Title: Independent reformer
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099538/00021
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: April 27, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00021
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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The Real GiverS and Takers


Every five years in Belize, there is a
momentous power transaction that
takes place between the people of
Belize and aspiring political leaders
- incumbent and opposition.
On this one occasion, the people
use their vote to voice their deepest
feelings about the way the country's
affairs are being run. The vote com-
municates everything imaginable -
frustration, a sense of being let down,
anger, disgruntlement, change, hope,
and trust. For this single day, the
power truly belongs to the people.
But if recent history teaches us any-
thing about our political leaders it is
this: once this power is fused and
given to the elected politicians on
Election Day, once this power is
adopted as "mandate, the
"power" shifts from the people to
the politicians and consistently, the
politicians "lord" their power over
the people for the next five years.
How else can one explain how in
the last general election, the political
parties spent in excess of $40 million


Roxanne Stapleton Friday, April 20,
2007
THE RBTT Financial Group last
week confirmed that it received a
proposal from a third party with
"respect to a possible combina-
tion/partnership".
The statement which was issued first
to its staff said: "This proposal is un-
der consideration and RBTT can con-
firm that its board of directors has
made no decision to recommend it to
shareholders.
"Furthermore, there can be no as-
surance that a transaction will result
from this or any proposal. RBTT con-
tinually investigates any and all oppor-
tunities that could enhance shareholder
value," adding that it takes into ac-
count the best interests of its princi-
pal stakeholders, including its share-
holders, employees and customers.
Prior to last week's statement,


dollars to negotiate control of that
"mandate? Considering that Belize
has a small population of only
300,000, this translates to $133.00
per person; this is enough to pay for
a round trip ticket to San Pedro for
each Belizean on Election Day.
The questions needing answers are
- where does all this money come
from? Who are the real givers? Who
are the real takers? What does this
money supply chain look like?
In looking for answers, one cannot
help but think about the story of Braa
Anansi and his money scheme. Braa
Anansi needed money to pay for his
personal plans so he went to his
friends, Braas fowl, rooster, fox, dog,
and tiger respectively, asking them to
chip in on a loan with the promise to
pay back the next day.
Sure enough, when payback time
came, BraaAnansi arranged for each
of his creditors to come collect at one
hour intervals from each other. Fowl
came first and during the hour that she
waited, braa fox came and ate up


RBTT's chairman, Peter July, main-
tained that his group has not agreed
to the sale of the bank or to a merger
with any third party, noting, however,
that RBTT continues to have discus-
sions of a strategic nature regarding
its portfolio.
"Discussions of this nature have
been ongoing for at least the past two
years and continue," he stated.
But with Friday's confirmation of a
proposal, staffers told the Trinidadian
press that they remain uneasy.
Canadian and local media reports
about talks of a merger or acquisition
between local financial giant, RBTT
and FirstCaribbean International
Bank (FCIB, a subsidiary of Cana-
dian bank, CIBC), have left them
both frantic and angry that they've
never been "freely allowed to have
union representation".
(Please Turn To Page 3) MW


fowl. But before fox could wipe his
mouth clean, dog showed up and
munched fox; within the hour, braa ti-
ger showed up and munched dog. Yet
still, and even as tiger was savoring
dog, braa hunter showed up and shot
tiger.
When all was said and done, there
were only two left standing -braa
Anansi and hunter! Braa hunter was
very satisfied with his kill, for there
was much return on his investment -
meat, money, and trophy. For Braa
Anansi, he did not have to pay a cent;
all his friends did. So they both sat
down and had a party.
What is the moral of this story? It is
this: in the campaign money supply
chain, those who appear to be the big-
gest givers are in fact the biggest tak-
ers. When the campaign financier
gives the politician money, he is sure


to get back much more; the financier
makes sure of this.
And when the politician ,i ,, \ "
money to give to the Belizean voter,
there is only one way he can make
sure he has the ability to pay back -
he drops the Braa Anansi "whap" on
the Belizean voter and taxpayer. If you
need proof of this, take a look at our
national budget; 80% of expenditures
are financed by the people's taxes.
And even as I write, the peoples' land
is being used to liquidate debts to the
financiers.
So when the Belizean voter believes
he or she is "getting" from the politi-
cian, he or she is actually the one do-
ing the "giving."
At a recent SPEAR "yaad talk"
forum, a highly respected professor
at a local university put it this way:
(Please Turn To Page 3) MW


a


p


RBTT mulls 'combination/

partnership' venture


Dancing the Night Away


Selim Hoy and Inga Woods dancing in the Fallottifund raising dance competition
(See Story onpg 14)








Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


The Good Gardener

Dear Editor,
Iwould like to address this to your
readers, if I may:
My fellow Belizeans, I wish to
speak with you about something
that many of you are acquainted
with as a child. Do you remember
the days of tending a garden as a
child? Do you remember the work
that a garden was as a child and
reflect on what a joy it is as an
adult? It's funny how things change.
I remember as a child, having to
plant and loathing even more the
task of weeding. No matter how
hard I worked to keep the weeds
down, they always popped up
quicker than the harvest and I
would have to do four times the
work to keep the weeds under con-
trol just to get a simple harvest. It
was overwhelming at times and I
wondered why my parents insisted
on this practice. Now I know. They
were teaching me a greater objec-
tive, because, my brothers and sis-
ters, I have come to realize that our
government is our garden as well.
We must tend to it; we must nur-
ture it; and above all, we must weed
it. It's so easy in this day and age
to feel somehow the government
garden isn't ours
anymore... somehow we are share-
croppers in the process. This is not
the truth: we are the farmers and we
need to take responsibility.
The problem is that we have ig-
nored our garden and now the
weeds are intertwined with our pre-
cious plants. These are the plants
that can sustain us should we pay
them some mind.
I took time out and weeded my


own personal garden yesterday. My
next step is to weed my government
garden in which I now I share re-
sponsibility with everyone else in
Belize. I will no longer accept for-
eign weeds into my country. They
will no longer overtake my precious
fruits. I will welcome ladybugs and
the like and I will know that they
are ladybugs by the actions that
they bestow on my garden. When
someone introduces artificial fertil-
izers, I will send them packing.
When someone in my government
tries to starve my crop I will send
them packing as well.
Belize is a garden and the only
thing holding her back is participa-
tion of her farmers that love Her.
Please everyone, wake up and let's
all tend to our precious garden of
Belize.
-Contributed

KREM at war with
PUP/Ashcroft.!

Amandala's editorial lastweek ended:


"We are trying to figure out why KREM
Radio's road has been so rocky.
Why did Ashcroft initiate a process
in 1994 to put himself in position to
sabotage KREM? Why is the Bar-
row law firm leading the charge
against KREM in a general election
year? Why did a PUP Cabinet Min-
ister travel with Lord Ashcroft to
the Democratic Republic of the
Congo just days ago? Is the plot
against KREM Radio in 2007 as
bipartisan as the Aikman bank-
ruptcy conspiracy was in 1992? In
the words of the late Harry Caray,
there is danger here, cherie."
We sympathize with KREM con-
sidering that we too seem to be in
the PUP's firing line. Ever since the
launch of The INdependent the PUP
has tried to wipe us out by all
means possible.
It is a compliment to KREM that
the 'powers that be' and their back-
ers are so frightened of them and
of the freedom of the press. We
take it as a complimenttoo!
Meb Cutlack.


independent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2(666(
Beliie Ciit. Belie/


Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as little as
BZS3000 ( (IS30.00 international)


1 1 '1. I I k P


I m -III .jti.


Now available


Independent
Reformer Weekly
t-shirts are now o
On Sale for $10.00
when you buy a
year's subscription
to the paper.


E-1 Lill lll E-1


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


[71YES!







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3
--





you. That tourists are not jacked or money healmostcriedwhenhewenttoChetumal.
But in Chetumal apparently there is still never extorted by police or traffic cops. For everywhere you look you see
some respect for property and fear ofthe That taxi drivers and gas stations do not progress, new roads, new shops, new
law. Drug addicts do not roam the streets cheat those unfamiliar with their money homes.
to pillage at will and gang boys do not and rates. But even more importantly, you see a
help themselves toyour possessions just I know these things happen. But ap- community where people are not only
for the fun of it. parently there is still some respect for the productive, they have recreational and
SWe considered ourselves very, very law, some need for order in this place cultural facilities at every street comer. We
-" lucky. And then we grew sad as we real- whereyou can drive onroadswheretraffic passed no fewerthan threejunior soccer
.. 7"- matches and children's basketball games,
By: KarlaHeusnerVernon You have to wonder how Belize got to where it is well equipped and well kept schools,
B"O- rla Heuer Veno n ou av e. neatly appointed homes and clean little
"Oh no, we left the door open!" We HOw, and Chetumal to where it is. taxis speeding along.
ran towards the vehicle in the parking lot. All the cars in Chetumal look clean and
It had been such a perfect day, a great ized the contrast between this place and signs and rules are actually obeyed by the shiny andbrand new, no mattertheirage. I
outingandnowlwassuretheentirething the place where we live. A place were majority of people. Where parks at the suppose because the roads are good and
was ruined. All our purchases would be there are no shopping malls with parking seaside have signs urging visitors to re- there are carwash stands all over.
gone from the trunk, on the seats, our lots such as these, no roaming security spectthe image ofthe community by not Joggers and walkers were up and down
bags with cameras and papers, every- vehicles or perhaps even cameras keep- drinking or loitering or playing loud mu- the strip of pavement by the sea, working
thing would have disappeared. All we ing an eye on the cars. No honor system sic. out after a hard day atwork, before aFriday
would be left with were our documents, among fellow drivers. A place where you can take your fam- night spent socializing in decent clubs or at-
purses and wallets. We noticed the dozens of scooter and ily out to dinner or a show, or fill your gas tractive restaurants. I doubt any ofthem ever
But to our amazement, nothing had motorcycle riders got off their bikes and tank to "F" without spending what feels retumedto find their car window smashed
been touched. Shoppers had walked right puttheirhelmets on the handlebars. With- like a week's salary. Where basic food ortheirhomeburglarizedintheirabsence. I
by our vehicle, with its door flung wide, out the least concern that someone would items are within reach of the population doubt such a thing even occurs to them.
and either not noticed it was unattended walk offwith them. that needs to eat them. Where education In short, theplaceis functioning city, not
or not dared to approach it. In Belize you often come back to find is compulsory and materials provided. adysfunctional one. Police appearfrequently,
"This could never happen in Belize!" no wheel, no seat, no bike. As we sped along the highway and onto keepingthepeacemore than anything else
said one of our party. And we knew he I am not naive enough to believe there the brand new overpass, I could under- and citizens do not glare at eachotherbel-
was right. In Belize you lock everything is no crime in Chetumal. That people are stand why Cornelius Dueck, leader ofthe ligerently or defiantly. Young men are fash-
and take everything you can carry with never robbed or hurtby thugs and thieves. National Reform Party, said recently that (Please Turn To Page 4)


.. .... .... ...-- .E n s
...........







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4 |

Campaign DollarS:

The R eal G iverS -n.(Continued From Page 3) shootingspreestosaytheymustnowsleep
ionably dressed and greet one anotherwith with theirwindows closed or on thefloorin
a n d T a k e rs respect and cordiality; their pants do notsag, fear ofbullets. Where couples out necking
their hairis not raging attheworldtrying to can wind up dead by abridge up the road,
givethem the wildest possible image. They where elderly people sitting at home in the
- h (Continued From Page 1) tions to political parties and can- puttaroundon scootersorsmalleconomical eveningcanwindupbeatenandleftfordead.
"the poor continue to elect the rich didates to limit campaign expen- cars. Ididnothearasinglevehiclebanging Whatareliefnottospendyourdayslooking
to keep them richer, and the rich diture." It is not surprising that to outmusic,norseeany circling suspiciously over your shoulder to see who has come
continue to give to the poor to keep date, this promise is yet to be ful- Theyoungwomendressatuacvely, even beggingortiefing.
themThe young women dress attrac"vely, even eggingore.
theIn an poorer As th filled sexily, but do not appear tobe advertising You have to wonder how Belize got to
In an OAS forum on Paying for As the next general elections draws theirwarestothehighestbidderwith thefan- whereitisnow, andChetumaliswhereitis.
Political Parties and Campaigns near, it is important for the people of ciest ide, regardless ofthe age differential. Youhavetowonderwhy we have letthe
in the Caribbean, "Heads of State Belize- the voters- to bear in mind Inshort,theyoungpeopleappeartohave bad element, the drug lords and the drug
and Governments expressed con- the moral of the story recounted respect for each other, and themselves addictstakeoverourcommunitywhilethe
cern over the high cost of elections, above. What then, is the conclusion Someonehasgivenittothemr, and themsirparents. addictstakpleofChetumalhavenot.Ofcourethey
the sources of campaign funding and of all this? This is it: Campaign Fi- grandparents schools the laws and rules havetheirshareofnarco-violence, ofdo-
the influence the financiers have over nance Reform must begin with the which govern their town and the conse- mesticmurdersandviolence.
governments. During this forum, people! This is the reality, quencesthatresultforinfractions. Buttheyprobablyhavearapidandstrong
there was a call for reform dis- Do they count the seconds they talk or response to these things. And people prob-
closure of campaign finance theirtextmessagestomake surethey donot ablygotojail.
sources, disclosure of contributions run out of credit? I doubt it. Do they look Will we ever find ourselves as fortunate
and gifts received, and caps on overtheirshouldersconstantlytoseeifsome- as our neighbors across the border? Or
amounts to be spent on election one will shoot them? I doubt it. Dothey will we continue to plunge even further
campaigns. But it is questionable yearnto movetothe States or somewhere down in our development and lose what
how much of these regional leaders to elsebecausethey feeltheyhavenofuture, little remains four dignity and hope? How
actually had the political will to no prospect of education or decentjobs? I many Belizeans will enter Chet and wish
implement the necessary reforms. doubtit. Fromthenumberof escuelathis that they too lived there instead of here.
In its 1998 Manifesto Set Belizeial andescuelathatandinstituteofthis andinsti- Or that here was more like there. Won-
Free," the PUP, promising political tute ofthat, I doubt it very much. during why and howthere is such a huge
reform and power to the people, Idonotforamomentbelievetheylivein difference in the standard of living, and
stated: "Campaign financing leg- paradise, butatleastthey arenotinthe hell quality oflife in two places separated only
isolation will be enacted to ensure
disclosure financial contribu- By: Gus A. Perera so many four people are in. People who by a tiny river.
call theradio stalionfollowing neighborhood


Amazing isn't it(? How big the bite oF an orca Killer whale is, eh Minister?
But not as big as the bite you are putting on Belize, ml Lawdc







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


'a se


e


or


By: TrevorVernon
This here is feast and famine season
in Belize. Feasts for the very few, but
only if you are true red and blue and
willing to praise the Lord. A new day
has dawned in Belize where only po-
litical insiders (of both colors) are get-
ting all the sweetened deals. Deals
which have been and will continue to
cost the taxpayers of Belize everything
they have and own. Belize has been sold
out to the world's best predator and the
general populace will have hell to pay,
elections or no elections. No matter
who is voted in, or voted out.
The sellers of our national patrimony
with their law degrees and unscrupu-
lous legal advisors have taken our sys-
tem of governance, and by extension the
citizenry, for fools. But even though thye
play sheep, the citizenry is not totally
asleep. The people of Belize understand
the incestuous co-mingling of powers at
every level and finally recognize the red
and blue are in bed at the pinnacle. Even
Musa's handpicked elite appointed to
the good governance commission re-
signed en masse last year when they got
the sense that they were just assembled
to add credibility to the wanton fire sale
of the assets of Belize. These are big
people with big titles, high morals and
even grander egos who aren't as easily
bought as the man thought they were. It
gives us hope to see them walk.
We need hope, for we get no relief


from public hearings and inquiries, source of income
Belizeans already know how much 8) major give-away of national lands
money has been stolen from us and our (not necessarily blaming the National
once sacred public institutions. We Resource Ministry on this)
know that the suitcases filled with money 9) major give-away of our oil re-
carried by morally bankrupt mules of- sources to themselves and the front
fer only a glimpse of what actually leaves company
this country every month. Fifty trips at So which were the companies that
one million US each? Just the tip of the actually benefited to the detriment of our
iceburg. Whisked away while intema- country's resources? We have to say
tional financial intelligence units andDEA companies because their lawyers have
were looking the other way. Asleep in structured the raping through Private
their security booths, or just voyeurs? Limited Companies, "Public Compa-

Liberty has no foundation with him and he uses us
all as a cover story, down to the orphaned children.
\._________________


Hard to believe they could be that lax.
But where did all the millions creamed
off the top really go?
1) to big tax write offs for the com-
panies of the British Lord who says pub-
licly that he was a socially dejected ille-
gitimate child
2) to big tax write offs for the
nouveaux riche (lower ranking blue fin-
anciers, including Lukas who the street
says is using the Lord's investment capi-
tal)
3) big loan write-offs at DFC, also
for the lower ranking financiers includ-
ing Lukas
4) duty free containers to select mer-
chants of a certain extraction
5) sovereign guarantees gone bad;
guarantees given only to the ultra select
few (absolutely no reds here)
6) fire-sale of government & quasi
government bodies' assets, often times
with nothing more than a promissory
note
7) give-away of seaport, airport, cus-
toms & registry that were a major


nies" and Offshore Companies. The lat-
ter is the domain of a myriad of legal
instruments orchestrated by none other
than the Lord, or should we say King,
ofBelize. Everywhere you look you see
this legalistic footprints, fingerprints, and
other indentations made in the sand with
the explicit backing, not only of our own
government, but those in the great white
north.
While Belize has been known to bring
bigger dances to an end, this is not the
case with this man's song and dance.
Sophisticated companies, with owner-
ship of the offshore registry even, have
apparently locked up and locked down
the entire political system ofBelize. The
leaders of both maj or parties make ex-
cuses for him because "he pays me
handsomely" or "we have to follow the
money." Only Mark, the Morality Min-
ister, bridled at the master-puppet rela-
tionship.
The Lord controls, or tries to con-
trol, most of the media in Belize with
the help of both red & blue leadership


and his corporate entities. One of these
companies is now so power-hungry it
has given the Judiciary the finger--re-
peatedly. Remarkably no law enforce-
ment body has forced them to comply
with any injunctions or rulings to rein-
state employees.
Which begs the question: how can the
big empire-building, democracy support-
ing governments in the north uphold an
anti-democratic institution such as the one
which manipulates every aspect ofbusi-
ness in Belize?
How can London and Foggy Bottom
allow a modem day slave master to keep
supposedly free people poor and indi-
gent? What logic can the analysts use to
justify carryingthis man around and show-
ing him off as Lord of our Manor? He
certainly is notBelizean. He could never
be. Legally he may have a passport but a
Belizean he sure ain't.
While common law tradition countries
talk poverty alleviation they insert their
own born and bred parasite to suck the
life blood out of our economy and plunge
MORE people into a life ofpoverty. Lib-
erty has no foundation with him and he
uses us all as a cover story, down to the
orphaned children.
Those of us who have the ability to
speak for the poor and indigent ofBelize,
even the suffering middle class, must say
to both superpowers: help us rid ourselves
not only of this corrupt government, but
also this despot. Please withdrawyourun-
conditional support forthe usurper; at the
very least place some conditions on his
freewheeling buccaneering ways. His
presence, at your behest, is not only an
affront to democracy in the region, it is
plunging us back into colonial darkness.
There must be other, less barbaric ways
of accomplishing your foreign policy ob-
jectives.


First-Emvr ResidentiaVe


Resort Planned for Belize


Media Release--Wednesday April 18, Belize
City Smugglers Run Plantation, a 1,000-
acre master-planned community, is be-
ing introduced here this week as the En-
glish-speaking country's first-ever desti-
nation resort with a championship golf
course.
"Belize has long been known for its
exquisite beauty, world-class diving and
fishing," saidJ. Trevor Miles, president
and CEO. "With our new resort, it also
will soon be known for affordable luxury
living and championship golf, all with a
strong Belizean flavor."
Smugglers Run Plantation will include
600 town homes and duplex villas, 339
private estate lots, 26 equestrian estate


lots, 22 executive estate lots, 540 deluxe
condominiums, 200 themed condomini-
ums, a 200-room all suite hotel, a 77-
room themed all-suites hotel, spa and a
town center with retail shopping and cin-
ema. A separate five-acre parcel also will
include 100 luxury sea-view condomini-
ums, waterfront access featuring a marina
with 240 slips (60 wet/180 dry) and a
beach club component.
Current real estate opportunities range
in price from $59,000 to more than $1
million. Ownerswill have the optiontobuy
a golf membership for approximately
$20,000.
Construction on the 18-hole golf course
- designed by Arthur Hills of Toledo,


Ohio-based Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest
andAssociates-- is set to begin in Janu-
ary 2008. Due to open in early 2009, the
7,223 -yard, par 72 layout will be the first
golf course to be designed by an interna-
tionally renowned architect in the country's
history, and will be complemented by a
34,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Formerly known by British Honduras,
Belize is located on the Caribbean Sea,
bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, and
is growing in popularity as a retirement
destination for those seeking a lower cost
of living, particularly for residents of the
U.S. and Canada. The country's Retired
Person's Incentive Program allows quali-
fying individuals to live free ofBelize taxes.


Another major plus is Belize's subtropi-
cal climate with an annual mean tempera-
ture of 79 degrees. The humidity is sel-
dom oppressive and nicely tempered by
cooling sea breezes.
The resort is an easy 20-minute drive
to the Belize International Airport (BZE),
close to city businesses, hotels, and res-
taurants, and to the Belize Tourism Vil-
lage where the cruise ships arrive daily. It
is approximately two hours from five ma-
jorU.S. gateways: Dallas, Miami, Hous-
ton, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.
For more information
www.smugglersrunplantation.com or
e-mail us at
info@smugglersrunplantation.com.







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6 |



Doha talks went well


Dr. Richard Bernal


by Julian Richardson Friday,April 20,
2007 Jamaican Gleaner
Dr. Richard Bernal Head of the
Caribbean Regional Negotiating
Machinery (CRNM), has de-
scribed last week's meeting with
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
director general, Pascal Lamy, as
useful and timely.


Lamy was in Jamaica to meet with
Caribbean trade ministers in order to
update them on the Doha Development
Round ofWTO talks. The director gen-
eral also took the opportunity to listen
to the Doha interests of the Caribbean,
which he said has traditionally been a
solid integrated unit in trade talks.
"It is myjob to listen to specific posi-
tions of various members and it is also
part ofmy job to brief them on exactly
where we are in the negotiations as I
see," Lamy told journalists last Friday
during his one-day visit to the island.
"The Caribbean focus is traditionally,
in WTO, very solidly organised, united
and speaking with one voice and it's
good that given this sort of huge invest-
ment that this region has made in trade
negotiations, I spend a bit of time with
them in direct physical contact."
The Doha Round of negotiations,
which began with a ministerial-level
meeting in Doha, Qatar in 2001, is
aimed at lowering trade barriers around
the world, allowing free trade between
countries. The talks have missed numer-
ous deadlines and were recently stalled
over a divide between developed na-
tions such as the European Union (EU),
the United States (US) and Japan, and
major developing nations such as Bra-
zil, India and China. The conflict was


based on the developing countries de-
mands for the developed countries' to
cut farm subsidies and their refusal to
grant the wealthier nations greater mar-
ket access.
Last week, six key members of the
WTO the US, EU, Brazil, India, Ja-
pan and Australia met in New Delhi,
India and proposed a new year-end
deadline to complete negotiations.
"We made this very firm determina-
tion that the Round be completed by
the end of this year or beginning of next
year, which, given what remains to be
done, means that all these big headline
issues like agricultural subsidies and tar-
iffs, and industrial tariffs, these things
need to be cracked before we cel-
ebrate," Lamy disclosed to the media.
Dr Bernal, in an interview with the
Caribbean Business Report (CBR) yes-
terday, said that the Caribbean trade
ministers used Lamy's visit last week,
as a platform to present pressing con-
cerns that the region has with the Doha
talks. The director general of the
CRNM said that the concerns were
well received by Lamy.
"The meeting was useful and timely.
We had a chance to discuss how we
feel about (the Doha Round) going for-
ward," said Dr Bernal. "On our side,
we took the opportunities to reiterate


our priority issues and our concerns,
which is good because (Lamy) is going
to all the trade meetings and it is good
to make sure he is fully aware of what
we are interested in."
Dr Bemal added that it is important
that the concerns of poorer countries in
the developing world are not side-
tracked by the determination of the
larger players to meet a specific dead-
line. The CRNM head disclosed to the
CBR, five key issues that CARICOM
ministers presented to Lamy:
(1) So far, the CARICOM trade min-
isters do not think that adequate atten-
tion has been given to developing coun-
tries
(2) The CRNM feels that the onus is
on breaking the deadlock, wrestling the
developed countries and changing their
position on agricultural subsidies and
domestic support
(3) CARICOM is participating fully
in the Doha process and are committed
to it
(4) The CRNM believes that all vul-
nerable developing countries are to be
given special consideration and special
treatment
(5) It is more important to get a good
agreement than to finish on any particu-
lar schedule or deadlock.


All Belizeans must benefit from


Belize's natural resources


VIP maintains the policy that "All
Belizeans must benefit equitably
from the use of Belize's natural re-
sources". This policy and Belize's na-
tional interest was assaulted in the most
degrading manner when government
announced last week that it intends to
sell the People's 10% shares in BNE,
the only viable oil business we have.
Belize's national interest was further vio-
lated when the Opposition yesterday
announced that it actually agrees with
government's idea of selling the people's
shares.
Our justification for opposing this sale
is that:
1. The people of Belize already
own the shares. As it is, all Belizean
will benefit from the profits of these
shares.
2. Selling those shares will take
away from the poor, without any com-
pensation, what is already and naturally
theirs.


3. Such a sale will allow an unfair
advantage to those who can pay for
those shares. This will result in a wider
gap between the rich and the poor in
Belize.
4. Selling those shares and saving
the proceeds for later use will effectively
cut off the future earning of those shares
from people who cannot afford to pay
for them today.
5. Selling those shares make them
vulnerable to foreign take-over as share
buyers may quickly sell to foreigners to
gain profit.
6. By selling those shares govern-
ment will have no direct input in the
company's management to ensure that
the interest ofBelize is safeguarded.
The national interest of Belize de-
mands that a long term strategic plan
for our petroleum industry be estab-
lished. Such a plan must address the
training needs of Belizeans and must
contemplate our country's ability to con-


duct petroleum exploration and produc-
tion.
The VIP warns Belizeans that our
generations will suffer for this reckless
and callous sale should it materialize.
Here is a repeat of our past mistakes
with BEL, BWSL, BTL, PORTS OF
BELIZE, and others. Here is a repeat
of the mistakes of African and South
American oil industries where poor


people have not benefitted from this
natural wealth. Belize's misfortune in this
matter will fall squarely on the People's
United Party led Administration and its
supporter, the United Democratic Party,
and any other who supports this sale.
Belizean brothers and sisters, let us
stand firm and oppose this sale in any
way shape or form.


I 1
For an online version of the INdependent Reformer visit us at m

http://www.belizenorth.com/ independentreformer.htm
I 1
lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmll


DEAL



p8O & p7 ffi
WE PAY CASH FOR
INFORMATION
ON ANY UNSOLVED CRIMES
O A Centennial Community Program Coordinasd by Ihe Rnotary Club of. Bz.







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


By: William Schmidt
PG correspondent for
INdependent Weekly
A letter to the Director of the Institute
of Archaeology Dr. Jamie Awe
Dear Mr. Awe
As you know the rural people of To-
ledo, over 70 percent of Maya heritage,
are considered the poorest in Toledo.
However in my opinion (I have lived and
worked in Toledo for over 35 years)
the poorest people in Toledo are living
in a place behind Punta Gorda Town
called Indian Vil.
I have an article in the INdependent
Reformer I'll send along telling a little
of their plight. Several years ago some
of the citizens asked me if I could help
them to find some work. I had previ-
ously helped some of the rural villages
to form the Toledo Ecotourism Asso-
ciation and their Village Guesthouse Eco
Trail Program, it helped some to be able
to stay in their villages and make some
extra money. It also helped some of
them to revive some of their arts and
crafts, music, dance, stories, medicinal,
and other knowledge. You may have
heard that in 1997 the Republic of Ger-
many presented the TEAwith the "To
Do" prize for the world's most socially
responsible community based eco-tour-
ism program. It was presented by the
secretary general of the World Tourism
Association of the United Nations.
After several meetings the people from
Indian Vil, 36 women and six men came
up with the idea of creating an authentic
recreation of a pre Hispanic Maya
coastal trading village. We contacted
my old friend, I could say our old friend
Dr. Heather Mckillop and asked her if
she would be willing to meet with the
group to tell them what she had learned
about the ancient Maya of the coast of
Southern Belize, she said she would see
if some of her graduate students would
be interested. We formed the group
under the Punta Gorda Conservation
Committee which was registered in
2000. The local lands officer said the
area we wanted was mostly swamp with
only allow a little high land but no one
had requested it, he provided us with a
letter so stating. We went to our area
representative Honorable Michael
Espat who said he would be happy to
help the group but the area had to be


surveyed and the Government of Belize
could not help.
It took the group some time to col-
lect the money but with contributions of
labor and money from the community
at large and the ESTAP program we
were able to get a proper survey done.
After several letters to the Minister of
Lands and Natural Resources Honor-
able Jonny Bricinco, he asked local
Lands Officer to help the group to get
use of the land. The group explained that
they did not have the money to lease
the land and wanted the Government
of Belize to have it designated a pro-
tected area as it was 90 percent wet-
lands. They would take responsibility
for protecting and managing it. Eventu-
ally an appointment was made with the
Conservation Department, again money
was contributed by the community to
send the officers of the group and my-
self (I paid my own way) to Belmopan.
When we got there we were told the
conservation officer had important busi-
ness in Cayo. We said we waited over
a month for this appointment. Did he
arrange for anyone else to meet with us?
"No!" We returned to Punta Gorda. The
secretary told us she would get back to
us with another appointment, but she
never did. We called and got the same
promise but never got an appointment.
Those Belizeans who live in the "for-
gotten district," especially poor Maya
women and men, know all about this:
no matter how many times the Govern-
ment of Belize says it, it isn't so. I pre-
sume with the knowledge you have of
the Maya you know what I'm writing
about. Anyway, the situation has con-
tinued to get worse for the people here
in Toledo. Poverty is increasing, racism
against the Maya is increasing, more
men have to leave to work in the citrus
or banana plantations or the shrimp
farms or tourist resorts up north. More
alcohol, more drugs and more crime for
the younger boys and girls they leave
behind.
Over these last couple years I have
gone to the Area Representative many
times. He has repeatedly--and heatedly-
- told me "if the Minister of Lands and
Natural Resources doesn't want to help
this group, I can't make him."
I have even gone to the Right Honor-
able Prime Minister on two occasions.
He asked for the survey papers and
other important information about the
project. He promised to see what he
could do but no help was forthcoming.
On my last visit he recommended I con-
tact Yassar Musa of NICH. I waited
two days in Belize City to see him, wrote
three letters and made several calls on
behalf of these people but he refused to
even talk with me.
Miss Lela Vernon MBE, who is also
head of the Punta Gorda Conservation


I


3h
woo


Committee, also met with Michael
Espat, Yasser Musa and representatives
of the Belize Tourism Board to get help
for these people and their project to
create employment for themselves while
reviving their culture. I have sent three
registered letters to Minister Godfrey
Smith asking for his help. He has also
refused to answer any of them..
The Maya Day Group hosted Mr.
Angel Cal and his wife for dinner with
Minister Espat. Mr. Cal who as you
know, helped to get Maya history in-
troduced to the primary school curricu-
lum, told the group he was very im-
pressed with the work they had done
and if the Government of Belize would
support the project he would recom-
mend that the schools in Belize use it as
an excellent field trip to see an authen-
tic example of what the Maya had.
Minister Espat again offered to help but
again not help came. He said "he could
not force the other ministers to help if
they didn't want to."
Members of the group went to Mr.
Paul Rodriguez, Belize Ombudsman on
two occasions he said he had tried to
help but he also could not force the gov-
ernment to help if they don't want to.
The members of the group still want to
try this program and still ask me what
they can do. Most say they are only
waiting to vote this government out to
see if a new government will help them
to help themselves.
Now we are writing you with the hope


that you will be ready, willing, able and
wanting to help. We will send a copy
of this letter to the Ministers and oth-
ers we have mentioned with the hope
that it will remind them of our previ-
ous attempts to get their help and that
they will respond to your inquiries as
to why they have steadfastly refused
to help these humble citizens to get
permission to use this land to create
more employment for themselves.
After being ignored so many times it
may be a good idea to see if we can
get this letter published in the news-
paper. A good Eco Cultural tourism
attraction and something that owuld
revive and strengthen their culture and
protect the presently endangered flora
and fauna of the area is good for all
concerned.
Why has the Ministry, NICH and
others supported the good work at
El Pilar with Dr. Anabel Ford, and re-
fused to help Dr. Mckillop and oth-
ers here in Toledo with a very similar
project?
If you need any of the maps or other
documents, copies of the many let-
ters sent or any letter or any other in-
formation you might want, please let
me know at your earliest convenience
Sincerely,
William Schmidt
Local Volunteer Consultant for the
Toledo Ecotourism Association, To-
ledo Maya Cultural Council, Punta
Gorda Conservation Committee


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Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8 |


students learn about T


& Culture


By Pat Asling
The Benque House of Culture com-
pound was the setting for a hot topic on
Tuesday morning, April 17th. Over 200
students with their teachers, from
Succotz and Benque, braved the cloud-
less sky and beaming sun to hear the
special speaker, Mrs. Lucy Fleming, talk
about tourism. She told them how Chaa
Creek, the international award-winning
Lodge, started with a small thatched hut,
way back in 1981 and how, with plenty
of hard work, it has become what it is
today. She also interacted with the youth
by asking them how they might want to
get into tourism and by then giving them
a number a facts about tourism in Belize
and the opportunities they will have to
impact on those figures in the coming
years.
The children were also lucky as it was
their final opportunity to see the won-
derful photographs taken by Dirk Fran-
cisco of the nine protected areas man-
aged by Belize Audubon Society, some
of the very places that many tourists
come to see. This display is now ended.


Benque Viejo, as a centennial
in 2004, began construction


Benque school children attend presentation on tourism dev
al project tower in the centre of Centennial Park.
n of a 40' This project has progressed from the


elopment.
tower, to the plaza surrounding it, to
a number of donated benches scat-
tered along the walkways, among the
many blooming trees. The final phase
is to install special lighting around the
park. Funding is being sought from
businesses and individuals towards
this end.
We would like to thank those do-
nors who have contributed thus far:
Ford Foundation, Standard Oil, Gov-
ernment of Belize, First Caribbean
and Belize Social Security Board. We
would also like to thank CACHE
members for helping clean the park
and the Benque Fire Department for
changing light bulbs, way up there. We
appreciate these generous contribu-
tions but still much more is needed to
complete the plan.
For information about coming events
or other information call 823-2697.


Upcoming events at Benque HOC in-
clude another edition of "Reflections"
at the end of the month, a new exhibit
entitled "Boats of Belize" opening on
Tuesday, May 8 and a Band Concert
on Sunday, May 27. The exhibit is be-
ing compiled by the Archives personnel
and will deal primarily with the Cayo
boats and others plying the Old River
between Belize City and San Ignacio.
Guest speaker will be Mr. Norman
Simplis, who was Officer-in-Charge of
the Benque Police Force some 60 years
ago, but before that traveled in many of
these river boats.
The exhibit "Faces of Christ" will
be on display until the end of April. It
depicts those gentlemen who have por-
trayed Christ in the Passion Pageant
over the past 15 years.
Some 12 children will also finish their
classes in "English-as-a-second-lan-
guage" in the coming week.
The Community of Artists for Cul-
tural and Historical Endeavour,


ILT Y I IT


.1


Samure s way uesmouse
InPuntaGorda

Welcome To Nature's Way Guesthouse

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Central Location Sea Front View & Breeze

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Triple $48BZD .
Get off bus at Catholic Churchon


Main & Church Streets, walkrdown

hill 75 yards to Guesthouse.
*4*


Benque students get a heads up on opportunities in tourism from entrepreneur Lucy Fleming of Chaa Creek Resort.








The INdependent Reformer


IW'.


Wvhat


Bvy: Meb Cutlack
Just what is going on with guns in our
country? Belize City has truly become
the wild west at its worse and it seems
every other day there is a shooting of
some sort and, too often, a gruesome
tally of young people, dead.
Where do the guns originate and how
do they enter the country? Twenty-five
years ago our customs people at the
borders were very effective in stopping
the entry of guns. They alerted travel-
ers to the risk of bringing in unlicensed
guns and informed visitors that there
were draconian penalties if they were
caught with any illegal firearm.
Today there seem to be no such con-
trols only surly customs officials try-
ing to sniff out cornflakes, wine or salt
crackers being brought in illegally.
There is no doubt that the drug wars
on the streets of Belize City play a ma-
j or role in our high crime and violence
statistics.
The authorities appear to shrug at the
possibility of doing anything real about
the situation and yet almost every street
kid on the Southside could give the
police a run down on all the various
gangs and their members.
The irony is that even the known
'shooters' of the gangs could be easily
named because there is little or no fear
along the street that anyone will tell -
and many of the shooters are 'proud'
and not ashamed of their role.
The sixty million dollar question in


Page 9







aWS


.AawsZ?


Despite all the efforts by police and Crimestoppers to get guns off the streets, Belizean criminals seem to be always better armes and


Belize City is: where do the gangs end
and how close are they, in habit and
support, to the political reds and blues?
There is no longer any doubt in any
sensible mind that there is a very real
connection between the Belize City
gangs and a lot of the lower echelon
'troops' of the PUP and the UDP.
To what extent do these connections,
via minister's drivers and others, allow
what is happening in Belize City to con-
tinue unchecked by law? How often are
these young 'shooters' in and out of
detention with a prominent lawyer and
bail money on call?
Also, to what extent today are Belize's


to outgun law enforcement officers.
gangs being infiltrated by a whole new,
and much rougher, gun culture via young
Belizean being poured out of US jails
and "shipped' home? What control does
our law have over these returning young
men arrested in the USA for crimes
committed there? Why does Belize
have to pay the price of bringing them
back into society, or cough up the cost
of returning them to prison here?
The crime situation in our neighbor-
ing countries, to the south and west has
recently deteriorated to the extent that
new and deadly gangs are emerging in
Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
They care so little about being identi-


fied that they defiantly tattoo their faces
with their gang symbols.
These people HAVE to carry guns
and /or knives as part of their culture
and so if this gang tatooing starts to
happen in Belize City, then the law
and the police have no choice but to
strike back with gun and knife
searches at random whenever a gang
member offers his or her tatooed
identification as proof of gang member-
ship.
Cleaning up Belize City should be a
government priority, however and
whoever it offends. It must be tack-
led now, tomorrow is too late.


speaks


in support of SATII


Press Release San Ignacio
Belize markets itself as 'Mother
Nature's Best Kept Secret,' a coun-
try able to flaunt the proud statistic of
having 44% of the country's land and
sea under protected status. Reading
such a statistic you might think that it
reflects the the effects of good gov-
ernance by a country that truly values
its natural resources. Reading beyond
the statistic at what is really happen-
ing you might be more inclined to think
that the canopy of our forests only
serves to hide the impacts of misman-
agement by a government that sees the
label 'protected area' as a short-term
status for land that they haven't fig-
ured out a way to exploit yet.
What is really happening is that our
forests are a poaching ground for ma-
hogany hunters. According to an
NRDC report, 40% of our mahogany
trade is in illegally exported trees.


What is really happening is that de-
spite the fact that by 2005 nearly 40
million xate leaves departed our for-
ests illegally (Bridgewater et al 2005),
the government has granted a conces-
sion for legal harvest of xate in an al-
ready depleted Chiquibul reserve.
What is really happening is that the
government removes land from areas
co-managed with surrounding com-
munities such as has happened with
Mayflower Bocawina and Don Elijio
Panti National Park.
And now, if the government has its
way, the canopy will obscure the work
of US Capital Energy in the Sarstoon-
Temash National Park. US Capital
Energy, with the blessings of our gov-
ernment, plans to begin oil explora-
tion, despite the fact that the commu-
nity co-managers of the park,
SATIIM, are against it. The value of
our national parks and reserves should


not be underestimated and the people
best suited to determine their value are
the people whose well-being depends
on them. Unlike the government and
US Capital Energy, the people of
SATIIM do not think that financial gain
is reason enough to dissolve protec-
tion for their forests and the people
that depend on them. We need to re-
spect the voices of our communities
that co-manage their natural re-
sources.
This is especially important when the
community has every reason to be
concerned. Villagers must first and
foremost consider their own health
and that of future generations. And
villagers have also demonstrated their
commitment to the continued well-
being of the land that supports their
lives Sarstoon-Temash National
Park, and the life-giving water that
passes through it. At every phase,


beginning from the initial explora-
tion, the extraction of oil has nega-
tive impacts on human health and
the environment. Without even con-
sidering spills or accidents the ef-
fects range from deforestation for
clearing lines during seismic testing
to the hazards of water contami-
nated with heavy metals and toxins
during drilling (Epstein and Elber
2002). So, SATIIM has every right
to say no to the ElAs that are just a
first step in the road to oil explora-
tion and exploitation.
Recognizing SATIIM's need for
public support, BACONGO (Belize
Alliance of Conservation NGOs)
fully supports SATIIM's stance and
acknowledges their right to oversee
every aspect of the EIA process and
assuring every activity in the park
is done right. They are the stewards
of the land.







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10


Take a glass of wine


V


IL
\


V
ii


Drinking a little red wine could pro-
tect against a serious lung disease, re-
searchers have shown.
A chemical in wine, resveratrol, ap-
pears to damp down inflammation in the
potentially fatal lung condition chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease.
Researchers writing in the journal
Thorax found the chemical was more
effective than existing medications for
COPD.
In COPD, the lungs deteriorate, mak-
ing it difficult, and eventually impossible,
to breathe.
All doctors can do is relieve patients'
symptoms. The condition cannot be
treated.
Newlyweds like Belize
& Costa Rica


Theresa DiMasi (brides.com): Costa
Rica and Belize are two of the most "up
and coming" honeymoon destinations
right now.
Costa Rica is a great spot for active
couples. It's well known for its zip line
(canopy) tours, which send visitors
swinging through the forest's treetop


canopy via a cable and a harness not
to mention the great surfing.
In Belize, honeymooners can also
tour the jungle, swim under waterfalls
and explore ancient Mayan ruins.
Renee Duane-Meyer, president &
founder of Unforgettable Honeymoons,
Inc. recommends the Turtle Inn in Belize.
Owned by Francis Ford Coppola,
thatched villas are set on 650 feet of
beach near a small fishing village. The
honeymoon cottage, with a private gar-
den and Japanese bath, costs a little
over $400 a night (including breakfast).
Ecotourism in Toledo


From The New York Times: "Anum-
ber of rain forest ecolodges are offer-
ing visitors hands-on experiences to get
a sense of life in the rain forest.
"Opened on New Year's Day in To-
ledo, the southernmost region ofBelize,
the Cotton Tree Lodge has all the hall-
marks of environmental sustainability: an
off-the-grid existence, solar power, an
organic garden and a reforestation pro-
gram that plants teak and mahogany
trees. The resort has also created a
composting system with flush toilets and
a self-contained reservoir that uses ba-
nana plants to return nutrients to the soil.
But the lodge's most unusual draw


might be its traditional chocolate-mak-
ing workshops. These offer guests
hands-on experiences involving every-
thing from picking fruit from cacao trees
and drying the beans with local Maya
farmers to cooking chocolate and dis-
cussing fair trade with members of the
Toledo Cacao Growers Association.
"We have a few producing cacao
trees and have recently planted about
500 new ones," said Jeff Pzena, who
heads up the chocolate-making opera-


tion at Cotton Tree.
Cotton Tree is also working with Sus-
tainable Harvest International to estab-
lish a demonstration farm to introduce
the neighboring community to agricul-
tural practices that have lower environ-
mental impact, like organic pesticide-
free growing and smokeless stoves for
roasting cocoa beans.
Ecuador threatens to
expel World Bank


Boosted by a referendum on Sunday
that overwhelmingly backed his reform
agenda, Rafael Correa, Ecuador 's
leftwing president, has accused the
World Bank of extortion and threatened
to kick out the multilateral lender.
The remarks suggest Mr Correa
views the referendum victory as an im-
portant battle with his domestic politi-
cal opponents and has now shifted his
focus to his antagonists in the interna-
tional arena.
The president said he would be ask-
ing the Bank's representative in Ecua-
dor why the lender refused to disburse
a $100m loan in 2005, when Mr
Correa was finance minister. "If he
doesn't give explications that we con-
sider satisfactory, we will expel the
World Bank representative because we
won't accept any blackmail from any-
one," he said.
In an interview with the Financial
Times at the time, Mr Correa said that
by denying the loan at the last moment,
the World Bank had broken a contract
with the Andean country.
"This is an offence for Ecuador A
loan had been approved and was in
place and they are cancelling it, com-
pletely outside any ethical or legal prin-
ciple, because we changed a law," he
told the FT at the time. "We are a sov-
ereign country. Nobody can punish us
because we are changing our own
laws."
On Sunday, Mr Correa won his sec-
ond electoral victory in six months, by
securing strong approval ofhis proposal
for sweeping political reform: more than
78 per cent of voters supported his plan


to set up an assembly to rewrite the
constitution.
Panamanian highway
contract
Solel Boneh International Ltd. has


won a Guatemala government contract
to rebuild and maintain the 3 30-kilome-
ter Transversal del Norte, part of the
Puebla-Panama Plan, a development
corridor running from Puebla, Mexico,
to Panama in a $672 million deal. Con-
struction is due to take three years and
maintenance work will continue for ten
years. The Guatemala government will
repay the investment over the 30-year
franchise period.
Solel Boneh says that the cost of the
project is $242 million, and the mainte-
nance work is $43 million. The Guate-
mala government's payments during the
franchise period, including financing
costs, are $672 million.
Solel Boneh International is a sub-
subsidiary ofHousing and Construction
Holding Co. Ltd. (Shikun u'Binui)
(TASE: HUCN), held through Solel
Boneh Building and Infrastructure Ltd.
Guats 'Gana' chooses
candidate


Guatemala's ruling party the Great
National Alliance (Gana) on Sunday
chose Alej andro Giammattei as its can
(Please Turn To Page 11) l*W


Mr- M US.TolSFee 80-42-43


Fax- 5 0126 -2338
Em i: eevain-toiaS ~ o








Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


--M E (Continued From Page 10)
didate for the presidential elections in
September.
During Gana's general assembly
meeting, Alfredo Vila, the party's sec-
retary general and President Oscar
Berger Perdomo's former private sec-
retary, was also named as Giammattei's
running mate.
Polls published in the local press gave
Giammattei 7.54 percent of voting in-
tentions. Centre-left National Unity and
Hope party candidate Alvaro Colom
leads the polls with 21.2 percent, and
Otto Perez Molina of the right-wing
Patriot Party is in second place.
The nation's Supreme Electoral Tri-
bunal is set to formally call the elections
on May 2. The September elections will
choose the president, vice president,
332 mayors, 158 deputies to the local
legislature, the Congress; and 20 for the
Central American Parliament.


IMF cricitized


Argentine president Nestor Kirchner
on Thursday again criticized the Inter-
national Monetary Fund, IMF, and
ironically said that "the IMF no longer
can indicate what we should do, we well
know what happened when we did so".
Kirchner added that Argentina cur-
rently has "one of the highest interna-
tional reserves in history, 37.430 billion


US dollars". The highest level ever was
January 2001, with 37.380 billion US
dollars.
Mr. Kirchner made his statements on
the campaign trail leading to October
presidential and congressional elections
and in reply to earlier statements by the
IMF criticizing Argentina's current eco-
nomic policies.
Caracus airships
BBC: Officials in the Venezuelan capi-


tal, Caracas, are taking to the air in an
attempt to make the city safer. The


council has bought three mini remote-
controlled airships which are soon to be
launched to look down on the city moni-
toring criminal activity.
Each has a camera mounted on it,
which beams back pictures to a control
room.
The Venezuelan capital is regarded as
one of the most dangerous cities in Latin
America, with gun crime a particular
problem.
Steered by remote control from the
ground, the balloon ducked and dived
above the buildings, its pilot showing
how maneuverable the machine can be.
"Our intention is to reduce criminal
activity in the city, that's a big problem,
something the presidency has recog-
nized," he said. "It's part of a plan -
working with the people, better educa-
tion, better police officers and better
equipment for the police."


BTIA condemns sexual exploitation


BELIZE CITY, Belize (April 20,
2007) The Belize Tourism Industry
Association (BTIA) would like to share
our concerns after finalizing our investi-
gations with regards to Larry Yarmus -
"recruiting young Belizean women to
work as prostitutes within the tourism
Industry".
Belize's tourism product has been suc-
cessfully branded as a nature based ad-
venture destination. Our largest growth
segments are destination weddings, hon-
eymoons, and the family adventure niches.
Clearly these are not the type of tourist
seeking the type of tourism that Mr.
Yarmus has advocated.
BTIA stands firmly against any threat


that could harm the best interest of our
dynamic tourism industry and the dignity
of our citizens working within our sector.
Since the official launch of our "Code
of Conduct for the Protection of Children
from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and
Tourism" onAugust 3rd, 2006, the BTIA
has embarked on cross training programs
in collaboration with ECPAT U.S.A. and
our industry partners, TheBelizeHotel As-
sociation, Belize Tourism Board, Belize
National Tour Guides Association,
Programme for Belize, and Rainforest
Alliance.
As responsible tourism leaders, we
implemented the Code of Conduct in
Travel and Tourism. Consequently, we


took the necessary actions:
1. To establish an ethical policy
against commercial sexual exploitation of
children
2. To educate and train the
personnel in the country of origin and travel
destinations.
3. To introduce a clause in
contracts with suppliers, stating the com-
mon repudiation of commercial sexual
exploitation of children.
4. To provide information to
travelers by means of catalogues, bro-
chures, etc
5. To provide information to local
"key persons" at the destinations.
6. To report annually.


Maria Vega-Project Coordinator, ex-
plains that "As the largest private sector
tourism membership organization the
BTIA is obliged to lead the way in pro-
tecting our children from sexual predators.
We have pledged to continue our broad
based training countrywide, and will
work diligently to strengthen our networks
so that episodes such as these are re-
ported and not repeated".
For more information about the ongo-
ing campaign on our Code of Conduct
forthe Protection of Children from Sexual
Exploitationin Travel and Tourism, please
contact the BTIA at telephone 227-5717
/ 1144, E-Mail: info@btia.org or visit our
website at www.btia.org.


"THE


with Anthony Hunt
YT 7


11 uIFOR


MACY'S CAFE
Bishop Street, Belize City

Well, I am out to prove that we can eat healthier without too much of
a departure from our usual routine. About as legendary as they get in
Belize, Macy's has been serving up local cuisine for many many years. In
fact, it was a favorite haunt of Harrison Ford during his movie days here.
Why? Well the food is great, and the atmosphere is true to its roots. ...did
I mention the smell of the rice and beans from the kitchen? Ah yes, the
1/2 smell of heaven. The white rice (only eat a little!) and red beans lives up
to the billing, and the curry chicken (with much temptation, I avoided the
fried fish!) is well worth the little extra you pay. Also good was the stew
beef complete with potatoes and carrots...just skip the plantain. Parking
is a little difficult, but hey, park farther down the street and walk. Your
dietician would be proud!







Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
You can sell your ideas to those who
have the money to back them. Don't
make large purchases unless you have
discussed your choices with your mate.
Help others solve their dilemmas. You
may find that others do not do things
the way you want; however, if thej ob
gets done, let it pass.Your lucky day this
week will be Wednesday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21-may21)
You will be emotional with regard to
your personal life. You can convince
others to follow suit. Your ability to com-
municate with ease will win the hearts
of those you are in touch with this week.
You can expect sorrow to evolve from
the information you discover. Your lucky
day this week will be Monday.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Do not yield to children or relatives
when they really don't deserve it. You
will find that unfinished projects at home
will be most satisfying. Family trips or
proj ects should be on your mind. Tell it
like it is. Your lucky day this week will
be Monday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
Try not to let relatives or friends cause
any friction with your mate. You can get
phenomenal returns if you present your
ideas to those who can back your in-
terests. Put some energy into getting
back into shape. Listen to reason. You
are ahead of your time, and trying to
stay in one spot could be asking too
much. Your lucky day this week will be
Sunday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Problems with in-laws may cause
friction in your personal relationship.
Avoid disputes with family; their com-
plaints can't change anything anyway.
Your lucky day this week will be Satur-
day.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Travel will entice you; however, aten-
dency to overspend is quite possible.
Uncertainty regarding your mate may
emerge; reevaluate what you see in each
other. You will learn a great deal from
people with different cultural back-
grounds. Purchases will be well worth
it and they will last a long time. Your
lucky day this week will be Wednes-
day.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
However, you must not neglect your
family. You could have a need to make
some changes this week. You may be
emotional and quick to judge others.
Chances to express your ideas and be-
liefs can bring popularity as long as
you're not arrogant. Your lucky day this
week will be Monday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
When the work is done, they may
serve you for a change. Eliminate situa-
tions that are no longer to your advan-


tage. Try not to be too lavish with your
lover. Your domestic scene could con-
tinue to be in an uproar this week. Your
lucky day this week will be Wednes-
day.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Don't let your stubborn nature get the
better of you.Don't overspend to im-
press others. You could be disillusioned
if you let relative in on your emotional
thoughts. Do something together and
you'll be surprised how sweet a deal
you can make. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Family members will not be happy
with the amount of time you are spend-
ing away from home. You may find your-
self in a heated dispute with a friend if
you try to change your mind.Don'tbe
critical or overly opinionated with dislikes;
it could cause disapproval and unwanted
opposition. You may be overreacting to
a situation at hand. Invite friends or rela-
tives into your home. Your lucky day this
week will be Monday.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Don't gamble unless you can afford
to lose. Be careful when dealing with
investments. Raise your self esteem and
your confidence if you want to get back
into the mainstream again. You may have
been too nice to a friend who just
wanted to take advantage of you. Your
lucky day this week will be Thursday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You may find yourself caught in the
middle of an argument that has nothing to
do with you. You can make profitable in-
vestments if you purchase an art object
foryourhome. You should look into mak-
ing some physical changes, such as new
hair color or toning up your body. Don't
be afraid to say what's on your mind.
Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.


I ,Y OUR
SIL-SICIAL SCUII-T|yITtLIlIES-IARI-All
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Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 133


In a career spanning four decades, Lord
Ashcroft bom Michael Anthony
Ashcroft has assumed a variety of
mantles. He was a callow accountant, an
up-and-coming contract cleaning entre-
preneur, a Thatcher-era corporate raider,
Belize's Ambassador to the United Na-
tions, and treasurer of the Conservative
Party.
Yet it is his latest incarnation that may
raise eyebrows. Meet BaronAshcroft of
ChichesterKCMQ ecological warrior.
This week, LordAshcroft will emerge
as the backer of a campaign or, in his
words, "a programme ofpersuasion"-
aimed at coaxing six eastern Caribbean
countries to withdraw their support for
whaling. The island nations -Antigua
and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St
Kitts and Nevis, StLucia and St Vincent
and The Grenadines, which between them
have a population of 560,000 receive
total of $16 million (8 million) ayearin
fisheries aid from Japan. In return, they
have consistently voted with Japan and
its principal ally Norway at the Interna-
tional Whaling Commission (IWC) to
overturn the 1986 moratorium on com-
mercial whaling.
With the next IWC convention due to
be held in Anchorage, Alaska, next
month, Lord Ashcroft has devised and
funded television advertising campaign
- which will break in these six nations
this week to highlight a pro-whaling
stance of which he believes the majority
of their peoples are unaware and which
has never been subjected to vigorous
public debate.
But lest anyone run away with the idea
that Atlantic Goose, the 150ft motor
yacht on which he traverses the world's
oceans, could become the next Rainbow
Warrior, he is keen to make one point
clear.
"I do not profess to be a conservation-
ist nor an environmentalist," he says.
"Other than the minor exception of ab-
original subsistence whalingin small coun-
tries, I believe there is no justification on
either scientific or commercial grounds for
the killing of what I regard as some of the
world's most beautiful creatures."
So how did he get involved? The roots
of his engagement go backto Belize, the
former British colony where he spent
three years as a child and where he has
commercial and charitable interests.
Just over a year ago, the Environmen-
tal Investigation Agency, the London-
based pressure group to which he had
previously provided support, approached
him to use his influence within Belize to
seek its continuing support against pro-
posals for the resumption of whaling at
the 2006 IWC meeting at St Kitts.
He is an avid whale-watcher: from the
Bay of Cortez in Mexico, where grey
whales breed, to the fishing grounds of


the South Atlantic, where he has observed
humpback whales from a matter of feet.
"Every month I'm on the water some-
where," he says. "I've grown a close af-
finity, notjust for whales, but for dolphins
and porpoises. So it wasn't difficult for
me to approach the Belizean authorities
with such a brief." He discovered that
Belize's annual subscription to the IWC
- 10,000 had lapsed and came up
with the cash. That backing yielded swift
results when a crucial vote was won by
the anti-whaling nations by a maj ority of
one.
"The presence ofBelize was critical,"
he says. "Even though Japan and its sup-
porters would have required a three-quar-
ters majority to overturn the current ban,
the fact that it was Belize's vote that made
the simple majority established the moral
high ground."
Ironically, his anti-whaling efforts cor-
respond with those of a British Govern-
ment for which he, now deputy chairman
of the Conservative Party, evidently has
little time. ABritish diplomatic campaign
has led to six new nations oining the IWC
over the past year, but Lord Ashcroft is
unimpressed and claims to have been "dis-
appointed" by the answers that he received
from the Government in response to ques-
tions he tabled in the House of Lords last
year on its attitude towards whaling.
Lord Ashcroft's environmental stance
might appear to sit neatly alongside a
Conservative Party whose slogan for next
month's council elections is "Vote Blue,
Go Green". Little too neat? "This has
been going on for longer than that cam-
paign has," he retorts. "And I'm not put-
ting myself forward as an environmental-
ist. Ijust like whales."
But he does appear far removed from
stereotypical hunting, shooting and fishing
Tory grandee of old. "The most I've ever
done in my life is go on the occasional
bird shoot," he says, "but I didn't really
get any pleasure out of it, and I haven't
done it for 20 years."
This week's launch aside, LordAshcroft
has plenty to keep him busy. Within the
Conservative Party, his current focus is
on opinion research and the oversight of
marginal seats. In business, he still has
stakes of between 20 per cent and 70
per cent in eightLondon-listed public com-
panies, including Carlisle Group, his core
support services vehicle. He plans to add
to these by creating "another couple" of
AIM-listed cash shells over the coming
months. He also has a 42 per cent stake
in Watford Football Club.
Perhaps paradoxically for a man not
averse to the spotlight, most of his busi-
ness interests are now in the private, rather
than the public arena notwithstanding
the sale last year ofhis stake in British Car
Auctions, previously his largest private
business, for 200 million.


He turned 61 last month but advancing
years have not diminished his appetite for
a fight. So far, the millions he has donated
to the Conservative Party have not been
matched by electoral success. For now,
the smaller sums he is putting behind the
world's largest marine mammals seem


more certain of making their mark.
Editor's note: This report was origi-
nally titled "The unexpected face of
fight to save the whales- The Conser-
vative Party 's deputy chairman has put
his weight behindan international cam-
paign in the Times online.


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Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 14


TOO wrLI FOR. WORDS!


April the Tapir celebrates


her 24th birthday


The morning was hot, but that didn't
stop April the Tapir from enjoying her
24th birthday cake!
Students from Small World Pre-
school in Belize City and Little Trea-
sure Preschool in San Ignacio, joined
Belize Zoo staff to sing "Happy Birth-
day" to her for the 24th time!
The cake, made of horse chow, car-
rots and topped with hibiscus flow-


April enjoys her birthday cake


ers and kumquats, was devoured by
April. She seemed to have no obj ec-
tion to sharing this unique cake with
her enclosure mates, Ceibo and
Bullethead.
All of the pre-schoolers seemed to
know that the tapir is our National
Animal and a rare and endangered
species.
Celso Poot and Lugi Cruz, repre-


senting the education department at
The Belize Zoo, noted that April has
brought about an increase in aware-
ness about her species throughout
Belize.
After April ate her birthday cake,
the children enjoyed cupcakes in the
zoo's playground area.
A great morning for all at The Belize
Zoo!!


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Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15I


Report by Julia Heusner
It was an exciting night as almost 30
teens participated in Chris and Karen
Chaleki's Ballroom Dance Competition
on April 21, 2007 at the Holly Re-
deemer Parish Hall.
The event was also a fund raiser for
the new building at Pallotti High School.
A delicious meal was provided and
served by Pallotti students.
Dance competition categories were:
Fox Trot, Waltz, Quick Step,Paso
Doble, Samba ,Cha-Cha, Rumba ,and
Tango.
The overall winning students were:


Dancing the Night Away

Chaleki.
Audience member Dianne Lindo liked
the show, "I am glad to see young
people dancing sensibly instead ofDutty
wine and Willy bounce." Some of the
other audience members told the Inde-
pendent teen page they would like to
join the class next year.
Husband and wife team Chris and
Karen Cheleki have been dancing to-
gether for 12 years now and they are
ballroom champions and 5th place win-
ners United States National competi-
tion.
If you would like to join the Ballroom
dance class, it is held at the Princess :.
Hotel and Casino every Wednesday. All
ages are welcome and there is no rea-
son to be shy, according to Chris, "If
you can walk, you can dance."


Nandy Woods and Leo Wilson move in sync.


Carolyn Woods and Justin Usher won 1st place overall.


1st place-couple number 105
Adrian Bosch and Shamera Myers
2nd place-Couple number 118 Jus-
tin Usher and Carolyn Woods
3rd place- couple number 115 Salim
Hoy and Inga Woods
In the overall open competition:
In 1st place couple number 118 Justin
Usher and Carolyn Woods
In 2nd place couple number 115 Salim
Hoy and Inga Woods
in 3rd place couple number 119 An-
drew Gillett and Amauri Amoa
Other competitors included: Gabriel
Baron partnered with Danielle Cano,
David Burgess & Sheryl Palacio,
Graciano Choc & Angelia Guy, Anthony
Coombs & Samira Acosta, Stuart
Ferrier & Issandra Garcia, Raheem
Martinez & Carlie Perez, Martin Quiros
& Lauren Garnet, Frank Tu & Anne
Link, Leo Wilson & Nandi Woods,
Jessica Ton & Amy Wu.
The judges where Esmeralda
Almenderez, Althea Sealey, Mirium
Chun, Dawn Atterley, Nola Perez,
Lionel Castillo, Robert Robinson, and
William Neal. The Emcee was Chris


Young dancers displayed alom etiquette, owing to their partners
Young dancers displayed ballroom etiquette, bowing to their partners


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Friday, April 27, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16


RBTT mulls 'combination/ partnership' venture


-in.(Continued From Page 1)
The workers furiously contended
last week, that if this alleged deal
goes through, their future is unsure.
Trinidad's president general of the
Banking, Insurance and General
Workers Union (BIGWU), Vincent
Cabrera, not ruling out that an
agreement could be reached be-
tween the two banks, said: "Any
takeover or merger could inevita-
bly result in retrenchment and the
union could only handle matters for
financial members. The society
needs to decide whether foreign
ownership of local banks is desir-
able, bearing in mind the strategic
importance of the financial services
sector."
One staffer said: "Hinging on this
alleged offer that RBTT sharehold-


Police

gaffe

makes

Muslims

pray in

wrong

direction
A Dutch police station trying to help
Muslim detainees face Mecca for their
prayers painted arrows in cells point-
ing in the wrong direction.
The Segbroek police station in The
Hague borrowed the idea of putting
compass marks on ceilings from an
Amsterdam hotel, the Dutch daily De
Telegraaf reported on Friday.
Muslims pray five times a day, facing
east in the direction of Mecca. But the
arrows in Segbroek pointed west.
"This is a really gigantic, stupid blun-
der," a police spokesman told the De
Telegraaf.
"The faulty compass marks have
been immediately corrected. It is a
mystery for us how this could have
possibly happened".
All other police cells in the Dutch
capital will soon get similar compass
marks, the in-house newspaper of The
Hague police said.
The Netherlands is home to 1 million
Muslims out of a population of more
than 16 million.
Immigration and the integration of
newcomers have been hot topics since
the rise and murder of populist politi-
cian Pim Fortuyn in 2002, who said the
country could not absorb any more for-
eigners.


ers could receive TT$14 per share
and two FCIB shares, that to me is
a rip-off and should not be ac-
cepted.
RBTT was going in the region of
TT$45 per share just a couple years
ago and from what is circulating, its
current value remains in that area,
TT$14 cash in hand is unaccept-
able," he said.
Many financial analysts are of the
view that given the fact that taxpay-
ers have a 20 per cent stake in
RBTT, the Securities and Exchange
Commission and the ministry of Fi-
nance should say something.
"You have RBTT's managing di-


rector Catherine Kumar talking of
investing US$50 million, talking
about a recast programme and so
on." That US$50 million is existing
shareholders' money. I can't see
how they can be entertaining dis-
cussions to merge or sell, this same
aggressive RBTT.
"The state is boasting of its thrust
to make Trinidad and Tobago the
financial centre of the Caribbean,
yet stories of alleged talks behind
the scenes, which could result in the
merger or sale of our largest finan-
cial institution, taking account of its
asset base to an entity headquar-
tered outside of Trinidad and To-


bago, to me that is real capital
flight," the analyst said.
My Note: The RBTT Financial
Group comprises many compa-
nies, including RBTT Merchant
Bank Limited, RBTT Trust Lim-
ited, and ten commercial banks
with an extensive network of
bank branches, ATMs and thou-
sands of Point-of-Sale terminals
located throughout the English
speaking Caribbean, from Ja-
maica in the north, to the East-
ern Caribbean, Trinidad in the
south, Suriname on the mainland
of South America, the Nether-
lands Antilles and Aruba.


rw
L6 V WWI




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