perspectives:
Since capitalists and socialists both
seek to be more efficient and effective
in the use of scarce resources, they both
agree on one thing... .that to efficiently
utilize land space, the poor must live in
cramped high-rise apartments, as can
be seen in the center of most US cities
and in such places as Russia and Cuba.
In Belize, average population density
is relatively low at around 30 persons
per square mile, or 12 persons per
square kilometer. Mexico has 53.84
persons per square kilometer, while Ja-
maica has 216 persons per square ki-
lometer. If only 10% of Belize is made
available for dwelling centers, there
would be 283,744 acres of land avail-
able. This would mean that every man,
woman and child would have about 1
acre of land on which to dwell.
Since land mass can be deemed to
be finite, less land for the lower income
people means more land for those of
higherincome. Successive governments
have been telling the lower income
people that there is 'no' land left in
In the time of my parents, most hous-
ing lots were surveyed at 100 feet by
100 feet. Today, most house lots are
being surveyed at 50 feet by 75 feet.
This is a direct reflection of the 'politi-
cal managerial policy' implementing the
above premise made by successive gov-
ernments since Independence. This
might be required for countries with a
population density much higher than
Belize, where average family size is 3
It is known that when rats are raised
in cramped quarters, they display
more aggressive behavior towards
each other. Persons who are raised
in cramped urban centers in the US
and Russia are also known to display
more aggressive behavior.
Belize should reflect on this policy
for lots subdivision. Forcing Belizeans
into cramped quarters is also forcing
them to become more aggressive.
We should revert to allocating lots of
100 feet by 100 feet, enough space
to build a home for a family of 6 per-

Estimating demand for dwellings
can use a 'down and dirty' guessti-
mate process, or a more precise and
refined scientific process.
Guesstimates might be good for
small industries, however larger in-
dustries demand more scientific mar-
ket research that seeks to define and
forecast market demand in a way that
minimizes risk and enhances oppor-
tunity. This research can be used to
develop a 'market strategy' for each
'market segment', so that the 'needs'
and 'desires' of the potential home
owner (customer) can be more pre-
cisely responded to, reflecting their
'ability' and 'willingness' to pay.
Some have said that "Belizeans are
third world people, but they certainly
desire to live like first world people".
Does the experience of COURTS in
Belize tell us anything about the de-
sires of Belizean people, and the
choices they make when appropriate
financing is tailored to their ability and
willingness to pay?
Since family size in Belize is around
5 persons, total demand for dwellings
for 300,000 persons would amount
to 60,000 homes. According to
Belize Central Statistical Office,
around 30,000 persons will become
20 years of age over the next five
years, and around 69,000 will reach
that age over the next ten years. At
an average of BZ$30,000 per dwell-
ing, the 'stock' in this industry could
be a total of BZ$1.8 billion. Assum-
ing that 50% of 20-year old persons
would 'couple' and enter the demand
for a new home, the demand for hous-
ing over the next five years would be
7,500 new homes; for a required in-
vestment of BZ$225 million. This is
by no means a small industry.
Belize should create an economy
where a person reaching 20 years of
age, and economically engaged in the
labor force, can aspire to owning a
Belizeans should learn the discipline
to 'place their hat, only as high as they
can reach it'.
Historically, the commercial banks
in Belize have managed to maintain
low default rates on housing loans, by
utilizing a number of parameters to
qualify individuals for such. One of
the basic parameters is that individu-
als should not be required to spend
more than 25% of their income on
housing. This means that an individual
earning BZ$800 per month would be
able to afford to pay a mortgage or
rent of BZ$200 per month. If a 20-
year old is allowed to build a first
home with a mortgage financed over
30 years, he would finish paying off
his home by the time he is 50, well

before retirement age. He would also
have paid back BZ$72,000 over the
30-year period. Should he not be able
to build a comfortable BZ$30,000
home for that amount? Should the
house not be built with a quality that
allows it to last 30 years or more?
In a robust economy where the fac-
tors of industry and services are well-
oiled, there will be sufficient well-pay-
ing jobs such that unemployment will
be at around 6 percent, allowing for
persons in transition. Governments
that are able to mobilize the factors
of industry and services do not need
to intervene directly in the building of
homes, which should be considered
a private responsibility... .just like the
responsibility of parents to provide
basic nutrition for the children they
bring into the world.
If Belize has around 160,000 per-
sons of working age (16-65), it should
be able to provide at least 150,000
jobs (part-time and full-time jobs). Of
this, at least 120,000 persons should
be earning at least BZ$800 per
month. Unskilled and semi-skilled
persons of high productivity, willing to
work 50 hours per week, should be
able to earn a minimum of this
amount. We have to set our own
practical standards for work, accord-
ing to the ambitions and desires of our
If unskilled and semi-skilled work-

ers between the ages of 16-19 years
know that it is possible for them to
earn BZ$800 per month by the time
they are 20 years old, and that this
will be able to buy them their first
home; they will be more responsible
and likely to develop the work hab-
its, skills, attitudes and productivity
that employers need from them to be
able to afford such salaries.
When the government skews its fo-
cus on micro-economics, such as di-
rectly intervening in particular indus-
tries such as housing, it may compro-
mise its focus on its responsibility to
develop a macro-economy conducive
to development of robust industries
and services which create the num-
ber and quality of jobs required. What
happens as a result of such compro-
mise is that you get low-quality
houses; typical of government hous-
ing projects all over the world; with
high mortgage requirements, which
persons with no jobs or low-incomes
cannot afford to pay for.
When Governments usurp the re-
sponsibilities of individuals to provide
for their own basic needs, under the
guise of promoting rights, it destroys
the impetus for self-responsibility, it
dampens the productive spirit of its
people, and suppresses the human
nature to aspire to live their full po-
tential as responsible law-abiding citi-
zens capable of working hard and
smart, and harvesting the fruits of their
own labor.


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Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7

Holy Week celebrated in Benque Viejo

Semana Santa or Holy Week
marked the maj or liturgical celebration
in the Roman Catholic Calendar and
was once more solemnly featured in the
town of Benque Viejo del Carmen.
Palm Sunday was observed with the
colourful procession of the Triumphant
Entry into Jerusalem, with Jesus riding
his donkey accompanied by his twelve
apostles, as Benquenos acclaimed him
with the traditional hosannas and
blessed palms. The procession began
at 9:00 a.m. from the entrance of town
on Sunday, April 1.
An array of cultural and religious
traditions, infused in a town settled
some 150 years ago by Petenero and
Yucatecan Mestizo, were displayed
in the processions during the week.
Monday, April 2, featured the pro-
cession of "Nuestra Sefiora del
Silencio" accompanied by the pious
Cargadoras dressed in black and
purple vestments, and veiled with the
traditional mantilla. The float with
Our Lady of Sorrows clad in black
swayed through the century-old
Churchill and Church Streets to the
beats of the Belize Defence Force
Band. The customary Gregorian
chants of "Salve Regina" and ac-
companying saetas were recited to
the bereaved Mother of Sorrows
before the procession.
The procession of "El Encuentro"
brought by the founding parents from
San Andres, Peten in 1848, was held
on Tuesday. It commemorated the
fourth station of the Cross, with Mary
meeting her Son. Anew statue of the
beloved apostle, St. John, carved in
Guatemala City flanked the statue of
Our Lady.
Wednesday evening of Holy Week
brought the Spy Wednesday Mass
for the youth of the parish. Earlier in
the day, the parish priests con-cel-
ebrated the Chrism Mass at Holy
Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City.
Holy Thursday opened the Easter
Triduo Sacro with the washing of the
feet, and the Mass celebrating the in-
stitution of the Holy Eucharist and sa-
cred Priesthood. The Mt. Carmel
School teachers arranged the Altar of
Repose at the elegant Parish Hall in
the new rectory, and the adoration of
the Eucharistic place continued until
midnight of Holy Thursday.
The crack of dawn echoed the
beats of the drums of the Roman cen-
turions, announcing the Ecce Homo
in the Drama of the Passion and
Death of Jesus Christ on the morn of
Good Friday at George Price Bou-
levard. The fifteenth re-enactment of
the Drama of the Passion featured a
cast of close to thirty actors of dif-
ferent nationalities and denomina-
tions. The Via Crucis proceeded
through the streets of the town to
culminate with the scene of the cru-

cifixion in front of the historic church
of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel dedicated
in 1942.
Novena prayers in honour of the
Divine Mercy were followed by the
Liturgy of the Word and the venera-
tion of the Cross. The corpus of Jesus
Christ was solemnly descended from
the main cross at the altar to the chant-
ing of the Gregorian hymn "Cruz
Amable y Redentora", in an evening
ceremony led by the devout
cargadores. Mauve flowers of bou-
gainvillea lazily brushed the gentle,
bruised face of Jesus when El Santo
Entierro, shrouded in a cloud of white
incense, processed out of Mt. Carmel
Church to the beats of the drums and
bugles, followed by a mourning
mother, Our Lady of Sorrows. As the

shadows of a day of mourning alighted
upon the funeral dirge, the floats of
Christ and Mary came to life with the
dazzling light of flood lights hidden
within the arrangements laid upon the
refurbished andas. The service of the
Tenebrae was sung as the procession
re-entered the church, as a reminder
of the desolation left when the Light
descended into the underworld.
These acts of worship culminated
with the solemnities of Holy Saturday
when the traditional elements were
blessed at Centennial Memorial Park.
With the chanting of the Exulcet and
the opening of the black curtains sym-
bolic of the old and the new, the tra-
ditional prophecies of the Old Testa-
ment were read, and the Gloria sung
celebrating the triumph of Christ over

Nature's Way Gu

the last enemy, death, bringing the
season of hope and good will to hu-
mankind. One highlight of the Easter
Vigil was the initiation of the new cat-
echumens into the Church, this year
being youth and adults from all over
the parish.
Mt. Carmel Church thanks all those
who assisted in sharing time, talent and
treasure to make these activities pos-
sible. The Church also invites men
and women who are interested in par-
ticipating as a cargador or cargadora
to register for next year's event. La-
dies are required to dress in the tra-
ditional black/purple vestment and
men are requested to wear white shirt
and tie, and black pants and shoes.
In either case, a contribution is re-



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Benquenos re-enact Jesus Christ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8 |

I st traveling Caribbean Film

,case opens in Belize

The Caribbean Region's first Travel-
ing Film Showcase will be officially de-
clared open in Belize during ceremo-
nies at the Bliss Institute of Performing
Arts in Belize City on the night of
Wednesday, April 11th.
Sponsored regionally by UNESCO
and supported by the Cuban Institute
of Art and Cinematographic Industry in
collaboration with the Caribbean Com-
munity (CARICOM), the Traveling
Caribbean Film Showcase is a 12-week
itinerant Caribbean Film Festival bring-
ing together the works of filmmakers
from 14 countries. It will showcase fea-
ture length films as well as shorts and
documentaries produced in the Carib-
bean and is expected to promote Car-
ibbean cultural identity, raise awareness
of the potential of the Caribbean film-
making industry and contribute to the
preservation of Caribbean audiovisuals
in all of its diversity.
Over the course of eight days at the
Bliss (April 11 17), the Showcase will
feature more than 30 hours of film di-
vided into 16 programs each approxi-
mately 2 to 2
12 hours in length. According to the
Chairman of the International Organiz-
ing Committee, Cuban filmmaker
Rigoberto Lopez, the films in the
Showcase's Official
Screening Program were selected from
a pool of more than 110 films submit-
ted by 21 countries.
The films, a mix of romance, drama
and comedy showcase Caribbean
peoples, their culture, lifestyles, music
and carnival as well as touch on com-
mons social issues
affecting the region such as HIV/AIDS,
domestic violence, migration and pov-
The films are subtitled in English,
Spanish, French and French Creole and
entrance to all of them plus the Open-
ing and Closing Ceremonies is free for
the public. A copy of the screening
schedule & synopses of the films can
be found at
http://embacu. cubaminrex. cu/Default.
aspx?alias= embacu.cubaminre x.cu/
The Showcase opened in St. Kitts
and Nevis in February and will end in
Cuba in May with intermediate stops in
21 countries including St. Vincent and
the Grenadines, the
Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad
and Tobago, St. Lucia, Haiti, the Ba-
hamas and Belize. It will officially close
with a conference being convened by
the International
Organizing Committee to discuss Strat-
egies for the Collaboration and In-
tegration of Cinema and Audiovisu-
als of the Caribbean which will be held
as part of the International Congress on

Culture and Development at the Palacio
de las Convenciones in Havana on June
11-14,2007. Regional filmmakers, pro-
ducers, exhibitors, distributors, audio-
visual and TV professionals, as well as
governmental authorities ofAudiovisu-
als and Cinema in the area and
UNESCO representatives are invited to
In Belize, the Showcase is being sup-
ported by NICH, the UNESCO Belize
Commission, the Embassy of Cuba in
Belize and Fer de Lance Productions
all of whom have representation on the
From Aruba comes Salt in My
Eyes, portrait of Arubian society as
seen through the eyes of three young
girls. Each with a different background,
each with a different future, but above
all they show us courage, power and
From Antigua & Barbuda comes The
Sweetest Mango, a romantic comedy
that tells the store of lovely Anne 'Luvy
Davies, who returns from Canada to
Antigua the home of her birth. The film
tracks her adjustment to life in Antigua,
including being caught up in an unex-
pected love triangle.
Belize's offering is The Days of the
Dead. Present Day Yucatec Mayas in
Northern Belize invite us to witness their
Maya-Mestizo tradition of Days of the
Dead held every November in the vil-
lage ofXiabe in the Corozal District.
The Bahamas offer Show Me Your
Motion the ring play games of the
Bahamas, which explores issues of gen-
der, national identity, globalization, class
and race in The Bahamas. The film af-
fords us a compelling glance at com-
plex issues through an often-overlooked
lens the eyes of our children and reveals
the inspiring passion for invention and
celebration that so many Caribbean
children possess. During the process it
becomes clear that Bahamian society
has changed greatly since the days of
British colonialism and the onslaught of
American popular culture.
From Barbados comes Steps of For-
giveness. This film explores the rela-
tionship between a father and his re-
turning son, a pair of shoes, a cutlass.
Will the shoes fit? Or does the father
cut his toes to make it fit?
The Boabab Tree
The story of Kirikou and the Sorcer-
ess was too short to show everything
that Kirikou had accomplished. So,
here are some secret feats that had to
be revealed, as told by the noble grand-
father. Tiny, naked Kirikou, a gardener,
potter, traveler, and doctor, faces up to
danger unflinchingly, with shrewdness,
courage, generosity, and... success.
From Martinique comes Black
Shack Alley, (Rue Cases Negres).

Martinique, in the early 1930s. Young
Jose and his grandmother live in a small
village where he listens to stories ofAf-
rica told by an old sugar cane worker.
After the old man dies, the boy writes
the stories in his own words and sub-
mits them as a school essay. His telling
is so eloquent that the school master
accuses him of plagiarising them from a
book. Utterly humiliated, Jose flies from
the school and goes downtown with the
intention of getting into trouble. He
comes home very late to find his school
master having tea with his grandmother.
The teacher rises to attention and says,
"Your grandmother has told me all about
the old man who was your friend. Some
day you are going to be a very great
Trinidad & Tobago has four offerings.
JAB! The Blue Devils of Paramin
Kootoo is a hillside farmer in the
mountain community of Paramin, but
once a year he becomes the King of
Jab followed by his brothers, James,
Harry and Corpad who transform them-
selves into the Blue Devils of Paramin
and their tranquil paradise becomes a
living hell as the Jab competes to win
the prize for being the worst devil.
In the documentary Calypso
Dreams, filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn ex-
plores the history of calypso music in
Trinidad and Tobago. Featuring perfor-
mances by such seminal acts as Mighty
Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Lord Supe-
rior, Brother Valentino, Regeneration
Now, and Mystic Prowler, Calypso
Dreams also includes archival footage
of Calypso pioneers Grandmaster
Kitchener and Lord Pretender
In Herman Tales The Banana
Robber, citizens ofPoui Village live their
lives in fear. They are bullied and ter-
rorized by two competing delinquents.
Manni, the local beggar, is driven by
hunger to use his cunning to rid the vil-
lage of these two delinquents.
What My Mother told Me is an
exquisitely beautiful and profoundly
moving joumey towards self discovery.
The story focuses on Jesse, a young
woman from England, who goes to
Trinidad to bury her father. She meets
her mother, whom she thought had
abandoned her when she was a child
and learns of a troubled and violent mar-
riage, and is forced to face the truth
about her past.
Curacao has two offerings Zulaika
and Ava & Gabriel. Zulaika won
awards: for the Best Feature Film for
Young People Jury Award, 4th Buenos
Aires International Film Festival 2005
and Certificate of Excellence Live-Ac-
tion Feature Film, Chicago International
Children's Film Festival 2004.
The story of Ava & Gabriel takes
place on the island of Curacao in the

late 40's. Upon request of Father
Fidelius, parish priest of St. Anna's, the
Surinam painter Gabriel Goedbloed ar-
rives from Holland to paint a mural of
the Virgin Mary in St. Anna's Church.
The close knit Antillean society did not
welcome strangers who would not con-
form to their colonial way of life in those
days. In the end, Gabriel Goedbloed
falls victim to the controversies, hypoc-
risies and intrigues that have arisen
around his person and his paintings.
From the Dominican Republic come
three offerings.
For a Hundred Thousand (A CIEN
MIL)- an amount, a transaction and the
latent possibility of immigration causes
four individuals to fall into the most subtle
yet elaborate trap. Based on a true story,
it is one of the many fiascos where the
victims are those who try to buy a
dream on principles.
Under the Shadow of Blood -
Cristiano Bruno is a young resident of
one of the humble neighborhoods of
Santo Domingo. Raised by his mother
Maritza Bruno, after the jailing and sup-
posed disappearance of his father
Marcos Ramirez for corruption and drug
trafickking,Cristiane ends up leaning
towards the lucrative drug trafickking
business and is eventually betrayed by
one of his own into a tragic path of
treachery and greed.
In The Letter (La Carta), Juan is a
rural youth who emigrates from the field
to the city, where he finds a very singu-
lar and lucrative employment, which he
explains to his mother in the form of an
From Cuba come four offerings. Jazz
and Us (Nosotros y el jazz) is the story
of a group of black Havana youths in
the 1940's and 50's who enjoyed what
were then called "Jam Sessions, in pri-
vate houses, black societies, and some
bars in the cities. Movies such as
Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky
made these young men and women
dream as they discovered the art of Af-
rican American musicians, singers, and
The Last Supper is set during Holy
Week at the end of the eighteenth cen-
tury, when a count visits his Havana
sugar mill on a day a slave has run away.
The recaptured runaway is among 12
slaves chosen to be guests at the count's
table. During the dinner,the count lec-
tures his guests on the perfect happi-
ness possible in slavery while they tell
stories and make requests. He prom-
ises no work on Good Friday, and they
rebel when the cruel overseer rousts the
slaves for a long day cutting cane.
Which side will the count take?
Scent of Oak (Roble de Olor) is
set in the first half of the 19th centu ry, in
(Please Turn To Page 9) EM

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9

Science &


By R. Bowman
In the beginning of the 15th century,
science and religion may have started
out as closely knit disciplines, but by the
end of the 20th century, a great almost
insurmountable divide existed as evi-
denced by their two accounts of cre-
ation listed below.
In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth; and the earth
was without form and void; and dark-
ness fell upon the face of the earth. And
God said Let there be light". And there
was light. And the light He called day,
and the darkness, He called night. And
this was the beginning of the first day;
and God saw that it was good. So be-
gins a paraphrase of the Book of Gen-
esis, an account that is held sacred by
all three religions oftheAbrahamic faith:
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ac-
cording to the Book of Chronicles this
divine creation occurred some 6000
years ago (4004 B. C. as calculated by
Bishop Ussher). Accordingly, we had
a law-abiding world, but the law was
moral, not mechanical.
In the beginning, the energy of silence
rested over an infinite horizon of pure
nothingness. And a mighty sound rup-
tured the tranquil stillness as a single point
of raw potential, a singularity, bearing
all matter, bearing all dimensions, bear-
ing all energy, and bearing all time, ex-
ploded like a massive fireball. The time
according to human reckoning, was
some 13.7 billion years ago. This pri-
mordial "egg" provided all that exists
today from the smallest matter studied
by particle physics, to the largest clus-
ters of galaxies studied by Cosmology.

This phenomenon according to modem
scientists is made known to us by sci-
entifically studying the ages of the rock
and not by relying upon the "Rock of
Men like Copernicus, Galileo, and
Newton, who started this scientific
revolution all believed in God.
Copernicus, who gave us a heliocentric
model of the known universe (the earth
circles the sun in spite of Joshua's pro-
nouncements), worked for his uncle who
was a Bishop (probably where nepo-
tism started); Galileo, who gave us some
initial laws of motion, had a daughter
who was a nun. Yet he got put before
the Inquisition even though he tried to
tell them that the Bible teaches us how
to go to heaven, and not how the heav-
ens go. And the curmudgeon genius, Sir
Isaac Newton, who combined the
works of Galileo, Kepler, and his own
imaginative genius, to give us universal
gravitation, was a staunch Protestant.
God was still relevant, and was First
Cause, and God of the gaps.
Today, a survey of the nearly 2000
members of the National Academy of
Sciences (the elite in science and tech-
nology, 200 of whom have won Nobel
Prizes), shows that nearly 90% of them
are Agnostics or Atheists. What hap-
pened in the intervening 400 years to
cause such a drastic change? And why
is the scientific community so at odds
with the populace at large who still over-
whelmingly believe in a Supreme Be-
Two theories may have swung the
balance almost irretrievably: Evolution
and the Big Bang. Evolution provided

a basis for gradual change (Darwin's
work) through adaptation of "better"
genes (given or mutated) to the envi-
ronment, and the Big Bang provided
"deep time" for this change to occur.
Six thousand years would not have been
sufficient for evolution to occur from
matter, to single cell, to multicellular, to
vertebrates, to primates, to hominids.
But 13, 700 million years, the scientists
concur, is. Plus the records in the
rocks, show such a progression. The
Bible does not require this time frame
since the species and the universe were
created by God and were essentially
immutable (they are now as they were
then). Unfortunately, the creationists
have never been able to find a hominid
fossil mixed in with the early non-verte-
brate species. Are there any scientific
data to foster a big bang theory? Sci-
ence gives three pieces of evidence:
abundance of the light elements (hydro-
gen and helium), the red shift, and the
microwave radiation. The sun converts
hydrogen to helium to produce energy
and light and these were the elements
predominantly present after the first half
million years of the big bang and are still
in abundance today. The longer wave-
length Dopler red shift effect shows that
all the planets and galaxies are moving
apart, and not static. The cosmic mi-
crowave radiation shows the last whim-
per of the big bang which began with
trillions of degrees, and is now just 3
degrees above absolute zero because
of the expansion of the universe. This
piece of evidence obtained relatively
recently, is sometimes regarded as the
smoking gun.

Do religion and a supreme being have
a chance against such documentation?
I believe they do, maybe because I want
to. Science still cannot explain why there
is something instead of nothing. How
did life arise? It has never been dupli-
cated in the laboratory. What caused
the big bang to go bang? Why am I
here to contemplate this phenomenon
(anthropogenic principle)? Could God
have allowed evolution to proceed as
suggested by science? The scientist
Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ex-
plained that evolution proceeded in the
direction of increasing complexity and
concomitant consciousness culminating
in human spirituality. Quantum physics
questioned classical Newtonian phys-
ics cause and effect, and determinism,
by introducing such concepts as prob-
ability, and uncertainty principles. It
appears God does play dice with the
universe in spite of Einstein's query.
Should we invoke Pascal's wager who
said that a gambling man would bet on
God and the existence of heaven and hell,
since if true we lose a lot ifwe bet against
(eternal damnation), and less loss if un-
true (disgust for not going for the gusto
and the "good life"). It is said that reli-
gion is subjective, and that science is ob-
jective; that one gives certainty without
proof, while the other, proof without cer-
tainty. Science can only ascertain what
is, not what should be; science addresses
how, but not why. Valuejudgments fall
kinds remain necessary. I have a hard
time believing that life and the universe
have no purpose; that in the final analysis,
abject nothingness will prevail. May the
Force be with you.

I st Caribbean Film Showcase...

n (Continued From Page 8)
Cuba. A space of changes, enigmas,
dreams and endless tragedies. Ablack
woman, beautiful and distinguished,
from Saint Domingue and a German, a
romantic tradesman recently arrived in
the country are the central characters in
a story of boundless love, a doomed
Utopia fighting to give birth to the fate
that made the richest coffee plantation
in Cuba Angerona reach its peak.
In VIVA CUBA, Malu y Jorgito are
two children sworn to lifelong friend-
ship although their families are bitter
enemies. When Malu's grandmother
dies, and his mother decides to leave
Cuba, Malu and Jorgito seek to es-
cape in search of hope for their love.
From St Lucia, comes Ribbons of
Blue tells the story of a mother's undy-
ing love and sacrifice for an ungrateful
daughter obsessed with maintaining ap-
pearances and the daughter's prodigal
repentance after hitting rock bottom.
From the Cayman Islands comes

Swallow. Lacking the grades and money
to get into college, a Florida high school
student takes assignment as a drug
Haiti Does the President have
AIDS? Dao is the star of more cin-
emas in Haiti, the "self-named Presi-
dent of Compass". He has women
that fall to his feet and men that emu-
late him. He feels invincible living the
life of a star of the stone-the sex,
drugs and alcohol-only he can no
longer hide their illness that is threat-
ening to derail his career.
Men and Gods--This documentary
shot in Haiti is about homosexuals and
queer people in Voodoo. Through this
we learn of the need these men have
to find meaning to their lives in a so-
ciety where homosexuality is still a
taboo subject. Through Voodoo,
some homosexual Haitians find an ex-
planation to their sexuality, and regard
themselves as "children" of the gods,

protection is also what forces the ci-
vilian society to accept and respect
them to some extent.
Port au Prince Se Pam
This documentary provides a por-
trait of the beleaguered city Port au
Prince, the capital of the Republic of
Haiti, which is today a victim of over-
population, lack of urban infrastruc-
ture, and environmental degradation.
From Jamaica comes a cult classic
and two other offerings. In The
Harder They Come, reggae legend
Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan Martin, an
aspiring young singer who leaves his
rural village for the capital city of
Kingston, Jamaica hoping to make a
name for him self. Robbed of his
money and possessions his first day
in town, he finds work with a self-
righteous, bullying preacher and an
unscrupulous music mogul who ex-
ploits naive hopefuls. In desperation
the simple country boy turns outlaw,

therefore being provided with a divine at war with both the police and his

rivals in the ganja trade. Ivan's dream
of stardom soon becomes a reality as
he rises to the top of the pop charts
and the most-wanted lists.
This gritty, groundbreaking film
brought reggae music to the interna-
tional stage, made Jimmy Cliff a star
worldwide, and demonstrated that
music and art can change the world.
Country Man
By rescuing two Americans from a
plane crash, Countryman, a lonely
fisherman becomes involved in a po-
litical plot devised by a power-hun-
gry colonel. Marked as enemy agents,
Countryman and the Americans flee
into the wilderness, but when the vio-
lence peaks, the peaceful Rastafarian
shows he is capable of unleashing an
awesome, almost magical display of
acrobatic hand- to- hand combat.
Life and Debt is a documentary
look at the effects of globalization on
Jamaican's industry and the agricul-

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10 |

ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
Empty promises will cause confusion.
Tell it like it is. Try to be tolerant of the
moods of those around you. Uncertain-
ties about your personal life are prob-
able. Your lucky day this week will be
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
A change is as good as a rest. Don't
go looking for change. You may have
more to do with children this week;
keep an open mind. You are best to
work at home, clearing up overdue
projects. Rewards for past good deeds
will be yours. Your lucky day this week
will be Sunday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Catch up on your reading and corre-
spondence. You will get out of shape
easily if you don't keep on top of things.
You need a change and you need to earn
more cash. Someone around you may
not be trustworthy. Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Good friends will give you honest an-
swers. Jealousy may be a contributing
factor to your emotional ups and downs.
You can get into self awareness groups
or look into physical enhancement pro-
grams. New love connections can be
made through group associations. Your
lucky day this week will be Tuesday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Someone envious of your popularity
may challenge you to a debate. Travel
for business will not only bring you valu-
able information but also profits as well.
Secret affairs will come back to haunt
you. Don't blame every thing on your

mate. Your lucky day this week will be
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
You can come up with ways of earn-
ing extra cash. Be creative in your ef-
forts. Be sure to keep communication
open with those you live with. Go out
with friends and avoid the situation on
the home front. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Be cautious while traveling; minor ac-
cidents are evident. Keep your wits
about you and be sure that you can trust
those you confide in. Relationships have
not been the best for you lately and it's
left you somewhat gun shy. Keep an
open mind when listening to the opin-
ions of others. Your lucky day this week
will be Monday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
Older family members may take ad-
vantage ofyou by making you feel guilty.
You will profit from home improvement
projects and real estate deals. Your
ability to deal with humanitarian groups
will enhance your reputation. Use your
creative talent in order to accomplish
your goals. Your lucky day this week
will be Wednesday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Don't get so wrapped up in being rich
that you overlook the fact that your plan
may not be as solid as you thought.
Someone you live with could be frus-
trated and upset. Disappointments are
likely if your mate embarrasses you in
front of friends. Partners may try to ar-
gue with you; however, you must stand
your ground. Your lucky day this week

Someone told me that a picture tells
a thousand words but when I saw your
picture... I was speechless.

Everyone wants to be happy and
nobody wants to feel pain. But you
can't make rainbows without any rain.

Older person: I have to watch what I
Younger person: Me too. I watch
what I eat right before it goes in my

When U call us losers, we look at
each other and crack up because we
knew that way before you did.

You're like school on a Saturday.
No Class.

Memories are bittersweet; they're
good times that we can't repeat.
Sweety, you're so fake you make

will be Sunday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Opportunities to get ahead will be evi-
dent. You can pick up some overtime
this week. Concentrate on spending
quality time with children and friends.
You will meet new and exciting people
ifyou attend social activities or sporting
events. Your lucky day this week will
be Friday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You can't lock your partner up and if
you keep restricting their freedom you
may be left out in the cold. Your mate

Your weekly -

will be pushing you to do things that you
really don't want to do. You are best to
put your efforts into redecorating or in-
viting friends over. You will be accident
prone if you aren't careful this week.
Your lucky day this week will be
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You may be likely to have difficulties
with females. Romantic opportunities are
evident. This will not be the best day to
initiate change. There mightbe problem
with will orwith an insurance policy. Your
lucky day this week will be Saturday.


Every House, Country of Belize
You know the day had to come, the day of the bad news from the doctor,
the day that I would have to start looking after myself and pay for my self
inflicted sins. I just didn't expect it this soon. With high cholesterol and
really high triglycerides, sure medicine will work, but a lifestyle change is
needed. That lifestyle change brings to an end multiple weekly doses of
panades, li chee chicken, and rice and beans with fry fish. So what to do
with a column that focuses on the nice and greasy food around town? My
first inclination was to end it, but after some thought, I realized that many
people have these bad eating habits, and most don't even know it till they
wake up in the ICU...so perhaps we could move in a direction to seek out
the establishments with meals that won't cut our lives in half. Yes, from
time to time, we will drop off the cart and do a "special" review for the
guilty pleasures in life, but I do hope that you enjoy the new focus...and
if you know of places that caters to this niche feel free, to drop me a line
on yellowtail@btl.net, so I can check them out. The new me starts NOW
(well actually next week in print)!


Barbie seem real.
Buying a bat and ball: $50
breaking a vase: $400; breaking the
home base (glass cup): $25; scoring the
winning home run: priceless

I have the kind of friends where if my
house was burning down,
they'd be roasting marshmallows & hit-
ting on the firemen
Have you ever been alone in a
crowded room?

Cheerleaders are dancers who have
gone retarded.

Passwords are like underwear. You
shouldn't leave them out where
people can see them. You should
change them regularly. And you
shouldn't loan them out to strangers.

MICROSOFT = Most Intelligent
Customers Realize Our Software
Only Fools Teenagers

Never make fun of the geeks, one
day they will be your boss.

SIDE...We Have Computers and
High-Speed Internet With APentium
4 Processor

02007www.ye II ow a i be i z. co

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11

Pope says rich nations 'plundered' Third World

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) Rich
countries bent on power and profit have
mercilessly "plundered and sacked"
Africa and other poor regions and ex-
ported to them the "cynicism ofaworld
without God," Pope Benedict writes in
his first book.
The Pope also condemns drug traf-
ficking and sexual tourism, saying they
are signs of a world brimming with
"people who are empty" yet living
among abundant material goods.
In the 400-page book, called "Jesus
of Nazareth," the Pope offers a mod-
ern application of Jesus's parable of
the Good Samaritan, who stopped to
help a man who had been robbed by
thieves when others, including a priest,
had not. "The current relevance of the
parable is obvious," the Pope writes.
He drew a link between the lifestyle
of people in the developed world and
the dire conditions of people in Africa.
"We see how our lifestyle, the history
that involved us, has stripped them na-
ked and continues to strip them na-
ked," he writes.
The German Pope, who has con-
demned the effects of colonialism be-
fore, said rich countries had also hurt
poor countries spiritually by belittling or
trying to wipe out their own cultural and
spiritual traditions.
"Instead of giving them God, the God
close to us in Christ, and welcoming in
their traditions all that is precious and
great... we have brought them the cyni-
cism of a world without God, where
only power and profit count...," he
In what could be seen as a strong self
criticism of the Roman Catholic

Church, whose missionary activities of-
ten went hand-in-glove with colonial-
ism, the Pope writes:
"We destroyed (their) moral criteria
to the point that corruption and a lust
for power devoid of scruples have be-
come obvious."

Belizeans added to
Drug Traffickers list

On March 28, the U. S. Department
of the Treasury's Office ofForeign As-
sets Control (OFAC) named three
Belizean nationals to its list of Specially
Designated Narcotics Traffickers:
HYDE, Clive Norman (a.k.a. HYDE
SR., Clive Norman; a.k.a. "MR.
HYDE"); DOB 8 Apr 1956; POB

LOGAN MORE, Elvis Angus
28 Jul 1963; POB Toledo District,
Belize; Passport P0017003 (Belize);
SSN 561-77-9011 (United States)
WORRELL, Gareth Bruce (a.k.a.
Garrett; a.k.a. "GARETH MOREY");
DOB 19 Jun 1971; alt. DOB 19 Jan
1971; POB Belize; Passport 0159817
At the same time these individuals
were named, OFAC designated 45
companies and 64 individuals in an ex-
tensive criminal and financial network,
stretching across Colombia, Belize,
Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ja-
maica, Mexico, and Panama.
These actions are part of an ongoing
U.S. Government effort which applies
economic sanctions against drug cartels.
The designation action freezes any as-
sets the designees may have subject to
U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits all finan-
cial and commercial transactions by any
U.S. person with the designated com-
panies and individuals. U.S. persons
are prohibited from engaging in any
transaction with Specially Designated
Narcotics Traffickers. These prohibi-
tions affect trade transactions as well as
accounts, securities, properties, and
other assets. Further information about
the designation program can be obtained
by visiting http://www.treas. gov/ofac.

Mexican journalist
gunned down
ACAPULCO, Mexico AP- Media

rights groups and family members de-
manded an investigation Saturday into
the death of aMexicanj oumalist gunned
down after leaving his radio show in
Amado Ramirez, a reporter for top
Mexican television news network
Televisa, was killed Friday night by two
gunmen waiting at his a car, police said.
He died on the steps of the nearby Ho-
tel California as he tried to escape. The
shooting occurred near the beach
resort's central plaza, packed at the time
with tourists and hundreds of people
attending a Good Friday Mass at the
The gunmen escaped, and the motive
for the killing was not immediately clear.
Police said they had a description from
a witness of at least one of the gunmen.
Acapulco has been a plagued by a
wave of drug-related violence in recent
years that have included many brutal
slaying of police officers. The police
department has also received calls
threatening to kill both police officers
and journalists.
The Miami-based Inter American
Press Association has reported an
alarming number ofj journalists killed
in Mexico on orders from drug gangs,
including seven since October. Two
others have disappeared and eight
have reported receiving death threats.
In his radio program Friday,
Ramirez criticized leftist Guerrero
state Gov. Zeferino Torreblanca for
refusing to give his state-of-the-state
address in front of state lawmakers.
The governor instead gave address his
report in written form.

\)ithl a

Tropical TI vist

Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppei

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

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

M- M OUSSTl re: 80-2233


Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12 |


Real live hoodwinks now call the Belize Zeeoo their home!!

Hoodwink the owl has been a fa-
miliar storybook character to many
children here in Belize. He is a
spectacled owl, considered to be
one of the most beautiful of our
tropical species, the adventures of
Hoodwink the Owl are told in three
different children's books, written
by Zoo Director Sharon Matola,
the subjects of Belizean nature are
seen thru the eyes of this wise owl,
and the book has proven to be an
important education tool here in our
Now, the "real thing" can be seen
at the Belize Zoo! Two captive bred
spectacled owls were given to the
Zoo as a gift from the Ellen Trout
Zoo, in Texas. They are used to the

t odwink

the Owl
&barwMa tola

company of visitors,
and remain "easy to
see" and for those visi-
tors who tour the Zoo
at night, they readily
call out to their noctur-
nal visitors.
It is not a common
event to see a spectacled
owl in the wild. Like
many nocturnal birds,
they stay well
hidden.Seeing these
beautiful owls in their
spacious exhibit will,
without a doubt, bring
big smiles to Belize Zoo
visitors!It's a hoot!!! and
too wild for words!!

Toledo Teachers Recognized

By: William Schmidt
PG correspondent for
INdependent Weekly
"Nineteen Educators Honored at
Education Ceremony", the front page
ofthe Belize Times April 1, states. I read
on to see who of our many good teach-
ers in Toledo were honored by our PUP
I read the many names of teachers
from the Belize, Cayo, Orange Walk,
Corozal and Stann Creek Districts but
not one from the Toledo District! For-
gotten again. What blatant discrimina-
I read on: "Eight and a half million
dollars for the University of Belize"...
I remembered a meeting where Ms.
Florence Pennell Johnson told of the
difficulty she was having in getting funds
for a dedicated group of teachers, who
after working all day, still make the ef-
fort to provide evening classes for
school leavers young and old who want
to better themselves. She said the gov-
ernment had promised to continue to
help with the small stipend offered. If
the Government ofBelize has this much
to fund the University offBelize surely
they must have provided something for
the night school which has been strug-
gling so long and hard and graduating
some of our finest citizens!
On second thought, since they didn't
think any teachers from Toledo were
worthy of honoring, perhaps they ne-
glected the evening school teachers and
students as well. I decided to call Flo
and find out.
"Hello Flo? I read in the paper how
the Government of Belize honored
teachers in all districts except Toledo
and gave the University offBelize eight
and a half million dollars, how much did

Florence Pennell Johnson.
your night school get? "Not one single
cent for the past two years" she replied.
Toledo forgotten again. I decided to
write an article in the INdependent Re-
former honoring Toledo's teachers.
Here in Toledo they are NOT forgot-
"Flo, I know you had a lot to do with
the creation of this school and have been
the driving force behind it, what's the
Flo: "It all started at the third Claver
College alumni reunion in July 1998.
We were discussing how we could in-
volve the alumni in the continuing de-
velopment of the Toledo community.
Father Leo Weber suggested we form
an extension to offer a high-school edu-
cation for adults who for one reason or
another were never able to get one.The
idea was enthusiastically supported.

Emmelina Guy,
Cordelia Flores Avila,
Mary Parchue Avilez
and I began to consult
with everyone in PG
who would listen to us.
Wallace Cayetano,
Jimmie Lino, Lotte
Flores and Ij oined we
started meeting with
Father Weber to plan
the school. Anthony
Paulino, Leo Sanchez
joined us and our
dream became a real-
ity. Claver College Ex-
tension opened the
door on August 30th,
Chet: "How many
students have gradu-
ated since then?"
Flo: "We offer a
three-year course and hundreds of stu-
dents have been enrolled over the years,
some can only afford to study for one
or two years or for some other reason
have not been able to stay for the entire
course, but to date we have graduated
Chet: "How has it been funded?"
Flo: "The students pay a small tuition,
the government has given small grants
in the past, the general public has con-
tributed, but most has come from Claver
College Alumni. What we really want
it is a written guarantee from govern-
ment for a continuing payment for
teacher's stipends. We want our bud-
get to be included in the Ministry of
Education's budget, I think we deserve
it, because we have proved that we are
a first class institution. We have excel-
lent, dedicated teachers, we have been

called the "hallmark for adult education
in the South". We are patterned on the
St. John's extension program."
Chet: "How can people contribute to
this important project?"
Flo. "Some of our alumni pay for
scholarships, others for printing, or the
janitor. We have an "adopted a teacher"
plan where one can contribute $68BZ
per credit hour."
Chet. "How much is this per month?"
Flo. "For example, a teacher who
teaches three classes per week for four
weeks gets $204BZ per month. How-
ever we welcome and appreciate what-
ever one can afford. We have received
calls and letters that have provided
moral support. For more information
you can e-mail flosiej(@yahoo.com or
contribute directly to the Belize Bank
account 5426 PG branch."
Chet: "If you were to honor PG teach-
ers, who would you pick out for spe-
cial mention?"
Flo: "I don't want to do that, because
I think they all deserve special mention,
there have been so many over the
Chet: "Who have been the longest in
addition to the founders?"
"Dave Forman, Carmen and Winston
Lopez, Modesta Palacio, Nora Garay,
Joe Cayeatano, Nana Mensha, Steve
Innendo, to name a few. Ms Ercilia
Jimenez is one of our first graduates, she
went on to graduate from the Univer-
sity of Belize with honors and now she
is teaching Spanish at CCE."
Congratulations with much apprecia-
tion and a big thank you to all Toledo
teachers, to Father Leo Weber who
founded this program, the students and
especially Ms. Florence Pennell


Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 131

Mayan leaders tell PM Musa


F% & aIs

(I-1) Professor James Anaya, SAlIllM executive Director Gregorio Choc, the chairman of the Alcaldes Association Martin Chen, the Alcalde of Santa Cruz Village Aurelio Caal,
Filiberto Penados of the Julian Cho Society, Manuel Coy of Conejo village, Christina Coc of the Julian Cho Society, Conejo Village chairman Manuel Caal, and Santa Cruz
Village chairman Basilio TeuL

-inl(Continued From Page 1)
"Balkanization" of Belizean lands.
The Mayan people of Toledo are
claiming rights to land which they and
their ancestors have traditionally occu-
pied for hundreds of years, dating back
to pre-Columbian times. The existing
laws of Belize do not provide for the
granting for title of ownership of com-
munal lands, but the Toledo Maya as-
sert that they depend on these lands for
their survival. They live, farm, hunt, fish,
collect medicinal plants, construction
materials and other forest resources
from these lands. They also engage in
ceremonies and other activities on these
lands around their communities, and
have done so for centuries.
The Toledo Maya are not alone in their
struggle to have their rights acknowl-
edged and respected. The O.A.S. In-
ter American Commission on Human

lE (Continued From Page 4)
deal with something broken, some-
thing unpaid, something spoilt, having
to smile and act normally in the pres-
ence of someone just reeking of dis-
honesty or dishonor?
When exactly did so many people
lose their reputations, their integrity
When did paradise get taken over
by so many parasites?
Those who come to Belize on va-
cation, or to visit after a long time
away, generally have a good time.
They enjoy our warm smiles and
friendly conversation. We may
grumble a bit about the cost of living,
but we seldom reveal to them just how

Rights, found in its decision on the
Mayan communities of the Toledo dis-
trict v Belize, that "the Maya people
have rights to their traditional lands and
that these rights constitute property pro-
tected by international human rights
law." The OAS commission further
called on the government of Belize "to
delineate, demarcate and title Mayan
traditional lands according to the cus-
tomary land use and occupancy prac-
tices of the Maya people.
The Toledo Maya got additional sup-
port from the United Nations. The UN
Special Rapporteur on the Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of
Indigeneous Peoples urged GOB to
"Fully implement the recommendations
of the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights."
Championing the Toledo Maya's
cause in the Supreme Court are human

desperate the situation has become,
how many people would be plunged
into poverty without those remittances
from abroad, tips from tourists, side
money made from side jobs or skiving
off the till.
I doubt they would believe us if we
told them anyway. Things look too
lovely out at the cayes, or by the light
of shimmering candles in a popular bar
or restaurant.
No, they probably would not truly
understand how hard it is for those of
us who live here.
Or how hard it is to watch them go
home, taking their positive outlook
and opportunities for success with

rights activist and attorney Antoinette
Moore and Professor James Anaya of
the University of Arizona.
Immediately after filing their petition
on Tuesday, the Mayan leaders joined
by hundreds of supporters ( seven
busloads) who had journeyed all the
way from their villages in Toledo to the
city, marched through the streets of
Belize City to the Radisson Hotel where
they held a press conference to make
their grievances public.
Among the speakers at the press con-
ference were Professor James Anaya,
Filiberto Penados of the Julian Cho so-
ciety, SATIIM executive Director
Gregorio Choc, the chairman of the
Alcaldes Association Martin Chen, the
Alcalde of Santa Cruz Village Aurelio
Caal, attorney Antoinette Moore,
Manuel Coy of Conejo village, Chris-
tina Coc of the Julian Cho Society,
Conej o Village chairman Manuel Caal,
and Santa Cruz Village chairman Basilio
The busloads of supporters came
from Conej o and Santa Cruz, and from
the surrounding villages ofPueblo Viejo,
San Jose, San Antonio, Midway, Crique

Sarco, Aguacate, Blue Creek, Santa
Ana and Big Falls.
Also present to express her solidarity
and the solidarity of the Belizean labour
unions with the Toledo Maya in the fight
for their rights was B.C.W.U. General
secretary Christine Perriot. Perriot said
she came to say "nuff respect to the
Mayan people in their struggle." She
also had special words of admiration for
the many Mayan women who had trav-
eled the hundreds of miles, many of
them nursing mothers with young ba-
bies in their arms to stand beside their
menfolk in their stand to have their rights
SATIM Executive Director Gregorio
Choc has avowed that his organization
and the people of the communities within
the Sarstoon Temash community man-
aged protected area will not allow con-
sultants for an oil company, namely Jose
"Pepe" Garcia and his subcontractors,
to enter the reserve to do an Environ-
mental Impact Assessment for oil de-
velopment until there has been proper
consultation between the GOB and the
Mayan people regarding the granting of
such concessions.

Paradise Lost

O A CflianiIl Cowmmunif Program Coordinated by Ih. o Club of Blie.

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 141


wins 2007 Cross Country Classic

The first Belizean to finish, Roger Troyer recieves trophy for 5th place.
American cyclist Boyd Johnson of dinner for two from Lee's Restaurant
Team western Spirit won the 79th run- of Orange Walk and a trophy from Glen
ning of the Annual Cross Country Cy- Young and family.
cling Classic, the grueling 140 mile race Anthony Taylor, also from the USA,
from Belize City to San Ignacio and riding for the M&M engineering team,
back to the city on Holy Saturday. was second, winning himself a $2,000
Johnson and his teammate 2006
Cross Country champ Shane Vasquez
were among a group often Belizean and
foreign riders who entered the Marion
Jones Sporting Complex after almost six
hours of hard riding. Shane Vasquez led
this breakaway group on the first lap
around the track inside the stadium as
the main peloton rolled in, but on the
second lap, it was Johnson who had the
get up and go to win the sprint to the
With his victory Johnson captured the
first place trophy, the victor's garland
offered by Florasol, and the $4,000
cash prize offered by the Belize Bank,
Fort Street Tourism Village and the Min-
istry of Sports. He also won a Typhoon
bicycle from Amparo's of Orange
Walk, a diamond ring from JEC Ltd, a

cash prize offered by Minister of Health
Jose Coye and a trophy from Glen
Young and family, who sponsored tro-
phies for all top ten finishers.
Mexican rider Ismael Ponce of the
Acros Guinness Smiling team took 3rd
place to win a $1,500 cash prize of-
fered by ESSO Standard Oil and a tro-
Colombian rider Miguel Angel Diaz
Tafur of the Guatemalan Team Cafe
Quetzal was 4th to win a $1,000 cash
prize offered by Barrow & Co. and a
Roger Troyer of Team Sagitun was
the first Belizean top finish, riding into
5th place and winning himself a $900
cash prize from the Atlantic bank and a
Nicaraguan rider Walter Gaitan
Aguirre of the Roaring Creek Cycling
club, finished 6th to win a $800 cash
prize from Anthony Turton & Associ-
ates and the Gillett family in memory of
Dwayne Gillett.
Mateo Cruz of Team Santino's rode
into 7t place to win a $600 prize from
Western Union and a trophy.
Nary Felipe Velaquez Ariaz of Team
Cafe Quetzal finished 8' to win a $400
prize from St John's Credit Union.

The defending champ Shane Vasquez
rolled into 9th place to claim a $200
prize from SHELL Powertrain.
Giovanni "Froggy" Leslie of Team
Santino's rounded out the top 10, win-
ning himself a $150 cash prize from
Seawell Spices.
Juan Manuel Sandoval of the Acros
Guinness Smiling team rolled into 11th
place, to win a $100 prize from Martha
Watter-Ordonez and family and a tro-
phy from Edmund Castro, who spon-
sored trophies for the 11th to 15th place
Guatemalan rider Lizandro Acu
Velasquez of Team Santino's was 12t
to win a $200 prize from Martha
Watter-Ordonez and family.
Jeffery Zelaya of Team Benny's
megabytes finished 13th to win a $100
prize and Mexican rider Ricardo Samuel
Tapia Rodriguez of the Acros Guinness
Smiling team was 14', also claiming a
$100 prize.
Sherman Thomas of the Roaring
Creek Cycling club rolled into 15th
place to also win a $100 prize.
Mayor Zenaida Moya was present to
offer some words of encouragement in
the moist dawn air as 93 riders lined
(Please Turn To Page 15) mI '

Over 90 cyclists began the race in lelize City

Lawsuit challenges DOE approval of Ara Macao

The Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable
Development (PCSD) filed a lawsuit on
Monday, 2 April 2007, asking the Belize
Supreme Court to overturn the decision
of the Belize Department of the Envi-
ronment (DOE) approving the Ara
Macao Resort and Marina development
at the northern end of the Placencia
Peninsula. PCSD also asked the court
to grant an injunction to prevent Ara
Macao Development Ltd. from pro-
ceeding with the development.
PCSD's suit is based, in part, on
DOE's failure to comply with Belize's
environmental regulations.
PCSD also maintains that DOE un-
reasonably and irrationally approved the

development because it did not have
critical information about environmental
issues such as downstream beach ero-
sion, effect of the development on the
Peninsula's marine environment (such as
lobster, conch and coral reefs), and
whether Ara Macao and other new de-
velopments could quickly use up the
water supply that provides Placencia,
Seine Bight, Maya Beach, Indepen-
dence and Big Creek with drinking wa-
PCSD also argues that DOE's ap-
proval failed to protect the public's ac-
cess and use of the 66' public reserve
on the beach surrounding the devel-
opment, and that the development vio-

lates zoning for the area under the
Mango Creek/Placencia Special De-
velopment Area, as recognized by
Belize law.
A court date has been set for 20
April 2007 for judicial consideration
of PCSD's claim.
Donations to the Ara Macao litiga-
tion fund may be made by depositing
funds into the PC SD account at At-
lantic Bank, account number
100158838. Donations may also be
made by check made payable to the
Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable De-
velopment, General Delivery,
Placencia, Belize. Please contact the
Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable

Development at 610-4718 or
info@placenciadocuments.info for
further information.
The Peninsula Citizens for Sustain-
able Development is a Belize non-
profit corporation and grass roots
community organization of Placencia
Peninsula residents concerned with
the rapid, and often poorly planned
and executed, development of the
Peninsula. PCSD seeks to bring in-
formation about proposed develop-
ments to Peninsula residents to ensure
that all developments are environmen-
tally sustainable with respect to the
fragile eco-systems of the Peninsula
and its communities and cultures.

Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15

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Belize's health professionals discussed
the threat of the avian influenza pan-
demic, HIV/AIDS, global warming and
the dangers of genetically engineered
food crops at the one-day symposium
health symposium hosted by the Minis-
try of Health and the Pan American
Health Organization at the Radisson
Hotel on World Health Day, on Tues-
day, April 3.
After opening remarks by Minister of
health Jose Coye, Belize Poultry Asso-
ciation president Orlando Habet dis-
cussed the poultry industry's concern
about the threat of an avian flu pan-
demic. While the virus normally only
affects birds and pigs, a new strain of
the virus H5NI has demonstrated the
ability to mutate into a form which can
bridge the species barrier to affect even
humans. Since its emergence in Hong
Kong in 1997, this viral stain has proven
to be lethal among humans who become
infected. The virus recognizes no bor-
ders, as it can travel around the world
with migratory birds, which in turn can
infect the domestic bird population. Dr
Paul Edwards discussed the perceived
impact of a possible influenza pandemic
on Belize.
The debilitating effect of the HIV/
AIDS epidemic on the people of Belize
and its impact on the development of
the nation were discussed by National
AIDS Progam Director, Dr Marvin
Manzanero. While the health workers
and the media promote the use of
condoms as a form of prevention of
contagion, the long term solution will re-
quire a changing of social mores and
attitudes toward recreational sex, which
can only come from proper education
of the young.

NationalAIDS Progam Director Dr.
Marvin Manzanero. National AIDS Prog
Meteorologist Ann Gordon discussed
the impacts of global warming and cli-
mate change on Belize. Since global
warming will cause sea level rise with
the melting of the polar ice caps, this
will impact on Belize land area as low-
lying parts of the country become sub-
merged. It would also have profound
impact on the barrier reef, resulting in
bleaching which would also affect the
future growth of tourism industry.
Dr. Michael Deshield of the BelizeAg-
ricultural Health authority discussed the
dangers of genetically manipulated
crops as he presented the national bio-
safety policy. Genetically engineered
crops become the property of the re-
search firms which develop them, cre-
ating a form of dependency among the
client farmers and countries who buy the
genetically engineered seeds.
The symposium concluded with a
panel discussion of the international col-
laboration required to combat these glo-
bal health threats, with education serv-
ing a primary role in making the people
aware of these dangers.

Boyd Johnson wins...

g--" (Continued From Page 14)
up for the start of the race in front of
Acros Imports on the Western High-
way just outside Belize City. Then they
were off and Darnell Barrow took the
first couple of station prizes.
Rudy Amil Guzman Isosche of Team
Cafe Quetzal took the lead briefly and
won a prize, and Doniseti Aburto
Vasquez of Team Typhoon won a
Then the Belizean radio audience was
to become very familiar with the name
Deivi Alej andro Ibanez Forero of Team

Cafe Quetzal as he swept many of the
next station prizes on the road to
Giovanni "Froggy" Leslie joined
Ibanez's breakaway to win a couple of
prizes in La Democracia and passing
Cheers Restaurant, and it was Robert
Mariano of Team Benny's Megabytes
in the lead as the race rolled through St
Matthew's Village.
Darnell Barrow led again as the race
passed Roaring Creek but it was Peter
Choto of Team C-ray who led at the
(Please Turn To Page 16) *E

World Health Day

symposium raises


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Friday, April 13, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16


wins 2007 Cross Country Classic

- -i(Continued From Page 15)
half-way mark, turning around the Con-
stitution Park in San Ignacio.
Choto won a couple more prizes on
the way back and then it was Deivi
Alej andro Ibanez Forero again, sweep-
ing the next 18 station prizes from
Esperanza Village all the way back to

Roaring Creek Village.
Ricardo Sameul Tapia won the prize
atthe Belmopan junction on the return
and Miguel Angel Diaz Tafur led as the
race rolled past the Hector Silva air-
Shane Vasquez led briefly at mile 3 8
but he was reeled in by Jose Choto who

won the next station prizes up to La
Democracia. Ismael Ponce took over
the lead and he and Jose Choto worked
together as a two man breakaway shar-
ing the station prizes as they rolled to
the city.
Ismael Ponce swept all the station
prizes from mile 16 to mile 5. Mateo

Cruz made a bid for the lead and was
challenged by Lizandro Velasquez and
Miguel Diaz Tafur. Boyd Johnson led
as the race entered the city, with Shane
Vasquez, Anthony Taylor and Ismael
Ponce all jockeying for the lead. Then
the race entered the stadium and his-
tory was written.


7:30 p.m. B p.m
Opening Ceremony

100 mOa (Cuba)

I7min (Rarhados)

80Omin (Cuba)
27 min (Barbadias)
16 min
(Trtndida# Tobago)
78 Min (CukracAO)

COME 100min


Dominlcnr~i "bclC
103 m~n (Jamaica)


(Trinidad Tobago)

7z min Iseltzm)
88 min (aahamas)

52 minr (Haiti)
TOLD ME 55 ain
(TrtnIdad Tobago)

39 iki (Aruba)
a3 mm~
UTrinidad ,Tobago)

7:30 p.m. 8 p.m
Ckoing Ceremony

.1*1 TA, 8&,t De'l JAnLANDJLis
of Parouix47 min 45 m~n (Cuba)
(Trinidad Tobiagol RMBOMS OF BLUE
ZULAUCA flZ mk (St. Lucia)
78 m (,Curaca~o)

SWALLOW 23 n~1n 'THE LETR211Z tm#)
{Cayrnan Islands) CDcninincan Ripubtic)
106 mifi 125S mkin Cubal
(AntiguaI Barbuda)

.57mini (Haiti/Cuba)
50Mih (Jamaica

100 min(Martinique)

110 min (Curacaol

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