Title: Independent reformer
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: May 4, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099538
Volume ID: VID00022
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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's outta di 3


ag


B: Meb Cutlack
Finally the truth about the Universal
Health Services loan is surfacing and it
could rock the PUP boat so much that
it could sink.
Opposition leader Dean Barrow put
the first large holes in the story of the
UHS loan and that was just the begin-
ning of the collapse of all public trust in
the Prime Minister's version of what
went on and when.
If all it needed than was a broadside
assault to hole the PUP ship to the wa-
terline and PUP's own Minister of Na-
tional Development Mark Espat deliv- Opposition leader Dean Barow
ered the attack. Cabinet. He told News Five that at that
Minister Mark Espat, who was also time he was not aware of any loan guar-
the point man on the recent debt restruc- antee for U.H.S. and if he had known,
turning in early December 2004, said that he would have opposed it. Espat added
there was no discussion of the issue in that he believes there should now be a

3 more Cabinet Ministers


condemn UHS Guarantee


Minister Cordel Hyde
From www. 7newsbelize. corn
The possibility of a governance cri-
sis is deepening for the Prime Minis-
ter. Three more Ministers, who are
also members of the Public Finance
Committee have come forward to say
they knew nothing of the Prime
Minister's December 2004 guarantee.
This morning, Minister of Foreign
Affairs and Foreign Trade, Eamon
Courtenay was very direct. We asked
him if he knew about he guarantee,
he said, "absolutely not. We then
asked him, if he had known, would
he have supported it in Cabinet. His
reply was again, "absolutely not. "
Courtenay added that as far as a
strategy to move forward, government
first has to satisfy itself that the guar-


Minister Jose Coye
antee was legal and if it was not, then
government as guarantor is excused
from liability. He added though that if
it does turn out that government is li-
able, it must then enter into negotia-
tions to pay over a period of time.
But Courtenay says that before that
happens, there needs to be a full dis-
cussion in Cabinet with full disclosure
and, "if government has to pay it
needs to be approved by Cabinet
and taken to the National Assem-
bly. "
Health Minister Jose Coye was not
so direct or expansive but he did
also disavow knowledge of the sign-
ing. Speaking with us this afternoon,
he said that, "at the time of the sign-
(Please Turn To Page 16) E m


legal review of the guarantee document
to see if it is in fact enforceable by the
Belize Bank. He is also calling for a fi-
nancial audit of U.H.S. to see exactly
where all those millions of dollars in loan
funds were spent.
Senator Godwin Hulse fired the next
salvo at the listing PUP ship.
He told Channel 5: "It's atrocious. I
mean it's just absolutely outrageous to
my mind. I cannot see how any, any
government and particularly the Prime
Minister, as the chief leader of the na-
tion if you like and the chief custodian if
you like of the assets of the people,
could ever pen a document of that na-
ture."
He explained he had picked out a
number of clauses to dispute the PM's
story: "First of all, the guarantee is open
ended: there is no limit to it. I mean, it is
any amount that the bank determines is
owed at any time by Universal; that is
the first ridiculous thing. The second
thing is it is not in substitution to the
D.F.C. guarantee and other collateral,
it is in addition to, it is in addition to.
Thirdly, the bank does not have to ex-
haust any of its other assets, any efforts


Minister Mark Espat
to collect on any of the assets; it goes
straight to the guarantee. And fourth, any
amount, any account that the bank said
is owed is what the government is bound
to. Please man, how could we ever do
something like that?..."
He added to Channel 5: "Well, I think
that two things should happen. I think
that each and every elected represen-
tative in that House should stand up and
give their statement on this guarantee.
And I want and this is very important-
I would want to hear each and every
(Please Turn To Page 3) UE


Belice's Representative to the Organization ofAmerican States, Ambassador Lisa
Marie Shoman, congratulates the Venezuelan Ambassador/Vice Minister
Ambassador Jorge Valero in taking over the Chair of the OAS' Permanent Council
on April 4, 2007.


I








Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


Why the PUP should
win again
Dear Editor,

I know it won't be popular, but I
would like to propose that we the people
of Belize vote the People's United Party
back into power come next election.
Why you may ask? Well, so that they
can fix the utter mess that they have cre-
ated. A little child will keep doing the
same thing until they are punished, and
if we change parties, then the best that
can happen will be for the UDP to right
the ship and let the PUP off the hook,
unpunished, free to plan another reap-
ing in years to come.
However, should we have courage
and put the PUP back in then they will
be forced to fix the problem, face the
music or else risk going down in history
as the people who led our country
astray. They will be held accountable
for their actions.
The UDP promise investigations.
POINTLESS. The VIP promise pros-
ecutions. USELESS. Everyone
clamours for heads inj ail. THAT WILL
NEVER HAPPEN. The politicians will
only answer to one thing, their legacy.
In the end, what they leave as history
attached to their name is the only con-
sequence they understand.
The money they steal can buy good
lawyers, the laws they create, gives
them ways out, but they cannot get
around their reputation. That precedes
them and will live on in their legacy.
I will also go out on a limb, a very
strong limb and say that that the UDP
have ALOT of bad mangoes in the bar-
rel too, and for sure the whole lot will
soon sour. It is already a simmering soup
in the dry season heat. We already see
conflicts of interest PUP style all the way
at the top, and they are not even in


power yet. Will we be replacing rotten
apples with rotten mangoes? Surely this
is not out of the realm of possibility
The UDP is a party that is so desper-
ate for power that I venture to say, will
get in and do the very same thing its
brethren from across the aisle are do-
ing now, satisfying cronies and political
flunkies who have wallowed for years.
It will be their chance to drink at the
trough of taxpayer money, while the
PUP sit back and enjoy their spoils.
We are a country built on piracy you
know, and piracy is still in our blood,
but perhaps once someone is finally held
accountable and walks the plank of his-
tory, only then can we truly move on as
a country. Our time is coming soon,
choose your vote wisely
Anthony Hunt

Teachers PSE results
revisited
Dear Editor,
I would like to express my thoughts
about a recent incident pertaining to the
primary school examinations taken by
Standard six teachers.
I am well aware of the ministry's re-
sponsibility to insure that the teachers
are well equipped with the knowledge
and skills to prepare standard six stu-
dents for the primary school examina-
tions.
For many years the performance of
standard 6 students on the primary
school examination has been less than
desirable. The Ministry of Education,
along with principals and teachers, has
an obligation to turn the performance
of standard six Students around. I ap-
plaud the ministry's effort to do some-
thing about the current situation. How-
ever, I wonder if the recent case when
Standard Six teachers were made to sit
the primary school examinations and the
results released to the public was done


appropriately. There were several dis-
crepancies as will be discussed.
1. Standard six teachers were invited
to attend a workshop. Many arrived
expecting to participate in professional
development but were tricked into tak-
ing an exam. They were not emotion-
ally or mentally prepared for such an
exam and this quite possibly affected
their low performance on the exam.
Therefore, the low result should not be
a surprise.
2. Only standard six teachers were
invited and the ministry in its "Measur-
ing Up Report" prepared by Yvonne
Davis has mandated training for stan-
dard six teachers. This is implying that
only standard six teachers are respon-
sible for the performance of students on
the primary school examinations. Are we
to ignore then that the preparation of
students for the primary school exami-
nation began in the infants with the
teaching of the basics? Are we to ig-
nore also that every teacher in the pri-
mary school has a role to play in the
children's preparations? And are we to
ignore that the standard six teacher only
has the students for one year? Will train-
ing standard six teachers only ad-
equately address the situation?
3. The release of the results of the
primary school examination in my opin-
ion, is unethical. The teachers were
never given the option to not take the
exam nor were they asked permission
for the results to be released. The
teachers were lied to as they were told
the results of the exam would not be
published. It is appropriate to imple-
ment policy changes within an organi-
zation; however, the results of a study
should never be published without oral
or written consent obtained from the
participants of the study?
4. In my opinion, this was a great
(Please Turn To Page 15) *E


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Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3



Agric Show 2007 hot as ever!

IWu 1: 7L 6# !I"V-::W?.`,


A young rancher waits his turn to show off his colt in the NATS livestock competition.
'.


Ermenda Hernandez ofBenque Viejo del Carmen won an Acros stove in the 1st Annual
Love FM Love TV/Acros cookout, with a vegetarian entree of Spanish rice, vegetable
salad and papaya shake.


Young show-goers check out the widgets on sale.


Cat is out of the Bag


fl- (Continued From Page 1)
representative saying I support this and
I am prepared to expend the funds of
the people to Belize to settle their debt,
which has benefited us in no way, over
and above spending it on the people of
Belize and then going back to the people
and asking them to be returned to
Belmopan.
"I would want to see that. As far as I
am concerned, I think the Prime Minis-
ter has perhaps lost the confidence of
his Cabinet if he cannot get his Cabinet
to support this document. And so far I
don't know if he has, I don't know if
they have even seen it and if they have
they should say so."
Deputy Prime Minister Johnny
Briceno was the second minister of the
Cabinet to distance himself from the
guarantee. Briceno told his TV station
CTV-3, Orange Walk:
"It was not a Cabinet decision and we
were unaware ofthis guarantee that was
given to Universal Health Services. It
would be difficult for anyone to be able


to support an unlimited guarantee for a
private sector loan and so certainly if I
had known at that time, I would not have
supported any unlimited guarantee to
UHS."


Icy snow cones helped many beat the heat.


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www.belize-affordable-web-desigii.coin


607-9637 or 668-9171

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Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4



Hurry, hurry, g et dey tamara

"Have a good weekend, but don't
drink too much," said the pretty insur-
ance agent as she told her client_
goodbye with a smile. He hesitated in
the doorway, "No, no, I am not like
that... I am responsible." and he backed
towards the door.
"Glad to hear that," she smiled again
and waved me forward for attention.
I was not sure her comment was part
of Traffic Safety Awareness Week, but
I figured it might be, especially when I
sat down and saw all the pamphlets from
the Belize Police Department on her
desk. I had heard the insurance com-
panies were joining the effort. I think
that's a good thing. Not only because
they are directly affected by all the ac-
cidents in this country in terms of pay-
ing out benefits, but because their cli-
ents can be injured and killed. So it's a
good business and a good public rela-
tions move.
But I hope the traffic week is more
than just PR. That some Belizeans are
skticalwatsclearfomethecallsBraving the heat each day traffic officers try to keep things flowing smoothly in Belize City (Photo courtesy Richard Holder)
skeptical was clear from the calls to
morning radio shows this past week. tions fiasco in court in which a Minister tal. What a dishonorable mess. checked to see if the bill had been paid.
There was a certain we've-heard-this- of State got off without so much as a They blamed poor evidence gather- This from the facility which got a guar-
all-before-nothing-is-really-going-to- suspended license or being ordered to ing. If that is true, double shame. Triple antee from government to cover its own
change-or-get better-ism. attend alcoholics anonymous meetings shame on the hospital which refused the hard pay status. A secret guarantee, hid-
Especially following the public rela- after sending two children to the hospi- victims follow-up treatment while they (Please Turn To Page 13) U


Here's some more swag for your party coffers. Ever seen a million dollars in cash before?
ThanK you, m'lord, your contribution is not unwelcome, but it's so hard to launder(








Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5



Whither Belize & her borders?


By: TrevorVernon
I was sent to cover the presentations
at the Signa L. Yorke lecture series
Tuesday last, at the Holy Redeemer
Parish Hall. The pamphlet said the topic
was to be "The Implications of taking
the Belize GuatemalaDifferendum to the
International Court of Justice". The
panel presentations were to be by
former Belize Ambassdor & Scholar
James Schofield Murphy, Godfrey Ash-
Smith, and current Ambassador of
Belize to Guatemala, Alfredo Martinez.
It was a poorly attended event. That
was sad because the issue of the shift-
ing borders ought to be of paramount
importance to the people ofBelize. You
will recall that the Mexicans moved a
marker (at Aguas Turbias?) during the
Riechler/Ramphal era that saw us los-
ing territory to Guatemala "because the
new satellite technology (supposedly
carried out by the Pan American insti-
tute of Geography and History-
PAIGH) revealed that the older tech-
nology had our border in Guatemalan
territory". Then recently the Mexican
Foreign Ministry announced that
Mexico will be adjusting its border with


Belize in the Bay of Campeche. Another
possible loss of National Territory for
Belize. Belizean authorities have been
mum and so has the leader of the op-
position.
Apathy has been consuming the
people of Belize to the extent that the
time might be right for Musa to "camel
trade" away our borders in working on
his legacy. Media houses stayed away
from the event except for the one car-
rying live coverage. I suppose they were
paid for air time. The day after the event,
no media house even reported on the
panel presentation sponsored by the
Junior College of SJC. One has to won-
der why.
Okay, I'll drop the titles herewith to
deal with the issue.
Murphy's presentation was factual,
and very academic. No political slant
was detected. No agenda. Just the facts,
textbook style. But it was crisp & clear.
In harsh contrast, Smith's & Martinez's
had a spin: we must, we should, we
ought to go to court now, the time is
right; the Guatemalan natives are no
longer restless.
The first obvious question is: why
now? The second is why did Smith
make a presentation when he is a former
Foreign Minister, not the current one?
Deniability? Is Smith still on the Nego-
tiation Team and is it still headed by
Senior Ambassador "con Rango Min-
isterial" currently on hiatus in London?
At taxpayers' expense.
The issue of the settlement of the claim


is where the rubber hits the road. Smith
presented a quasi-legal, political ratio-
nale for going to court now, albeit half-
heartedly. He promised his power point
presentation would be available at his
website: www.flashpointbelize.com so
I won't attempt to rehash his focal point
which was that we should go to court,
although it will cost us a couple million
and that there are no guarantees. Nei-
ther can Guatemala's feet be held to the
fire with any ruling, even if they agreed
to subject themselves to thejurisdiction
of the ICJ. Ultimately for the Guatema-
lan Political Directorate, they must first
seek the consent of the Guatemalan
people through a national referendum
orrisktheir Constitutional Court throw-
ing out the Political Directorates' wishes
to resolve the issue by the ICJ's ruling.
Martinez, on the other hand, with his
folksy jokes and entertaining presenta-
tion argued that things are ripe in Gua-
temala for a settlement. Well, he didn't
exactly argue, he massaged the audi-
ence (and radio listeners, countrywide)
into thinking that Guatemalans are ready,
with the exception of a group of law-
yers who want to see this thing dragged
out so they (the constitutional lawyers)
could continue making money from the
differendum process. But aren't they all,
includingtheBelizeNT, makinghay in try-
ing to force the Guatemalans to settle the
claim? Millions has been spent since June,
2000, possibly more.
The questions stand then: why bother
going to the ICJ if Guatemala does not


have to abide by any ruling, and why
push it now? Nothing they said makes
sense, by way of arguing for submitting
us to the ICJ's ruling.
Belize has had experience of going to
the ICJ when they joined a group tak-
ing Israel to court over the legality of
building a wall in Israel. That had
sounded like an internal Israeli issue to
me but Belize Foreign Ministry joined
the legal action anyway. So maybe, just
maybe, after having spend millions in
that action, the Government of the man
Said Musa feels comfortable in going
to the ICJ, again.
Folks at the meeting told me privately
to look for economic considerations--
especially the Belize crude oil issue and
the bilateral trade issue. I couldn't find
anything to substantiate that but maybe
I am looking in the wrong places and it
will become evident later, perhaps after
Belize hosts the Trade Ministerial on
May 12th. All I know is that the very
public Smith/Martinez slant wasn'tvery
convincing.
Unless of course, they are simply
adopting the usual pre-election "Tings
di happen wid di claim" stance employed
on BOTH sides of the border, every time
the people go to the polls. But for now,
it's the pols going to the people in what
appears to have been a mutually agreed
strategy: "educate" yourrespective people
and prepare them for the ICJ eventuality.
It's a done deal. Get use to it you un-
washed masses, you; this ICJ thing is al-
ready cooked and curried.


Collin Williams, inspiring Seattle educator, dies at 73


Growing up inBelize, Collin Williams
dreamed of an education, though his fa-
ther believed he should forget school and
get a job.
Finding few opportunities in his native
country, Dr. Williams immigrated to the
United States in 1953, and after a stint in
the Army, settled in Seattle. He earned
education degrees and became a Seattle
School District principal and administra-
tor, helping develop and later lead the Af-
rican American Academy.
Throughout his career, Dr. Williams
sought to encourage the underdog, en-
lighten theprivileged andlistento all points
of view. Known for his steady grace, Dr.
Williams was involved in race relations
during some ofthetensest times in Seattle
history and is remembered for inspiring
the same love of learning he discovered
as aboy.
Dr. Williams died Sunday of renal fail-
ure. He was 73.
InBelize, then calledBritishHonduras,
Dr. Williams did not feel judged by the
color ofhis skin, but that quickly changed
when he came to the United States. The
Army classified him as Caucasian, not
knowing what to make of a black man
with a West Indian accent.


Collin Williams emigrated from Belize in
1953, then settled in Seattle.
"He thought that was ridiculous," said
his wife, CaroleWilliams.
He earned a high-school diploma from
Seattle Central Community College and,
some two decades later, an education
doctorate from Seattle University in 1980.
He married Carole in 1960, and they had
two children, Collin and Teresa.
From 1967-69, he taught sixth grade
at Harrison Elementary School, later re-
named Martin Luther King Jr. Elemen-


tary School. Among his pupils was future
Seattle City Councilmember Peter
Steinbrueck.
"I count him as one of my most impor-
tant mentors in my life," Steinbrueck said.
"He was an inspirational leader in turbu-
lenttimes."
Steinbrueck said he spoke with Dr.
Williams through the years and visited him
a few days before he died.
After a stint as principal at Madrona
Elementary, Dr. Williams transferred to
district headquarters in 1975, and even-
tually became assistant superintendent.
Much of his career was devoted to in-
tegrating schools. The district instituted
mandatory busing in 1978, and Williams
was instrumental in carrying out with the
program. He retired in 1992 but came
back as principal ofthe African American
Academy from 1993 to 2000.
At the time, he was credited with help-
ing a troubling school find its footing. "I
don't think anyone thought that a 100
percent black school could really make
it. This school is making it," he told The
Seattle Times in 1999.
"He was happiest there," Carole said.
"Sometimes itworked, sometimes it didn't
work, but there was a lot of pride."


RickieMalone, who served as vice prin-
cipal ofthe African American Academy
under Williams and now leads the school,
saidDr. Williams was one of her "forever
friends."
"His way was to listen to everyone at
the table," Malone said. "The people who
worked under him will remember him as
a kind and gentle man."
Symbolizing his importance to the
school, its library is named after Dr. Will-
iams, a fitting tribute to his passions, said
his friends.
In addition to his wife and two chil-
dren, Dr. Williams is survived by two
grandchildren, three brothers and five
sisters.
Services will be held at. Saturday at
Bethel Christian Church, 200 24th Ave.
South, in Seattle. Aviewing will be held
before the service, at Evergreen-
Washelli Mortuary, 11111 AuroraAve.
N., Seattle.
Remembrances may be made to the
Collin Williams Library, African Ameri-
can Academy, 8311 Beacon Ave. S.,
Seattle, WA 98118.
By Alex Fryer
Reprinted from the Seattle Times








Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6 |


Musa Government attempts to


confiscate Private property


By: Cavo Correspondent
PUP Government is trying to seize
and confiscate private property in
Georgeville, Cayo District, Belize
without paying compensation.
The (BNE) Belize Natural Energy
Ltd has been authorized by Minister
of Natural Resources to go onto six
hundred (600) acres of land belong-
ing to a private land owner without so
much as paying to him one penny for
its take over and use his land.
The land owner had offered to give
permission to the BNE oil company
to explore for petroleum on his land,
subj ect to the condition that they pay
to him reasonable compensation for
using his land. The BNE company re-
jected that offer out of hand and im-
mediately got in touch with the Hon-
orable Mr. Briceno who not only sided
with BNE company's position that no


Protected area managers from
Toledo District are concerned about
the Environmental Impact Assess-
ment (EIA) process that the Tunich-
Nah Consultants and Engineering
firm has begun in Block 19 in south-
ern Belize. This EIA is for US Capi-
tal Energy's (USCE's) seismic test-
ing, exploratory oil drilling and po-
tential oil extraction activities in
Block 19, which consists of a num-
ber of protected areas including
Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary,
Golden Stream Corridor Preserve,
Paynes Creek National Park, Rio
Blanco National Park and the
Sarstoon Temash National Park.
The protected area managers are
concerned about a number of issues
including:
The significant geo-
graphic scope of the EIA
Geographically the EIA applies
to the whole project's concession
of Block 19 which includes the area
from Monkey River to the Sarstoon
River and most of the villages and
communities in Toledo including
Punta Gorda Town.
The fact that the EIA is
for seismic testing, exploratory
drilling and potential extraction
activities
Not only is the geographical


reasonable compensation should be
paid to the land owner, but within two
(2) days of receiving the BNE oil
company's complaint against the land-
owner issued a written order, requir-
ing the land owner to allow the BNE
oil company access to his land for the
purpose of conducting petroleum op-
eration thereon
for two years!
This is land confiscation by the
Musa Government and it puts all own-
ers of private property in Belize on
notice, which the PUP Government is
prepared to seize and confiscate pri-
vate property. This matter is heading
for the Courts, but the very thought
that a Government in this day and age
would try to seize or confiscate pri-
vate property is truly frightening and
amazing!
See copy of letter at right:


scope huge, the approved Terms of
Reference (TORs) state on page
one that this is for "a complete EIA
for the entire exploratory and po-
tential extraction activities" (Ap-
proved TORs, June 26, 2006).
Some sections of the TORs limit the
scope of the EIA to seismic testing
and exploratory drilling only, while
other sections leave room for the
EIA to include all activities involved
in the proposed oil exploration and
extraction project.
The fact that the EIA de-
velopers have entered a pro-
tected area to begin their re-
search without a permit from the
Forest Department
They are also concerned that
the company has not yet received a
research permit from Forest De-
partment as required by law to do
this work in protected areas. On
Friday March 30, 2007, a repre-
sentative from the consulting firm
visited SATIIM's office in Punta
Gorda and informed the office staff
that they would be entering the
Sarstoon Temash National Park to
do research for this EIA. When
asked whether they had the re-
search permit approved by the For-
est Department to enter the park,
required under the National Parks


ORDER UNDER SECTION 26 (1)

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cti oRGF.VII .U- VILLAE CAYO NSISnUr. 1.1i I a ithhd*rd hiW ~Ams fo
die caru, f of pcmiKin cpamna is irt d by& ( anroeaw.
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OA TED eth S ib Jay 4 ApiJ 2007




1o

1. Mr. w,'i | Iss
Ccareaik Vitiage
Cayr 1hbwcl


System Act, they said that they did
not need one. SATIIM's rangers
and the Forest Department were
notified of this situation and have
been directed to escort them out of
the park if they are unable to pro-
vide a copy of the permit.
Finally, Tunich-Nah Consult-
ants and Engineering firm has an in-
teresting history of conducting ElAs
for large scale developments that
are approved by the Department of
Environment. Examples include the
Challilo dam project, the Carnival
Cruise Port project, and the Ara
Macao resort in Placencia. At least
two of these ElAs resulted in legal
challenges in the Supreme Court of
Belize because citizen groups were


M fN Raourwese mi w thF.aronmrni


a wline a lai r Limwe
B -DB
N. Cayo L~iaic
adina


not satisfied with the environmental
research, scientific testing, analysis
of impacts, and the lack of public
consultation conducted, as required
by the law.
We would like to call on all
those concerned Belizeans to par-
ticipate actively in any public con-
sultation or public review process
that takes place during this EIA. We
look forward to working with the
EIA developer to ensure that this is
a highly transparent, fair, well ana-
lyzed, well documented and thor-
ough assessment of all social and
environmental impacts.
Press release from
Aguacaliente Management Team,
Big Falls Village, Toledo District


For an online version of the INdependent Reformer visit us at

http://www.belizenorth.com/ independentreformer.htm
illlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll


Oil Exploration in Protected

Areas worries management







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


Labouring


in


Belize


By: Richard Harrison
Labor Day is celebrated in many
countries around the world on May 1,
each year. Lately, there has been a lot
of news about union related
issues....and about minimum
wage... and about labour force surveys.
BUT... .has anyone asked the
Belizean worker what he seeks... .why
he gets up and go to sweat every day?
If the workers needs and desires are
well understood, have they been pri-
oritized according to his wishes? If so,
are there any efforts to respond to those
needs and desires?
1. WHY WORK?
The reason for work may vary from
person to person. However, one can
hardly disagree that a common reason
for work is to provide for one's basic
necessities. At a lower level, this might
mean to earn food for the family, to pay
rent or mortgage, utility bills, school and
medical bills, and for buying clothing.
At a medium level, this might mean buy-
ing perfumes and lotions, keeping a pet,
taking an occasional vacation, paying
for cable television and telephone in the
home, wearing branded clothing and
saving in a credit union. At a higher
level, this might mean fixed-saving in a
commercial bank, investing in expan-
sion for a guest room in the home, pur-
chasing a brand new SUV without
credit, taking annual medical checkups
abroad, traveling abroad for shopping,
and vacationing multiple times per year
at exotic tourist destinations around the
world.
Of course these are mostly material,
and it is well documented that persons
don't work only for material things.
Many choose a profession for its im-
age. A job selling insurance door to
door might have the potential of earn-
ing more than a bank teller, but many
people prefer the image of working at
the bank that comes from the uniforms,
the air-conditioned office, the neck tie,
etc.
Others work out of devotion. Many
teachers, nurses and policemen in the
past used to work out of devotion.
People like Ms. Rosalia Bejos, Mrs.
Elda Salazar, they used to teach as a
devotion. Doing a good job for our
children and society was more impor-
tant to them than the income or ben-
efits that they earned personally.
Yet others say they work for self-ful-
fillment. Some artists and musicians
work to see and enj oy the end result of
their art or composition, even if it barely
pays the bills. Others work voluntarily
because giving makes them 'feel' good.
In short, the reason for work may
vary from person to person.
2. SAVINGS
At our annual end-of-year party in


2006,1 Ihad a conversation with one of
my young workers. He is a really good
person and works conscientiously and
to my satisfaction. I asked him if he
was seeing headway in his personal af-
fairs as a result of his work with my
company. He told me quite assuredly,
that he definitely was seeing his head-
way and that he was very grateful for
the job. He said he pays the utility bills
in his home, and shares some of the food
bills as well... .and he even has money
left to keep a cell phone, to treat his
girl, and to socialize with his friends. I
asked him if he is saving any money. He
said no.....although he has tried to ....he
always ends up finding something to
spend his savings on.
How important is saving to the worker
in Belize?
I gave each of my workers a $10 per
week raise to start this year off. How-
ever, they do not get this in cash. They
get a saving certificate bearing 8% per
annum interest, which my company will
pay them at the time they choose to re-
deem their certificates. I have advised
them to not redeem their certificates until
such time as they are in dire need, such
as medical emergencies, family difficul-
ties or to make an investment in their
home or education. They are quite
happy with this arrangement, and with
the fact that they are weekly seeing their
SAVINGS pile up, where before there
was none.
Like most of my small ideas and
dreams, I am hoping that I will be able
to encourage other companies to join
and help me to formalize a Workers
Bank of Belize at some point in the not-
too-distant future; which would facili-
tate our workers with low-interest-rate
home mortgages, and pay them a rela-
tively high rate of interest for their sav-
ings. This bank would be owned by
the workers who become shareholders
by committing a portion of their earn-
ings to this bank in the form of savings.
Only shareholders would be eligible to
make home-loans from the bank, and
the Board of Directors would be elected
from among the shareholders, which are
the participating workers themselves.
The power that capital generation can
play in the lives of our workers is well
known, even while we recognize the
black-eye that such proj ects have been
given by fly-by-night schemes which
sought only to usurp workers funds.
But, the black-eye that scam housing
projects created does not eliminate the
need for housing. Workers need to learn
from those experiences, and make more
and better efforts at involving themselves
in the highest level of decision making
and oversight regarding the use of their
funds.
Saving in Belize is not easy. But sav-
ing is avery important aspect ofimprov-


ing ones conditions.
3. WORKING HOURS
What do working hours have to do
with what workers seek from their
sweat? At one time, Belizeans used to
work from 8am to 4pm.....Monday to
Friday... and half-day Saturday. Then
sometime in the 1980's, we bought into
the five-day work week as practiced in
the industrialized countries. We now
work up to 5pm each day. These days
most workers are packed into dilapi-
dated buses trying to reach home be-
tween 5pm and the time it gets dark.
The sporting fields and public parks are
no longer packed the way they used to
be. Of course this has a lot to do with
the general lack of safety and security;
however, it may also be as a result of
less daylight hours available to most
working persons. Since the respectable
working persons don't frequent these
places anymore, the riff-raff have taken
control of these public places, resulting
in even greater insecurity, especially for
the children who must go there to face
temptation to drugs and other indiscrete
behaviour. Is this what Belizean work-
ers want from their labour?
Belize does not practice daylight sav-
ing time. These days the sun rise be-
fore 5am... .and it is very hot by 7am.
The sun sets at around 6:30pm. Is this
8am 5 pm practical for Belize, given
the tropical climate that prevails here?
Are these the hours where we can get
the highest productivity from our labour?


It is well known that worker produc-
tivity can increase if the cooler hours
are used for productive labor. Is pro-
ductivity related in any way to the
amount that employers can pay em-
ployees for their labour? In parts of
North America and Europe, the sun
rises at 6:30am and sets at 10pm. That
is why they set 9am to 5pm as normal
office hours.
Belize needs to rationalize its own
hours for work, and not follow blindly
the industrialized countries in the north
which enjoy different daylight hours.
We should try to use more of the mom-
ing cool hours to increase productivity,
and we should try to get more daylight
hours after work, so that families can
enjoy the parks and playgrounds, do
gardening and other household chores
on their own instead of paying for it,
supervise their children during more of
their awake hours, and perhaps take
up hobbies....all ofwhich reduce stress
and can improve workers standard of
living.
4. MINIMUM WAGE
The concept of a minimum wage as-
sumes that capital is there to exploit
labour. By setting a minimum wage of
BZ$3 per hour.... a worker stands to
earn a minimum ofBZ$135 per 45-hour
workweek. Can a family live in Belize
on this amount? Perhaps the wife would
have to go to work as well.... so the
family could then earn a total of
(Please Turn To Page 8) O W


PRAGMATICA INVESTMENTS
Mile 46, Western Highway
Mount Pleasant, Belmopan
Tel/Fax: 501 822 2290
Cel: 501 620 3535
Email:harrisonbz@yahoo.com

Senior Partner:
Richard Harrison, MBA, BSPharm


* MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCY
Management Audits
Business Planning & Development
Strategy Development

* FINANCIAL SERVICES
Debt/Equity Planning & Restructuring
Financial Forecasting
Company Formation & Representation


* MARKETING SERVICES
Market Research
Marketing Strategy Development
Product Development Strategy







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8 |


Time for


Ta:


Regime


By: Meb Cutlack
A country is only as rich as the inter-
nal movement of its people, goods and
services. The economy of Belize is rap-
idly coming to a grinding halt as increas-
ing taxes stifle investment, endeavor and
internal production. Such taxes also
mean the more expensive flow of goods
and services throughout the country and
the ultimate decline of local products and
internal trade.
Already, in just the last two years,
there has been a noticeable decline in
traffic between Belize City and the
north and also a similar decline in traf-
fic to the west and south.
But there has been an increase in il-
licit trafficking. The daily illegal impor-
tation of goods through our porous bor-
ders deprives the government of millions
of dollars in tax every year (as the 'grey'
economy flourishes) and it also insti-
tutes a 'lawless' but justifiable, sense of
righteous 'cheating' in Belizeans.
The gross annual imports into Belize
for 2006 will add up to somewhere in
the region of $1,500,000,000 or
$2,000,000,000. yes, up to two bil-
lion dollars.
A 40% tax on all imports, with ex-
ception of medical and school supplies
(and some other exceptions) could raise
a total revenue for the Government of


Labou

"-E (Continued From Page 7)
BZ$270 per week. Can they live on
this amount, given that now they will
have to pay baby-sitter or daycare, and
transportation to and from? So, per-
haps they will likely have to take the el-
der children away from high-school, so
that they can work to earn income..... so
that they can afford to send the second
and third child to school.
Hnmm... .what happens if the second
is not the best in academics? Oh
my... now we have trouble on our
hands. Many first-born in our homes
are suffering this fate.
My educated guess is that unskilled
and semi-skilled labor in Belize needs
to earn around BZ$200 per week to
be able to provide for a life with access
to what is considered basic needs.
So, how can this be achieved? Is the
worker willing and able to produce what
it takes to earn this amount? Who
would determine what each worker
needs to produce to earn this amount?
I guess that my argument would be
that a minimum wage does much to
drive the lowest end a worker could


Belize of up to $800,000,000 and dra-
matically drop the price of many goods
on the Belize market including fuel, oil
and butane.
A 5% only tax (value added tax) ap-
plied to all local goods and services
would stimulate the production of local
versus foreign goods and services. This
5% tax would also be levied on water,
telecommunications and electricity and
drop the price of these items while
stimulating local efforts, production and
investment.
To do away with the GST and the
hotel bed tax and replace it with the lo-
cal 5% tax would allow the tourism in-
dustry to breath again and not choke as
it is now on ever increasing taxes. This
could, almost overnight, double govern-
ment tourism revenue.
The drop to 40% (or even make it
50%) tax on all oil and gas products
would more than halve the present price
of gas on the market. This would lead
to the immediate stimulation of local
market activity and production.
While imported gasoline etc., would
still he handled by Esso, private impor-
tation of refined gasoline and oil prod-
ucts from neighboring countries would
be allowed if necessary at a 45%
to 50% tax level.
Today in Belize there is a massive


ring in

enj oy... .but it does very little to drive
the worker along a path of productivity
that would help him meet with his ob-
j ectives for getting up and going to work.
It should be enhanced by a programme
aimed at both workers and employers,
to spur productivity in Belize, which
helps both workers and employers to
understand how to measure productiv-
ity and what means can be used to re-
ward its increase.
5. EMPLOYMENT
Over the next ten years, 69,000 per-
sons will reach the age of 20, accord-
ing to CSO. This would mean that
Belize has to generate an average of
6,900 new jobs every year for the next
10 years, in order to keep the list of
unemployed from ballooning. The es-
cape gate to the USA, that was there in
the past, is fast closing; and Cuba and
Venezuela seem more interested in send-
ing their people here, than providing
work for our people in their own coun-
tries. This is the greatest challenge that
faces our country in terms of labour, and
requires we work a lot more earnestly
and closely to make sure we do not al-


'leakage' of customs revenue through,
often selectively, lax law enforcement.
This means certain 'crony' wholesalers
and other importers get away with fi-
nancial murder while honest importers
are financially jeopardised.
To cure this situation a whole new
regime of investigation and punishment
needs to be established. Government
officers found with their hands in the
'cookie jar' would have to be dismissed
and punished rather than just slapped
on the wrists as at present.
All the above could be subject to
'case necessary' adjustment. The tour-
ism industry, for example, could be al-
lowed duty exemption (or repayment)
on all good and services not obtainable
in Belize. This would particularly apply
to quality good and services unavailable
in Belize such as certain foods, wine
and advertising services etc., which the
industry needs to remain competitive.
All imported goods into Belize could
easily and inexpensively carry an import
invoice number which could be
checked at any time by customers or
the authorities.
Other exceptions or adjustments might
be necessary because of Belize's mem-
bership of CARICOM and existing trade
with other Latin American countries
through existing trade agreements.


Belize

low this monster; which is steering us in
the face, to consume us and our desired
way of life.
6. MARCHING
Belize seems to have developed a fad
for marching and radio talk-shows. So
don't be surprised if you see people,
especially our children, marching again
on Labour Day. In more democratic
countries, community leaders pay atten-
tion to marches and demonstrations,
they read the billboards and placards
calling for change. I am not quite sure
we enjoy this level of democracy in
Belize. Marches don't seem to have
the impact desired by those who march,
and most of it is inspired by special in-
terest groups who are propelled into
action by foreign donor grants and the
impulse to rally for more of the same.
More concrete action taken by groups
such as the Association of Concerned
Belizeans, Commissions of Inquiry, and
by individuals such as Senator Godwin
Hulse, seem to be making a difference
in the arena of politics and public af-
fairs, and needs our congratulations and
recognition on this labor day. They


As far as the rest of the world is con-
cerned, actual investigation of import/
export status would almost certainly
ascertain that many of our imports from
these countries ultimately already carry
more than a 40% tax before they get
to the customer. Therefore the new
tax regime would actually benefit many
overseas goods suppliers and lead to a
more open and visible import trail.
The government should also phase out
monopolies on all goods and services.
Such monopolies (Fortis, Belikin, BTL,)
exploit and cripple the nation
I offer this only as a discussion docu-
ment. Belize is at the end of its tether
tax wise and the daily burden of mul-
tiple taxes, as passed on now to the
ordinary consumer, has reached a point
almost beyond bearing. Continuing as
we are can only lead to a drastic eco-
nomic slowdown and eventual eco-
nomic collapse.
A dramatic revision and simplification
to existing customs duties would be of
immediate benefit to our country and its
citizens. It could do away with the
present complicated Customs system
whereby goods can carry anything from
a 10% to an 80% duty rate, which al-
lows extraordinary 'leverage' to indi-
vidual Customs officers particularly dis-
honest ones.

strengthen our democracy and inspire
us to become a more vigilant society
which values and safeguards its consti-
tutional rights and responsibilities.
In the 2006 Independence Day cel-
ebrations, the politics was mostly re-
moved from the celebrations, and the
massive public participation and com-
munity spirit in the country-wide events
was astounding to say the least. We
should learn from that experience.
In the years leading up to 1998, the
Baron Bliss Day celebrations were in-
spiring less public events and participa-
tion each year. It was just another holi-
day for people to stay home from work
and school. Then the La Ruta Maya
Belize River Challenge was conceived,
and the public responded with outpour-
ing of national support for an event that
put the Baron Bliss Day celebrations
back into high gear.
One wonders if the Labour Day Cel-
ebrations does not need a similar injec-
tion of new life, with a nation-wide
event that inspires similar multitudes of
citizens acknowledging the work and
workers of Belize?







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


S


w


S
a


By: William Schmidt
PG correspondent for
INdependentWeeklV
Several months ago Belize cel-
ebrated water day. I felt it was a good
reason to visit with the mayor and
other local leaders to talk about the
importance of protecting the presently
endangered watershed for Punta
Gorda Town.
I spent several minutes (15 to 20)
talking with at least 6 or 7 people. I
noted that the Cerro Hills behind town
was the principle watershed for town
and that the Water Department
pumped the water for town from the
aquifer at the foot of the hills.
The last time I visited the area, it
was apparent the farmers were mov-
ing their farms from the base of the
hills up the sides and there were some
cattle pastures where most of the trees
had been cut down. A large number
of small saplings had been cut to pro-
vide reinforcement for the growing
number of new concrete second story
floors and beams that we see all over
town. Some Emery trees that had
been cut for lumber and there were
more trails then I had seen on my last
visit.
Unless this watershed was pro-
tected the aquifer could go dry and
Punta Gorda Town would experience
a lack of water like was happening
across the Bay in Honduras and in
Cuba. The quality and availability of
water would go down and the cost of
water would probably go up.
Later on in the afternoon a friend
came by to visit me. He asked,
"whats wrong, you look down." I told
him of all the people I spoke to, not
one showed any real interest or asked
what could be done to protect the wa-
tershed. He replied "perhaps they
didn't know what you're talking
about." So I asked him "Do you
know what a watershed or aquifer
is?" and he answered quite honestly,
"To tell you the truth, I don't."
In the natural forest the rain falls on
the leaves and branches of the trees
and this allows it to slowly drip down
to the forest floor. Where the fallen
leaves have created a covering that
absorbs and holds the water which
gives it a chance to soak into the


ground and filtered down into the
porous limestone below called the
aquifer. There it is stored waiting to
be pumped out to supply the town.
When the trees are all cut down and
the watershed destroyed, the leaves
no longer fall to cover the ground, and
the rain beats down on the unpro-
tected earth. It compacts it and makes
it hard, while it washes away the frag-
ile topsoil. The water doesn't have a
chance to soak in. When the topsoil
erodes down the hill it runs into
streams and eventually into Joe Tay-
lor Creek.
On the way it clogs up and pollutes
the aquifer. It goes on to cause silt
and sedimentation to pollute the
creek, making it difficult or impossible
for the fish and other animals that re-
quire clean water to live. My friend
said, "Now I see why you are so con-
cerned about saving the trees on
Cerro Hills, its important because its
how our town gets water."
This incident reminded me of the
time two British students asked me
to look at a survey questionnaire they
wanted to give the rural villagers. I
went over it and underlined almost
one-third of the words telling them "I
didn't think the villagers would under-
stand these, you will have to break
these down into smaller change."
After they left I asked myself if I
was following my own advice. Pretty
soon a villager came by to visit, and
we sat on a bench beneath a tree. I
asked him, "Sam, you know how I
have often told you about the Eco
Park Plan that our groups have been
developing? "Yes", he replied. "Tell
me, what does the word park mean
to you"? I waited for what seemed


like a long time, but I know how
thoughtful many villagers are, they
don't just say anything that comes into
their minds, they like to think before
they speak.
After what I thought was long
enough I said "you must have some
idea after all our conversations, don't
be afraid, tell me, what does the word
park mean to you"? He looked at me
with such an innocent expression and
asked, "You mean like we de park
here?" Remembering this I went back
to the people I had spoken to earlier
about the need to protect the town's
watershed and aquifer and sure
enough, only one or two could tell me
what a watershed is and no one knew
what an aquifer is. With this, I real-
ized that when I talk and write about
the comprehensive, sustainable,
wholistic, integrated, diversified Eco
Park, I had better be sure those in-
terested actually know what these
words mean. I close this article with
some definitions.
Wholistic; the full or complete
amount, all parts or members. With
no part removed or left out. Complete
system made up of parts on the whole


T % Tay n


considering everything.
Wholism; the theory that wholes are
greater than the sum of their parts,
planning for the whole district rather
than just parts of the district.
Sustainable; support, keep alive,
keep going continuously.
Integrate; necessary in order to
make something complete, to bring
people of all social classes, races,
Maya, East Indian, Creoles, Mestizo,
Garifuna, religions, others, etcetera
together as equals in society, com-
bined or form a part or parts into a
whole, bring or come into equal mem-
bership of a community.
Diverse; of various sorts, diver-
sify, increase the variety of.
Eco; combining form, relating to
ecology.
Ecology; and environment, the
scientific study of living things in
relation to each other and to their
environment.
All of these words help to iden-
tify and explain the Toledo People's
Eco Park Plan. It is really an eco
industrial park. Eco standing for
economic development with eco-
logical integrity.


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Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10



.7r~1 iL A 371 9


US freezes Colombia
funding.


Financial Times: The US Senate has
frozen the transfer of millions of dollars
in funds to the Colombian military pend-
ing investigations into concerns over
human rights abuses and alleged ties
between the country's armed forces and
paramilitary groups.
The decision to suspend 25 percent
of US military aid, worth $55.2m
(40.6m, 27.5m), was adopted by
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy,
chairman of the Senate appropriations
committee's subcommittee on state and
foreign operations, who is an outspo-
ken critic ofthe level of military aid be-
ing sent to Colombia.
David Carle, spokesman for Mr.
Leahy, alluded that the widening "para-
politics" scandal in Colombia was a fac-
tor in the senator's decision. The scan-
dal has exposed connections between
rightwing paramilitary groups and poli-
ticians and members of the armed
forces.
An unvetted report for the CIA
leaked to US media last month claimed
that General Mario Montoya, the head
of Colombia's armed forces, had col-
laborated with paramilitary groups
linked to drug traffickers. Mr. Carle said
the accusations against Gen Montoya
were a "concern".
Mexico's
Development Plan


The government ofMexican President
Felipe Calder6n is in the final stages of


completing its "National Development
Plan 2007-2012" (PND), which should
meet the requisite publication date of
May 31, 2007. Certain changes are
forthcoming that could have significant
and beneficial impacts at the interna-
tional level and on non-Mexicans -
namely with respect to bilateral and
multilateral trade, as well as direct for-
eign investment in Mexico.
A series of public hearings, with the
participation of business, entrepreneurial
and industrial chambers and organiza-
tions, consumer groups, academics, and
economic development officials from
Mexico's 32 federal entities, are also
just winding up. And according to a
bulletin by the Secretariat, improving
Mexican competitiveness has been a
main proposal during all of the forums.
ProMexico is to be Mexico's future
promotional entity for marketing and the
opening of new markets, and the pro-
motion of foreign trade and investments.
A partnership between federal, state and
local governments, along with the pri-
vate sector, it is part of a new Secre-
tariat of Economy strategy to coordi-
nate development and promotion efforts
and activities.
Jamaica to privatize
sugar industry?


KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS): Ja-
maica 's Minister of Agriculture and
Lands, Roger Clarke has said that, with
the surge of interest in ethanol, there has
been a renewed interest in the
privatization of the local sugar industry.
This interest in ethanol, he noted, was
brought about by the recent policy by
the United States Government to reduce
dependence on foreign oil imports.
Clarke made these remarks in his 2007/
08 Budget presentation. Jamaica's
own access to the United States mar-
ket for this product under the Carib-
bean basin initiative has put us in a very
advantageous position," said Mr.
Clarke. As a result of this he pointed
out, the government had reopened the
pre-qualification bidding process to ac-


commodate some compelling interest."
Continuing, Clarke said, "Whether the
investors will do ethanol or a combina-
tion of ethanol and sugar, the future is
bright and sweet for the industry. The
continued diversion of sugar into etha-
nol in Brazil is causing the price of sugar
to rise on the world market. The fact
that sugar cane yields eight times more
ethanol than corn as a feedstock augurs
well for the industry".
Wolfowitz
"unsustainable"!


Germany believes Paul Wolfowitz's
position as head of the World Bank
has become unsustainable, a German
minister has told the Financial Times
Deutschland (FTD) newspaper.
World Bank staff have called for
Wolfowitz to quit following his admis-
sion that he approved promotion and
high salaries for his girlfriend.
"The situation... is no longer ac-
ceptable," Heidemarie Wieczorek-
Zeul, a development minister, told the
FTD in an article to run on Monday.
"My conclusion is that Wolfowitz
should do the bank a service and take
the consequences himself. The sooner,
the better."
And Wolfowitz, whose appoint-
ment to the World Bank presidency
in mid-2005 was controversial be-
cause of his role as an architect of
the Iraq war while at the Pentagon,
has refused to step down.
The US government has urged
leading European countries to with-
hold judgment until the World
Bank's 24-nation board decides on
his future.
South Africa honours
Ramphal &Williams
The South African Government will
today confer its highest national honour
on Sir Shridath Ramphal, former three-
term Commonwealth secretary general,
as well as posthumously on Trinidad and
Tobago's longest serving prime minis-


ter, Dr Eric Williams.


The awards will be presented at a state
ceremony in South Africa by President
Thabo Mbeki. Both will receive the
'Order of the Companions of 0 R
Tambo', for peace and friendship, as
well as outstanding contributions against
apartheid and racism.
Williams' daughter, Erica, is expected
to receive the award on behalf of her
father who died in 1981
US and EU need to
cede power
Erco Press: The United States and
the European Union need to adapt to
global changing economic reality and
for their own good give up their lead-
ership monopolies at the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund,
according to a report from the Atlan-
tic Council of the United States.
"What the US and the EU really
need to do, in a maj or way, is to rec-
ognize the shift of economic power,
of energy power, of GDP power to
Asia and Latin America and the
emerging economies" underlined
former US Deputy Treasury Secre-
tary Stuart Eizenstat from the Atlantic
Council.
"We still think we're the dominant
powers and we are to a point. But the
world is shifting" Eizenstat said add-
ing that the US and EU need to shift
and make global institutions like the
IMF and the World Bank more rep-
resentative of their broader member-
ship.
Cuban refinery
(AFP): Amodernised oil refinery is
set to go on line in December, official
media reported, in a shift due to turn
imports-dependent Cuba into an oil ex-
porter.

(Please Turn To Page 11) l/ -


R es rv ti ns: 5 1-26-01
SM OEMg
M OW- M US. oll ree 800422343
M ROW M M "MWFax 501 226 233
a O M. 6








Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
You can make profitable investments
if you purchase an art obj ect for your
home. You should look into making
some physical changes, such as new hair
color or toning up your body. Don't let
your stubborn nature get the better of
you. Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
You will be emotional with regard to
your personal life. You can convince oth-
ers 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 athome
will be most satisfying. Family trips or
projects 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)
Help others solve their dilemmas. You
may find that others do not do things
the way you want; however, ifthej ob
gets done, let it pass. Problems with in-
laws may cause friction in your personal
relationship. Avoid disputes with fam-
ily; their complaints can't change any-
thing anyway. Your lucky day this week
will be Saturday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Travel will entice you; however, a
tendency to overspend is quite pos-
sible. Uncertainty regarding your mate
may emerge; reevaluate what you see
in each other. You will learn a great
deal from people with different cul-
tural backgrounds. Purchases will be
well worth it and they will last a long
time.Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.
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 beliefs 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 situ-
ations that are no longer to your ad-
vantage. Try not to be too lavish with
your lover. Your domestic scene could
continue to be in an uproar this week.
Your lucky day this week will be
Wednesday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Don't overspend to impress 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. Don't make large purchases
unless you have discussed your
choices with your mate. Your lucky
day this week will be Sunday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Don't be critical or overly opinion-
ated with dislikes; it could cause dis-
approval and unwanted opposition.
You can sell your ideas to those who
have the money to back them. You
may be overreacting to a situation at
hand. Invite friends or relatives 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 ad-
vantage of you. Your lucky day this
week will be Thursday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Don't give them the use of your
credit card. Family members will not
be happy with the amount of time you
are spending away from home.You
may find yourself caught in the middle
of an argument that has nothing to do
with you. Don't be afraid to say
what's on your mind. Your lucky day
this week will be Wednesday.


ME (Continued From Page 10)


Uvernauled with capital trom ajoint
Venezuelan-Cuban company, the
Cienfuegos refinery in south-central
Cuba will meet the Caribbean country's
own demands, and earmark 9,000 bar-
rels of gasoline a day for export, Ven-
ezuela's communications and informa-
tion ministry said in a release circulated
here.
Vice President Carlos Lage confirmed
the facility was set to start operations in
December, the Juventud Rebelde news-
paper reported.
Lage said the refinery would process
65,000 barrels per day of petroleum by
late this year or early 2008, the paper
said.
Cuban authorities in late March said
Havana was optimistic it could soon see
a breakthrough in exploiting maj or oil
reserves.
Poor starving
to feed autos
i- |


Christian Science Monitor: Venezu-
elan President Hugo Chavez calls the
boom in ethanol the equivalent of starv-
ing the poor "to feed automobiles."
Ethanol, which is derived from crops
such as corn or sugar, is seen by some
as a green alternative, a rising star on
the path toward reducing dependence
on foreign petroleum. But it's not just


Your weekly

Da(ao)x [zD


Iithl a


Tropical TivOist


Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppe


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


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


Mr. Chavez who is questioning whether
the benefits outweigh the unintended
consequences.
Now poultry industry executives,
who have seen the price of feedstock
has gone up; Mexican consumers, fac-
ing a 60 percent jump in the cost of
tortillas; and even environmentalists,
who look at the amount of fertilizer
that will be needed to grow extra
crops, are wondering aloud whether
ethanol will help or hurt Latin Ameri-
can economies.
The South American energy summit
that concluded in Venezuela this week
provided the latest platform for crit-
ics. Even though the debate has been
cast as another issue in the long line
of ideological battles aligning Chavez
and Cuban leader Fidel Castro
against the US, some analysts say that
their point is larger than political: If the
price for staple food items rises across
the globe because of demand, Latin
America will be one of the hardest hit
regions.
"I think people worry that rich
Americans are trying to fuel cars at
the expense of hungry people in
poorer countries," says Janet Larsen,
director of research at the Earth Policy
Institute in Washington. "This in-
creased push for ethanol production
could be an incredible foreign policy
blunder."
What we are seeing now, she says,
is the beginning of a very long debate.
Chavez's comments came shortly af-
ter harsh op-eds penned by Mr.
Castro who, in his first public state-
ments since falling ill last July, resur-
faced to call the US proposal "geno-
cidal."
His words follow mass protests in
Mexico, after the price of corn torti-
llas shot up in January. The South
American Energy Summit at
Margarita Island was the first meet-
ing between Brazil' s President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva since Chavez lam-
basted the plan after Mr. Bush visited
Brazil last month, when Bush and Lula
signed a proposal to promote the in-
dustry in the region.


I


I


" 'r







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 12


Big Falls Warriors & Antixx United


FC win in TIDE Freshwater Cup 2007


Saturday April 21, 2007
Toledo Union Field, Punta Gorda
Game One
Big Falls Warriors 5 [1] Real
Belice FC 0 [0]
Goals
Big Falls Warriors
Marcus Pau 16
Regino Hemandez 50
Magarito Tut 65
Juan Mendez 76
AlistairArmstrong 80
With only nine men on the field -the
other players did not show up- Real
Belice failed to improve their status of
zero (0) points after three games. With
five different players getting on the score
sheet, Big Falls were able to get their
first three points of the competition. 5-
nil it ended in favor of Big Falls. Both
Evert mangar score
Points Standing as of Week Seven


'ed the opening peanlty against Antixx united


teams have their final match against In-
tegrity Strikers who will be looking to
advance to the semi-final round with a
win against the two teams.
Game Two
Antixx United FC 0 [0] Mavericks


FC 2 [1]
Goals
Mavericks United
Evert Mangar 18
Arden Garay 84
The captain for Mavericks made no
mistake from the penalty spot after a
ball was apparently handled in the area
and it was a 1-nil ball game in their fa-
vor in the 18 min. Referee Earl Gutierrez
had the Mavericks sweeper Mike Wil-
liams sent off in the 40 min with a straight
red, for some exchange of words. Ac-
cording to Mike he was only stating that
the game ball was too soft. Playing one
man down however did not affect their
performance and they held Antixx to a
2-nil shut out to keep their hopes alive
for a semifinal spot in the next round of
competition.
Next Set of Fixtures
Saturday April 28, 2007 at the To-
ledo Union Field
Game one: Bella VistaFC vs. Silver
Creek Uprising (4:00 p.m.)
Game two: Jah Roots vs. Estrellas
FC (6:00 p.m.)


THE I


with Anthony Hunt
rX T7


1ILULILFOR--O-D


SULY'S
Farmer's Market, Belize City

We reviewed Suly's some time ago, but back then we were captivated by
the fattening rice and beans and fried fish. Well that is still good as ever
,for those who can afford it in the waistline, but we are on the mission to
find healthy options. A family operation serving up local food may not
seem like such a place, but Suly's does have some healthier fare. The esca-
beche is at the top of the list, with a generous helping of chicken and lots
of onions, this infamous dish is well worth its 400 or so calories. The chir-
mole is not far behind either. Served with hot tortillas, it will keep those
carbs at bay, at least till tomorrow anyway. So, revisit Suly's, I promise
you that it well worth the parking hassel, and oh yes, the crowds still mob
the conch soup. I can only watch their bowls in envy.


OPN ONA-ATRI. UC


Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Pts Fcrm
Silver Creek Uprising 3 2 1 0 10 1 9 7 WWD
Real Belice FC 3 0 0 3 2 16 -14 0 LLL
Big Falls Warriors 3 1 0 2 5 6 1 3 LLW
Integrity Strikers 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4 WD
Bella Vista FC 3 2 0 1 8 3 5 6 WLW


Group B (South)
Teams GP W D L GF GA GD Pts Form
J V United 3 1 1 1 6 7 -1 4 DWL
Mavericks FC 3 2 0 1 3 7 -4 6 LWW
Jah Roots FC 2 0 0 2 2 3 -1 0 LL
Antixx United 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4 DWL
S3 2 0 1 12 5 7 6 WLW
Estrellas FC 3 2 0 1 12 5 7 6


Comments? Suggestions?

or want to share your

thoughts

Email us at

Independent. newspaper.

bz(a@gmail. com








Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 133


Hurry,

-_mi (Continued From Page 4)
den even from the Cabinet.
All I know is when I need medical
attention I will only go to Medical As-
sociates and KHMH, thank you. The
only way UHS could get my business,
or recover any semblance of concern
for the tax payers who are bailing them
out, is to begin giving free treatment for
poor Belizeans. As if that would ever
happen....
But I digress. Back to traffic week
and the morning talk shows. There were
also serious calls from people who had
given the problem of road accidents
serious thought. One gentleman, and I
am sorry I did not get his name, said
people "commit accidents."
He reminded us all that not only do
some motorists drive recklessly or
drunk, some pedestrians, especially in
rural villages, sit or stumble onto the
highway drunk and cross the road un-
expectedly right into oncoming traffic.
It's not exactly suicide, but pretty
damned close to it. Some Freudians
would say these people do indeed have
a death wish. Certainly they are com-
mitting their own accident. They end up
dead, the sober motorist who was oth-
erwise obeying all the laws gets the
blame. And families on both sides
grieve. Everyone loses because some-
one was celebrating something irrespon-
sibly. Because getting drunk mattered
more than getting home in one piece.
Personal responsibility in not high on
many Belize's personal agenda. We
don't want to do anything that puts the
brakes on our having a good time. We
don't want to stop drinking and drive.
We don't want to stop talking (even
texting) and drive, we don't want to
slow down and drive. Belizeans who are
normally passive, who won't stand up
for the democratic process or political
reform, or unlawful firings or unfair taxes
or too many street shootings or too
much incest and domestic violence, are
somehow transformed into raging bulls
on the road, charging against the injus-
tice of someone passing us, going faster
or committing the unforgivable sin of driv-
ing an older model car or truck that does
not have as much get-up-and-go as our
own.
We, who will patiently wait an hour in
the transport office to renew a driver's
license-- although their system is now
computerized-- cannot wait two sec-
onds behind a car that might delay our
arrival at a traffic j am up ahead by two
more seconds.
We, who say proudly proclaim at ev-
ery sports day, quiz contest, seminar and
workshop that the children are our fu-
ture, load them into the back of pickup
trucks, are too cheap to purchase child
and infant seats, "love them so much"
we put them on our laps and give in to


their whines about the discomfort of
seatbelts...
As for the children themselves, the
same road insanity which overtakes so
many adults seems to afflict a great many
of our children. Kids who are pretty well
behaved at school under their teacher's
watchful eye, suddenly go nutso while
walking home, jumping out at cars, play-
ing chicken with trucks and buses, push-
ing other children off the sidewalk, into
the street. They laugh and dance around
as if it's a grand oke to give some driver
a heart attack behind the wheel. Can't
they be ticketed for a mischievous act?
It is a strange transformation that
takes over us, our loss of fear in the
face of a big metal, fast moving object.
Even slow moving ones can crush a bike
or a person. But you'd never know that
from the number of cyclists who drive
behind cars as they reverse from park-
ing spaces. Perhaps they want us to hit
them so they can try to hit us up for dam-
ages, get a new bike. Its as inexplicable
to me as the people who throw their
bike down in front of an entrance to
shop and expect all the other patrons
to step over it. Only more dangerous.
So yes, we, the drivers, bikers and
walkers of Belize share the blame for
road traffic death and destruction. We
commit a great many accidents every
year in this country, kill a great many of
our fellow men and women.
But the government shares the other
half of the responsibility. For until there
are proper markings and lines drawn on
the highway, until there is proper signage
delimiting speed limits, one way streets,
speed bumps and pedestrian crossings,


get dey tamar


until there is proper maintenance and
drainage to prevent perilous potholes
and road erosion, until there is a HIGH-
WAY PATROL instead of stationary
checkpoints, people will break the law
unimpeded.
In fact, the single most important de-
terrent to crazy driving is the knowl-
edge that anywhere, anytime, you could
be stopped by the traffic police and
cited.
Without that, human nature dictates
people will tief chance, take risks, and
pat themselves on the back for their
near misses with other vehicles, near
brushes with death itself.
Barring a nationwide highway patrol,
someone stationed at the foot of the
Haulover Bridge could probably catch
upwards of a hundred people a day
overtaking illegally and even forcing
people off the road, onto the shoulder.
It happens over and over and over and
no one stops it. No one even tries.
There are other high risk points on
every maj or road in the country. All the
Transport Ministry has to do is pull out
their stats and check where the most
accidents occur and put some signage
and personnel in those areas. Dozens
of lives could be saved and it might, in
time, even alter the behaviour. Not to
mention raise some much needed rev-
enue.
I think it may also be time to outlaw
the use of cell phones will moving. Dis-
traction due to phone calls makes
people drive as badly as the drunks.
Tickets will be effective and again, rev-
enue producing. Why, I'll bet one year
worth of phone tickets alone could pay


for a patrol car.
I was pleased the insurance agent
pulled no punches, was not embar-
rassed, did not consider drinking and
driving a taboo topic to talk to her cus-
tomers about. I think she might have
done some good this long weekend,
making a few people think before they
drink and to know the company they
buy their insurance from cares not only
about their car, but their life.
I think a lot more people need to care
about Belizean lives, and stop putting
their own. It may feel more fun, more
free, more rebellious to drive fast and
wild, but sooner or later the men and
women who overtake on dangerous
curves meet the wrong person on the
other side. Sooner or later the pedes-
trian stumbling home falls asleep on the
road instead of his bed, sooner or later
the child who dares the container truck
winds up under it.
It's only a matter of time before the
inevitable happens and your luck runs
out.
Fix the roads GOB and get smart
Belizeans. This is too small a place to
have so many of us committing acci-
dents against each other.


y:arla Heusner. Vernon
By: Karla HeusnerVernon


" Super
i p I


WI&







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 1,14


Human cargo biz


worth %32 bn globally


Times of India, by Meenakshi
Sinha 29 Apr, 2007
It's a $32 billion global industry that
smuggles millions of people most of
them women and girls across inter-
national borders every year. That's how
big the problem of illegal human traf-
ficking is. Recognised by UN as a glo-
bal issue today, almost no country is
immune to it. According to a 2006 United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) report (Trafficking In Per-
sons: Global Patterns), there are 127
countries where human trafficking origi-
nates, along with 98 transit countries and
137 destination countries.
And yet, few countries are even will-
ing to acknowledge that the problem
affects them, thus hampering global ef-
forts at combating it. While UNODC
executive director Antonio Maria Costa
admits worldwide estimates are difficult
to pinpoint, he says the number could
run into millions. AUS State Depart-
ment report estimates that 600,000-
800,000 people may be illegally
smuggled across borders annually
(about 17,500 end up in the US alone).


The majority are victims of sexual ex-
ploitation and as many as 50% are mi-
nors.
Human trafficking is also on the rise
in Africa and South Asia. Experts say
about half of all victims are children,
many of whom are sold by their own
families. UNICEF estimates that West
and Central Africa alone account for
about 200,000 children trafficked an-
nually, while 250,000 women and chil-
dren come from south-east Asia. Rus-
sia is a major source of women traf-
ficked globally. The ILO estimates that
20% ofthe five million illegal immigrants
in Russia are victims of forced labour.
Russia is also a hub for child sex tour-
ism and a significant destination and
transit country for persons smuggled
into neighboring countries, the Gulf,
Europe, Asia, and North America.
However, global trends indicate that
Asia tops the list in child trafficking.
The UK is one of the favourite desti-
nation countries for illegal migration, in-
cluding from India, especially Punjab.
The country has stepped up enforce-
ment efforts to detect and prevent ille-


gal migration, says Kitty Tawakley,
deputy head of communications at the
British High Commission in India. "Ef-
forts are also on to raise awareness
about the problem, particularly in
Punjab, and promote legal routes for
migration."
A well-organised business, human
trafficking is estimated to be worth $10
billion in immediate profits alone, apart
from linkages with money laundering and
drug trafficking. UNODC suggests a
multilayered attack on this organized
cartel: Demolishing markets that gener-
ate profit for traffickers; addressing the
demand for cheap labour; dealing with
poverty and lack of opportunities that
create a willing pool of potential victims,
and targeting intermediaries.
Weak laws and poor international
cooperation make things easier for traf-
fickers. Prosecutions leading to convic-
tions have been few, with the Nether-
lands, US and Ukraine leading the list.
The US has seen convictions in such
cases rise by a whopping 109% in five
years (2001-2005), according to a 2005
Department of Justice report.


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Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 15I


Open letter
Britain and Belize are separated by
4,000 miles of Atlantic Ocean, but in
many ways we are very close. Her
Majesty the Queen is our Head of
State, we speak English, and we are
governed by the rule of law. The ties
between our two countries are many,
various and strong.
It is particularly distressing, therefore,
that British newspapers should appear
intent on
inflicting damage to the good reputation
of our small but proud nation. We have
reason to be grateful to Ambassador
H.E. Michael Ashcroft, for his commit-
ment to our country has in recent years
become an investment boost to our de-
veloping economy. He has invested in
Belize, and others have followed his
example. This does not mean, as has
been suggested, that he exerts an un-
healthy control over our country. His
appointment as our Ambassador to the
United Nations reflects our confidence
in his ability to represent us effectively.
He has no role in the formulation of
policy.


When life gives you lemons, make or-
ange juice and leave the world wonder-
ing how the heck you did it.
Don't p-s me off! I'm running out
of places to hide the bodies!
He who laughs last thinks slowest
I couldn't repair your brakes so I
made your horn louder.
A fool and his money are soon party-
ing
A good Mom lets you lick the beat-
ers. A great Mom turns off the mixer
first.
I smile all the time because I have no
clue what is going on
Luck is my middle name!
Unfortunately, my first name is bad.


to the British newspapers from GOB


Michael Ashcroft is a very successful
businessman, who has earned a repu-
tation in Belize for being tough. But he
is also fair, and, in our experience, en-
tirely trustworthy and reliable. We con-
sider as baseless and preposterous re-
cent allegations of improper influence
and pressure, of money laundering and
of drug trafficking.
The Government of Belize or our Cen-
tral Bank have never been asked ques-
tions about Michael Ashcroft by the
United States Drug Enforcement
Agency. Indeed, only last week, we
contacted the U. S. Embassy in Belize
which categorically repeated that there
i s
no information even suggesting that
Michael Ashcroft is under investigation
or on some watch list. Additionally the
structure of our banking system is in-
imical to money laundering, and Michael
Ashcroft's companies have been
amongst the most active
supporters of financial regulation and
control.
There are indications of the damage

I have six locks on my door all in a
row. When I go out, I lock every other
one. I figure no matter how long some-
body stands there picking the locks,
they are always locking three.
A man who can smile when things go
wrong has found someone to blame it
on
Math
He's teaching her arithmetic,
He said it was his mission,
He kissed her once, he kissed her
twice, and said, "Now that's addition."
And as he added smack by smack
In silent satisfication,
She sweetly gave the kisses back and
said, "Now that's subtraction."
Then he kissed her, she kissed him,
Without an explanation,
And together both smiled and
said,"That's multiplication,"
Then Dad appeared upon the scene
and made a quick decision,
He kicked that boy three blocks
away, and said, "Now that's long divi-
sion!"


which our country might sustain as a
result of the current rag-bag of unsub-
stantiated allegations in the British press
which seems to be totally insensitive and
unmindful of the possible negative ef-
fect on investors confidence. We have
no wish to become embroiled in the
political affairs of Britain, but the time


has now come when the British press
should either produce evidence to sub-
stantiate its allegations or cease this cam-
paign of smear and whispering, which
not only stains the reputation of Michael
Ashcroft but puts at risk the economy
and livelihood of the Belizean people.
Belmopan 19 July, 1999.


Full Service Airline

With over 180 daily

scheduled flights

throughout Belize

and Flores in

Guatemala


Charters also available


The Airline of Belize


---S.(Continued From Page 2)
embarrassment and humiliation for all
standard six teachers. Students lost
trust and confidence in their teacher and
now see their teachers as not capable
of guiding them. The ministry has un-
dermined the authority of all standard
six teachers. Will this have any positive
impact on the primary school examina-
tion results and in society? What has the
Ministry gained publishing the results?
Is this a form of improving the educa-
tion system in our country?
It is my hope that the Ministry ofEdu-


cation will recognize that the issue of ad-
dressing the current low performance of
students should be addressed differently
from what it is proposing. Teachers
should not be used as rats in an experi-
ment to correct a problem that needs to
be addressed from the very top to the
bottom of the educational system. As a
concerned and dedicated teacher, I trust
that the Ministry and its key personnel
will seriously consider the issues that I
raised in this letter.
Sincerely, Angel Requena







Friday, May 4, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 116


t Race in


Pa


By: Mario Lara
Belizeans must have a mighty good
sense of humour to be able to put up
with political mess in which the country
seems to be mired. The leader of the
Opposition owns the law firm that rep-
resents the bank that got the unlimited
loan guarantee signed by the Prime Min-
ister unbeknownst to several senior min-
isters.
And for all these great moments in
Belizean government and politics, we
have a national debt that will require
that our grandchildren's grandchildren
to still be making payments. Some-
one recently told me that ill-timed
humour can turn out offensive. Well,
I think the joke that is being played
on the Belizean people cannot be
more ill-timed or more offensive. I
don't find it very funny at all. Yet, if I
don't laugh, I will cry so I under-
stand completely, if the average
Belizean shrugs it all off with a witty
remark, says "Oh well..." and goes
about their daily lives trying to figure
out how to make a living.
What else is left for them to do?
Civil unrest won't put food on the
table or make things any better. Come
elections day, you cast your vote and
hope for the best and go back to

3 more

Cabinet

Ministers

condemn

UHS

Guarantee

--Jm (Continued From Page 1)
ing of the guarantee, we were not
aware. About the principle of issu-
ing an unlimited guarantee for a pri-
vate company, he said, "maybe the
judgment calls would have been
different if it had the benefit of
Cabinet input. "
Sports and Defense Minister Cordel
Hyde, said, "we had no idea about
that. He added that if he had known
about it, he certainly wouldn't have
supported it.
That makes 5 Ministers of govern-
ment, all members of the Public Fi-
nance Committee and all former G-
7'ers who have said that they didn't
know about the document and also
said that they wouldn't have supported
it if they had known.
from www. 7newsbelize.com
Friday April 27, 2007


work. Better get used to it. Some find
comfort in saying that Belize is still a
great place to live and wouldn't want
to be any other place on Earth. I hope
those who say that give at least some
credit to the thousands offBelizeans,
who in their hearts would rather be at
home, but who choose instead to
leave and go live abroad and send
whatever economic support they can
back home to help ease the pinch and
help boost the economy. No doubt
about it, without the millions of dol-
lars in remittances sent from those
abroad, things would feel a lot worse
back home.
Indeed, some might argue that this


cushion is actually a part of the prob-
lem since it relieves the government
of its responsibilities to the people.
The opportunity cost of the long list
of scandals, secret deals, and incom-
petence can never be determined.
The heavy tax burden is not the full
bill. A father who gambles and drinks
his paycheck away does not only rob
his children of the ill spent paycheck,
he also robs them of a better future.
It is the same with the unsustainable
level of borrowing and rampant cor-
ruption occurring in Belize. They are
robbing Belize of a brighter future.
Yes, the sun will still shine on Belize,
the breeze will still blow; and mango


trees will still bear fruit; but poor
Belizeans will have diminishing ability
to enjoy these things if we continue
down this path. As more of the
country's resources are sold off to pay
down debt and become concentrated
in the hands of a few, the majority of
Belizeans will become marginalized in
their own homeland and will be forced
to serve the masters under slave-like
conditions.
They will be trapped in a rat race in
the midst of paradise. Some already
are! Now if that isn't a cruel joke, I
don't know what is.
You can contact the author, Mario
Lara at cowfootsoupk(vahoo.com


d


r rw




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